Hollow Core Pedestal Construction - Part 2

Hollow Core Pedestal Construction - Part 2

Assembling the Staves and Splines

You will need at least three - preferably four - strap clamps to assemble the columns. I recommend Jet strap clamps; theirs are easy for ratcheting. Some types use a small wrench, but I have found they tend to slip a lot.


Do not use quick-setting glue!!! Use white glue to give you plenty of time to assemble the project. Fast-setting glue doesn't allow enough time to adjust the staves during assembly. Believe me, you'll want lots of time.

You'll need to make some blocks out of scrap wood; 2 times the number of sides to the column. They should be about 5/8" thick, about 1" less than the width of the stave, and about 1/2" wider than the strip clamp. The blocks will prevent damage to the edges during clamping. Make some test pieces to see if my dimensions work; if not, size them for your project. The straps will be tightened so much that, without blocks, they will cause significant rounding to the edges.


To maintain the edge sharpness of the upper and lower columns during clamping, place a wood block against each side and position the strap around these. When the straps are tightened, they will clear the edges of the column.


The staves and splines will be glued, forming two C-shaped sections. These two sections will then be glued together.


Any other way and you'll paint yourself into a proverbial corner.


You can arrange the staves in numerical order, then divide them into two groups. Take a stave and spread glue into one of the spline channels and it's mitered edge. Repeat the process for another stave and join the two pieces together. Do the same until you have half of the sides glued up; set this section aside. Repeat this process for the remaining staves and splines; you'll now have two separate C-shaped sections.

Apply glue to the remaining mitered sides and press the two sections together. Use pipe claims to align the staves to identical heights and release.

Set the column on a flat surface. Install the first belp clamp on the bottom and tighten it so it's just taut. Turn the column upside down and work the belt down the column about two inches from the top. Turn the column upside down and install the second belt clamp about one-third the column's height and tighten. Install the third belt clamp about two-thirds the column's height. Turn the column upside down again and install the last belt clamp and tighten. Turn it upside down and work the last belt down about two inches. You can tighten the belts as tight as possible now. If you have assembled it correctly, the staves should fit together without any visible gaps.

Wipe away any excess glue immediately with a damp rag and let the glue set. Your project should resemble this. Remember, the top and bottom straps press against the wood blocks; the middle straps can press directly against the column. The middle portion will be turned, so damage to the edges by the straps is not critical.


When the glue is dry, you're set for the next step - turning the column.
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