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View Full Version : New Top and Back Clamping Method: Not Happy



sequoia
09-02-2017, 07:47 PM
Below is my new clamping method using spool clamps in a mold. I kinda made this up as I went and I'm sure it has been used before but I am not liking the method at all. My main problem with it is the time and effort involved. Way too much work. There are 22 spool clamps involved there which means 22 butterfly nuts and... If you count the back and the top that is 44 clamping operations. Boring! Slow! Not fun!

On the plus side it does a champion job of clamping the edge joins, but there is a level to my patience. Going to re-think this design. Ken posted his clamping method with a cam sort of thing going on. Much better and now I get why it is a good idea.

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Booli
09-02-2017, 09:19 PM
I'd seen somewhere on YT that certain builders will use a vacuum form sealer rig for some operations, and it would seem to me that such a tool would be much less tedious to use. Maybe that would work better for you?

Michael N.
09-03-2017, 12:35 AM
Go bar set up can be very quick. I use spool clamps but not with wing nuts. Actually I have a few with wing nuts and they are slower than my others, which have T-nuts. They are quicker because they are easier to spin.

saltytri
09-03-2017, 06:26 AM
These mini bar clamps are "quick on, quick off." Horror Fright has an inexpensive version.

102771

Kevs-the-name
09-03-2017, 06:52 AM
As a hobby builder, I love this method...

You have already said it does a champion job of clamping!
Whats the rush :p

Pete Howlett
09-03-2017, 08:03 AM
When I get to ork tomorrow I'll show a couple of set-ups... one courtesy of Noa at Ko'Olau.

ork? I mean work... just allowing you to see my famous missed key-strokes spelling :)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
09-03-2017, 11:46 AM
When I get to ork tomorrow I'll show a couple of set-ups... one courtesy of Noa at Ko'Olau.:)

Noa has some cool presses

Kekani
09-03-2017, 12:15 PM
Did the spool thing, used it once, threw it all away years later because it took so much work to make - I cork lined mine.

Cam clamps for me. . .

Vespa Bob
09-03-2017, 01:54 PM
Long rubber band for me.

printer2
09-03-2017, 04:56 PM
To do the spool clamp thing you pretty well have to use regular nuts and a driver with cordless drill to be any fun.

resoman
09-03-2017, 06:55 PM
I'm with Michael N. Go bar deck is quick and effective

sequoia
09-03-2017, 07:42 PM
As a hobby builder, I love this method...

You have already said it does a champion job of clamping!
Whats the rush :p

I hear ya. What's the rush, but there is a practical side too. I timed how long it took me on the back and it was about 12 minutes. This is approaching the point where aliphatic glue (ie Titebond) is starting to set and skin over and optimal bonding is not taking place. Maybe just glue anxiety. Anyway, the method gave me absolutely beautiful perfect joins because I could perfectly control the clamping pressure. Not too tight not too loose. Love that. ... I'm already thinking how to speed things up and make it more efficient. Shorter bolts is a good start. Those are 6 1/2 inch and 5 inch would work fine. That is by my calculation 33 inches of less screwing. Less screwing is better! I like the idea of a regular nut and a driver. The way to go for sure because I'm not into butterfly nuts.

Timbuck
09-04-2017, 01:54 AM
I wouldn't change my method, with driver and set screws and clamps ...put together in less than two minutes.:)

SeanB1
09-04-2017, 07:19 AM
Not that I've used it that much but I love my go-bar deck... I incorporated it into my workbench on a lazy susan bearing.

FarmerBill
09-04-2017, 08:34 AM
Is there any reason the spool clamps are round? They would be just as good square with cork pads and a nut and a nut driver rather than a wing nut and easier to make.

Michael N.
09-04-2017, 11:49 AM
Don't have to be round. Mine are but I think I just used some pre turned stock, dowel or broom handle, sliced up and T- nuts inserted. It must be 35 years since I made them, still going strong. I've had to oil the threads a few times. Once oiled they spin fast, a lot faster than wing nuts, although they probably can't compete with a drill driver.

DPO
09-04-2017, 01:34 PM
Is there any reason the spool clamps are round? They would be just as good square with cork pads and a nut and a nut driver rather than a wing nut and easier to make.

I made my own spool clamps, rectangular with cork pads for protection. They work with wing nuts which I have zero issues with. Takes just a few minutes to glue a top or back on.

sequoia
09-04-2017, 07:26 PM
I wouldn't change my method, with driver and set screws and clamps ...put together in less than two minutes.:)

OK ok. I will quit whining. I'm going to cut the bolts way down to about 5 threads and I will try to match your time of 2 minutes. Three cups of coffee, get set, get ready go!... Anyway, I'm loving the results. Perfect clamping pressure all around.

Yes, yes the blocks could be square or any shape one wanted. Even perfectly matching the curves (over kill?). Square might even be better. It is just that round dowl is so available when I made the clamps.

finkdaddy
09-05-2017, 11:48 AM
I actually just use green, painters masking tape. Works great as long as there's not too much wood to trim off from the edges.

Pegasus Guitars
09-05-2017, 01:58 PM
Here is another way. The photo is a set-up, because I had already cut some binding ledges. Obviously, those would not be there and the back would be slightly overhanging when I'm really gluing a back on. One hand will hold all the spring clamps needed to do a uke back. Takes less than 2 minutes to put a back on with very precise control of where you want the pressure.The same clamps work for guitar sizes or uke sizes. Since I started using these maybe 30 years ago, I've done many hundreds of instruments in mixed guitar and uses sizes. You can bend them in or out to get the tension for the body size, and the spring steel never loses it's spring tension. Pretty amazing stuff. Excellent for repairs too. A single box spring and a hacksaw, or better a cheap pair of bolt cutters will supply all the clamps needed to do several instruments at a time. The ends are 1/2" dowel drilled half way through in a press fit size for the spring. The jagged cut end of the spring sticks nicely into the wood and seldom falls off. The base has a radius to match the top and a hole where the sound hole is for glue clean-up. The whole deal is very light and can be put aside to dry without awkward clamps falling off. Works for me, though admittedly I have not been very successful in convincing others to try it.

spongeuke
09-05-2017, 03:45 PM
Very elegant, should work in my very small shop.

sequoia
09-05-2017, 06:08 PM
Well that is darn near ingenious. It gives me ideas for other clamping chores and one could make them small for smaller applications. Always can use that special clamp where nothing else quite works... Also probably good for clamping tops and backs. I think that this particular operation does not need a lot of pressure to be strong. I think I tend to over clamp these joins a bit and maybe starve things a bit. The spool clamp can exert a tremendous amount of clamping pressure. Maybe way more than needed. The spring clamp might be just right.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-06-2017, 07:36 AM
There are perhaps better ways of clamping than what I do but I was never happy with my spool clamping system and several years ago switched to the down and dirty rubber band method (with a couple of clamps at either end of the body). You can see I modified my old spool clamp solera board. I like attaching the back with the neck temporarily attached, ensuring that my geometry is perfect. The body is clamped to the board through the sound hole. I use 5" X 1/2" rubber bands which can be had for about $5 per box of 100. The pegs are simply finish nails covered with surgical tubing. (I would've used dowels if I had some on hand at the time.) Nothing fancy but it's quick and easy and works well.

finkdaddy
09-06-2017, 07:42 AM
There are perhaps better ways of clamping than what I do but I was never happy with my spool clamping system and several years ago switched to the down and dirty rubber band method (with a couple of clamps at either end of the body). You can see I modified my old spool clamp solar board. I like attaching the back with the neck temporarily attached, ensuring that my geometry is perfect. I use 5" X 1/2" rubber bands which can be had for about $5 per box of 100. The pegs are simply finish nails covered with surgical tubing. (I would've used dowels if I had some on hand at the time.) Nothing fancy but it's quick and easy and works well.

Oh, I like this idea! I may have to try this one out. Thanks, Chuck! :D

Vespa Bob
09-06-2017, 02:21 PM
That's similar to my method, except I use one long length of surgical tubing, one end tied to one of the protruding nails, the rest just zigzagged over the nails.

Bob

sequoia
09-06-2017, 06:12 PM
What I like about that set-up is the spool clamps in adjustable slots with square ended clamps. Lots of room for adjustment. One of the problems with my system is that there is only 3/16 of an inch wiggle room between the top/back and the bolt which doesn't leave me much waste to play with on the overhang. I have this horrible fear of cutting too close to the sides before I glue and then discovering I cut too close. Hello ruined top or back!

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
09-08-2017, 07:13 AM
To those that use the rubber band, or go bar deck method (chuck, pegasus etc), how do you combat glue squeeze out when it is face down???

jcalkin
09-08-2017, 09:18 AM
Here's my press for clamping uke plates to the ribs. I have interchangeable cauls for flat and radiused plates. First photo is the basic press. Second is a tenor in its mold waiting for the top to be pressed on. Third is the loaded press. The circular cauls are the same dishes that were used to radius or flatten the ribs/plates. I never had any problems, but I've gone to using a rubbery router mat between the plate to be glued and caul to make sure the joint is tight all the way around. Mine is built right on a bench top, but a bottom could be added to the press to make it portable just to move it out of the way when not in use.

102907

102908

102909

jcalkin
09-08-2017, 09:24 AM
To those that use the rubber band, or go bar deck method (chuck, pegasus etc), how do you combat glue squeeze out when it is face down???

Beau, if you're getting squeeze out you're using way too much glue. There's a trick to it, but if you're still spreading glue with a finger tip you'll never figure it out.

FarmerBill
09-08-2017, 11:12 AM
How do you spread glue?

jcalkin
09-08-2017, 04:44 PM
I use a plain old disposable acid brush, but once you doctor it up just right you dread the day it finally wears out. Its not a big mystery or anything, but its easier to show than describe. I'll try to shoot a little video the next time I get to that operation.

But you know, guys get so defensive when I tell them that their finger is a poor tool for spreading glue that they deserve to fuss with squeeze out till the cows come home. Just one of my little peeves.

powdrell
09-08-2017, 09:38 PM
102927 I use cotton string method....

DPO
09-08-2017, 09:51 PM
I use a plain old disposable acid brush, but once you doctor it up just right you dread the day it finally wears out. Its not a big mystery or anything, but its easier to show than describe. I'll try to shoot a little video the next time I get to that operation.

But you know, guys get so defensive when I tell them that their finger is a poor tool for spreading glue that they deserve to fuss with squeeze out till the cows come home. Just one of my little peeves.


I tend not to get too anal about these things, rather a little too much glue than not enough. Served me well for over forty years.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
09-09-2017, 09:10 AM
I use a plain old disposable acid brush, but once you doctor it up just right you dread the day it finally wears out. Its not a big mystery or anything, but its easier to show than describe. I'll try to shoot a little video the next time I get to that operation.

If i don't have to clean up glue squeeze out anymore, i'll change!- Ive heard pete uses a roller too whihc im also yet to try

Kekani
09-09-2017, 12:16 PM
Ive heard pete uses a roller too whihc im also yet to try
This ^^^^^

sequoia
09-09-2017, 07:43 PM
How do you spread glue?

I use the greatest and bestest glue spreading device ever invented: My right index finger (those of you strange people who might be left handed, use your left index finger). The best reason is that you can feel when you have the right amount of glue... As for squeeze out, there was an exhaustive thread on this earlier talking about "good squeeze out". Not a trivial subject by any means, but also not rocket science. What I like to see are those really, really tiny balls of glue along the joint. No more, no less.

Kekani
09-09-2017, 09:45 PM
I use the greatest and bestest glue spreading device ever invented: My right index finger (those of you strange people who might be left handed, use your left index finger). The best reason is that you can feel when you have the right amount of glue... As for squeeze out, there was an exhaustive thread on this earlier talking about "good squeeze out". Not a trivial subject by any means, but also not rocket science. What I like to see are those really, really tiny balls of glue along the joint. No more, no less.
Every now and then (like the extra patch on the brace to prevent bellying) you come up with some good stuff that just makes us laugh.

Its a good thing you post stuff like this in the Lounge where we know better. If you post it in Talk, they may actually take you serious!:cool:

DPO
09-09-2017, 10:02 PM
Every now and then (like the extra patch on the brace to prevent bellying) you come up with some good stuff that just makes us laugh.

Its a good thing you post stuff like this in the Lounge where we know better. If you post it in Talk, they may actually take you serious!:cool:

So what exactly made you the expert on gluing two pieces of wood together? Do tell us lesser mortals!

Kekani
09-10-2017, 01:11 AM
Not an expert Dennis, just enjoying the read of the thread. Sequoia has a sense of humor - you must've missed his "jaws bracing". Lots of effort went into that one. Kudos for sure.

I've used fingers as well (still do for certain small things when I'm lazy), and had that glob of glue pile up on the side of my trash can, squeeze out that needed cleaning up, feeling the glue on the fingers and speeding up when it got crusty, and the tiny balls. I'm thinking many of us can relate. . .

Personally, I got absolutely schooled by Pete and his roller for applying glue.

jcalkin
09-10-2017, 05:39 AM
If i don't have to clean up glue squeeze out anymore, i'll change!- Ive heard pete uses a roller too whihc im also yet to try

The important part is getting the brush just right. Out of the box the bristles are too long and the touch too soft. Cut them too short and they sweep away all the glue. I buy Titebond by the quart and transfer some to a small squeeze bottle for use.

Squeeze a puddle onto the neck block, then lay a bead on the rim half way around. If it tends to drip between the teeth of kerfed lining you are using too much glue. Semi-load the brush from the puddle on the neck block, then start on the rim, always brushing toward the interior of the instrument. As you pick up excess glue on the brush, put it on the opposite rim. If you run dry pick up more glue off the neck block. By the time you work around the wet half both edges of the rim should be covered. On a guitar this takes long enough that the lining may be sucking the water out of the glue, so with a semi-loaded brush go around the rims quickly to renew the sheen of the glue. Lastly, run a finger around the neck block to remove the glue on the edges, then clamp on the plate as quickly as possible. Using my press I can clamp down the plate in a few seconds. What I expect to see is no squeeze out on the inside but a string of glue pearls on the outside.

I forgot to mention that before the glue up I use a scrap of 220 grit paper to break the inside edges of the lining. That little round over is enough to hide a skosh of squeeze out.

Pukulele Pete
09-10-2017, 05:50 AM
Horror Fright has an inexpensive version.

102771
Horror Fright ,..........:biglaugh:

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
09-10-2017, 01:32 PM
I forgot to mention that before the glue up I use a scrap of 220 grit paper to break the inside edges of the lining. That little round over is enough to hide a skosh of squeeze out.

Funny you mention that- i've started to do that but my reason was to try to minimise possible telegraphing of the hard edge of the linings - i thin my edges quite a lot.

This is the type of roller i was thinking some used:
http://www.rockler.com/rockler-8-oz-glue-bottle-with-glue-roller

sequoia
09-10-2017, 06:23 PM
before the glue up I use a scrap of 220 grit paper to break the inside edges of the lining. That little round over is enough to hide a skosh of squeeze out.

I'm intrigued by that John, but I don't understand what you mean by "breaking the inside edges of the lining". Do you mean going into each kerf with the sandpaper and sanding back a bit or....???

jcalkin
09-11-2017, 07:43 AM
I'm intrigued by that John, but I don't understand what you mean by "breaking the inside edges of the lining". Do you mean going into each kerf with the sandpaper and sanding back a bit or....???

No. I meant the interior edge of the lining, opposite of the rib.

jcalkin
09-11-2017, 07:57 AM
Funny you mention that- i've started to do that but my reason was to try to minimise possible telegraphing of the hard edge of the linings - i thin my edges quite a lot.

This is the type of roller i was thinking some used:
http://www.rockler.com/rockler-8-oz-glue-bottle-with-glue-roller

Never used it, but it looks way too big for he job at hand. Plus, cleaning the roller after use looks time consuming. I just plop my brush into the coffee cup full of water that is part of my glue kit and forget about until next time.

I've also seen vids of a classical guitar maker who lays down a bead of glue and then spreads it with a little foam dauber on a stick that sorta reminded me of cheese-on-a-toothpick horses doovers. It looked very sophisticated, just the sort of tool a snooty classical guitar maker would enjoy.

kkimura
09-11-2017, 08:49 AM
Below is my new clamping method using spool clamps in a mold. I kinda made this up as I went and I'm sure it has been used before but I am not liking the method at all. My main problem with it is the time and effort involved. Way too much work. There are 22 spool clamps involved there which means 22 butterfly nuts and... If you count the back and the top that is 44 clamping operations. Boring! Slow! Not fun!

On the plus side it does a champion job of clamping the edge joins, but there is a level to my patience. Going to re-think this design. Ken posted his clamping method with a cam sort of thing going on. Much better and now I get why it is a good idea.

102763

Carr-Lane quick acting knobs are what you need. (from an old tool and die maker)

https://www.carrlane.com/en-us/product/handles-knobs-screw-clamps/four-prong-knobs-screw-clamps/quick-acting-knobs

sequoia
09-11-2017, 07:10 PM
It looked very sophisticated, just the sort of tool a snooty classical guitar maker would enjoy.

Right on.... My idea for a bumper sticker: "Real Ukulele Builders Just Use a Finger".

Pete Howlett
09-11-2017, 11:22 PM
Here we go.... please use a brush. I get very little or no squeeze out. If you hold the component to the light to inspect you have an even film of glue it shoudl be fine. But what do `I know? I'm British :)

tobinsuke
09-12-2017, 10:35 AM
Finally, a thread on this forum where posters disagree about glue. :D

RPA_Ukuleles
09-12-2017, 11:00 AM
Finally, a thread on this forum where posters disagree about glue. :D

Haha, especially in a thread about clamping!

(or "cramping", depending on your side of the pond)

Pete Howlett
09-12-2017, 01:58 PM
I gave up using the term 'cramps' because it didn't translate well across the pond...

sequoia
09-12-2017, 06:07 PM
Finally, a thread on this forum where posters disagree about glue. :D

I've noticed that people feel very strongly about gluing things. It is important I'll agree. What usually happens in these discussions is that the hide glue guys chime in and the aliphatic resin guys chime in and then things get... sticky. Then there was the post about a person who built an uke entirely with CA glue. I will concede that using a finger to spread CA glue is probably not a good idea.

tparse
09-12-2017, 10:45 PM
I have wanted to try this for years but I have never come across any suitable box springs. The ones I have found are really wimpy. Maybe they don't make them like they did back in the day.

pahu
09-13-2017, 10:58 AM
"Real Ukulele Builders Just Use a Finger".

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

pahu
09-13-2017, 11:01 AM
I like attaching the back with the neck temporarily attached, ensuring that my geometry is perfect.
Great idea. So you clamp the neck to the board as well?