Difference between revisions of "Building a stack"

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Once the boards are ready to go the next step is to sort thru them and find nine that make a reasonable stack. The boards don’t have to be perfectly straight so long as they’re all not perfectly straight in pretty much the same way. It’s okay if the stack is a bit bowed end-to-end… we’ll correct that later. The most important part of selecting boards to form a stack is that they are as similar as possible, so the broad sides are as close to smooth as you can get them. We’ll need to make them perfectly smooth later, so the better you start off the less waste there will be later.
+
Once the boards are ready to go, the next step is to sort through them and find nine that make a reasonable stack. The boards don’t have to be perfectly straight. If they are all bent in the same way, that's fine. If the stack is a bit bowed end-to-end, we can correct that later.  
 +
 
 +
When selecting boards to form a stack, it's important that they all be as similar as possible. The broad sides should be as close to smooth as you can get them. We’ll make them perfectly smooth later, so the smoother they are at the beginning, the less waste there will be later.
  
 
<gallery caption="Matching boards into individual stacks.">
 
<gallery caption="Matching boards into individual stacks.">
Line 6: Line 8:
 
File:Stack_Matching_One_Done.JPG
 
File:Stack_Matching_One_Done.JPG
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
 +
  
 
Once you have a set of boards ready to go, lay them out on a bench in the order and orientation that you’ll be needing them during glue up.  
 
Once you have a set of boards ready to go, lay them out on a bench in the order and orientation that you’ll be needing them during glue up.  
  
I use 8 [[Pipe Clamps|pipe clamps]], each with 12” wide 2” x 2” oak cauls on each side. I will alternate these on each side of the stack as I clamp it, so I start with half of the clamps on my workbench spaced to ensure that the other half wont overlap them much. I place butchers paper under the clamps to protect the workbench from the dripping glue later.
+
I use 8 [[Pipe Clamps|pipe clamps]], each with 12” wide 2” x 2” oak cauls on each side. I will alternate these on each side of the stack as I clamp it, so I start with half of the clamps on my workbench spaced to ensure that the other half wont overlap them much. I place butcher's paper under the clamps to protect the workbench from dripping glue.
  
A fine spray of clean water on the boards helps add a bit of moisture which will hlep the glue cure properly.
+
A fine spray of clean water on the boards adds a bit of moisture, which will help the glue cure properly.
  
 
<gallery caption="A stack ready for layup.">
 
<gallery caption="A stack ready for layup.">
Line 18: Line 21:
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
I use [[Polyurethane glue]] for my stacks because it has a reasonably long working time, and it will take about 15 min to actually get a single stack clamped up. I take the cap off the bottle and pour a bead of glue down the entire length of the first board, then spread it with a plastic spreader the same way I spread epoxy during layup. (I use old bits of base material as a spreader here.) It takes some practice to start to recognize how much glue to apply in a single pass. Start with too little and add more but don’t take too much time as there are seven more applications to make. Take the next board and lay it in place on top of the first one, then rinse and repeat. Once the final board is in place you’ll have a gooey stack ready to be clamped.  
+
 
 +
I use [[Polyurethane glue]] for my stacks because it has a reasonably long working time. It will take about 15 min to actually get a single stack clamped up. I take the cap off the bottle and pour a bead of glue down the entire length of the first board. Then, I spread it with a plastic spreader the same way I spread epoxy during layup. (I use old bits of base material as a spreader here.)  
 +
 
 +
It takes some practice to start to recognize how much glue to apply in a single pass. Start with too little and add more but don’t take too much time as there are seven more applications to make. Take the next board and lay it in place on top of the first one, then rinse and repeat. Once the final board is in place, you’ll have a gooey stack ready to be clamped.  
  
 
<gallery caption="Applying glue to a stack.">
 
<gallery caption="Applying glue to a stack.">
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</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
Carefully push the stack over so it lays flat on the bottom set of clamps and adjust the board placement as necessary. Note that the ends of the stack don’t have to align perfectly! It’s common to have boards of slightly different lengths and that’s okay; we’ll trim it up later.
+
 
 +
Carefully push the stack over so it lays flat on the bottom set of clamps. Adjust the board placement as necessary. Note that the ends of the stack don’t have to align perfectly! It’s common to have boards of slightly different lengths and that’s okay; we’ll trim it up later.
  
 
<gallery caption="Laying down the stack for clamping.">
 
<gallery caption="Laying down the stack for clamping.">
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</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
Once the boards are aligned, tighten the center clamp on the bottom, then add top clamps on either side and tighten them. Tighten two bottom clamps on either side of those, and so on until you reach the ends. Try to avoid getting any glue on the cauls so you don’t glue your clamps to the stack, or take precautions like tape on the cauls.
+
 
 +
Once the boards are aligned, tighten the center clamp on the bottom. Then, add top clamps on either side and tighten them. Tighten two bottom clamps on either side of those. Repeat in the same manner until you reach the ends. Try to avoid getting any glue on the cauls. You don’t want to glue your clamps to the stack. You can also take precautions by putting tape on the cauls.
  
 
<gallery caption="Clamping the stack.">
 
<gallery caption="Clamping the stack.">
Line 43: Line 51:
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
I usually let a stack dry for3-4 hours so I can make a few stacks per day.
 
  
The [[Woodworking Resources]] page has a number of articles on proper clamping. These are all worth a read and will help you understand how much pressure you should use in order to get a good glue up.
+
I usually let a stack dry for three to four hours. I can make a few stacks per day.
 +
 
 +
The [[Woodworking Resources]] page has a number of articles on proper clamping. These are all worth a read and will help you understand how much pressure you should use in order to get a good glue-up.
  
 
== Preparing the stack for slicing ==
 
== Preparing the stack for slicing ==
  
Once the stack is dry and out of the clamps it need to be prepared to be sliced. The first step is to remove all of the excess glue squeezed out during layup and clamping. This is easily done, as the polyurethane glue isn’t really structural at all. A [[Hand Scraper|hand scraper]] makes short work of it. You don’t need remove all of it, just any glue that would prevent the stack from laying flat on each side.
+
Once the stack is dry and out of the clamps, it needs to be prepared to be sliced. The first step is to remove all of the excess glue squeezed out during layup and clamping. This is easily done, as the polyurethane glue isn’t really structural. A [[Hand Scraper|hand scraper]] makes short work of it. You don’t need remove all of it, just any glue that would prevent the stack from laying flat on each side.
  
The wide sides of the stack will be uneven, since it’s almost impossible to find boards that are perfectly straight, and to align them perfectly for clamping. I first pick the side that looks the flattest and I run that over a 8” jointer until it is flat. I set the jointer to take about 1/16th of an inch per pass. You want to remove the minimum amount of wood possible from now on. Pencil marks placed on the side being jointed beforehand make it easy to see which portions are smooth and where more work is needed.
+
<gallery caption="Scrape off excess glue">
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Start.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Post_Scrape.JPG
 +
</gallery>
  
Once that face is flat, I turn the stack 90 degrees and flatten the bottom of the stack using the newly flat face against the fence of the jointer. Now we have one flat wide face, one flat adjacent base and those two surfaces are at 90 degrees to each other.
 
  
Next, I flatten the other wide face by running the stack thru a planer with the jointed side down. This yields a stack which has two good sides, and one good base. Surfacing the fourth face is optional at this point and I usually skip it. I then take the stack over to my chop saw and trim the ragged ends square if necessary.  
+
The wide sides of the stack will be uneven, since it’s almost impossible to find boards that are perfectly straight and to align them perfectly for clamping. I pick the side that looks the flattest and I run that over an 8” jointer until it is flat. I set the jointer to take off about 1/16th of an inch per pass. You want to remove the minimum amount of wood possible from now on. Pencil marks placed on the side being jointed beforehand make it easy to see which portions are smooth and where more work is needed.
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="First side being jointed">
 +
File:Stack_Clean_First_Side_Jointed1.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_First_Side_Jointed2.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_First_Side_Jointed3.JPG
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Once that face is flat, I turn the stack 90 degrees and flatten the bottom of the stack. To do this, I place the newly flat face against the fence of the jointer. Now we have one flat wide face, one flat adjacent base and those two surfaces are at 90 degrees to each other.
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="Second side being jointed perpendicular to the first side">
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Second_Side_Jointed1.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Second_Side_Jointed2.JPG
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Next, I flatten the other wide face by running the stack thru a planer with the jointed side down. This yields a stack which has two good sides, and one good base. Surfacing the fourth face is optional at this point and I usually skip it. Then, I take the stack over to my chop saw and trim the ragged ends square, if necessary.  
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="Third side being planed parallel to the first">
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Third_Side_Ready1.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Third_Side_Ready2.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Third_Side1.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Third_Side2.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Third_Side3.JPG
 +
</gallery>
  
Finally, clearly mark the bottom of the slice with a few triangles along the length. This will help you identify the bottom of the slices later for book-matching.
 
  
 
The stack is now ready for slicing.
 
The stack is now ready for slicing.
 +
 +
<gallery caption="Cleaned up stack ready for slicing">
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Complete1.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Complete2.JPG
 +
</gallery>
 +
 +
 +
Sometimes there are blemishes in the wood (knots, etc.) or uneven boards near the ends of a stack. That can be okay, as long as these blemishes are beyond the ends of any reasonable core you will build. Stacks are often longer than actual cores.
 +
 +
<gallery caption="Blemishes on a stack that really don’t matter">
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Blemish1.JPG
 +
File:Stack_Clean_Blemish2.JPG
 +
</gallery>
  
 
== See Also ==
 
== See Also ==
Line 67: Line 115:
 
* [[Slicing a stack]]
 
* [[Slicing a stack]]
 
* [[Joining the halves of a core blank]]
 
* [[Joining the halves of a core blank]]
 
== To-do ==
 
 
* Pictures of a stack after layup, cleanup, and surfacing.
 
  
 
[[Category:Core Blanks]]
 
[[Category:Core Blanks]]
 
[[Category:Woodworking]]
 
[[Category:Woodworking]]
[[Category:Needs Editing]]
 
[[Category:Has To-do]]
 

Latest revision as of 22:24, 1 February 2012

Once the boards are ready to go, the next step is to sort through them and find nine that make a reasonable stack. The boards don’t have to be perfectly straight. If they are all bent in the same way, that's fine. If the stack is a bit bowed end-to-end, we can correct that later.

When selecting boards to form a stack, it's important that they all be as similar as possible. The broad sides should be as close to smooth as you can get them. We’ll make them perfectly smooth later, so the smoother they are at the beginning, the less waste there will be later.


Once you have a set of boards ready to go, lay them out on a bench in the order and orientation that you’ll be needing them during glue up.

I use 8 pipe clamps, each with 12” wide 2” x 2” oak cauls on each side. I will alternate these on each side of the stack as I clamp it, so I start with half of the clamps on my workbench spaced to ensure that the other half wont overlap them much. I place butcher's paper under the clamps to protect the workbench from dripping glue.

A fine spray of clean water on the boards adds a bit of moisture, which will help the glue cure properly.


I use Polyurethane glue for my stacks because it has a reasonably long working time. It will take about 15 min to actually get a single stack clamped up. I take the cap off the bottle and pour a bead of glue down the entire length of the first board. Then, I spread it with a plastic spreader the same way I spread epoxy during layup. (I use old bits of base material as a spreader here.)

It takes some practice to start to recognize how much glue to apply in a single pass. Start with too little and add more but don’t take too much time as there are seven more applications to make. Take the next board and lay it in place on top of the first one, then rinse and repeat. Once the final board is in place, you’ll have a gooey stack ready to be clamped.


Carefully push the stack over so it lays flat on the bottom set of clamps. Adjust the board placement as necessary. Note that the ends of the stack don’t have to align perfectly! It’s common to have boards of slightly different lengths and that’s okay; we’ll trim it up later.


Once the boards are aligned, tighten the center clamp on the bottom. Then, add top clamps on either side and tighten them. Tighten two bottom clamps on either side of those. Repeat in the same manner until you reach the ends. Try to avoid getting any glue on the cauls. You don’t want to glue your clamps to the stack. You can also take precautions by putting tape on the cauls.


I usually let a stack dry for three to four hours. I can make a few stacks per day.

The Woodworking Resources page has a number of articles on proper clamping. These are all worth a read and will help you understand how much pressure you should use in order to get a good glue-up.

Preparing the stack for slicing

Once the stack is dry and out of the clamps, it needs to be prepared to be sliced. The first step is to remove all of the excess glue squeezed out during layup and clamping. This is easily done, as the polyurethane glue isn’t really structural. A hand scraper makes short work of it. You don’t need remove all of it, just any glue that would prevent the stack from laying flat on each side.


The wide sides of the stack will be uneven, since it’s almost impossible to find boards that are perfectly straight and to align them perfectly for clamping. I pick the side that looks the flattest and I run that over an 8” jointer until it is flat. I set the jointer to take off about 1/16th of an inch per pass. You want to remove the minimum amount of wood possible from now on. Pencil marks placed on the side being jointed beforehand make it easy to see which portions are smooth and where more work is needed.


Once that face is flat, I turn the stack 90 degrees and flatten the bottom of the stack. To do this, I place the newly flat face against the fence of the jointer. Now we have one flat wide face, one flat adjacent base and those two surfaces are at 90 degrees to each other.


Next, I flatten the other wide face by running the stack thru a planer with the jointed side down. This yields a stack which has two good sides, and one good base. Surfacing the fourth face is optional at this point and I usually skip it. Then, I take the stack over to my chop saw and trim the ragged ends square, if necessary.


The stack is now ready for slicing.


Sometimes there are blemishes in the wood (knots, etc.) or uneven boards near the ends of a stack. That can be okay, as long as these blemishes are beyond the ends of any reasonable core you will build. Stacks are often longer than actual cores.

See Also