Friday, 28 August 2015

Handy hints & Tips #1 - Glue jig

My current flurry of workshop preparations is causing me to do a fair amount of lateral thinking, especially in terms of tools and materials for my students to use.

I have one of most things, a few of some other things and not enough of several things.

Gluing jigs being a case in point.......

I have two jigs, both of which are invaluable when making miniature toy theatres, Jack-in-the-Boxes, wooden doll trunks, 1/144th doll's houses..... anything which needs to be held in place, squarely, while glue dries etc.

 This is my oldest glue jig.  As you can see, the surface has seen better days as it has often been pressed into service as a temporary cutting mat.


Yes, I know.

Mea culpa.

I think someone made it for me and it must be approaching 30 years old.  It's strong and sturdy and has withstood no end of punishment over the years.  Jigs like these are easy to make and every miniaturist should have one in their toolbox.

However, it's main limitation is that apart from using copious amounts of Blu-Tack, it's difficult to actually hold pieces firmly in place on the board.

So, a few years later I invested in one of these.....

 I bought this around 25 years ago and at the time I remember reeling at the cost.  However, as barely a week goes by when I don't use it I expect that the cost per use must down to approximately  0.00005p by now.

The base is made of steel, which allows the use of strong magnets to hold pieces firmly in place.  It's strong and durable (no cut marks on this one!) and I can soak it to remove the glue which inevitably oozes out on to its surfaces.

However, the main drawback of this one, aside from the eye-watering price, is that it only has one 'corner', so I can only work with one item at a time.

During my Everything Alice one day workshop next month, my students will all be making an illuminated toy theatre, and it's vital that the assemblies are square.  
And I don't have enough jigs to go round.

Until I had an epiphany.

Ta Dah!!!

A quick bit of Googling revealed a seller of small square metal cake tins.  Perfect!
Although having tested out one of my own I found that the metal didn't attract magnets.


So, you can't use aluminium or copper tins.
However, I asked the cake tin seller if she would check to see if hers would hold a magnet and hey presto, they did!

So, finally, a cheap and cheerful magnetic jig, with the added bonus of having four corners so that I can glue multiple projects at the same time.

This one is 6" square and cost £2.30.  The cheapest modelmaker's glue jig I could find was £25 and would require shipping from the US.  So quite a saving.

Final tips..... before you buy, make sure that the sides are straight.  Some tins have slightly angled sides, presumably to make it easier to remove cakes.  However these are no use for our purposes.
Also, bear in mind that these are not 'engineered' tins, and they may not be forensically 'square'.  However, for the purposes of holding most glued components together while the glue sets they're perfectly adequate.   

If you do need absolute 100% accuracy then it's easy to set up a completely square 90 degree configuration of magnets in the base of the tin, using a try set square as shown below.

You can then place your assembly against the 90 degree angle created by the magnets and firmly support it in place with additional magnets.


As an extra bonus, your metal glue jig can also be used to store stuff in, so it really is a multi-function tool  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome idea!!! Off to find a cake tin!