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    • I'm hoping you don't give up totally on this one but take the lessons learned and apply them.  I, for one, would still like to see how something like this could be done. Perhaps you need a different bonding agent, maybe one that's not so reactive to the surface but rather works on top of it.  Maybe you need to shellac your surfaces first to prevent absorption.  Might try a different approach for creating your base as well.  Or you could try gluing up smaller sub assemblies of 5 or so stars and then gluing the sub assemblies together.
    • Which yard do you shop at? I stopped in at one of them and was a bit surprised at the prices in Chicagoland.
    • I too do my own but, Woodsmith has some of the best and most reliable detail in the plans I see in their mags.  finewoodworking is probably second with Wood Mag having corrections in the following issue on a regular basis.  Not much help when the mag only comes out 6 times a year.
    • Yeah, but Rockler, while convenient (for me anyway) is so overpriced.  I only go there for immediate needs anymore.  Penn State Industries, Penturningz and Amazon have saved me a small fortune over Rockler, so long as I have patience.  For example: https://www.rockler.com/nova-30th-anniversary-g3-reversible-chuck-bundle-with-3-jaw-sets-and-case vs. https://www.pennstateind.com/store/CSC3500SE.html The same goes for pen blanks and kits.  I really get my best blank value from my local lumber yard, just not as much of a selection.  I got a 4 foot 3/4 x 3/4 blank of cocobolo for $5 there.  
    • Maybe you could use an adhesive that won't swell the wood fibers, like epoxy.  Also, you could drill a hole through your bottom form at the center and insert a 1/4" steel rod, and then drill your layers and use that to align them so they don't move while clamped.  If you did this, you might be able to use contact cement and get an instant bond, allowing you to complete more layers in a day and not have to clamp the assembly for so long.
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