Gluing up the carcass of a project is a major project milestone in my mind. It marks the transition from preparing and milling stock to trimming and finishing. More importantly it gives me the first look at shape and size. I create my working drawings in 3D, which has many advantages, but one disadvantage over a mockup is that you are never really sure about the overall look until glue-up.

I Always Dry Fit Before A Glue Up Like most woodworkers I never glue-up a piece without first dry fitting it. This accomplishes a number of things. First it lets me know if I need to trim a joint for fit. Second, it gives me a chance to practice the steps I will use in the glue-up, which uncovers all the tools and aids I will need, saving me from hunting down something while glue is setting up. Lastly, and most importantly, it helps me develop a glue-up strategy and sequence. Without this dry run a merely stressful step becomes a disastrous and disheartening one.

While Inspecting The Dovetail Joints I Look For Proper SeatingMost of the joints in this carcass are dovetails. I like to inspect them for tightness and gaps. I also check to be sure they seat completely. Dovetails will almost always go together smoothly if the pencil marks that mark the transfer of the tails to the pins are still visible. This is a check that can be made before the dry fit but it never hurts to double check.

Dovetailed carcasses are unique in that, while clamps are useful, and sometimes necessary to seat all the joints, clamps can be immediately removed. The dovetails are enough to hold the carcass while the glue sets up. This allows for easy checking and correcting for square.

I Use Clamps To Seat The Joints But Remove Them For Dovetail Joinery Even with all this checking and dry fitting mistakes can still be made. After I glued up this carcass I noticed one. I have marked the outline where a hole is supposed to be in the picture at right below. This hole is intended to allow the pendulum and weight chains to drop from the clockworks compartment to the pendulum compartment. I should have milled this hole before glue-up. Fortunately, while more difficult, it is still doable after the glue sets overnight.

Oops! I Should Have Milled That Hole Before Glue Up Next I will mill the clockworks and pendulum compartment backs, sand the carcass and backs, and permanently install the lower back before moving on to the doors. Stay tuned for more updates on this project.

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