There’s the rub…

imageI don’t use rubbed joints very often though that may now change. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of their strength. Or otherwise. Last night, when I was finishing a number of glued panels, I ran out of workspace. The carving bench, which I use as an assembly table when I’m not carving, was covered with clamps and panels and the workbench was similarly festooned. I had one small panel left but no space to lay it flat. The plan was to glue it over night and then saw it into two, creating two 1/4″ pieces from one 3/4″ glue-up. But I didn’t have space.

I sometimes use rubbed joints for this kind of work – grain matching and an invisible glue line are important. Strength isn’t. The panel will float in a frame and receive very little force.

However it had to be strong enough to deal with the sawing and planing involving in ripping it in two. With the edges jointed I applied the rapidly cooling glue and rubbed the joint; it stuck in moments. I left it in the vice for the night and tidied up.

This morning, bleary-headed, I carried some boards out to the workshop, forgetting the panel in the vice. Whilst maneuvering them I gave the panel such a clump that the bench moved. Fearing the worst I gave it a wiggle and realised it was still in tact. Wondering how much the glue joint would take I lifted I up by the top board and manage to raise the front legs of the bench from the floor. I’ve no idea how much force it will take but I’m confident that it’s strong enough for any normal application.

Suddlenly  my panel clamps are shuffling their feet and trying not to catch my eye for fear of an early retirement.