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I Caul ‘Em Like I See ‘Em

Or, “Why God Made Arm Hair”. I struggled deciding which title fit best. But, since I can never pass up a pun. I answered the Caul.
In an earlier entry, I referred to the oak clamps I have been putting together as sandwich clamps. Browsing through some old magazines I stumbled across something similar and they were designated as cauls. I certainly didn’t invent the idea (but perhaps calling them sandwich clamps was unique).
I didn’t get a whole lot done this weekend on the headboard (had to go in to work for a few hours on Sunday and pulled weeds for a few hours on Saturday), but I did finish up the cauls. In the process of manufacturing these clamps, I learned some about planing and sharpening planes.

And, even more importantly, I figured out why God gave me hair on my arms! Why, to test the sharpness of plane blades, of course! Using a crayon-like stick of a polishing compound on a scrap of particle board, I was able to hone the blades of my number 5 jack plane, and that of my number 4 smoothing plane, to the point where I could actually shave the hair on my arm! It was amazing stuff, I got a mirror like finish on the edge of the blades in pretty short order.

But, the purpose of a plane is not depilatory, but rather to shave wood. Man, those suckers really slice through wood now.

I used the smoothing plane to, well, make the cauls smooth on all 4 sides. I now understand why the magazines and books recommend planing over sanding.

I used a 3/4″ Forstner bit on one side to make holes for some 3/8″ T-Nuts.

Here are the T-Nuts installed:

And here is my assistant with the finished product. I put a light coat of pecan oil stain over the clamps and then rubbed paste wax over that. (I’m hoping to keep glue off of them, but if some does get on them, I don’t want it to adhere.)

I spent a little extra time and effort on these, because I figure I’ll use them on more than just this project. Now that they are ready, I can almost go back to working on the headboard. I’m anxiously waiting for the #7 jointer plane I just bought on E-bay to arrive. I imagine I have a few hours of sharpening and tuning (fortunately, I still have some hair on my arms to test with). I expect to use the #7 to joint the edges of the panel I’ll be gluing up and “sandwiching” in between my new cauls.


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