You should make a baton press for book matching instead of buying a press. The project is easy, and you can make it from scraps in the shop. Plus, a baton press that functions well makes gluing your plates much easier. Here is how it works.
How the Baton Press Works
Essentially the baton press is a jig that holds the two plates together tightly so that the glue can dry. It provides the pressure, which can be adjusted, and it also holds the pieces in place the entire time.
The boards on the sides are what set the pressure, which is based on the width of the opening.
All you do is clamp the board on the left and right so that the opening in the middle is a little narrower than the two plates. This causes them top pop up in the middle like you see in the picture. What you do next is the secret to the way the baton press works…
Pressing Down the Middle Sets the Pressure
When you press down the center joint of the two boards, it creates pressure. The space is too small, so the pressure focuses on the center joint. Once you apply glue, the pieces are held together really well.
One thing to pay attention to is your glue squeeze out. I use a piece of waxed paper below and above the center joint. They keep the plates from being glued to my press.
I also use a long board similar to the ones on the sides to apply even pressure on the center joint and hold it down while the glue dries. This allows you to clamp it from the ends with basic clamps and still get good pressure at the center.
You should make My Guitar Fretboard Slotting Jig while you make the baton press.
Making the Baton Press
Find a piece of MDF for the base board, and then cut it to be a few inches larger than the plate size you are working with. Then, cut a couple smaller boards for the left and right, and one more for the center that matches.
The three smaller boards need to be an inch or two wide, and the same length as the base board on the press. I like to clamp my side boards first, and then test fit my two pieces for the plate. Adjust one of the batons until you get the size you want, which should keep the boards popped up around 1/2″.
Once the clamps are set, apply glue to the center joint and lay down a piece of waxed paper on the bottom of the press. Drop the boards in, and press the center down. Add one more layer of wax paper, then place the third piece of wood on top of the center joint. Clamp the ends, and let the press sit overnight for the glue to cure.
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