Tag Archives: PVA

My 18th Century Workbench in progress 28


This was one of those weekends in the shop were I did not feel I got much done despite working almost 2½ days. I am still busy with the two sliding deadmen for my bench. One of them will double up as a sliding leg vise, a la plate 279 of “L’Art du Menuisier” (pictured below). Mine however, will be on a smaller scale and retains it’s deadman anatomy too. The point being, this is slow and fiddly type work.


Cutting the thread for the wooden screw.


One Assegaai wooden screw being cut. This antique German screw box is frighteningly sharp. It felt like I was cutting custard.


Here I started working on the leg vise’s jaw.


Each deadman has a base which slides on top of the bench’s long stretchers. The joinery is a complete overkill (as per usual). It includes, through mortises that were wedged and draw bored. As you might gather from the pictures, I experimented with slow setting epoxy and normal PVA wood glue for the draw pins. The epoxy, which has a consistency similar to vaseline, certainly improves the ease of clobbering them home. I think it has to do with the fact that it acts as a lubricant and also does now lead to immediate swelling of the dowel, which is the case with the water based glue.


The protruding tenons and wedges were worked flush by passing it over the table saw several times followed by paring. The surfaces which will be in contact with the top of the stretcher were then covered with sealskin.


I simply do not have the technical vocabulary to describe what I did here. The pictures will have to tell the story.


Just to be different, I decided to use an eggbeater drill as inspiration for an alternative looking sliding-deaman-leg-vise. With a bit of imagination, you will probably be able to deduct where this is heading.


This is a very handy idea if one wants to shape and sand small round parts. This piece is destined for the eggbeater-leg-vise-deadman.



OK, one more clue dressed in sealskin.


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.


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


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.


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



In action on a plane to be.


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.


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


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.





PVA glue bottle tip

I got sick of filling a small PVA glue bottle from the 5 liter bucket as it is messy and takes up time that can be spent working wood. A few weeks ago I noticed that the nozzle of  the dishwashing liquid sold around these parts has the same design as a Gorilla glue bottle. This design works very well to keep the nozzle from becoming stuck with hard glue. On the local PVA glue bottles you find a screw-top that is impossible to open after a few glue-ups. The 1.5 liter bottle helps to make the refills few and far in between. You can seen the PVA glue bucket I emptied in the dishwashing bottle sitting in the basin filled with water so that it would be easier to clean.


In the last few pictures you can see what I mean with the design of the nozzle. It is very easy to use and does not necessitate lots of meticulous cleaning to keep it functioning.