Glue roller

A problem I have encountered as a result of the very dry climate (ambient humidity 30-35% in my shop during winter months) and frequently needing to laminate heaps of small pieces of wood together has been the short open-time of the PVA glue I use. The reason why I need to laminate is the nature of the hardwood boards I have. There are very few of these boards that one can use as is. For most of them I need to cut a whole heap of smaller pieces to make up bigger ones by lamination. If you have a look at the post I wrote on my “Legvise with a twist” you can get a better idea of what I mean.

The problem then becomes one of trying to apply adequate amounts of PVA to all these surfaces and clamp before the glue dries. The first improvement  to my technique was to use a paintbrush to apply the PVA, rather than the off-cut (shaped like a spatula) of wood I used to use. Then I saw someone using a roller and it seemed so much more efficient. Problem was that the only ones I could find to buy was the ones supposed to be used for paint. They are soft and would absorb more glue than apply.

As per usual I then decided to modify an old paint roller to serve my specific needs to a tee. I turned the cylinder in the pictures below out of witpeer wood. In order to create an area that would be very resitant against wear I epoxied a penny-washer to both ends of the cylinder, as you can see below.

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Once that was set I tested the cylinder on an old paint roller handle. It seemed to work well.

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I then treated the wooden cylinder with more than ten coats of floor varnish thinned with mineral turpentine. This was an attempt to keep the worse of the moisture on the surface rather than in the wood, as using and cleaning a tool like this will inevitably expose it to lots of H2O.

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The final product has sped up my glue application with a vengeance.

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In action on a plane to be.

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11/11/2013 – Over the past week or so I improved the glue roller by removing the horrible plastic handle and replacing it with a shop turned witpeer one. If you are interested, I wrote an entire post on how I made these handles (mainly as file handles) under the hand tool category. The only way I could get rid of the plastic handle was to cut it away using my bandsaw. I then cut thread into the stainless steel rod that was left and screwed it into the handle with epoxy acting as cutting fluid.

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Here you can see how I applied a thick layer of epoxy to prevent any moisture from getting to the end grain.

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In order to hang the roller I lined a hole with this thin piece of copper pipe. After the epoxy dried I tidied up the protruding pipe and Bob’s your Uncle.

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