Are you interested in taking the pain out of using pipe clamps when laminating large blocks?
No problem, as long as you have a piece of 2” x 4” to spare (and who doesn’t?).
1. Cut the piece of 2” x 4” to a length of 6 to 8 inches longer than the maximum length of any lamination that you will be producing.
2. Mark off a centerline down the 4” face of the 2” x 4”.
3. Using a spade bit of the same diameter as your clamp pipes, drill holes at 2” or 3” intervals along the centerline marked in step #2.
4. Cut the 2” x 4” along the centerline to obtain 2 separate boards as shown in photo #1.
5. By placing these boards parallel to eachother with the cut edges upwards, you will have stable supports for the front and rear ends of your clamps (photo #2), and you will no longer have the problem of your pipe clamps rolling or falling over as you are positioning all of the glued pieces.
6. Space the number of clamps that you need along the supports as required, but leave several notches empty at both ends of the supports. These empty notches will be used to hold additional clamps that you will position on the top side of your lamination to help control possible bowing.
7. Using masking tape, cover the faces of the pipes that will be against your wood (photo #3). This will help eliminate staining of the wood where any squeeze-out glue contacts the metal.
8. Place a clamping block against the front clamp pressure plates, and another near the rear clamp pressure plates. These will prevent damage to your laminated block, and the rear one will be put into place after all of the laminations have had glue applied and been positioned ready for clamping.
9. Set the rear clamp plates to a distance equal to . . . your finished block width + the thickness of the 2 clamping blocks + 1” (photo #3).
10. Apply the glue to the laminations, position them in the clamps, insert the rear clamping block, and apply moderate pressure with the clamps. Pay attention to the laminations to see if any bowing or upward movement is taking place, and make any required corrections. Position the additional clamps (prepared in steps 6 and 7) over the top of the laminations, between the clamps which are under the laminations, and apply moderate pressure.
11. Check for correct alignment of the laminations, and bring all of the clamps up to the required final pressure (photo #4).
Hope this helps. Enjoy.
-- John, British Columbia, Canada