All Kinds of Clamps
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher
When taking wood shop in high school the shop was well stocked with bar clamps, pipe clamps, wooden screw clamps and C clamps. There were no
strap clamps or light duty bar clamps with the turned wooden handles. We
were taught to use a rope with a stick for twisting the rope tight instead of
the strap clamps that are used today. While touring the Gibson Guitar factory
I was surprised to see all of these guitars all strapped together with rope! Light
duty bar clamps were not available at that time as far as I know. We also
used masking tape in various situations when appropriate in a pinch.
I went to flea markets, junk stores and yard sales to stock my shop with what I
could find and it wasn't too long before I had an ample supply of what I was
taught to use in shop class. As time went on mailers were sent promoting the
latest in clamping and of course I was interested in the latest and greatest so I
bought some of the "F" style light duty bar clamps and immediately put them to work
and found out very soon that they were REALLY only designed for light duty
and for nothing much else. When applying pressure the bar clamp would actually
start bending, limiting the amount of pressure the clamp could exert to the
situation. limiting the usefulness of the clamp itself. An old 3/4" pipe clamp
or a heavy bar clamp would never give like this and could apply a tremendous amount
of reliable pressure. And a very big plus to the pipe clamp is the pipe can be as long
or short as you need and the clamp could be reversed to make a "spreader" by sliding off
both ends and reversing them. Quick and easy.
When the new strap clamps came along they came with a ratcheting device or a nut
that can be tightened with a wrench. Clamping round or irregular shapes is a
breeze and these clamps are made with a very strong material that can exert
a lot of pressure making the job at hand much easier, faster and the clamps can be
tied together to create a clamp as long as you may need.
Quick grip clamps, or "K" style clamps are the type made with a light gauge steel rail and plastic
handle that you squeeze with your hands. This is another good clamp when not a lot of pressure
is required for the job. Some of these are also designed so you can make a spreader as mentioned above.
I think it safe to say we all know what a C clamp is and wooden screw clamps, too. Both
can exert a lot of pressure, are versatile and easy to use. My wooden screw clamps
get a good cleaning after each use to make sure there is no dried glue
left behind which can cause a big problem when clamping another project.
Nowadays there are a myriad of choices for all kinds of clamping situations on the market but
every now and then something will come along where you need to use some imagination
to figure out a way to clamp it. They're going to have to pry the rope and stick out of
my cold dead hands…
CLICK HERE to visit the Highland Woodworking Clamps Department
Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Alan's website by CLICKING HERE.
Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood
February 7, 2018 Finishing the Finish
Return to Wood News front page
March 21, 2018 Coloring Wood
March 24, 2018 Finishing 101