November 6, 2009

Squaring Up Assembly Jig

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Yet, once more you see a jig made out of odds and ends of leftover small pieces of materials from my workshop and you will keep on seeing them. It is the green thing to do, recycling at its best and it saves money.

I needed to square up and assemble the pieces of windows. The two white melamine strips are glued and tacked to a piece of plywood. They did not need to be melamine, its just what was handy in my scrap box today.  They are nicely square at 90 degrees, that is what is important, that the edges be 90 degrees so if I had to clamp upright pieces against them my parts would sit square to the base. I used a large, professional quality, drafting triangle to help align that corner.  That drafting triangle helps me setup all kinds of fixture and fences for dollhouse work. Glue and tack one strip to the plywood, then put glue on the second and using the drafting triangle as a guide clamp it and let it dry. You can add brads after it dries if you think they are needed.  One caution sometimes glue lets pieces that are clamped creep out of position so keep an eye on it and while it is still wet gently tap it back where it belongs. A fast way to get rid of glue creep is to rub the two glued surfaces together, the friction heats the glue so that it kicks off more quickly. A thin layer of glue evenly spread is better than a thick layer because it won't tend to creep. That is important to remember when you assemble wood pieces.

To clamp the pieces into the corner I use more cut off pieces of wood to the push the window components into that squared up corner.  Those pieces also need to be nice and square. One of the pieces of wood I grabbed is my push stick for the small table saw. It fit in there and why cut something when it was right by my hand at the right time? It will go right back to being a push stick shortly. Did it surprise you to see me using those big clamps to do a delicate glue-up task? They don't have to touch the miniatures, they are simply holding the pieces that are applying the gentle pressure on my window parts.

This is jig building at its most basic for a very basic and frequently required task.  Part of the reason for creating this blog is to show some of the behind the scenes dollhouse building work that is not in books or magazines. If you want to start building and don't have a background in making things it helps to watch over someones shoulder now and again. Just remember there are hundreds of ways of doing the same thing. I don't use the same way all the time, it varies depending on my mood, materials on hand and if I am in the mood to play engineer or mad scientist and try something new.
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