Clamping Cauls ...

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Project by Mainiac Matt posted 03-17-2015 01:58 AM 8121 views 63 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was inspired by the C+ Woodworker’s clamping cauls (thanks Bruce) and finally, with a bench build on the horizon, got the motivation to build them.

I started with some old 4/4 EDH pallet stock (mixed Eastern Dense Hardwood) that was too twisted for pallet stringers and has been in my barn for ages. Jointing and planing this stock into straight lumber reduced the thickness of the boards down to 5/8” at best and in the worst case 1/2” . So I laminated some of them up to make suitable caul stock and figured that in the long run, straight and dead flat was important, and uniform thickness was not. So you’ll see that some of the lower cauls are quite a bit wider than the upper cauls they were paired with.

After planing the stock, I wondered what exactly it was I had. Some boards were Oak, but I wasn’t sure about the others. Turns out they’re Cherry, and I was able to confirm that Cherry is one of the acceptable species for the EDH group. Who knew?

I used scraps of 1/2” Baltic Birch for the center spacers and 1/2” carriage bolts seated and epoxied into 1” Birch plywood bottom blocks.

A deep well socket on my cordless driver will make for quick clamping.

I put two coats of Seal Coat (de-waxed Shellac) on to keep the cauls stable and hopefully make glue squeeze out easier to clean up.

The height allows me to get my Bessey parallel clamps in their plastic stands underneath, and if I move the bolts to the outboard position, I can clamp up a panel 30” wide.

The photo was staged with a glue up I did last fall to communicate how the cauls function for those not familiar with this design. I’ll post an update when I put them into service to comment on how they work.

Here’s an article from Woodsmith that gives the design details.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

22 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19582 posts in 2610 days

#1 posted 03-17-2015 02:10 AM

Nice use of “useless” wood!!!
Much nicer than the “down & dirty” set, that I made.

Now that you have these….
What will be your excuse, for non-flat panels??? ;^)

What will the future panels be for???

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7811 posts in 2263 days

#2 posted 03-17-2015 02:25 AM

I’ve got some Hickory drying in the lumber rack that is destined to be a work bench top

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2625 days

#3 posted 03-17-2015 02:27 AM

Nice set of cauls Matt. I especially like the power tool tightening!

Question: Yours appear to be flat and I thought they were supposed to have a very slight bow in their centers? (one of the reasons I haven’t made mine yet)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View doubleDD's profile


7222 posts in 1978 days

#4 posted 03-17-2015 02:29 AM

This looks like a nice set. I made a set years back and use them all the time. Very handy. I have jig knobs on mine but the use of the drill is a good idea. Get some wax on them to aid with the glue, it helps a lot. Nicely done.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7811 posts in 2263 days

#5 posted 03-17-2015 02:59 AM

Dave… Thanks for the wax tip

Andy… I’ve heard of guys doing it both ways. My intent is to use these primarily to align glued up panels, so flat appealed to me. If clamping veneer or something with horizontal glue joints that required downward pressure in the middle, a slight curve would be advantageous.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View CFrye's profile


10073 posts in 1774 days

#6 posted 03-17-2015 03:10 AM

Nice set, Matt! That’ll make panel (bench) glue ups a snap. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View kiefer's profile


5618 posts in 2602 days

#7 posted 03-17-2015 03:18 AM

That will work nice and fast ,I like the power drive tightening .


-- Kiefer

View TheFridge's profile


9100 posts in 1421 days

#8 posted 03-17-2015 03:24 AM

I don’t know about shellac keeping the cauls from sticking (it should) but johnsons paste wax works like a champ.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Gary's profile


9312 posts in 3367 days

#9 posted 03-17-2015 03:29 AM

Nice work, Matt. Sure is a quick jig for panel gluing.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View waho6o9's profile


8135 posts in 2511 days

#10 posted 03-17-2015 03:38 AM

Great cauls and the use of the impact for tightening is

awesome, good job Matt!

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3178 days

#11 posted 03-17-2015 03:43 AM

Sure beats my modified 2×4 lumber. I really like that design. Favorited it for future reference when I make better ones.
Like the impact tightening too.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View firefighterontheside's profile


17776 posts in 1791 days

#12 posted 03-17-2015 04:15 AM

Nicely done Matt. Those should be very useful.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Ken90712's profile


17553 posts in 3123 days

#13 posted 03-17-2015 07:49 AM

Nice work.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Roger's profile


20916 posts in 2739 days

#14 posted 03-17-2015 01:13 PM

Some nice cauls. Clear package tape on the cauls would help with the squeeze out from glue also.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10260 posts in 3363 days

#15 posted 03-17-2015 02:44 PM

Some really nice Cauls, Matt. Sure as heck beats mine, made from Unistrut.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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