21 July 2009

Skewered snorkers...

The very whisper of the word 'glue' or more specifically 'glue up' is likely to raise the hackles on any woodworker's neck as an anticipation of imminent or expected disaster. How many times have things gone disastrously wrong because some little detail like not having enough cramps (or even having cramps that haven't been pre-set to the right opening distance) can mean the difference between success and abject failure?

You know the sort of thing I'm talking about....

This is without doubt one of the tricksiest things to do in a 'shop ( especially if you work alone) so I've always been keen to find ways to make the whole ghastly trial and tribulation a bit easier.
One aspect of the issue is the glue itself. I generally use the white PVA adhesive for almost all the jobs in my 'shop and it irritates me intensely when the bottle gets half empty and all the goo starts to solidify round the interior of the supposedly 'easy dispensing' top...fine when it's a new bottle but after a couple of months of constant use...I think not!

How the hell are you supposed to get the wretched stuff out the bottle then? I usually use a small children's plastic glue spreader, great when the bottle's full, but the bloody thing won't reach the glue when it's half empty, with the consequence that I hold it by the first 3mm of the handle, stick it in the bottle and then get all the half congealed glue from the neck of the bottle all over my fingers when I try and scoop a bit up. Then when the glue gets a bit lower in the bottle, I then have to squeeze it to raise the level so that I can just dip the spreader into it...hands up if you've been there?

Getting completely hacked of with this situation, purely by accident I picked up a long bamboo skewer, several of which were lurking in a drawer, the sort of thing you incinerate snorkers with on a BBQ in the supposedly fine British summer. Now these have a decent hard waring point on one end and are about 300mm long, so that by dipping it into the glue, keeping the pinkies well clear of the neck, I can apply a moderate amount of glue to something like a biscuit slot and by using the sides of the skewer, the right amount of glue can easily be spread on the parts of a dovetail or interior of a mortise.

Inevitably, the glue does migrate up the skewer, so I just wipe it with a rag or let it harden off and then trim the by now hard glue with a craft knife. I'll still continue to use the spreader, but my bamboo skewer is now a definite 'must have' part of the glue-up process.

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