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Hi folks - I am building a Stickley-inspired entry bench for some family friends. I have not finished tuning the joinery for my quadralinear legs, but I anticipate some minor gaps here and there. Epoxy was already in my plans for gluing up the legs, and I think I have enough J-B Weld ClearWeld Pro on hand to glue the legs and their cores together. However, I worry that the 5 min set time on the material I have could be unforgiving. I could let me shop get colder than 40 degrees F and that could give me a little more (and less pleasant) working time. All of this is to say I believe I should spend the money to get a quart or two of one of the commonly available two part epoxies. If anyone has a recommendation for/against a specific product I would love to hear it. 

I am currently looking at buying System 3 resin and their #2 (medium/30 min pot life/55 degree application temp) hardener. Their #1 can handle temps as low as 35 deg F but only has a 15 minute pot life. The #3 requires 75 degrees(!) but has an hour long pot life. I know so little about these adhesives that I don't know where to start to compare System 3 to West Systems or the other ones.

Thanks for any advice anyone can give.

p.s Here are some snapshots from Bob Lang's Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture in which I found the joinery technique I'm using for the legs. My leg pieces are a hair shy of 2 inches wide so this technique has made for some exciting work with pushblocks. 

 

quadraleg.jpg.a95358f35c9c4efa49b09755b11f5d11.jpg

quadleginstruct.thumb.jpg.90d21b22d51acb2e6d2294cb3a8dc709.jpg

 

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My experience with epoxy is that the longer work time formulas (West, in my case), stay runny for a long time, and can escape the joint easily. I prefer wood glue for joinery, and epoxy to fix defects. The 5 minute stuff is great for small gap filling.

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I have used West System for several years with no complaints. With having no severe temp constraints in Houston, I would guess working time to be 20 minutes or so. That could probably be extended but I tend to get a pucker when it starts to thicken, although adjustable. 

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2 hours ago, drzaius said:

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT attempt any but the smallest, simplest glue up with 5 minute epoxy. 5 minutes is about all you get but if mixed in larger batches, the stuff can go off in only a couple of minutes.

You're welcome.

This sounds like there may be some experience behind this post. :wacko:

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Wow, thank you everyone. This thread shows a wealth of information and experience.

My first leg's worth of pieces were only fair to middling off the tablesawand are now approaching okay after an hour's work fiddling by hand. We'll be putting that leg against the wall. I cut the profiles for this particular leg the other day and my setup wasn't great, I think. It looks like my riving knife needs to be tweaked.

That said, I just finished cutting the rest of the profiles into my leg pieces and they are pretty good. The legs go together squarely and the miters aren't very gappy along any corner, but there are some gaps. I think I can improve them with a little shoulder plane work. This is all to say that structural gap filling is a necessity in this glue-up. I will probably also burnish the corners with my card scraper burnisher, too. This is my first furniture project in a couple years so I'm trying to avoid digging new holes for myself while chasing perfection.

@drzaius I felt silly about considering the 5-minute stuff after I posted my original question. I'd probably be more likely to adhere the workpieces to my bench than get the joints together properly. 

@wtnhighlander I would prefer to use wood glue here, but this is a special situation for me. The legs have four miters and  an interior core. Despite my best efforts I'm going to need to rely on the epoxy to make up for my shoddy joinery :D 

@Coop what you say makes sense. I think I am going to try @Don Z.'s suggestion of one of the thicker products. 

@Don Z. I've seen people use Thixo and similar on youtube etc. but I didn't know where to place it in my consideration set. Your description sold me! I had originally thought to use the tape-and-roll to keep the pieces in position during glue up. I think I am going to use the tape-and-roll + a thick epoxy product like Thixo a shot. 

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15 hours ago, VizslaDad said:

I would prefer to use wood glue here, but this is a special situation for me. The legs have four miters and  an interior core. Despite my best efforts I'm going to need to rely on the epoxy to make up for my shoddy joinery

With the huge surface area of long rain glue joint you could get away with wood glue here. These joints will see minimal stress so you don't really need to have 100% of the surface area covered in glue.

That said if you are buying an epoxy there is a significant cost involved (~$200) and the volume a bulk buy can save you is tremendous. My West system gallon of resin has lasted me MANY years and per volume is FAR FAR cheaper than the 5 min stuff from box stores with a MUCH higher quality. Consider not the epoxy for this specific case but the best epoxy for all you current and possible future needs. For reference West system gallon kit is 168.8 oz of epoxy for $190 ($1.125/oz) a 5 min at $5 for 0.85 oz is $5.88/oz.

I use epoxy for

  • complicated long open time glue ups
  • crack filling, knot filling, defect filling
  • fixing kitchen utensils
  • attaching knife scales to blanks
  • casting applications
  • sealing the end grain of furniture legs (which can act as furniture slides for chairs or protect outdoor furniture)

With that list in mind i decided on West System with the 207 Hardner. It has equal strength to all the other high quality epoxies but has the benefit of being used for applications where it's clarity is appreciated. There are other clear options from other manufactures so I'm not exactly suggesting West System I'm suggesting getting the system that focus on a clear result. This allows the flexibility for doing castings and fillings. Leaves tinting open but also allows for the addition of fillers like Don mentioned above.

The 207 has a good 45 min open time. The down side is the temperature requirements. That said if you  find yourself needing low temp grab a different hardener in a small size that works with lower temperatures.

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This is not relevant to your question, but I just can't help but comment on the joinery. The only reason for the little corners is to hold the 4  pieces in alignment as the glue is drying. You can do the same thing with a spline (or biscuits, but wold be a lot of them). And, the spline is a whole lot easier to cut. I made 9 legs recently for a corner desk. Worked great.

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On 1/27/2021 at 7:07 PM, Wimayo said:

This is not relevant to your question, but I just can't help but comment on the joinery. The only reason for the little corners is to hold the 4  pieces in alignment as the glue is drying. You can do the same thing with a spline (or biscuits, but wold be a lot of them). And, the spline is a whole lot easier to cut. I made 9 legs recently for a corner desk. Worked great.

Oh I hear you. To be honest, I wanted to test myself and my tool setups a bit since I have been away from furniture projects for a couple years. I have some of Bob Lang's Craftsman furniture books and enjoy all the joinery drawings in them. When I saw the Stickley joinery with the little corners it looked like something to try to gauge where I am at the moment.

Hindsight being what it is, I should have just used my domino or splines! 

 

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On 1/27/2021 at 10:50 AM, Chestnut said:

With the huge surface area of long rain glue joint you could get away with wood glue here. These joints will see minimal stress so you don't really need to have 100% of the surface area covered in glue.

[...]

I use epoxy for

  • complicated long open time glue ups
  • crack filling, knot filling, defect filling
  • fixing kitchen utensils
  • attaching knife scales to blanks
  • casting applications
  • sealing the end grain of furniture legs (which can act as furniture slides for chairs or protect outdoor furniture)

[...]

I read you loud and clear. I do agree wood glue would probably be fine. I bolded your items that I am applying to my situation (I hadn't thought of the last one, but that is a great idea!). I am thinking that the imperfect interface between the "leg box" pieces and interior core will require actual structural filling. Plus, the long open time will give me more time to fiddle with the fit/fix clamp induced slippage vs racing against the clock. I will still practice my glue up routine multiple times before showtime of course.

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18 hours ago, VizslaDad said:

I read you loud and clear. I do agree wood glue would probably be fine. I bolded your items that I am applying to my situation (I hadn't thought of the last one, but that is a great idea!). I am thinking that the imperfect interface between the "leg box" pieces and interior core will require actual structural filling. Plus, the long open time will give me more time to fiddle with the fit/fix clamp induced slippage vs racing against the clock. I will still practice my glue up routine multiple times before showtime of course.

I'm with you on the use of long set time epoxy. Gluing, aligning. and clamping multiple pieces takes time and epoxy provides it. Also, I found when doing a similar project, long miters don't always fully cooperate and the epoxy provides some gap filling capacity and reinforces the very fragile corners. Good luck.

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