Author Topic: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?  (Read 2457 times)

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Offline GregorHochschild

  • Posts: 13
To my own detriment, the Zeta P2 looks awfully attractive right now...   [cool]

Anyone tried using the machine for clamp-free panel glue ups with the tenso connectors? Seems like a convenient method. Or does that make no sense because the clamping pressure is too concentrated around the connector?

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Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1054
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 12:51 PM »
That seems cost prohibitive and might not the best way. For panel glue ups it is hard to argue with dominos for alignment and parallel or bar clamps and glue.
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Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 397
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2021, 01:20 PM »
I mean, the Lamello site claims that the primary use for the Tenso P-14 connectors is clamp-free glue-up.

An 80-pack starter of the connectors runs $90 for the connectors and "pre-tensioners".

Depending on the need/application, clamps may be harder to use in some glue-up situations, so I could see it coming in handy.

The Zeta P2 is no entry level tool, of course, but their knock-down connections seem pretty superior to the Domino if one needs to transport panels with the connectors already installed.

Offline guybo

  • Posts: 72
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2021, 01:28 PM »
Hi,Joey@ kingpost timber works made a vid on his journey w/ lamello on a 2 hr. table build. good viewing. guy

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1054
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2021, 01:49 PM »
I mean, the Lamello site claims that the primary use for the Tenso P-14 connectors is clamp-free glue-up.

An 80-pack starter of the connectors runs $90 for the connectors and "pre-tensioners".

Depending on the need/application, clamps may be harder to use in some glue-up situations, so I could see it coming in handy.

The Zeta P2 is no entry level tool, of course, but their knock-down connections seem pretty superior to the Domino if one needs to transport panels with the connectors already installed.

Yes, they are for clamp free glue ups, but the OP is asking about panel glue ups. To do a decent sized panel I could see using almost all of that 80 pack of Tensos.
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Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 492
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2021, 07:13 PM »
They work great for this. The bigger the unit gets, the more difficult clamping becomes and  that is where Tensos shine.
We did a big job last fall that consisted of dozens of wall and floor panels. They were all done with a combination of 6mm x 40mm Dominos and  Tensos. I cut all of them in the same pattern with a story stick and someone else assembled them on-site. The only issue we had was with one panel where a doorway was moved after the measurements were done. The rest of them fit perfectly.
It was a large seating area that looks basically like a huge set of stairs, but each "step" was sitting height. Kind of an amphitheater without a curve.
All of that to say that clamping would have been impossible. They would have had to screw battens ahead of the way they were going and "push" them off of that.  That only works for so long, then you run out of a place to push from.

I still prefer to use Clamex when I can access the back, but that is not always possible.
I especially like Tensos for panels joined at an angle, typically 45 degrees.

But, as always, this is in a commercial cabinet shop situation. The time saved is always worth what would be considered a minimal investment in consumables in a case like this.
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Offline fshanno

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Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2021, 08:42 PM »
And then there's the Fastcap FASTENON.  It's a brand new thing.  A 6mm tenon that forms a sort of mechanical connection with little teeth.  There's a thread about it somewhere on the FOG.  Festoolians don't seem very receptive judging by comments in that thread but nobody has actually tried them yet. 

Another thing to consider is that the Domino 500 plus the knock down connector set is less than the Zeta P2.

Another thing to consider is that the Domino 700 is about the same price as the Zeta.  And you can get the 6mm adapter and be able to do the Domino knock down thing.  That would end up being a few hundred more than the Zeta but you'd have a killer loose tenon machine that you could build entry doors or bed frames or whatever with.
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Offline GregorHochschild

  • Posts: 13
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2021, 11:09 PM »
Thanks for all the responses so far!

I will give some more context. I already have a DF500 and use it regularly as a hobbyist. The Zeta P2 would, of course, be a huge luxury. But why the Zeta P2? Several things stick out to me compared to the DF500:

1. Much better knock-down connectors. I have never done any knock-down things but it would actually be super convenient because I often don't work at home and transport would be much easier. The DF500 connectors would partly get me there but P2 seems much nicer (smaller access holes, less fiddling around with different parts) and would also allow for assembly in tighter spaces (which is the case in two of the planed built-ins).

2. Clamp-free glue-ups. My space is limited, my number of clamps is limited, and handling big clamps in our apartment is a mess, which might annoy loved ones (who are very tolerant). In addition, wood-working time is limited so I like the time savings and less stress during glue-ups. All of these make clamp-free glue-ups very attractive.

3. Mitered joints. I am always unsatisfied with my miter joints particularly on longer panels (30''). I sometimes work with finished surfaces so a lot of the suggested clamping jigs don't work. I have a 60'' long 45 degree joint (end-panel to face-frame) in the kitchen coming up and already dread it or try to think about alternative designs. The P2 seems a beautiful solution to that problem.

4. Panel glue ups? From all I learned, I feel pretty confident about the advantages of a P2 compared to the DF500 for 1-3. But I wasn't sure about panel glue ups, which brings me to my questions. Good point on cost of connectors. There might still be situations in which I would like that approach if feasible. For example, I have 6 parallel clamps and only 2-4 are large enough for a decently sized panel. That is enough for 80% of my work. I just don't have the space to add many more large clamps. All of that would make clamp free panel glue ups attractive.

Reformulated question: To formulate my question more concretely and push it to the extreme: what do you think about using the tenso connectors to built a 6/4 table top without clamps? What are the limitations (e.g. material thickness)? How would you space the connectors? Combine with the DF500?

Point 1-3 would be the much more common applications for me but this still is an interesting case. Hearing how others would approach this (or not) would teach me about the machine and the connectors.

Thanks!

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 397
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2021, 11:29 PM »
Thanks for all the responses so far!

I will give some more context. I already have a DF500 and use it regularly as a hobbyist. The Zeta P2 would, of course, be a huge luxury. But why the Zeta P2? Several things stick out to me compared to the DF500:

1. Much better knock-down connectors. I have never done any knock-down things but it would actually be super convenient because I often don't work at home and transport would be much easier. The DF500 connectors would partly get me there but P2 seems much nicer (smaller access holes, less fiddling around with different parts) and would also allow for assembly in tighter spaces (which is the case in two of the planed built-ins).

2. Clamp-free glue-ups. My space is limited, my number of clamps is limited, and handling big clamps in our apartment is a mess, which might annoy loved ones (who are very tolerant). In addition, wood-working time is limited so I like the time savings and less stress during glue-ups. All of these make clamp-free glue-ups very attractive.

3. Mitered joints. I am always unsatisfied with my miter joints particularly on longer panels (30''). I sometimes work with finished surfaces so a lot of the suggested clamping jigs don't work. I have a 60'' long 45 degree joint (end-panel to face-frame) in the kitchen coming up and already dread it or try to think about alternative designs. The P2 seems a beautiful solution to that problem.

4. Panel glue ups? From all I learned, I feel pretty confident about the advantages of a P2 compared to the DF500 for 1-3. But I wasn't sure about panel glue ups, which brings me to my questions. Good point on cost of connectors. There might still be situations in which I would like that approach if feasible. For example, I have 6 parallel clamps and only 2-4 are large enough for a decently sized panel. That is enough for 80% of my work. I just don't have the space to add many more large clamps. All of that would make clamp free panel glue ups attractive.

Reformulated question: To formulate my question more concretely and push it to the extreme: what do you think about using the tenso connectors to built a 6/4 table top without clamps? What are the limitations (e.g. material thickness)? How would you space the connectors? Combine with the DF500?

Point 1-3 would be the much more common applications for me but this still is an interesting case. Hearing how others would approach this (or not) would teach me about the machine and the connectors.

Thanks!

Appreciate the added context, for sure!

Point #1 came up in a comparison video I watched between the Zeta P2 and the DF500 connector sets; that's also where I got the bit about actually flat-packing pieces for shipping or transport and how the connectors stick or don't stick out of the wood in more convenient ways on the Zeta P2.

For #2, you bring up an interesting point with regards to clamps.  I get the sense from pricing that I've seen that a good, large set of long clamps that aren't pipe clamps will set a person back a considerable amount of money ($30-$50 a piece).  If one already has a Zeta P2, you're talking an 80-pack starter set of Tenso connectors (at $1.125 each) for less than the cost of a pair of 36" clamps.  Larger sets of the Tenso connectors may lower the piece price further.

For #3, it might be a technique thing to work on.  I don't know how much anti-separation/racking strength the Tenso connectors offer in what sounds like it might be a 135-degree joint?

If a person gets to the point where the sheer volume of connectors is out-stripping the price of clamps, that person is hopefully also starting to look at using the equipment to make money, so eventually it becomes a business decision and both solutions will have their place on different jobs.

Offline simonh

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Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2021, 05:49 AM »
I have a Domino and a Zeta and I've used all the various P2 connectors. Here's my input as a hobbyist.

#1 Yes, the knockdown connectors are great for making built-ins etc. I've just gone through over 300 Clamex on a set of large units along with the Divario shelf connectors and the Tenso for face frames. Often the access hole can be hidden, but if not it's only a 6mm hole with lots of matching covers.  I'd say the domino connectors are probably superior if you are making a piece of furniture that would be disassembled and reassembled a lot such as for an exhibition or similar.

#2 I've never used the Tenso in anything other than sheet goods. But, Manor Wood on YouTube had a video of combining Tenso with Dominos for table legs.

#3 I love the Tenso for mitred joints. You need to use the pre-tensioners when you have a long run as it can be tricky to push them together in a mitre situation otherwise.  I've made various wrap around out of 19mm veneered MDF and just used the Tenso to clamp them, let the glue go off for 30 mins and then I trim and install them.

#4 I'm not sure exactly what you mean by panel glue-ups. But, I ripped a 19mm veneered door panel too narrow... so I used 6 Tenso along the length, glued it up and the seam is invisible.  I've also used it for joining MDF when the remainder of the sheet wasn't quite big enough.  OK.. so it might be cheaper to get another sheet of MDF than use 6 Tenso's, but it's all I had available and in the current climate it's quite hard to get ahold of sheet material.

I can't really help with the commercial side of the cost as everything I make is for myself so I'm already saving $$$$ that the cost of the connectors doesn't really matter.

Not sure how it works in the US... but in the UK the Lamello rep will come out and demonstrate the machine if you're interested in seeing what it can do in your shop.
-Simon

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 492
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2021, 07:07 PM »
simonh, the local rep coming into the shop to do a demo is what sold me on it. I didn't buy one right-away, but it was always in-mind for the job that would justify one. It only took a few months and I have had one ever since. It doesn't get nearly as much use as the DF500, but they do work together often.

I do reception desks in a big cabinet shop on a regular basis. The shapes can be all over the place, you just never know, but 45 degree angles are common. I have done them for years with the DF500, but cutting the panels to size and joining them with Dominos. Depending on the configuration, clamping is always the challenge. I have come up with many ways to do it, even the grid of holes on the assembly bench surface. The Zeta changed that, even though it wasn't the job that I was bought to tackle.
The little tensioner clips act much like the wide setting of a Domino joint, by opening some of the teeth to make them easier to fit together.

As far as the 6/4 top question. I don't see any reason not to use them there. I would definitely use some Dominos with this type of thing. While the Zeta fasteners will pull the joint together well, they do not align the joint anywhere near as solidly as a few Dominos.

As often as I use both, the cost is easy to justify because of the time savings in the shop alone. When it comes to installers having to reassemble things in the field, the time savings happens again.
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Offline Birdhunter

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Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2021, 03:31 PM »
I’m interested in the Zeta P2, but can’t find a distributor that has the machines available.
Birdhunter

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 397
Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2021, 04:17 PM »
I’m interested in the Zeta P2, but can’t find a distributor that has the machines available.

Colonial Saw (csaw.com) is the US distributor; their website appears to show it available, but it's not an HTTPS purchasing site, so I would call them if I was going to buy it, personally.  Not sure if you've tried them or not.

Acme appears to be one of their US partners, but my local Acme rarely even has Festool in stock, let alone something like a Lamello Zeta P2...

Offline StanB

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Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2021, 12:38 PM »
I think the use of the zeta in standard panel glue ups for one off furniture is a bit gratuitous. you could be talking 5-6 dollars per glue up with the connectors. blowing thru a $90 pack pretty quick. So the return on a set of clamps would be pretty quick.

I believe the sweet spot is production carcus work, face frame install (field or in shop), and simplification of complex/time sensitive glue ups. Just my two cents...
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Offline Svar

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Re: Clamp-free Panel glue up with Zeta P2 tenso connectors?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2021, 12:59 PM »
Reformulated question: To formulate my question more concretely and push it to the extreme: what do you think about using the tenso connectors to built a 6/4 table top without clamps? What are the limitations (e.g. material thickness)? How would you space the connectors? Combine with the DF500?
The clamping pressure, which Tenso generates, is nowhere near that of regular clamps. It might work on perfectly milled smaller pieces, but in real life on large glue-ups you need some force to close all seams. Also won't work on spring joint for the same reason, if you prefer those for table tops.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 01:08 PM by Svar »