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Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

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  • Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

    I know ideally it should all be perfectly flush, but I have maybe 1/2mm gap in some places.

    I can either keep messing with the fit or glue it up. What should I do?

    Is a bit of a larger gap filled with glue going to be a problem while planing afterwards? When you joint, how precise do you allow the seam to be?
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  • #2

    Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

    .5mm is quite a big gap if it's all in one short area along an otherwise tight, unglued joint. However, if it's a "spring joint" (that is, one that's purposefully made to have a gap about the size of what you're talking about, in the middle and tapering gently towards the ends, to facilitate putting more pressure on the ends during glue-up) that's perfectly fine.

    With all joints the idea is for only light clamping pressure being necessary to bring the joint firmly together all along the joint. If you have to reef on the clamps, you need to identify the high areas and correct them accordingly.
    All the best,

    Marty

    Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

    Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

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    • #3

      Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

      Ugh... then it's back to planing for me.

      I think I left a convex edge all through the contact surface and the gap .5mm gap is throughout the seam

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      • #4

        Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

        Have you tried matchplaning the boards to be joined? When you plane both boards together, any slight imperfections in one board will be cancelled out by the other -- assuming that you have placed the show faces in the correct relationship to each other. Google matchplaning and you'll find some videos. Another advantage of doing this is that you're working with a wider surface, which makes holding a steady stroke easier.
        Jim

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        • #5

          Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

          Match planing is cool for getting non-square edges to match up but it sounds like the OP has a non-straight edge issue.

          DocF, what plane are you using to joint with and how are you verifying straightness of your board's edge? Before we can offer more suggestions to help you, it's important to check a few things first.

          My first inclination is that it's your planing technique on a plane that's sole is too short for jointing. You also need a good straight edge reference, otherwise your going to be chasing your tail.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

            Originally posted by Allegrus View Post
            Match planing is cool for getting non-square edges to match up but it sounds like the OP has a non-straight edge issue.

            DocF, what plane are you using to joint with and how are you verifying straightness of your board's edge? Before we can offer more suggestions to help you, it's important to check a few things first.

            My first inclination is that it's your planing technique on a plane that's sole is too short for jointing. You also need a good straight edge reference, otherwise your going to be chasing your tail.
            I have an ECE jointing plane that's about 2 feet long.

            I don't really have a straight edge reference. The local hardware stores sell aluminum straight edges for 20-30 euros, I just don't want to buy one unless I really need it.

            To verify that the edge plane is square to the board, I use an engineer's square.

            If I do this by hand, what is the realistic goal to aim for? 1/4mm with no pressure?

            What happens if I glue them together with 1/2mm gap?

            This is my first time jointing boards

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            • #7

              Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

              Experimental on scrap wood: run a doubled over piece of sand paper in the joint between the boards. Have the boards lightly held together. Maybe rubber bands.

              Never done it but have tried to hand plane boards to fit without much success.
              Egon
              from
              The South Shore, Nova Scotia

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                Originally posted by Egon View Post
                Experimental on scrap wood: run a doubled over piece of sand paper in the joint between the boards. Have the boards lightly held together. Maybe rubber bands.

                Never done it but have tried to hand plane boards to fit without much success.
                I like the idea, but would it not smooth the edges a lot? Plus it seems like a lot of sanding by hand.

                I'm in over my head. Total facepalm

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                • #9

                  Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                  it depends on where the gap is on the joint, how long the gap is (along the joint), and how long the boards are. If your boards are 6 ft long, a .5mm gap over three feet may not be a problem at all, but over 4 inches it might be. A gap right on the the ends is more of a problem than one near the middle of the joint. The longer the gap is, the better, because chances are a long gap will close with fairly light pressure. If you can close the gap by hand, there's no problem. If it takes moderate clamp pressure to close the gap, there's usually no problem. If you have to clamp like crazy to get the joint to close up, then you should get the edges straighter.
                  Frank
                  SPCHT

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                  • #10

                    Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                    There is lots of instruction and guidance on the net. Christopher Schwartz and Derek Cohen are good resources who tend to publish a lot of good information on the subject. Do you have a fence attaced to you place? You can make one from a good flat piece of stock and a few rare earth magnets.

                    Don

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                    • #11

                      Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                      Originally posted by DocFrankenstein View Post

                      I have an ECE jointing plane that's about 2 feet long.

                      I don't really have a straight edge reference. The local hardware stores sell aluminum straight edges for 20-30 euros, I just don't want to buy one unless I really need it.

                      To verify that the edge plane is square to the board, I use an engineer's square.

                      If I do this by hand, what is the realistic goal to aim for? 1/4mm with no pressure?

                      What happens if I glue them together with 1/2mm gap?

                      This is my first time jointing boards
                      Well, put it this way ... if you want to confirm your edge is straight, how do you do that without a straight edge reference? How do you even know your edges aren't straight now? how would you know where to remove material to make them straight? I really don't see any way around it; I use mine all the time. I couldn't imagine not having a straight edge for a reference. If you want a cheap straight edge, angled aluminum stock is about as straight as it comes because of the process how it's made. A pair of these will serve double duty as winding sticks as well (something else you're going to need if you want to verify your boards are flat and have no twist).

                      Regardless, you're aim should be no gap because if you can make no gap joints, then you can make a joint WITH any size of gap you wish. What is acceptable as a gap will be determined by how long the sections you are jointing together but for a beginner .. the aim would be no gap.

                      At this point, I recommend you do some youtube searchs for jointing by hand or find a local guy or woodworking club where someone would be willing to demonstrate. I think you would benefit from observing someone actually do the process. It sucks learning this stuff by yourself.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                        I agree that you should have a good idea of how straight your edges are. I've never used a straightedge to check them, but I do sight them (look down along the edge from one end). Mostly the jointer plane gives me feedback on the low spots (no shaving or partial shaving), and then when it looks OK I finish the edge by taking stepped cuts starting from the middle of the board and increasing the length with each pass. The final pass will be end-to end, giving me one long full-width shaving (if not something is wrong). This technique doesn't work if you hold your board in a vise that only supports the middle of the board. I joint with the board resting on (supported by) the bench. I check square with a straightedge or with winding sticks.

                        Just to be clear, I'm not arguing here, just throwing out some alternative methods. The important thing is to find something that you can work with and then improve on with time.

                        One of the people that helped me the most with my woodworking told me that edge joints don't have to fit perfectly, as long as the gaps are reasonable and easy to close with light clamping pressure. I can't tell you how much time and fuss that has saved me. None of my edge joints have failed thus far.
                        Last edited by Frank D.; 06-14-2016, 10:08 AM.
                        Frank
                        SPCHT

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                          Originally posted by DocFrankenstein View Post
                          I like the idea, but would it not smooth the edges a lot? Plus it seems like a lot of sanding by hand.

                          I'm in over my head. Total facepalm
                          Note: I have never done this and only an experiment would tell.

                          Idea was sorta based on lapping gas compressor valves on a rotating table.
                          Egon
                          from
                          The South Shore, Nova Scotia

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                            One more detail that is important, when you start planing the edge from the end of the board, you should only be pushing down on the nose of the plane, pushing the plane horizontally (not downward) with the handle. This way, only the front part of the sole, which is the only part of the sole that is touching wood, will register the cut. At the other end of the board, when you finish the cut, you should only be pushing downward on the plane with the handle, not on the nose of the plane (I often take my hand off the nose of the plane as I finish the cut). If you do the opposite, the ends of the joint will be rounded (there will be gaps at the ends of the joint, which are usually impossible to correct with light clamping pressure).
                            Frank
                            SPCHT

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Jointing long boards by hand - how tight of a fit is it supposed to be?

                              Originally posted by Frank D. View Post
                              One more detail that is important, when you start planing the edge from the end of the board, you should only be pushing down on the nose of the plane, pushing the plane horizontally (not downward) with the handle. This way, only the front part of the sole, which is the only part of the sole that is touching wood, will register the cut. At the other end of the board, when you finish the cut, you should only be pushing downward on the plane with the handle, not on the nose of the plane (I often take my hand off the nose of the plane as I finish the cut). If you do the opposite, the ends of the joint will be rounded (there will be gaps at the ends of the joint, which are usually impossible to correct with light clamping pressure).
                              That I kept in mind.

                              I don't have clamps that are long enough, so I'm using some caveman rope techniques to push the boards together. But the amount of tension is definitely not light and the gap is still there.

                              Because the gap is uniform, I'm thinking the edge came out concave for some reason. I'll mess around with it more on the weekend.

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