Building a Temporary Support While Your Wood Glue Dries Building a Temporary Support While Your Wood Glue Dries

What You'll Need
Vise
Clamp
Waxpaper or towel
Dimension boards (2x4, 2x6, etc.)
Nails and screws
Milk crates
Chair, desk, or bench
Wire or zip tie
Wood glue

Wood glue is an indispensable part of the carpenter’s tool kit. Use it to reinforce any solid, permanent joint between two pieces of wood. The strength of a glue joint is often stronger than the pieces of wood themselves. Glue is used regardless of whether the pieces are being joined with nails, screws, or dowel rods. However, for maximum strength and effectiveness, you must make the glue joint correctly. Dry clamp the joints together before gluing to see how they fit. While the glue is drying, support the pieces in their final position with an outside force. Use a clamp, wire, or temporary brace.

Step 1 – Plan Joint Before Gluing

Develop a plan for your temporary support system before applying the glue to the joint. You can choose to clamp or tie the pieces together for simple joints. In more complicated construction and framing, you should install temporary supports. Measure and cut furring strips, and screw these into the sill footers. Either way, you only want to glue the joint once. It is best to glue on clean edges. Don’t touch or contaminate freshly cut edges of lumber. Rough or dirty edges reduce the quality of the bond. If you have to clean partially dried glue off the boards after a failed gluing attempt, you will get a much weaker final bond. Some glues dry very quickly, so practice setting up the clamps and framing support to familiarize yourself with the process.

Step 2 – Clamp and Tie Joint

Glue the edges of the joint and push them together. For small jobs, you may be able to support the piece on a desk or milk crate and squeeze the joint with a few well-placed weights. With T-joints, try gripping the piece in a vise. Screw wood blocks into the metal jaws to prevent damage to the piece. Several styles of clamps are available. Some resemble the letter C and have a single threaded bolt. Other clamps resemble two pieces of wood on two threaded bolts. Clamp the piece together while the glue dries. The best clamping jobs will push together the two pieces that are being joined. However, even a clamp that only holds the piece in place against gravity can suffice. If you cannot squeeze the joint with clamps, consider tying it off. Depending on the size of the project, you can use copper wire, zip ties, or thick rope.

Step 3 – Install Temporary Supports

For framing and other major construction, you will have to install temporary supports after tying the joints together. These are usually joined diagonally to the members they support. Screw the temporary joists into the sill footers with framing screws. After the glue is dry and the frame is finished, remove and discard the temporary supports.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!