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B. Brinkley

Need advice on constructing this glued panel

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There is a great amount of collective wisdom in this group and I would very much appreciate some advice.

I am constructing a king size bed headboard and foot board. Each will have 3 glued-up panels floating inside standard rail and stile frames. My question is should I cut the bevels for the v-grooves before glue up, or make a solid panel and then cut the grooves? My dilemma is if I cut the chamfers to make the grooves before glue up I fear that I will have problems keeping the panels flat while clamping even if I used cauls etc.  If I glue up the panels and cut the v-grooves afterward using a router, I fear slipping as I am terrible with a hand held router  even using a fence and one small slip and the panel is ruined. The panels will be seen from both sides so that is the reason for the v-grooves on both the front and back of the panel.

Another question ; The panels are 20" tall and will be somewhere around 26 to 30" wide. How much expansion and contraction should I allow for in width when cutting the dados in the rails and styles? There will be a total of three panels side by side with stiles in between each.

Lastly if someone needs to know the panels will be made from 3/4" pecan and the frame and styles will be made from some very old antique yellow pine. I have included a rough sketch to explain the layout. Thanks in advance folks!

bed panel.jpg

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I would definately cut the grooves with a chamfer bit prior to glue up. The depth of the grooves are not significant enough to worry about on the glue up. 

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Definitely chamfer them before glue up. If you use cauls, they won't have any effect on keeping the panels straight.

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Here, I would differ from Coop. I recently made such panels, and routed the grooves AFTER assembly. My reason was that it allowed the grooves to be evenly spaced across the panel, whereas the actual glue joints were not. Straight, rift or quartered grain made this possible.

Either way is possible. Use two fences to trap the router if grooving afterward, or use an alignment aid (splines, biscuits, dowels, etc...) to keep the boards flat if chamfered before glue-up.

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23 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

I would definately cut the grooves with a chamfer bit prior to glue up

And cut your biscuits before your chamfers.  If you joint your edges real well you shouldn't need to put so much clamping power as to cause bowing in the panel.  I would joint the edges and cut the biscuits and then do a dry fit and clamp up to see how it much clamp pressure is needed.  Once I am satisfied that things are good I would cut my chamfers and do one more dry fit and clamping.

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To specifically answer your question - use a router table with a fence to cut your bevels (chamfers) BEFORE you glue up.  Gluing up on a flat surface with cawls (cover your cawls with packing tape so they don't stick) should be sufficient to achieve a flat panel.

The real question, if you're doing a rail and stile frame, why do you need to glue up the panel?  Cut a dado in your rails and stiles, join them with mortise and tenon and float the panel in the dados. 

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If you glue the panels they will expand and contract. But that is why frame and panel construction was invented. I would cut the chamfers before and glue the panels.

P1040970.thumb.JPG.3a22e223d0aaa06cc28b9e7209b82df8.JPG

That is how these panels were made...

 

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Thank you everyone for the advice. I am leaning on cutting the chamfers on the router table before glue up. I will also cut the biscuits before chamfering as it will be easier to register the biscuit cutter on a square surface.

7 hours ago, Byrdie said:

To specifically answer your question - use a router table with a fence to cut your bevels (chamfers) BEFORE you glue up.  Gluing up on a flat surface with cawls (cover your cawls with packing tape so they don't stick) should be sufficient to achieve a flat panel.

The real question, if you're doing a rail and stile frame, why do you need to glue up the panel?  Cut a dado in your rails and stiles, join them with mortise and tenon and float the panel in the dados. 

The panel pieces will be edge glued and then the whole panel will float in the rail and stile frame with no glue as usual. That's a good tip about wrapping the cauls in tape. Thanks!

Anybody have any ideas how much I should allow for expansion? There will three of these panels side by side with a stile in between each panel.

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The amount that it will expand and contract depends on how much the moisture swings in your house. Could be any where from 1/8" to 3/8".

I deal with vastly different moisture contents so i usually do a 1/2" groove and leave a 1/4" gap either side. I also mount with space balls but there are other options.

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I'll offer another approach.  Consider the panel elements as slats.  Put a chamfered tongue and groove on them and skip the bisquits and the glue. At 3/4" thick a running T&G would work well.  Half laps work too but, I think your size is past what I would do without a captured tongue.

57c7631965c6d_GnGWallCab(83).jpg.d3f6d105c8528f9f60c12b17be705e25.jpg

If T&G seems fussy, a spline and groove can work as well.

1438996753_CoDsidesshapeandassemble15.jpg.cf61835483e42cd0086f869b349768d3.jpg

Your stock would have the chamfer at each meeting edge to create the v-groove look in your diagram. You would want to make the spline out of your same stock.Kit-Hut-(66).jpg.7648ff313a355bc26bdac422f3e0e854.jpg

Kit-Hut-(64).jpg.897e796bf89c105982542baa59c5d2ff.jpg

Kit-Hut-(67).jpg.c1a3db48b7c2f26e617559815d279217.jpg

 

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Gee-Dub that is an excellent idea that I had not considered. It would be fairly easy to align the slats using a captured spline as you have shown. That would help eliminate my worries about splitting of the glued up panels as each slat can move independently to each other using that method. Thanks folks for the great advice!

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