Simple Jigs and Techniques #4: Veneer Press Screws for $4.50

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 146 days ago 1883 reads 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Matching Short Grain Veneer Border Part 4 of Simple Jigs and Techniques series Part 5: All Wood Button Catch »

When I built my small veneer press in Green Valley I made six holes for screws, like my bigger one at home but only installed four screws because they are expensive and I wasn’t sure I really needed six.

Then I stole one to make my Miter Jack.

That left me somewhat deficient in veneer screws so I decided to try something I have been thinking about for a while now. I remember looking at the $6, six Inch “C” clamps at HF and wondering how hard it would be to turn one into a veneer press screw. ...................... Well it turns out, ..... NOT HARD AT ALL.
( ................. and $6 with a 25% off coupon is only $4.50)

Here’s a real one beside the HF “C” clamp. The threads are a little slower but not much, the length is the same and the ends are different.

This one shows what you have when you cut the “nut” off of the clamp and grind the ball off one end of the handle to facilitate installation of the screw in the press.

And here it is in the press. The nut will need to be epoxied or well jammed into the beam but it works very well. I guess I’ll get a few more. The press was made Q & D from green, wet, nasty construction 2X4s and a couple of the joints have failed so I may replace the whole thing ….. thing is, I installed threaded rods when I built it and it still works fine so it’s not that high on the priority list.

And, as an added bonus if you make one today, we’ll give you absolutely FREE, a solid steel bench holdfast. (wedge not included)

This may not save all that much on a simple press but at ~$18 each for real ones it would add up quickly if you were considering a large press with many screws.

Here’s hoping someone can use this.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

20 comments so far

View TerryDowning's profile


999 posts in 720 days

#1 posted 146 days ago

And I even have some C Clamps that are rarely used. Thanks as always for the idea Paul! Had my Miter Jack on hold until I could scrounge enough recycling money for a press screw. Now I just need to find the time.

-- - Terry

View rance's profile


4125 posts in 1763 days

#2 posted 146 days ago

Very clever Paul. Good use for a HF clamp. It sure seems there would be a solution using 3/4” all-thread. But I’m guessing it would be more expensive.

Could you elaborate on “a couple of the joints have failed”? It looks like you have your threaded rod as a backup just inside the joints. How did the finger joint fail if the threaded rod was in place? Or were those installed after the failure?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Sodabowski's profile


2002 posts in 1435 days

#3 posted 146 days ago

I thought you had gone the “vacuum press” way Paul… I actually modified my father’s compressor just to do that (by doubling the inlet and adding two manifolds and a vacuum gauge). That’s a very clever trick though!

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View gbear's profile


389 posts in 2701 days

#4 posted 146 days ago

Nice tip…I’m glad someone found a use for HF stuff!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View  Box 's profile


4937 posts in 1911 days

#5 posted 146 days ago

Great idea Paul…Those Harbor Freight clamps look like they are just the ticket…amazing what a little imagination and creativeness will accomplish…

View SPalm's profile


4760 posts in 2484 days

#6 posted 146 days ago

Now that is using your thinker.
I’ve got to check this out. I hate going into HF though, I always end up with some junk. But one guys junk is another guys treasure.

Talk about a cheap Moxon Vise …

Thanks for the tip.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Karson's profile


34860 posts in 3003 days

#7 posted 146 days ago

There onsale now for 5.99

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Philip's profile


1079 posts in 1141 days

#8 posted 146 days ago

Very clever Paul, nice job.

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View kiefer's profile


2959 posts in 1269 days

#9 posted 146 days ago

I like that modification and will keep that in mind but no HF up here but Princess Auto may have some cheap .

-- Kiefer 松

View shipwright's profile


4843 posts in 1400 days

#10 posted 146 days ago

Some answers:

Rance, the problem with all-thread (ready rod in Canada) is it’s really slow, too many threads per inch. These need to be quick, especially with HHG.
The rod bolts were put in at the beginning because I didn’t trust the construction 2×4s vs. Arizona summer.

Thomas, Vacuum bags are great but for marquetry (actually veneer in general) I now prefer screws because you can start at one side and work the pressure to the other. Keep an eye out for my next project. It used that one piece of thin Padauk that I picked up at les fils de J George. ..... Good times.

Steve, I love Harbor Freight. Some of my favorite tools come from there. ..... like the trim router.

Thanks all

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

233 posts in 937 days

#11 posted 146 days ago

Great idea Paul. I’ll surely be in HF for a couple of those.

I thought you done most of your veneering/marquetry by using the hammering method with hot hide glue which didn’t need clamping.

-- J.C.Sellers

View shipwright's profile


4843 posts in 1400 days

#12 posted 146 days ago

Thanks Jim.
You can’t hammer marquetry. I do hammer solid veneer areas like the insides of boxes where there is no marquetry, but you can’t work a hammer over all those little pieces without creating an unholy mess. Also hammer veneering relies on a solid surface to prevent air from getting under and breaking the seal so even if you could keep all the bits in place, it still wouldn’t work. I hope that makes sense to you.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Bluepine38's profile


2876 posts in 1687 days

#13 posted 146 days ago

Just another idea Zoro Tools has a 3’ length of 1/2”-10 acme rod for 6.99 and acme nuts are available on
e-bay, You could build your own press screws fairly economically. I mentioned these sources because they
are available to everyone. I get my Acme threaded rod and nuts from Fasteners INC. I retired from there
when I turned 70-5 years ago, but they still have me come back to help out when they get in a bind. I will
finish up my current stint in 2 weeks and retire once more.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View lanwater's profile


3075 posts in 1536 days

#14 posted 146 days ago

I thought about using the pipe clamp head screw for this but it would have been more expensive.

you showed me a cheaper way.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Greg's profile


281 posts in 1476 days

#15 posted 146 days ago

Brilliant man! I love the, “But wait! There’s MORE!” part at the end. :)

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

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