slab topYes, I can rathole (verb) with the best of them.
This is the riven slab seat for the joint stool I’m working on. Being riven, it tapers from the bark to the pith, so it gets flatted. There was a chunk torn out on the pith side and it was pretty thin at that end too. Again, no big deal, just cut it off and have a narrower seat. Or not. Can’t decide, so work on the top. Hmm, I like that size. Now I have a problem.

top sidetop bottomIf you look at these two photos, something will look wrong. Yes, I decided that the width, length and thickness were what I wanted. So, just cut out a new seat. But noooooo, I was going to make the existing piece work. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Anyway, I scabbed in a wedge. The difficult part was getting the end grain edges lined up so the rays sorta looked contiguous and didn’t move during glue up. Two tacks solved both those problems nicely (you can see the black marks). The glue up was a disaster. This seemed like a perfect vacuum application so I popped it into the bag and pulled a vacuum. Nice. Even though the scab was cupped pretty badly, it was sucked flat. Pop it out and repeat. Yep, looks like it works. Do that again to be sure for sure. Take it out and apply glue. Knock over the glue jug, dumping about a quart of glue over the clamping caul, bench, floor, etc (but somehow missed my shoes). Put the seat in the bag, hit power and sh!t, only about half the vacuum and major gaps. Fiddle, fiddle, duct tape, can’t find the leak, the clock is running, grab clamps, cross fingers and mentally prepare to scrap the seat. Half hour later, take the seat out, uggg, that just won’t work. Lucky me, the shop is chilly so the glue hadn’t really set and I could pry the scab off. Scraping gelled yellow glue is really messy. Lots of testing gave me a way to use clamps and tapered cauls (straight cauls with shim in the middle) to get a tight joint, which, thankfully, worked.

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