I’m always amazed when I see woodworkers struggle with gluing up two or more boards to make a panel. I’ve seen photos of guys with their panel assemblies on the concrete floor of the shop with their knees at the joint straining to level the seam and clamp the pieces before the glue sets. And the number of clamps used? Don’t get me going on that one. Clamps every few inches – please! This should be, and is, one of the easiest things a woodworker needs to do. Let’s set the record straight when it comes to panel assembly.
First, though, you have to start with flat and square stock. This is the single biggest problem I see when gluing up panels. If you are not milling your own material, start. Who knows how your local supplier mills lumber – a double-sided thickness planer crushes the boards flat before it perfectly mills the two faces parallel, but on the out-feed side of the cutterheads that board flexes back to whatever shape it had before beginning its trip. If it wasn’t flat at the outset, it’s not going to be flat at the end. Proper milling is imperative. (Learn the proper steps for better machine milling, here.)