Today was pretty productive. I started out early by assembling another 6 foot straight section. Unfortunately, I found that the belt on the sander was to gummed up to really get a good surface so I went to Lowes and got a new belt. I glued the section together, put the ties on it, and then put the clamps and weights on it to hold it tight.
After finishing the 6 foot section, I clamped a board onto the disk part of the sander so that only 3/4 of an inch of the disk was exposed. I then sanded a small amount off of each end of the every dowel so that it would fit snugly into the holes of the stock for the ceiling mounts. A few of the dowels still had some glue on them, so I put the gummed up belt on the sander and cleaned them up. A close friend came over at about 3pm and I took a break till about 5 chatting with him. By 7pm, I had assembled 4 of the ceiling mounts. I found that assembly is a bit slow because I have to get just the right amount of glue on the dowel end, then tap it into the stock with a rubber hammer, glueing the other piece of stock, aligning and inserting the 4 dowels, tapping the second piece on without disturbing the other end, glueing on the spacer that holds the rails in the center of the mount, and finally twisting it while the glue is still pliable to make it lay flat on the table.
Sounds easy right? Well, while it is simple, it is not trivial. Making sure that the stock is assembled with the correct side up is critical and if you make a mistake, you cannot get the dowel out after tapping it in. Also, after assembly, the whole thing is perfectly parallel, but it is often slightly twisted so you have to do a bit of twisting to get it to lay flat. So, I can assemble one in about 10 minutes. I can only assemble 4 at a time as I only have 4 yellow clamps that will hold the track aligning block in place.
I also bought enough 3/8 inch plugs from Lowes for the project. But, I couldn’t find 1/4 inch Oak plugs. So, I went online and found the right plugs at Widgit Mfg. Co.. At Lowes, they cost $0.22 each. Online they cost $0.08 with free shipping.