Face gluing, ala butcher block style

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Old 05-05-08, 11:39 AM
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Face gluing, ala butcher block style

I'm cosidering making my own stair treads in a butcher block style. I have 500-600 linear ft of 3/4" x3 1/8-3 1/4" t&g flooring, fir, I believe, nice deep reddish hue. I bought it in 1989 at an auction for an old lumber yard going out of business. Stuff was more than 25 years old then, one of the shop men, I knew, told me. I want to rip this down to 1 1/2", face glue together to make 10 1/2 X 33" stair treads,approx. 1 3/8 - 1 7/16 finished thickness. I ripped a couple pieces and clamped them up to see what it looked like, and my my wife really liked it, I'm looking for something different than the traditional oak look. I also tried standing on it, 6" wide on two blocks about 48"* apart and was quite pleased at how solid it was, I"m 6" -230# What would be the best glue Titebond, polyurethane, etc ?? Face prep before gluing?? Would it have to be sanded on the face? Wiped with a solvent? Water? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Don
 
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Old 05-05-08, 03:21 PM
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It would be to your advantage to have a surface planer to true up the wood. I know it is flooring, but if you have ever seen a new floor installed, it isn't always smooth. You can use either Titebond II or any of the better polyurethane ones. Wipe the wood with MEK (Methy Ethyl Keytone) or another non oily solvent. Once it is dry you can use the titebond or poly, but with the poly, you will need to wet one side of the work for it to work properly. With all that said, you had better lay in a winter's supply of clamps. Once you have them clamped and the glue is set, scrape the excess from the surface and run it through a planer for a great finished look. If it were me, I would run a dowel through the nose end and as I glued it up, the flooring would be drilled accordingly. This will help keep all the boards from separating once you put your 230 lbs on the toe edge.
 
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Old 05-05-08, 06:05 PM
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Maybe I'm old fashioned - but I don't trust glue alone for this one... If it was mine, I'd probably be screwing those pieces together (countersunk) after I applied my glue and until I got to the end cap, which I'd glue/finish nail to the main body of the step.
 
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Old 05-05-08, 07:24 PM
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I agree... run all the flooring through a thickness planer first to true up the back side of the planks. Then when you do your glue up, use a LOT of clamps. Once the glue is dry, run the whole works through the thickness planer again until all your surfaces are perfect.

You'll want to rip the pieces longer than needed since the planer creates some snipe on each end, and wider than needed since you will thickness plane the glued up stock to your final thickness.

As for the piece that will be the nose, I'd also recommend a dowel... the miller dowel system is nice.



image credit: millerdowel
 
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Old 05-06-08, 12:39 AM
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I would plan to run three dowels through each slab after glue is cured, so I can be a little hasty & careless at the face gluing.
 
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Old 05-06-08, 05:32 AM
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That's what i was thinking too, kobuchi.
 
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Old 05-06-08, 07:09 AM
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Definitely dowel the toe edge, whether it's bullnosed or not. Typically, this edge is not supported from beneath.
 
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Old 05-07-08, 12:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies.
The toe won't be bullnosed, at the most a very slight chamfer. 3 dowels lined up with the 3 stringers is probably the way I'll go then. What size dowel 3/8, 1/2 ??
If I had my choice I would have no visible fastener/plug appearence, I guess I'll have to concede that one to my wife who doesn" care either way, as long as those old 2 x 10 treads are finally gone after two years!!!
Time to dig out the planer I bought nine years ago and have never hooked up.
Thanks Don
 
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Old 05-08-08, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Dmystix View Post
If I had my choice I would have no visible fastener/plug appearence
Dowels needn't go through the front, just into it.
 
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Old 05-08-08, 06:52 AM
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DMYStIX - Since you are ripping the stock prior to glue up you might want to edge joint the strips for a better joint. I agree with you about the dowels. I would not want to see a bunch of plugs in the nose of the stair tread. I would dowel the nose strip from behind.
 
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Old 05-08-08, 02:43 PM
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Maybe I was thinking outside the chicken house, but I thought the run of the strips would be from back to front. If so, only the front part would be visible from the side. The rest would be hidden back in the wall.
 
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