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I am building a sculpture using curved shapes. I'd like the appearance of a continuous, flowing object. Due to the curves and small size I cannot use clamps. I plan on the sculpture being 5 feet tall and 1 foot wide using various shapes around 3x2 inches. Any advice to make this strong and appear seamless?

  • What have you tried? If you want to make art from wood and glue, you should invest your time in several studies to work out your aesthetic and practicalities. Also, this question is a bit too broad for SE sites. It is understandable that you are asking for a broad discussion of your challenges, but Q&A sites work best with single specific answerable questions. – jdv Apr 14 at 13:44
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    Plastic zip-ties... – Jimmy Fix-it Apr 14 at 13:45
  • I agree that this is too broad. Show the specific things that you're trying to hold together and what types of clamps you've already tried and why they didn't work. Include photos and more detail. That said, I'd look to faster glues, like CA glue with accelerator. With thick glue on one piece and accelerator on the other it will cure in 10-20 seconds, so you can just squeeze it with your hands for a bit and then you're done. It can get expensive though... – SaSSafraS1232 Apr 14 at 18:15
  • Hi, welcome to SE. Part of your problem may be a mistaken belief in how things like this are normally made, they aren't generally to shape and then glued together, rather they are glued together to a very approximate version of the final form and then shaped. So before the final shaping the form of the thing is much more amenable to conventional clamping since it's full of straight/square edges. – Graphus Apr 16 at 17:01
  • Another thing to be extremely wary of is that in order to be structurally strong some glues — including all forms of PVA, and foaming polyurethane adhesive — require firm clamping. If you don't clamp, and clamp hard, you get nothing like the full strength potential from the adhesive and the joints can readily fail (when by comparison if you do them properly they end up stronger than the wood around them). – Graphus Apr 16 at 17:03
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A photo or drawing representative of the shape of your parts would be useful.

The strength of your assembly will depend on the force you can apply, in the example you provide, without clamps.

Masking tape can secure individual parts while the glue dries, but the strength of the joint will be far less than if you were able to use clamps.

Strong cord wrapped around a shape, with a loop to one side which can be twisted to tighten the assembly may provide a stronger glue joint.

Strap clamps exist which work in a similar manner. They use a strong webbing that is "cranked" in, to create the necessary force.

If you can tolerate holes in your work, to be filled later, brads can be used to join components. Drive the head below the surface then use wood putty and sand smooth.

Screws can be used in a similar manner, especially if the holes are counterbored, allowing for plugs to cover the screw head.

If succeeding parts overlap, the holes for the brads or screws would be covered and only the last or outside portions would require filling.

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