Step 17: The top, interlude - fixing a mistake

When gluing the oak edges on the MDF, I made a mistake. On the back side, the edging was positioned too low, which would leave a noticeable gap when the MDF and the countertop were joined. I was determined to fix it.

Either of the strips I'd ripped from the oak countertop to remove the factory bevel looked like it would work, if I could figure out how to rip them safely with a circular saw.

I ended up using a couple of strips of MDF and a bar clamp to create a clamp that would hold the strip of oak, and had a profile low enough to fit under the cutting guide.

Once I had the strip cut, I glued it in place, and clamped everything up.

I'd intentionally made it oversize, intending to trim it flush. Trimming is a little more complicated than usual, because I needed to trim it flush on two faces. The end face extended a good 3/8", so I cut off most of the excess with a circular saw and the edge guide, then flipped the edge guide upside down to make a stable platform for the router. Aside from the use of the edge guide, flush trimming the edge face was unremarkable.

For trimming the top face, I again stood the panel vertically, with the router base riding on the top edge, and the bit cutting on the far side of the panel. Because I was cutting on the back edge of the work piece, I needed to move the router from right to left. And here I ran into another problem.

The gap in the edging that I was filling was not of even depth. On the left end it was about 3/16" deep, on the right end the edging was flush with the MDF, and there was no gap. That means that on the right side, I was routing away all of the strip I had glued in. The result was significant tear-out.

I did what I always do when faced with this sort of gumption trap - I turned off the router, set it down, and walked away for a bit. I've found that whatever action I take in the frustration of dealing with something that hadn't worked right is almost always the wrong one, and usually makes things worse.

What I did, when I came back, was to clamp down the strip where it had torn away, and then to start routing from the other end. I still moved the router from right to left, but I did it in six-inch sections, taking light passes, and sort of whittled the strip flush. As the sections I was working were farther to the right, the strip was thinner. Eventually I came to where I was trimming the strip away entirely, at which point I took off the clamps and the remainder fell away.

A better solution would have been to route a rabbet into the side, so that the added strip always had thickness. The way I did it means that the strip I glued in is very narrow, and hence very weak, at a certain point. In this case, that's not a problem, because it's going to be sitting under the countertop layer. I also noticed that because I had only clamped the strip down, and not into the edge, there was a noticeable glue gap where the strip butted up against the MDF. Again, in this application it isn't visible. But if I was doing something like this on the top of a table, I'd make sure to cut a clean rabbet, and to clamp both down and in.
vincent75204 years ago
Why do you have suspicions about people whose clamps all match ??…

Something too neat to be true ?…


But then you have to agree that matching clamps are a nice thing to see
jdege (author)  vincent75204 years ago
1. Every woodworker has found themselves short of clamps, more than once, therefore
2. Every woodworker has bought more clamps, on several occasions, over an extended period of time, therefore
3. Every woodworker has bought a number of different types of clamps.

If all the clamps you see in his shop match, that means he's disposed of or hidden the other non-matching clamps he must certainly have purchased, somewhere along the line.

Which means that either he had enough money to buy all the clamps he needed, in a consistent style, the last time he upgraded his shop (which is logically impossible, given that nobody ever has enough clamps), or he's engaged in woodworking as theater - showing us a stage set, not a working shop.
Logical answer.
Also, impeccable answer !…

Anyway, I find that the second problem with clamps is when you need more (all the time) and you're broke (happens quite often too). Which ends up in buying cheap stuff that does the job but won't last long (mainly the "washer" -I don't know the name in proper english- that will hump off after some intensive use) … At one point you've got to get rid of them (well you still keep them and try to use them for poor jobs) and you're back where you started.
Someone could write a song or even a musical about clamps (missing clamps, failing clamps, too short clamps, too narrow, lack of depth, slipping clamps, etc… and of course the ideal non-existent clamp !!!…).