Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 6
   July 2011
 
   Clamping Techniques and Tricks
 

Gluing and clamping go hand in hand. In a previous article, I covered gluing strategies and techniques. This article is about clamping solutions for both typical and not-so-typical projects.

Clamping Equipment
Assembly table: I use my workbench for most assembly work. However, sometimes a pair of sawhorses is enough, such as when working on large cabinet projects. In such a case, sawhorses allow you to place clamps without the interference of the assembly-table surface.

Clamps (of course!): In addition to general-purpose clamps, a good collection should include specialty clamps, such as miter and band clamps. Also, don't overlook other means of exerting pressure on joints. For example, you can sometimes use your hands, bungee cords or heavy objects, to name a few.

  Clamping helpers
  You can never have enough clamping helpers, such as cauls, blocks, jigs, etc.
   
Accessories and jigs: Clamps alone are often not enough. I use both commercial and shop-made accessories and jigs to make glue-up easier. Some examples include clamping and alignment blocks, cauls and bandsawn cut-offs.

Clamping Challenges
Under clamping: Using too few clamps for the job can result in joint failures and gaps between boards.

Over clamping: Applying too much force can deform or bend some of the parts, throwing the assembly out of square.

Out of square: Placing clamps incorrectly or applying too much pressure can cause the joint to be taken out of 90. Even well-fitted joints in case-and-frame assemblies can be clamped out of square.

Out of alignment: Mating pieces, for example, can shift against each other when glue and clamping pressure are applied.

In winding: If an assembly rocks back and forth when placed on a flat surface, it may be in winding (twisted).
 
 
               
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  • The Walk-Around Workbench
         
     
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