How Should I Face-glue My Pine Lumber?

How Should I Face-glue My Pine Lumber?

I have about 6,000 board feet of lovely dry Ontario white pine. I plan to make some table and furniture tops using 1-1/2-in.-thick pieces. As my pine boards are only 3/4-in. thick, could you please recommend the preferred glue and procedure to achieve a permanent durable bond to face-glue two such pieces together? – George King

Rob JohnstoneI’ve built up thicker stock from thinner pieces before and had good results. Here are a few pointers. The main thing is to wet both faces of the boards with a thin coat of glue and then figure out a way to clamp them evenly across their width and length. Give the glue-up a full 24 hours to cure in a room that is above 60 degrees F. One challenge you will find is that the two pieces will want to slide side-to-side as you clamp. There are a few ways to deal with that — everything from shooting nails through the boards at either end in order to keep them aligned (after the glue has cured, cut those end off to remove the nails), to using clamps across the width for the same purpose.

If the boards are long enough, I suggest cutting them in two and gluing them face-to-face, folding them together like a book. This can give you very similar edge grain along the length of the glue-up. (It does not always work, but sometimes the joint becomes almost invisible.) I have gleaned these tips over the years, and I hope they are helpful.

Tim Inman: I think it will be a huge waste of wood to laminate those boards to 1-1/2 in. thick. You certainly don’t need that thickness for strength. I would recommend you “cheat” and make the top look like it is the thickness you want by cleverly joining a thicker edge all around. This is done in cabinet and furniture work all the time. It isn’t just to be cheap with materials, either. Think about wood stability. All that thickness is just a huge pile of stress waiting for a place to exhibit itself. As for glue, well, just about any good wood glue would do. My first recommendation would be a yellow glue such as Titebond II. I would definitely stay away from the polyurethane glues like Gorilla Glue. Choose a glue that sets hard and does not have the ability to allow the wood joints to creep or move as they stress.

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