February

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The way you space the glue lines might result from the way you saw the boards for wood figure. But it can also be a design element you control, in order to create a proportional array of lines, or a pattern. If you use a bland wood, such as maple or Swiss pear, you could glue up, then rcsaw in order to draw with veneers. Don't be afraid of diagonal lines and curved lines.

When working with veneer inserts, you don't have to glue up a whole panel at once. You can make subassemblies, and you can glue a veneer to one piece of wood, let the glue set, then glue up the adjacent piccc. You can run biscuits or splines right through veneers.

Curved edge joints arc another design option. The shapes in the figure of the wood, or the clear path around defects, might inspire you to try a curved glue line. But you don't have to derive your shapes from the wood—you can impose patterns and curves on the wood.

The simplest way to make curves is to bandsaw two overlapped picccs of wood. Prepare the wood extra long, so you can screw the lap together and screw it to support battens. If you saw in a single smooth motion, you'll probably be able to fit the saw marks together. In any event, glue up straight from the band-saw. The curve will have enough visual impact to mask the tiny discontinuities in the bandsawn line. Any additional work you do on the edge will only make the fit worse.

You can even glue up a wide panel, then saw it apart in order to create a new pattern with inserts of veneer—in effect, you can draw in the wood. The humble long-grain glue joint thus becomes a medium in which to develop your design vocabulary—and you can be as sophisticated and elegant as you wish. A

IAN KIRBY isa furniture designer, woodworker and teacher with studios in Connecticut.

JOHN KELSEY is a journalist and amateur woodworker. He and Ian Kirby are writing a book on joinery for Rodale Press.

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