Monday, January 19, 2015

Glue Up Of A Post And Rung Chair / Stool Assembly


I wanted to give a little sample of a glue up of a post and rung assembly. This is not the entire process but my hope is to share some little details about applying the glue and how to clean it up as you go along. These things are not often discussed in books but it is helpful to see how it is done so that your process goes cleanly and smoothly.



I use hot hide glue exclusively in chairmaking. Using PVA glues, or just about anything else, is simply madness if you plan to have well fitted joints. PVA glues will bind up in a split second in a really tight joint and will stop it from going together completely. On the other hand, hide glue will actually lubricate a joint making tight fitting ones come together more easily


You'll notice the first tool of the trade here is a good stiff bristle brush for wiping away the excess glue. This is just a cheap natural hair brush from a hardware store with the bristles cut way back near the base. Removing the majority of the glue this way keeps you from smearing it around and then worrying about getting it all wiped off. Also, try to avoid adding any water to the surface as you clean so that you do not dilute the glue and spread it around even more. That said, slightly damp cleaning tools may help lift the glue better.

Your next tool is going to be paper towel for cleaning the joints. This may prick your eco-friendly conscience but a clean surface each time to remove the glue is, in my opinion, the only way to go. Using a wet rag will only spread it around for you to fuss with later before finishing. Plus, a paper towel will pick up the glue off the surface better than a rag.

Lastly, be sure to use something like an old magazine under your work so that you don't damage the side that is on your workbench.

I first learned most of these methods from Peter Galbert. If you have heard about his upcoming book from Lost Arts Press and are wondering what to expect, this is the sort of detail that he covers. It seems nothing is left to guesswork. 

Even though I read and helped edit most of the text early on I can't wait to get my hands on the finished copy. Chris and Megan did a really great job of compiling the book into a super easy to read style that is a hallmark of LAP publications. Plus, Pete went back and reworked a lot of the drawings and I haven't seen all of those yet. Very eager.  Come on Chris, get that thing to the printers!!!!!

11 comments:

  1. Thanks Caleb, I've never built a chair, or stool so watching people that know what their doing is a great gift. Thanks for taking the time. I love the use of the dwell, i'll put that in my bag of tricks. I'll be definitely grabbing Peter's book.

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    1. Glad you liked it. You'll be raring to build a chair if you read his book, I know.

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  2. This is great, thanks for sharing. Would love to see more videos on your mid-century chair builds, hoping to build one this year.

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    1. I will do my best. Hope to make a new chair for me soon.

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  3. Caleb, I had forgotten how precise the glue-up using hide glue can be. And I really like the controlled clean up as well. I will be incorporating this process into my chairs and classes. Question: do you size the joints prior to assembly?

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    1. Sorry for the extremely slow reply Jeff. I am not entirely sure what you mean by "size the joints prior to assembly". I of course cut them to very exact diameters, etc. before fitting them but I think you mean something different possibly.

      I would be happy to answer your question so try again if I didn't already answer it. I will putting up a post on how I like to joints to look for a proper fit.

      Thanks!

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    2. That last statement was full of typos. Lets try again... I will be putting up a post on how I like the joints to look for a proper fit.

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    3. Caleb, by sizing I mean a thin coat of hide glue in the mortise and on the tenon that is applied prior to assembly and let to dry. At assembly more hide glue is applied that reactivates the sizing coat.

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    4. Jeff,

      I wondered if that was what you meant. I have vaguely heard of it but never done it myself. I have done that on joints that have a lot of end grain exposure to help limit the wicking of glue from the joint. I guess considering how much of the mortise is end grain that might be a good approach to aid in the success of the glued joint.

      My energy have gone mostly into making well fitted joints and then make them align as perfectly as possible.

      Do you size the joints with glue as you described?

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  4. What is the brand of hide glue that you use? Do you use different ones for different projects?

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    1. I like Old Brown glue but have used Franklin's Tight Bond liquid hide glue with good success.

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