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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-17-2013, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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I dislike finishing – I don’t think I’m any good at it, and it’s the easiest way to screw up a perfectly good piece of wood. I definitely need more practice but I always seem to defer that activity for the projects I actually need to finish … and in a timeframe usually unrealistically short to do the job right. (The upside of this part of the project forces me to do a shop cleanup and deal with any remaining dust.) So I spent the better part of my off-time last week on the web attempting to gather a better understanding of the subject. In addition to acquiring some useful information, I primarily learned that there are best practices and things to avoid, but no single right way … and that I need more practice! (aka experience).

After some thought, I came to the realization that the part I disliked the most was parking all the in-process work in my limited area and dealing with the finish issues due to handling and lack of visibility. The current project has (7) 4’ shelves and (2) 7’ 5/4 uprights – all longer pieces for me. I debated over which side to finish first, etc. So in my procrastination, that is the problem I attempted to solve. I wasn’t sure the idea was going to work (i.e., hold the work piece on edge) until I built and installed the clamps (the last to be done). I attempted to design the base to handle my 7’ pieces on my 6’ bench but I as I was designing as I built, I forgot to accommodate the length loss from the clamps. So I needed to repurpose my table saw as an extension of my bench.

The rig turned out quite functional and easy to use. Now I can deal with all sides of the work at once and if I blow the finish, I’ll have the comfort of knowing I didn’t invest a lot of time in material handling to get it that way. Now I have no more excuses not to start the task.

The clamp has 2 fixed carriage bolts on one side and an opposing hold down clamp with a carriage bolt on “top”. I polished the heads of the bolts (drill w/file, fine sandpaper) but ended up padding them with some cut tubing I had. (I found a small dimple in the test piece – I may have over clamped). The clamp actually doesn’t have to be very tight to keep the work piece from sliding out.

Most of the hardware (except in the clamp) is 3/8”. I made the vertical to accommodate a 24" wide work piece but I ended up putting another hole in it to lower the work. I put a washer on the pivot bolt between the upright and clamp, a lock nut on the pivot bolt on one end and a wing nut on the other. This allowed me to easily lock the position if desired from one end. The 3+” wide clamps (oak pivot block, maple faces, bolted) are such that the work piece will just sit in place unclamped if positioned horizontal. It’s not stable enough for sanding but it is definitely secure and steady enough for hand finishing.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-18-2013, 01:31 PM
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Mark - that is very clever!..and quite functional for your needs...and well-named.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-21-2013, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeTime View Post
The clamp has 2 fixed carriage bolts on one side and an opposing hold down clamp with a carriage bolt on “top”. I polished the heads of the bolts (drill w/file, fine sandpaper) but ended up padding them with some cut tubing I had. (I found a small dimple in the test piece – I may have over clamped). The clamp actually doesn’t have to be very tight to keep the work piece from sliding out.
Hi will the clamp not leave a mark with unfinished paint or finish ?

Another suggestion (little late) could be to drill 2x 6 mm holes in the edge facing the wall in all parts. Then make a rig like on my drawing. The pin holder can slide between the rails the pin being 5mm and 10mm longer than the debt of your holes. The edge can be painted after assembly or will be covered by the back plate.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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Actually that’s a good question, they will mark (the finish, not the wood) if is not accounted for or if set too tight. The bigger issue seemed to be getting access around the clamp for proper movement for finishing up to the edge near the clamp. For my verticals, since there was a logical delineation of sections, I finished these 4 small face sections, as well as the ends, before I put it in the clamp. This worked well for the stain and shellac, both of which dried enough quickly – I think I may need another approach for the longer setting poly.

Another technique that seemed to work well, particularly on the shelves (tung oil, shellac), was to release the clamp on the end being finished, lifting it slightly up out of the clamp, finishing and re-clamping if needed (I left the “more” exposed surfaces for last). Any marking would have been (I didn’t see any) easily addressed once the shelf was removed and positioned for drying.

I only have the top coats left to do on the shelves and verticals. This thing has saved me a lot of time and aggravation.

Regarding fixturing the verticals from the back …this might have been an option but the back of the unit does not rest against a wall and positioning this way would not provide convenient concurrent access to that edge. (I’m always concerned with checking for runs or drips that have gone out of sight)
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