Elegant solutions are the best.

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Blog | No Comments

They say that the simplest solutions are the best. This was brought home to me when gluing up the legs on the table mentioned in my previous blog. The legs were a complex shape, curving in towards the centre. I thought I would be able to clamp up just using clamps positioned vertically. On the dry run everything seemed to be fine with the joints all closing up well.

However I should have known that things would not be so straight forward when the glue was introduced! The joints did not close up properly, partly because the cross members flexed under the pressure. I added supports centrally to prevent this but still gaps appeared on the outer shoulders. So I arranged for clamps on the outer edges. It was starting to look like a clamp fest!

Circular table being clamped up.

No room for any more clamps!

I decided there must be a simpler, more elegant way of doing it. The clamps came off and the rapidly setting joints were parted and cleaned up and I decided to sleep on it. I won’t say the solution came to me in a dream but it was obvious the next day. The clamping pressure had to be along the line of the legs.

I made up some cross shaped clamping blocks in scrap birch ply. They were notched out such that the clamps followed the line of the legs. A dry run went well, the width of the clamping blocks providing rigidity to prevent flexing of the cross pieces. The glue up was simple and done in less than five minutes.

Circular table being clamped up.

So much simpler!

By the end of my first attempt I’d  had nine clamps on the go plus some supporting pieces. The second attempt used four sash clamps and a couple of G lamps. A simple and elegant solution. This is a lesson I will take forward in both my making and teaching.

Clamping blocks.

Notched clamping blocks used on second glue up.

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Thankyou, Chris.


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