Learning how to clamp wood properly is an important skill in furniture repair. But how do you clamp something like this table support that isn’t square. The answer is "vector clamping". Watch and learn how to clamp this curved piece to repair it and make it one solid piece.
This table was built by Vilas Canada, a woodworking company in Cowansville, Quebec, Canada. This business ran from the late 1800’s to 1995. The table isn’t an antique, but it is a quality built piece of furniture made from solid maple.
The first thing I check for is if I can get clamps on the broken table top support without having to take it apart. The table apron was too close to the table support, so I needed to detach the table top from the base so I could remove the table top support.
With the table support free from the table, I could assess the broken part. It looked like it was simply a failed glue joint, likely from the lack of glue. I cleaned off the mating parts carefully to remove any potential residue that would prevent the new glue from absorbing into the wood as it dries.
Before applying glue, I "dry fit" the parts together and clamp them up. With some testing, I found that it would not be possible to glue this up with just clamps. What I needed to do is make a caul and use the principal of "vector clamping". This refers to clamping pressure that is perpendicular (90 degrees) from the glue joint. To create a caul, I simply traced the part on to a piece of plywood to cut out on the bandsaw. I made sure I traced around the top so the caul wouldn’t slide down the curve when clamping pressure was applied.
With the clamping caul cut out, I did another test clamp. The caul worked well and the clamp held the pieces snugly in place. This is why vector clamping is an important skill to learn for furniture repair. I applied the glue with an artist brush on both surfaces of the glue joint to ensure there was full glue coverage. I then clamped it up and let the glue dry.
I did a minor touch up to the finish at the bottom of the broken table top support with a stain marker. No one would see this because it’s under the table, but I wanted to make sure it was a quality repair. I reassembled the table top support and waxed up the metal pins to stop the squeaking. I reattached the table top to finish the repair.
I hope you found this video useful to understand the power of vector clamping. It’s not difficult once you understand the concept and have done it a few times. Thanks for watching Fixing Furniture!
Vector Clamping – https://youtu.be/izMaQp5myf8
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This video is hosted by Scott Bennett, Owner of Wooden It Be Nice – Furniture Repair in Brooklin, Ontario, Canada. https://WoodenItBeNice.ca