Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Raptor stapler meets transom

The Raptor stapler I ordered came in yesterday. I took it home and put it right to work.

Raptor CT-6000P Compression Stapler
Raptor CT-6000P compression stapler
The model I’d ordered is the CT-6000P. It is a manual compression stapler, not one of the fancy air-powered tools. However, I didn't have to handle this stapler long before I got the impression that it is better made than similar tools I've seen at big-box stores. That’s reassuring, given that the CT-6000P isn’t exactly cheap.

It is made specifically to use the proprietary Raptor composite staples. Those aren’t exactly cheap, either. The tool, a box of 9/16” staples, and shipping totaled a little over $125.00. Question is... is it worth it?

So far, I think so.

The first thing I did, of course, was to try the stapler out on the closest object available. I tried to drive a staple through a sheet of 1/4” eucaboard on a work table into the 3/4” plywood table top. That didn’t go so well. Not only did it not penetrate the eucaboard well, it sent shattered pieces of plastic staple flying everywhere. The second shot didn’t fare much better. I crossed my fingers and hoped that 1/4” Meranti plywood would be a different story.

It was.

I tried the stapler out on several pieces of scrap plywood, adjusting the tool’s set screw a little as I went along. It worked very well, easily tacking Meranti scraps together, as well as into a piece of 3/4” pine plywood. The 9/16” staples did not seat fully, but sufficiently enough to hold two layers of plywood together long enough for the epoxy between them to cure. That’s all it needs to do. In fact, a little bit of extraneous staple remaining above the wood surface should make it easier to break off & sand away. That’s the whole point of using composite staples in this project: to leave little or no visual evidence of fasteners.

So, confident in the knowledge that it was going to work, I decided to go ahead start mixing epoxy. In the end, I had to mix 3 batches. It took far more epoxy to cover the surface area of the transom, as well as the mating surface area of the transom cover, than I’d estimated. Once again, the kitchen scale was indispensable in this process. I took the advice of another builder, and enclosed the scale in a large freezer bag to protect it from epoxy drippings.

With both mating surfaces covered, it was a relatively simple matter to clamp the transom cover into position. The Raptor stapler did its job nicely, tacking the 1/4” Meranti plywood onto the 3/4” Douglas Fir plywood beneath it. For safe measure, I added clamps all the way around. 

The transom cover... glued, stapled and clamped.

The next step will be to shear off and sand away the composite staples.

19 gauge, 9/16" Raptor composite staple.

Top of the staple snipped off...

...and sanded away.

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