Glue Up Tame Pine Lumber as Alternative to Wild Plywood

Question: I have the need for wide pine boards--wider than the standard 12-inch width--for shelves, cabinet doors and other woodworking projects. I prefer solid stock, rather than wild-grained fir plywood, but the boards I've found are very expensive. Can you advise on an economical way to obtain wide boards?

Answer: Do as professional woodworkers have done for centuries and edge-glue your own wide stock. The accompanying photo shows how I do this in my shop. I use a doweling jig to drill three-eighths-inch holes, use spiral-grooved dowels and clamp the boards with Record clamp units that convert one-inch-thick boards into easy-to-handle but heavy-duty clamps. My English-made clamps were purchased from Fine Tool Shops in Connecticut, but Leichtung Inc., 4944 Commerce Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio 44128, also shows them for $14.95 a pair in the winter, 1985 catalogue. Leichtung was also the source for my doweling jig.

Like Ric Leichtung, I prefer clamp units that use wood over those that use pipe. For one thing, wooden units are easier to handle and for another you don't have the bother of threading the pipe. If you have pipe clamps and like them, don't write to me complaining about my misguided views! Either kind of clamp is good if you're used to working with it.

The workpiece shown became a triangular shelf for a cavity on the side of a fireplace. It consists of two 1x12s (nominal size) glued up to produce the proper width. By purchasing lumber with knots and other defects and cutting around them, you can save a lot of money over using a better grade of pine.

Dale Baldwin will answer remodeling questions of general interest on this page. Send your questions to Home Improvement, Real Estate Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Baldwin cannot answer questions individually. Snapshots of successful do-it-yourself projects may be submitted but cannot be returned.

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