Author Topic: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?  (Read 711 times)

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Offline patriot

  • Posts: 164
    • Wood Working By Design
How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« on: July 27, 2019, 01:48 PM »
I am crafting a chessboard and want to domino the chess squares together.  Most will require dominos on all four sides, the outer squares will only require dominos on three sides.  The corners will only require two dominos. Each piece is 2.25 x 2.25 x 1".  If anyone has done something like this I would like to know how they did it.  To be clear, the dominos have to be perfectly centered else the squares will not align as they should.

I have a plan that I am working on today and if it works I will post my results when done.

All comments or suggestions are most welcome.

Thanks.
'If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there' Lewis Carroll

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
Re: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2019, 02:09 PM »
Can I recommend another procedure?

That is to glue 8 equally wide alternating strips of wood together butcher block fashion, sand it smooth after it dries, then cut that block perpendicular to the glued edge (setting width of cut = width of original strips), then glue the resulting strips back together, but alternating the colors.  No dominoes needed.  All this can be done in a single day if you do the first glue up in the morning.

http://festoolownersgroup.com/member-projects/christmas-scraps/msg434291/#msg434291

This is the tried and true method for chessboard type construction.

But with regard to dominoing small pieces, I actually just hold the piece secure with one hand against the fence and plunge with the other.  As long as the plunge is not too deep, this is actually a safe and quick method.  Otherwise, I would think about setting up some jig that allows each piece to be captured and stay still while being dominoed.  I did this recently for mortising small pieces for a mitred drawer front frame, where the piece being mortised was too small to clamp down and have room enough to register the domino fence.



I would think something similar would work for the small blocks (provided you have an MFT style top), where you have some sort of rail as a backstop (allowing the small piece to hang over the edge of the table slightly), and then two scrap pieces on the left and right clamped down that prevent side to side movement (and if they are the same thickness as the dominoed piece, also provide more surface area to register the fence)

« Last Edit: July 27, 2019, 02:24 PM by ear3 »
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Offline patriot

  • Posts: 164
    • Wood Working By Design
Re: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2019, 03:28 PM »
@ear3

Thank you very much for your in-depth response to my query.  I am very much aware of the chessboard construction method you clearly described, but I came to this project from one of my clients who showed me his chessboard as I will describe.

His expensive chessboard had several squares which had buckled and split in the center of the square.  He was very upset about this and asked me if I knew what may have caused the splitting.  I told him that I thought it was due to how the chessboard was constructed as it did not allow for the wood to contract and expand with the ambient humidity in his home.  He asked me to construct him a new chessboard.

That said, to try and neutralize the wood movement as much as possible, I planned on sandwiching birch ply between light and dark wood species to make the squares.  The dominos would bond each square together.  I am also planning on a slight gap around the perimeter of the outer squares to give the the entire chessboard some 'breathing' room.

I completely agree that the method you suggested would eliminate the need for dominos altogether, but I would really hate to learn years later that the chessboard has failed in one way or the other.

As I write I am thinking the following:  Because I am using birch ply the wood movement may be non-existent (or close to) which would make your suggested method a very viable alternative to the use of dominos.  Gluing 1-inch squares together may not be much fun, but I think this may be the way to go. 

Thanks again for your help.
'If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there' Lewis Carroll

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
Re: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2019, 04:04 PM »
To better control wood movement, you might also use the same wood for both types of squares (maple?), except stain one of them to get the desired color.

I think the failure you described might just be poor original glue up.  It's not like it's a cutting board that will be subjected to constant humidification and drying, and so if done properly it should stay together.
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Offline patriot

  • Posts: 164
    • Wood Working By Design
Re: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2019, 05:08 PM »
@ear3

I thought I had a photo of the damaged chess squares but could not find them (if I took any). The squares in question look as though they were put into a vise and compressed which resulted in a ridge completely across the face of the chess squares. 

Staining the maple is actually something I was looking into yesterday.  Never thought about the wood movement aspect of of. Good idea.

Thanks again for your help.
'If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there' Lewis Carroll

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 375
Re: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2019, 08:14 AM »
It is best to cut joints in small pieces of wood before they get fully small.  I have scars on the little finger of my left hand and the ring finger form a biscuit cutter when I was cutting slots for some maple edging for speakers.  I cut almost all of them on the stock (3/4 by 3/4) before cutting to length but I messed up a couple by cutting a #10 slot instead of a #20.  I recut the first OK but the cutter grabbed on the second one and pulled my hand into the blade.

I mention this to say we have to avoid getting our hands too close to cutters.  I haven't used my domino much yet and it does not seem to grab like my biscuit cutter sometimes does.  But I still intend to keep my hands away from the blade.  I don't know exactly what you will or have built but Krenov made a chess board where he doweled the squares together and left little spaces between.  So each square is a little island.  Seems like it would look neat.  To do this with a domino, I think I would used the trim attachment and have the squares on the bench.  Alternately, you could build a stand for the machine and hold the square while pushing the fence down onto the cutter.  I don't like the proximetry of hands to cutter with this method, however.  At least on two sides of each square, you can make the cut before trimming to length.  I like that much better from a safety standpoint.

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: How would you Domino small pieces of wood?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2019, 03:19 PM »
You don't need to cut 1 inch squares.  Cut ply pieces one inch wide and long.  Glue them together alternating colors.  Then rip off 1 inch strips.  Reassemble the strips by moving alternating strips so that you get the black-white-black sequence.  Draw a triangle to guide putting it back together.  Take apart and glue up using the triangle for alignment.