How to Use Clamps for Woodworking

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As a woodworker, you may find yourself amidst ton of clamps that are just lying around in your woodshop. The good thing about these clamps is that they can be used in a wide range of ways in woodworking. If you only use them in a few ways, or are unsure whether or not it can be used in a certain way, this tutorial will help you out. This tutorial will teach you how to use clamps for woodworking.

Caulking Gun

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Caulking guns are very similar to one-handed clamps. They also work the same way as well. You may use it as is, or you can also use sacrificial wood pieces in order to avoid the jaws from marring your wooden piece for your project.

Lightweight Spring Clamps

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If you like gluing smaller things, all items you have at home can actually serve as mini-spring clamps. For example, if you have a PVC pipe, you can simply cut them into C-shapes, adjust the size of the pipe, including the ring thickness, and the clamping pressure. You can use binder clips which are cheap, and are available in several different sizes.

Weights

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Given that you can balance weights accordingly, any type of weight source can make a great way of holding two surfaces together. You may either use individual weights, dumbbells, wood stacks, paint cans, beer cases, different buckets and bottles, as well as other containers that are filled with water, or just anything that you have at hand.

Tape

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It is a given fact that complex or unusually shaped objects can be quite challenging to clamp. One thing that you can use for this is an electrical tape, because it is stretchy, nice and easy to remove. With these characteristics, it can pull pieces together actively, instead of just holding them in an adjacent position to each other, just like what a masking tape does.

Stretchy Clamps

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While you can actually use bungee cords in some contexts, there is a need to take care of them so that the metal ends will not mar the surfaces. They need care when using them, as they can be dangerous when unexpectedly released. A good option for this is a rubber surgical tubing, as it comes in different lengths, and may also be applied using different levels of force, depending on how much it is stretched, as well as the number of times that it is wrapped. When working on a smaller scale, you can loop rubber bands together as you can achieve the same output.

Pinning

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Gluing together two surfaces, and using fasteners in pinning the pieces together does not really mean clamping. This is because the pins are not really removed afterwards. However, you can still do so by using a nailgun. The nails may have little strength, but just the act of actually driving it at speed forces, the pieces obviates the need for using clamps.

Tie-Downs

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Tie downs, especially the ratcheting type, are especially powerful. At times, you need to be very careful not to over-tighten them. In order to achieve just the right tightness, you can use waxed paper in order to avoid getting glue on the tie-downs. You just need to a have a rope, or other tools such as lashing straps. You can also make good use of tightening ropes, using various wraps of cord, and then putting a stick right through the loops at each end, twisting the stick afterwards.

Car Jack

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A car jack, an overhead beam and a bit of lumber can no doubt use a lot of downward pressure, especially if you do not want to just lug around weights. All you have to do is to ensure that all things are lined up really well, without unnecessarily overdoing it. Keep in mind that a car jack is designed to exert force. This force should be distributed over the biggest area by using a big wood hunk.

Vise

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If you currently have a vise, perhaps you also have a clamp. It comes with really big jaws. The vise can be used in holding things as you work on hand tools. This may seem like something that you can do well without, but it can pretty much come up useful when working on certain projects.

Long Clamps

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In some rare occasions, you might find the use of really long clamps very effective. You can screw blocks into your 2x4 at a distance that will allow you to fit the clamp in between the workpiece and the block, tightening them afterward. This can be unwieldy if you do it a lot of times, but it is good for occasional jobs. It also offers advantages, especially if the lumber prevents the clamped material from bowing under pressure.

Conclusion

We hope that this tutorial has given you ideas for the next time that you need a clamp for a specific type of job. As a recommendation, dry-fit altogether first. This will allow you to test whether your clamp setup is ready for the task.

If you have other suggestions in mind, you can also share your thoughts in the comment section below. You can also share this article if you liked it!

  • October 11, 2017
  • DIY
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