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Bowclamp Modern technology used to realize an age-old idea: a perfect bow shaped arc. The Bowclamp's patented design - made possible only with the help of computerized, numerically-controlled cutting technology (CNC) - allows for equal clamping pressure along the entire length of the glue line... with only one clamp at each end!

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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2011, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: veneering question

Follow-up.

I don't know how I would have done this glue-up of a cured cabinet door without my new 4' bowclamp.

I was able to get really good clamping pressure all along the centre of the door with lots of glue squeeze-out.

Richard.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2011, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: veneering question

Sweeet! Thanks for posting Richard. Glad they're workin' for ya.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 05:13 AM
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Default Re: veneering question

I thought I would make my first post here, since I am preoccupied with considering the remaking of a pair of hexagon speaker cabinets, I am trying to finish. This is my first set of six-sided cabinets, and like all first time projects, I have made a lot of mistakes. The cabinets are located here.

I had been away from the project for some time, due to total frustration in coming up with a doable set of sound deflection lenses, but am finally on the road to finishing them. And I plan to give them to my grandson.

Which has me considering the making of another set, but correcting all of my previous mistakes. And this brings me up to the BowClamp idea. I realize that I am going to have to bookmatch my veneer with some very original combination, and I recently purchased some very nice European Beech.



But I also have a nice flitch of burled Yew as a possibility.



The yew is quite wrinkled and I will need to press them flat before using. Either way I look at it, I am going to need a veneer press, but I just don't relish the idea of spending all the money for a vacuum press, when I wouldn't use it enough for it to pay for itself.

Then yesterday I was crusing around the net, and came across the BowClamp, which I had known about, but not gotten all involved with. Suddenly I recognized the possibilities. But again, this would cost a bit, and I have just spent over three hundred dollars on silicone, urethane resin, and other additives, for making the speaker lense assembly.

So I started trying to think of some way to make my own on the cheap. I read someone's post on how he did his(using a hand planer), and read about quite a few wanting to make their own, but there had to be an easy way to do the thing and have them look somewhat professional.

Then I thought of it, and did up half a dozen this afternoon. I haven't gotten to the tops yet, where I will run a wide dado, but I did make the curved bottoms to six 48" facsimiles.

I knew that just cutting, or hand planing, the curve would be a study in total frustration, and they all needed to be identical and evenly rounded so as to accurately distribute the pressure to the press and veneer. And the best approach I could see would mean using a router and template.

To make a long story short, I went to Lowes, purchased a 1/8" x 1/2" x 6ft strip of aluminum. Thin steel would have also worked, but the store did not have the right size. I also picked up a new Bosch 1" trim/cutoff bit. This one has the roller located on the shaft side of the bit, rather than at the end like most trim bits. I also purchased several premium 2 x 4 x 8ft boards. That way I knew the quality would be better than most.

Once home, I ripped a slat made out of 1/2" plywood, and just a little longer than the 48" I wanted to go with. By bending the aluminum, I got a pretty good idea how I wanted the curve to look, so I put screws into the plywood, and set the aluminum strip in the pattern made by the screws.



Then I just took a pencil and traced out the curve on to the plywood, and carefully cut along the line with my jigsaw. But let me add that I am able to do this more effectively than most, because I use reverse tooth blades, rather than the regular ones. More delicate cuts are possible that way. If you have never used a reverse tooth blade(down stroke cutting), you are really missing out there.

Then I just took a belt sander and rounded out any irregularities, and then screwed the aluminum strip to the curve. The plywood was 51" and the countersunk holes for the two screws are out on the edges away from the 48" interior. Any irregularities are pretty much eliminated by the firmness of the metal strip.



With an easily made template, I took the material to the back deck, set up my trusty old router(I actually have three, and probably need a couple more), placed the template over the four foot cuts of 2x4. and made one pass, with the roller moving along the metal. Once I did that, I went to another one, and keep that up until I had six 2x4s with the initial cut.

Then I removed the plywood template, and lowered the bit until it covered the remaining uncut part of the boards, using the initial pass as the template, and made the remaining pass to each of the six pieces. The bit roller exactly reproduced the first cut.



The left example was my practice cut, out of a 2x3 that was of just regular grade pine. And I forgot and left the sixth one on the deck, so there are only five in the picture, but I did do six.

It took me about three hours to get them to that point. Tomorrow, I'll run them through the table saw and trim off perhaps an inch from the thickness. Then I'll set up my dado blade and rip a wide enough dado groove in the top. I don't see any need to use a keyhole bit and make them exactly like the commercial product, because I also have some very old wood clamps, and some cheaper Harbor Freight clamps, which are more than strong enough to hold them down. They are also thin enough to fit inside the dado cut if I remove the rubber cushion.

I'll also make a set of 36" and 24" bowclamps tomorrow after work, and I should be able to use cut up sections of MDF for clamping down the bookmatched veneer sheets. I am going to need two sets of six bookmatched veneer, for the two speaker cabinets, and thanks to these easily made clamps I can actually have two presses going at the same time whenever I am ready to flatten the yew, or glue the taped veneer.

When not in use, I can hang the shop made bowclamps from wall hangers, and stack the MDF sections until I need them again.

Anyway, I just thought I would show just how simple it really is to make up as many of these home made bowclamps as one wants, with just a router, jig saw, and table saw. That's a lot cheaper than ordering a set, and more numerous for using on a glue job.

Sorry to take up so much space, but I really wanted to pass this simple technique along to others who like veneering, but don't have the room, or money, for an elaborate vacuum press.

Last edited by Jlk103144; 04-04-2012 at 05:32 AM.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: veneering question

Why not just go buy some bowclamps, with a satisfaction guarantee?
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: veneering question

Welcome to the forum... and thanks for sharing. Looks good, so far.

I'd love to see those babies in action... clamped down in use. Especially used in opposing pairs. Do you think they will be accurate enough to clamp veneer edge-banding using yellow glue and only one clamp at each end? (because if they can't... they're basically firewood )



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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: veneering question

Jlk, it looks like you are using common 2x4s for you cauls. Where there are knots, you will get a different rate of flex, which will affect the pressure in those areas. The bowclamps are made of clear maple which has a consistent rate of flex. Your homemade cauls may work well enough for some applications, like glueing casework shelves into dadoes, but for veneering, the key to success is consistent, equal pressure, like you get from a vacuum bag or properly deployed bowclamps. I also wonder what difference the rate of flex in fir vs. maple will do to the effectiveness of your cauls.

I have a dozen bowclamps and they are still cheaper than buying a vacuum press or the six dozen clamps they replace for edge banding!

And, to the forum!
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:08 PM
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Default Re: veneering question

First of all, I want to apologize for posting this in a vendor's section. I didn't realize that until after I had posted.

Could a moderator please relocate it into another section, because it appears I am being less than tactful.

And yes, there are a few knots, but at a minimum due to them being premium pine. I'll only know how they work out when I actually put them to the test.

Again, I'm sorry for putting this in the wrong location.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: veneering question

No need to be sorry. I'm certainly not offended. I've asked people to share they're experiences here for a long time. I'm glad someone finally did.

No secrets here... We're open source. I actually like the metal strip idea... I hope they work for you (and I'm sure for many applications they will... veneer, not so sure. And there's no second chances in this game. ) Often my best customers are those that have made they're own. So I'll be here when you're ready.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: veneering question

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigFeuerzeig View Post
No need to be sorry. I'm certainly not offended. I've asked people to share they're experiences here for a long time. I'm glad someone finally did.

No secrets here... We're open source. I actually like the metal strip idea... I hope they work for you (and I'm sure for many applications they will... veneer, not so sure. And there's no second chances in this game. ) Often my best customers are those that have made they're own. So I'll be here when you're ready.
If they do fail, I'll be more than happy to order a set. You know how diyers are; they always try to "roll their own" so to speak.

I do expect one or two to fail though, simply due to mathematics. As soon as I start the new speaker enclosures they will be put to the test. Also, I will use two layers of OSB on each side, so any change in pressure will tend to be better distributed.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: veneering question

I should add that I've tried the metal strip too. My results were not good. Hopefully you will fair better... but please keep us posted either way.

I'm a DIY'er myself for sure. But if you had made these, 20 years ago, for sale, and they worked, I'd have gladly bought them from you.

Try testing them using little scraps of paper in between, along the length. None should pull out easily.
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