framing is so bad on the jobs I do, there is no way I can precut miters.
The rock usually sticks out past the jamb, so each miter has to be custom
cut to fit.
It takes too long to mark and slot
all the miters for biscuits.
It takes too long for the glue to
My slots are not consistent when I
slot from the bottom of casings.
I don't like the 4 holes your
clamps put in the edge of the casings.
Can I back out some of the pins
and still have the clamp work?
What else are Clam Clamps good
for, besides casing?
Production Trim Technique
up Clamp Demo
Broadband: Tweaking Biscuit Jointers
what I used to think, and how I used to trim. Then I realized, after working
with large detailed casings, that all the backplaning and faceplaning
I was doing amounted to nothing more than treating the casing like a crown
molding. So I started doing it like that right on the chop saw.
For instance, if the rock stuck proud of
the jamb in the top left corner of a door by 5/16ths, I would put a 5/16ths
shim against the chop saw fence (under the outside edge of the casing)
and whack a true 45degrees on the left leg. I would use the same shim
for the left side miter of the head casing and chop it. The resulting
miter joint would then be uniformly open along the face if placed together
on a flat surface. But when put up on the wall and jamb, the miter joint
would be closed. Naturally, the rock still would have to be cut back,
or smashed out with the big hammer, nearly to the width of the casing.
Then, during the testing of the Clam
Clamp, we discovered that using biscuits and Clamp Clamps completely eliminated
the need to treat casing like crown. The joint strength achieved with
a real glue joint, allowed us (after the rock was cut back, of course)
to hook "quick grip" clamps around the wall, and reef the inside
edges of the casing tight to the jamb without any special cuts.
Another thing I learned, from one of the
guys on my crew, was that bashing the rock is insane, because it takes
too long and is too dusty. Don, and subsequently everyone else, started
using his battery makita skill saw with an undersized blade to cut back
the rock. The slow foot speed of this combination created very little
dust, most of which fell into the saw's blade guard. Cheap carbide blade
and eye protection are obvious necessities.
Don't mark them. Hold the edge of the biscuit
jointer shoe flush with the inside edge of the miter and plunge. If that
doesn't put the slot where you want it, mark your jointer fence or shoe
so that that mark aligns with the inside
edge of the miter. You will need an identical mark on the other side of
the jointer for the complimentary miters. Marking each stick takes much
longer than cutting the slots.
1). It is possible
that someone on your crew re-set the depth adjustment on your biscuit
jointer too deep, to make things go "faster". This causes glue
to puddle in the empty slot and, trapped there, it can remain runny for
literally weeks. I take a square edged board, slot it, stick a biscuit
all the way in it and mark it with a sharp razor knife full length where
it sticks out of the slot. Then I take
the biscuit out, spin it around, make sure the entire scribe is inside
the slot, then mark it again. If I get much over 1/32nd overlap, I shallow
up the slot .
2) I use either
Titebond Red Cap or Wilsonart aliphatic resin (I think the Wilsonart is
faster curing), and can remove Clam Clamps within 3 or 4 minutes from
poplar casings, so long as I am fairly gentle and can let them set leaning
against a wall.
If you are still using the "D"
handled piece of junk you see me using in the JLC article and refuse to
chuck it, you can rip some scrap formica the width of your casing minus
1/4in, cut a 45 on one end, and hold it on the back of the casing ( the
45 back a little from the mitered end) before setting your jointer sole
on it. The formica will bridge the Back Relief on the casing
which is causing the machine to rock because there isn't enough solid
bearing for the sole of the machine. This works with all machines, not
just the ones that belong in the dumpster.
Biscuit Jointer Tweaking:
Video for Broadband Connections
I don't like rutabaga. And I
don't like the 25 or 30 holes your nail gun puts in the face
of every casing either.
Yes. You can back out the two
center pins if you are working with hardwood, and Clam Clamps will exert
more than adequate pressure for a glue joint. However, I have never had
anyone complain about the holes. Including
the painters who do not have to caulk a single miter.
The only time I back out pins
is when a stained window exists in a stairway landing where you are eye
level, dead on, with the top edge of the casing when walking down the
stairs; and the home has already been sold to a nit picker; and the painters
Although Clam Clamps were designed
specifically for mitering casings,and are well worth the investment for
that purpose alone, several other applications for them have cropped up.
Some trim carpenters are using them for stubborn outside corners on crown
moldings and baseboard.
But probably two of the most
valuable unexpected uses have been for banding raised panels and gluing
up mitered cabinet doors. Since raised panels 5'4" wide by 7'something
tall are not practical out of solid stock, the alternative is to band
sheet goods with solid stock mitered at the corners then raised on a shaper.
I really don't know how I could have done that particular job without
A customer who manufactures
kitchens and cabinets with mitered doors, has purchased a great many Clam
Clamps for that purpose. He leaves his rails and stiles oversized during
clamp up, and his subsequent squaring and sizing operation gets rid of
(you guessed it) the shallow holes in the edges.
A number of trim subs in my
area also have small shops, and pre-assemble their casings in their shops
before taking them to their job sites.
And an increasing number of
millwork shops are offering MSG (mitered/splined (biscuited really)/and
glued) casing units to contractors as a way to supplement their own income
and increase their sales, while lowering the contractors' labor costs.
It appears to be a preview of the future here in Connecticut.
If you have actually taken the time
to read all of the above and have additional questions, call me at 207
990 2001. I will be happy to talk with you. I will not, however, be happy
if you call my 800 number just to pick the remains of my brain or bullshit.
That number is reserved for bullshit accompanied with Clam Clamp orders
only, unless you are my daughter.
Thank you for your time and