Edge gluing basics

Three steps to perfectly glued panels

By Steve Maxwell

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If you own a thickness planer, there’s an edge-gluing trick that will save you most of the trouble of evening up irregular joints. Glue your boards together in two stages, with these first assemblies as wide as your planer will take. When the glue has dried, feed these subassemblies through the machine to level everything up mechanically while it’s easy. Only afterward do you complete the final gluing. This approach minimizes the levelling required with handheld sanders. Just remember to remove all hardened glue from the boards before you feed them through the planer to avoid chipping the blades.

If, after all this, you still have some glued boards with steps between them, use your belt sander on the cross-grain with an 80-grit belt. This removes wood quicker than sanding along the grain and yields flatter panels. When the joints are levelled, sand parallel with the grain to remove the scratches.

The best woodworkers are good at edge-gluing solid wood because the results play a large role in project success. You’ve probably noticed that success depends on understanding a few techniques that aren’t always explained as fully as they should be. But no matter. Now you’re the kind of woodworker who knows the tricks.

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