I am trying to build a wood AC register and I need to glue together the components you see in this picture:

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They don't fit closely enough to hold in place when put together so it is really a challenge to position them evenly and then to glue them.

I am considering creating a grid of nails like in the picture below. is there a better way to do this?

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1 Answer 1


Any time you need repeatable spacing you should 'jig' it, as for example many contractors set a fixed gap between decking boards using 16d nails, interior panelling might be spaced with nickels. etc.

So just make yourself a spacer block to the right thickness and start laying. If you don't have the means to easily thickness a board to a desired dimension you could use a stack of playing cards1 instead, held together with a rubber band or two, or maybe a couple of spring clamps.

Before you begin, you'll want to plan ahead carefully so you don't end up with an awkward gap at the end.

Then position your first slat carefully, clamp if you can, tack it in place either through the outsides or toenail it in from whatever angles suit you best2, then position the next slat using your spacer, rinse and repeat.

1 I don't have batteries in my digital calipers currently, so I can't measure my casino cards to confirm :-) but various sources online state that playing cards are typically about 0.2mm thick (~1/127") so you can make quite an accurate spacer using them.

2 Obviously a lot easier and faster if you own a brad nailer or pin nailer, but you can do it by hand if you have to, same way they did before nail guns came along.

  • 1
    This makes me sound like one of those tool junkies (narrator: "he is"), but I love my 23 gauge guns for tasks like this. No splitting, and enough strength to hold while glue sets in the clamps. Feb 12, 2023 at 3:35
  • I ended up making spaced signs on the long edges and used those to manually set the transversal pieces in place. Before doing that I glued one of the transversal end pieces. With that in place I could slide inone by one the other pieces ending withthe oposite end piece. What you need to know is that when you put glue there what was losely moving before is now quite stiff and difficult to position so no jig was needed the rest can be seen here imgur.com/gallery/SgVVLF3
    – MiniMe
    Feb 12, 2023 at 4:08

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