Brian, Hank, Dan, Al- time for a glueing up the box tutorial!

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Wes Nance, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. Wes Nance

    Wes Nance Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi guys,

    I've built a few speakers now, and I'm getting much better cutting my parts with the table saw, much more square, all the same size, etc.

    Now I think I can greatly improve glueing up the boxes. I did a sub last night, and while the edges were flush when I glued the top/bottom/sides, it turned out they weren't totally square (just slightly trapezoidal) and made putting the braces in a pain.

    So, for all of us non carpenters, do you guys have any hints, tricks, etc., that would help us out?

    My usual routine is to glue up the top/bottom/sides nice and flush, and then glue the front and back on which are slightly oversized and then trim with a flush trim bit. This is working OK.

    Do you guys flush trim by hand or on a router table? Do you make any jigs to hold the parts square if you're building a bunch of the same speakers?

    Thanks! I know there are other people that could use some efficient advice. . .

    Wes
     
  2. Chris Keen

    Chris Keen Stunt Coordinator

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    I assume that you are just using butt joints?

    If so, make sure as much as possible, that you have your blade raised perpendicular to the table (90 degrees), and that you have your table saw as dialed in as accurate as possible (blade parallel to the miter slot, fence parallel to the miter slot when locked down, etc). Outside of this, you might make yourself some accurate 90 degree jigs to assist you when glueing the boxes up, so that you keep your angles true.

    A common mistake is to use too much glue, which can cause the two surfaces to slip and skate on each other. Another common mistake is to use too much clamping pressure, with the wrong types of clamps. If you take a few minutes to think about the type of clamp you are using, and the way the force is applied. Also, sometimes people will put a clamp on and have one end further out than the other, instead of being parallel with one of the edges. This can cause a drift when force (torque) is applied. Interestingly, it's not as simple as you think, but at the same time, it's not rocket science. Take time, make accurate cuts, and make accurate clamps, and all should work it's way out. The mistakes you make provide you with valuable lessons.
     
  3. AllanRW

    AllanRW Second Unit

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    Few pointers.
    Blade must be square along with square to the fence.
    If you do not have a air nailer.
    Build your cabinets if you can using Dato and rabbet joints.
    Very easy to do with the table saw, just need a dato blade.
    Life will be so easy after you get the dato blade.
    Other than that it can get tricky to keep the pieces square and screw them in place.
    With a brad gun you can smoke a cabinet in just about 2 minutes total square ready clamps.
    Some use staple guns as staples pull harder into the joint.
    But I brad nail all cabinets then clamp them over night.
    The brads make the assemble fast and you clamp them for the night.

    Like I said if nothing else get a cheap dato blade, I used a $45.00 CND stacked steel blade set for over 100 cabinets and i finally got to the point and went and spent a few $$$ on a Forest Blade set up.

    At times I use the router table for dato and rabbet joints if I am doing lots of them or a single cabinet all depend what is ready to use the table saw or the router table.
    The trick 1 way or the other use a good vacuum to get the dust.I used a shop vac full time for a few years till I a few problems beating and that was it.
    A 2hp General went in the shop all with 6" PVC and blast gates at all the machines.
    I have attached a photo if you have not got this off another board.
    I turned a regular shop vac that would otherwize need a filter cleaning ever few minutes to keep the filter clean.
    You just go to a built in vac store and get a double filter for a house built in vac that will fit your shop vac.
    Never need to purchase another shop vac filter again.
    And every other day just lift the top tap the outer filter bag and the dust just drops off the filter.
    Once a month I wash the cloth outer filters and the cartridge filter still clean after a few years of use and I mean clean.

    Best of all no dust gets threw the filters at all.So this makes a cleaner shop to boot.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The machine was my first collector went threw 2 motors in 6 months and then got a General.
    Not the twin 4" pipes gpoing to the router table on the right.

    Al
     
  4. Wes Nance

    Wes Nance Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys,

    Good suggestions, and slightly different points of view, which was the whole point! Everybody has figured this out for themselves, and if we can get a couple "secrets" from everybody, then we who don't build tons of cabinets can do it a lot better the next time.

    Keep 'em coming!

    Wes
     
  5. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Wes,

    To ensure a square box, measure the diagonal lengths across opposing corners. If they're the same, the box is square. If not, it isn't. If one side is longer then push in on those opposing corners slightly to move them back in and the other two back out. Then remeasure. Continue until they're the same. Then clamp it and leave it until the glue dries completely. Then attach the 5th side and install your bracing. Then attach the last side.

    I usually cut the last two sides slightly oversized and then flush trim with a router.
     
  6. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    If you know your fence on your table saw is square you really should cut all pieces that need the same length at the same time.

    For example if you know you need two sides and the top of the box to be 20.5" wide you should set the fence on your saw once and cut all 4 pieces to the 20.5" dimension once after another (without moving the fence).
     
  7. Wes Nance

    Wes Nance Stunt Coordinator

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    Al,

    Thanks for the tip about the vacuum bag- I'm going to try that.

    Brian,

    Thanks for the measuring tip

    Seth,

    I do as you said, cutting all similar lengths at once as much as I can.

    I'm still hoping to hear from Hank, as I think I remember that he just glues his boxes up with no screws, and I can't remember if he uses brads or not. . .

    Wes
     
  8. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    I've could have glued a few of my boxes with no screws or nails (based on the fit), but it's too much hassle. Why bother?
     
  9. Wes Nance

    Wes Nance Stunt Coordinator

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    You don't have to spend time filling and sanding the screw holes, etc. Plus I'd probably screw it up dryfitting and trying to predrill the mdf, etc.

    I can totally see using a brad nailer (if I had one-hmm, father's day is coming up. . .) for the convenience, but not screws, especially on a smaller box. Just my totally amatuer opinion, though, of course![​IMG]
     
  10. Wes Nance

    Wes Nance Stunt Coordinator

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    You don't have to spend time filling and sanding the screw holes, etc. Plus I'd probably screw it up dryfitting and trying to predrill the mdf, etc.

    I can totally see using a brad nailer (if I had one-hmm, father's day is coming up. . .) for the convenience, but not screws, especially on a smaller box. Just my totally amatuer opinion, though, of course![​IMG]
     
  11. Bob K

    Bob K Stunt Coordinator

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    Wes,

    To get my boxes as close to square as possible, when I assemble the box frame (i.e., sides and top/bottom), I clamp squares (from Rockler) to the corners. You can see them in the second picture at http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/m...bum.php&page=1 .

    I then measure, using the corner-to-corner method described by Brian. If the box is still slightly out of square, I whack it gently with a rubber hammer.

    My braces are identical in size to the tops and bottoms. I cut them at the same time as the tops and bottoms, using the same fence settings, and so far it's worked every time -- they just slip right in. Again, there are some pictures on the attached page.

    For joinery, I'm a huge fan of biscuits. They make alignment a no-brainer and prevent the slippage that Chris describes. You also get to buy another tool!
     
  12. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Wes,

    For the most part, Hank uses only glue and clamps. I think even when he built those GR Alphas he only used a couple of screws. He's a glutton for punishment![​IMG]
     
  13. Aaron Gilbert

    Aaron Gilbert Second Unit

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    Not to belittle anyone's attempts at making a box with square corners, but what is the sonic significance of the corners being square? Do perfectly square corners sound better than those whose sides meet at 89 or 91 degrees? [​IMG]

    That said, square corners are nice for aesthetic reasons of course. Having neither a table saw nor the patience to build/use a cutting edge for my circular saw, I have Home Depot or Lowes cut all my sheet goods. So far so good. I use a method of assembly which doesn't require any clamps other than a pair of 4" C-clamps. But as Neo might say, 'We're going to need screws. Lots of screws'. [​IMG]


    Aaron Gilbert
     
  14. Wes Nance

    Wes Nance Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron,

    You're right, it's strictly an aesthetic thing, but also involves the idea of building something well. But, if you're going to cover the box with anything, like PE vinyl wrap or any wood veneer, having your box square makes a huge difference, especially when using a flush trim bit in a router or laminate trimmer.

    Really, I'm just trying to get better at building boxes correctly, and I know that if I built 50 boxes I'd figure out a lot of cool tricks to make it work better. Instead I'm asking other guys who are quality wood workers and have built a zillion boxes to share their experience and hints.

    Any, by the way, getting a lot of really interesting information in the process!

    Wes
     
  15. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Usually square corners mean tight-fitting joints. This is essential to air tight cabinets.
     
  16. Bryan Michael

    Bryan Michael Supporting Actor

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    a jig is good i have 1 made for when makeing poster fraims. also helps for clamping bit if you are ilny makeing a few then maybe get a seccond set of hands.
     
  17. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Hi Wes, I just now noticed this thread. As Brian said, I don't use nails or screws, and when I notice people posting that they use 'em, I post my lecture about how they do not contribute to joint strength if the joints are tight-fitting. Anyway, I did build the Alpha LS cabinets with only about 6 screws per cabinet. Since then, I bought an 18-guage pneumatic brad nailer but only use it on large cabinets to keep joints from moving once I line them up. It's hard for one person to hold the sides of a large cabinet in perfect alignment while wrestling with clamps. I do have three right anlge cast iron fixtures that I use to keep corners square when I build my BozeBusters.
    You got good advice above re saw blade 90 degrees to the saw table top and parallel to the fence. Here's my big secret: http://mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_.../merlclmp.html
    Brian's technique of having two sides oversize and then flush trimming them after assembly makes sense - I'll try it some day.
    Now go make some sawdust.
     
  18. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Hi Wes, I just now noticed this thread. As Brian said, I don't use nails or screws, and when I notice people posting that they use 'em, I post my lecture about how they do not contribute to joint strength if the joints are tight-fitting. Anyway, I did build the Alpha LS cabinets with only about 6 screws per cabinet. Since then, I bought an 18-guage pneumatic brad nailer but only use it on large cabinets to keep joints from moving once I line them up. It's hard for one person to hold the sides of a large cabinet in perfect alignment while wrestling with clamps. I do have three right anlge cast iron fixtures that I use to keep corners square when I build my BozeBusters.
    You got good advice above re saw blade 90 degrees to the saw table top and parallel to the fence. Here's my big secret: http://mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_.../merlclmp.html
    Brian's technique of having two sides oversize and then flush trimming them after assembly makes sense - I'll try it some day.
    Now go make some sawdust.
     

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