Adjustable Cauls

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Project by gsimon posted 09-08-2015 12:51 AM 5066 views 38 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Why did I wait so long to make these?
A version of a Woodsmith magazine article made with some poplar I had around the shop. I used 5/16” thread x 6” carriage bolts in a 3/8” spacer but they should be alright. I set up a dry run to see how it would work. Here are the Woodsmith specs which are readily available online as well

3/4” x 1.5” x 36” hardwood slats with 5/16” x 1.5” x 3” spacers.
3/4” x 1.5” x 3.5” feet with counter sunk bottom to accept 5/16” x 5” carriage bolts.
2.25” Female Pentagon knobs with 5/16” thread

Wax paper or use painters tape or somehow shield the clamp faces from adhering to your work

-- Greg Simon

13 comments so far

View R_Stad's profile


417 posts in 2049 days

#1 posted 09-08-2015 01:56 AM

Nice Greg – those could be very helpful. Thanks.

-- Rod - Oregon

View Brady's profile


71 posts in 1785 days

#2 posted 09-08-2015 01:58 AM

Great idea! I have hardwood that I use for cauls, but they aren’t adjustable like this. To keep glue from sticking, I use packing tape on the inside surfaces.

-- Brady, Texas,

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3696 posts in 2457 days

#3 posted 09-08-2015 02:02 AM

I’ll have to add that to my already large to do list. I suppose you could add a spring joint to the top and bottom cauls for even clamping pressure across a glue up.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Hawaiilad's profile


3295 posts in 3226 days

#4 posted 09-08-2015 02:20 AM

So to make sure I got this right, if I wanted to glue up much thicker wood, I would just use longer bolts…correct?

Great build, thanks for sharing

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View gsimon's profile


1293 posts in 2319 days

#5 posted 09-08-2015 11:15 AM

Hi Larry – the plans called for 5” carriage bolts but I felt it limited the board thickness so I went with 6” bolts
After that size you will likely need to jump to 3/8” dia bolts which means finding knobs or wing nuts with a 3/8” thread – it also means the spacers need to be 3/8” of course

-- Greg Simon

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2982 days

#6 posted 09-08-2015 11:25 AM

I would do one more thing – I would put a piece of wood that the bolts go through on each side that create a “C” around the split bars. This will keep the split pieces from spreading. Doesn’t have to be thick – 1/8” is all you need.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View CB_Cohick's profile


487 posts in 1457 days

#7 posted 09-08-2015 12:51 PM

Very nice! Thanks for sharing. How are you storing these? I’d love to make some of these, but storage is always a concern for me. Also, I think I might add a nice fat washer under the star knobs.

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.

View gsimon's profile


1293 posts in 2319 days

#8 posted 09-08-2015 03:36 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone!
I thought of flat washers I will probably do so the next time i’m at the box store

For storage, I lightly tighten the clamps and have them under a table for now but I’ll probably store in the floor joists and strapping above my work space since they will not be used everyday

-- Greg Simon

View toddbeaulieu's profile


820 posts in 3210 days

#9 posted 09-08-2015 10:31 PM

You’ve convinced me!

View niftynoel's profile


108 posts in 1752 days

#10 posted 09-10-2015 02:03 PM

Identical to those I built a couple of months ago (with some maple I had sitting around). So far, they work great. And I thought the very same thing: why’d I wait so long.

-- Noel

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2946 days

#11 posted 09-12-2015 07:20 PM

Thank you so much for posting this project! I was poised to glue up a bookmatched lid for a box when I saw this. I used a jury-rigged setup to mimick your cauls, complete with packing tape to prevent gluing the cauls to the work. And it worked perfectly! The panel was flat for once.

As a result, I am definitely going to build these cauls!!

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Jerry's profile


2900 posts in 1854 days

#12 posted 01-30-2016 08:59 PM

This is good, clever work, I’m very impressed with these, and may I return the compliment, your photos are very well done.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View WOODCEPTUAL's profile


84 posts in 2104 days

#13 posted 02-21-2016 11:04 PM

NICE!!! I need to make myself a set of these!! :D

-- The only difference between try and triumph is a little umph... and many a splinter in the hands! ;)

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