Glue-Up Tricks Using a Nail Gun

Glue-Up Tricks Using a Nail Gun

Simple techniques for quick and accurate glue-ups.

Using glue and a nail gun together is not a new concept, but here are a few ideas that you may not have thought of for putting your nail gun to work that will save you time and eliminate possible frustration.

Stacked Molding with Hidden Nail Holes
Using your router to shape pieces of molding and then stacking them up to make a larger and more complicated molding-assembly is a great way to build a completely custom crown molding. The possible variations are nearly unlimited. If you take a couple of minutes to think the build-up through, you can use a nail gun to speed up the assembly process, but never see a nail hole. Here the example shows three pieces of shop-made molding of different size and thickness, with differing edge treatments (Figure 1). Apply a bead of glue and then position the second piece of molding on top of the first. Drive the nails down from the top of the molding subassembly. Repeat the process for the final layer as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 2

The nails hold the molding together until the glue cures, and because crown molding is seen from below, there are no nail holes to fill when you apply finish.

Lipping Plywood with Removable Nails
Applying lipping (a solid wood edging) to plywood is a common task, but it can be really time-consuming and requires a big pile of clamps if you are doing a big job. This trick saves time on clamping, and does not leave any nails behind. It does leave nail holes that will need to be filled at finishing.

After you’ve cut your plywood and lipping to size, make some 3/8-inch-thick by 1-inch square hardwood blocks from scrap lumber. Apply a bead of glue to the plywood edge as you’ll see in Figure 3. Put the lipping in place and set one of the small hardwood blocks on top of the lipping, then drive a nail through the small block to “clamp” the lipping to the plywood (Figure 4). Repeat this as needed down the length of the lipping to get a tight and secure fit to the edge of the plywood. After the glue has cured, pop the small block free of the nail, leaving the nail head standing proud by about a 1/4-inch or so as you can see in Figure 5. Then just grab a pliers and carefully pull out the nail (Figure 6). Trim the lipping to complete the process as you always would.

Figure 3
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 6

No-slip Multiple Layer Glue-Up
If you’ve ever face-glued three or more boards together at once, you are aware that the layers of glue between the boards can allow them to “float,” making it extremely tricky to keep them properly aligned as you apply clamping pressure. Not if you use this trick. When you have your boards prepared for gluing, start by driving the nails in place, but use a spacer under your nail gun to insure that the nails leave a good bit showing above the surface of the wood. Then use a side-cutter or a needle-nose pliers with a cutter to trim the nails so that just about 1/16-inch of nail remains exposed (Figure 7). Then apply a good coat of glue as shown in Figure 8. Go ahead and stack the boards one on top of the other, pushing down on each one as you do, so that the clipped nails stick into the board you are stacking. Then clamp the pieces together. The tiny nails will keep the pieces from moving even a smidge (Figure 9). You will be amazed at how well this works.

Figure 7
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 9

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