Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Small assembly table - ran out of clamps!!

I'd like to preface this blog with a small comment that getting sick sucks, especially when it's during your vacation and you technically have a lot of things you want to get done so that you can continue to improve on projects like the house, getting to the gym, and various other things like that. Anyway, now that that's out of the way, on with the show.

Since I did get sick, most woodworking came to a standstill. I didn't want to be outside breathing sawdust when I'm pretty sure I got a small bit of bronchitis from the cold I caught and I'm very sure sawdust is not a valid way to fix it. In any case, I'm feeling better today and decided that I'd do some assembly on this table. I think it won't take too much more to get it done since the rest of the woodworking on it will involve making braces, finishing the table top, building a shelf, then putting it all together and then sealing it with spar varnish.

I had the dry fit of the frame just sitting there in my garage for the past week or so, and it was holding together pretty much just fine. I was contemplating doweling the whole thing together or going full-blown old school and draw-boring the dowels so I wouldn't need clamps, but I figured I'd just glue it up, clamp it, and let it cook. This provides me with a small issue -- I actually don't have enough clamps to do this right.

When I made my first set of pipe clamps, I got two 5' lengths of black pipe. I wasn't foreseeing building anything that would require clamps that long, so I figured the pair would be enough. I didn't listen to the woodworking devil in my head telling me, "You idiot. You'll need at least 4 clamps of every size you have." This turns out to be a huge tactical error. When I built my 3' pipe clamps, I made four of them, and having 4 of them is a godsend. Along with the bar clamps I have, I can pretty much clamp anything that is shorter than 3 feet long. Anything bigger than that, and we start running into problems.

To tackle this problem, I decided today would be a good day to make sub-assemblies of the short sides of the table. Then when I get a couple more long clamps, I can tie the two sub assemblies together and then I'll be good to go.

Glue-up went solidly and there wasn't too much mess since I've learned that flooding a mortise and tenon joint doesn't do much for it other than just squeeze out glue everywhere that I'd have to clean up. I was fairly frugal with the glue, so most was cleaned up with a wet rag. The rest are on surfaces I plan to plane and sand, so that will go away quickly.

Now that I have these taken care of, I have to find some pipe clamp fixtures. I know the orange Borg sells the pipe I need, but for some stupid reason, they stopped selling Jorgensen clamps. They had Irwins for a little bit (which I completely passed on), and now they have Bessey clamps. I'm happy about the Besseys on one hand because they sell K-body Revo clamps there, and when I get the nerve (and money) to buy parallel clamps, that's probably what I'm getting, but I don't want their pipe clamp fixtures. I have the Jorgensen Pony fixtures, and I love them. They're indestructible and they clamp strongly. They're also cheap and (used to be) readily available. I think Ace still sells them, so I may have to pay a visit over there one day.

This table will probably sort itself out in the next couple of days, so there's not much to update on it. I will be glad when I have it done. Then I'll have another assembly area that's a little lower so I don't have to try to reach above my head to drive nails and screws and potentially destroy my fluorescent lighting in my garage.

Small steps...I'll get it done.