split differences

Posted by LeeG on Nov 16, 2006

the goal is to have a joint that is strong and aesthetically acceptable. In the case of the deck piece where there's possible bending the joint can't be too thick. If the joint is too thick sanding will go through the outer veneer exposing the inner one as a dark area.

To meet structural needs that means ensuring there's bonding between matching pieces of wood without air gaps and that the joint isn't too thin.

To meet aethetic needs there shouldn't be too much overlap requiring sanding through the outer veneer so there isn't a raised edge for the glass to layover.

When the scarf joint is made the scarf joint takes on a slight concave shape when it leaves the router, without EVEN firm clamping or thickened epoxy the joint can develop an air gap down the middle.

Here's a compromise that I found that works. It's like fitting bulkheads or taking out twist, you split differences.

Overlap the two pieces so that there's about 1/16" of the scarf exposed on both sides. The inner venner won't line up and it'll require a thin infill of thickened epoxy for the exposed scarf. Use 2" clear packing tape to prevent the glue from squishing out over a large area and confine the glue to a 1/4" strip over the exposed joint. It takes very little glue to join the panels,,if you're like me and most beginning builders you'll put on too much gloop and itll squish out everywhere. The first Chesapeakes I saw had large stains around the joints. Folks standards for aesthetic perfection got greater with every build but there's no way around it,,a scarf/butt/puzzle joint isn't meant to be invisiable. It's meant to join to pieces of wood and if you can make it match it's icing on the cake.

In Response to: scarf overlap question by Antal on Nov 15, 2006


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