questions on clamps

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Forum topic by Wintersedge posted 04-15-2010 05:31 AM 1033 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wintersedge's profile


83 posts in 2397 days

04-15-2010 05:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: clamp pine

I am ready to do a few glue ups and realized I know nothing about clamping, other than you can never have enough and do not tighten too tight.

Is there a good book or website that gives you a good lesson on doing glue ups?

How much room should I have between clamps? Is there an overall brand that people have been very happy with? Am I better off buying pipe clamps so I can always change my length and just get the clamp ends?

Right now I am making a work bench and going to glue up the top which is 8’ x 4” x 16” the wood is southern yellow pine.


-- Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

5 replies so far

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 2559 days

#1 posted 04-15-2010 06:50 AM

For bigger jobs I prefer pipe clamps for the reason I can vary my lengths but for smaller jobs I use parallel clamps, if I don’t have enough (parallel) I’ll use both. I have Bessey & Jet, I prefer Jet. I think you need both (pipe-parallel) for various glue ups. When it comes to clamps the more the merrier. Like you said you can never have enough, that goes with kinds & sizes…

-- Rick

View ackychris's profile


103 posts in 2436 days

#2 posted 04-15-2010 07:11 AM

It probably depends on what size projects you’ll be doing, partly. For small glue-ups, laminating leg blanks (my current project is an end-table), etc., I prefer c-clamps. For other stuff, I’m okay with just some Jorgenson bar clamps, 18” and a few 36”. My new rule of thumb is to splurge for the heavy-duty on long bar clamps. As someone who still has no pipe clamps, I’d say you’re probably better off with pipe clamps if you’re gonna be doing big glue-ups. Get some smaller bar clamps if/when ease of use and weight become an issue. And in my humble opinion, you should get a few 2” and 3” c-clamps every time you hit the store. But that’s just me. :)

As far as clamping pressure, all I can say is that I most definitely clamp too tight, really bearing down on it (I’m trying to break that habit), and so far, none of my glue joints have failed. But keep in mind that I’m new to this, so I don’t have many glue joints sitting around waiting to fail.

By the way, get a couple handscrews sometime—I use the heck out of mine for all kinds of odd jobs.

Edit: Space between clamps: probably doesn’t matter as long as the pressure is even along the joint. I use as many clamps as I own/are big enough/will fit on the workpiece. Could probably get away with fewer with some very slightly curved clamping cauls to distribute pressure. Number of clamps/space between clamps should be less important than equal, sufficient pressure along the joint.

-- I hate finishing. I never manage to quit while I'm ahead. --Chris

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5107 posts in 2617 days

#3 posted 04-15-2010 07:41 AM

Greetings Wintersedge: About 5 days ago this subject was posted on here, and had to do with paralell clamps. If you’ll go to page 13 here on the forum topics, you can read the responses that were posted. I posted a couple of pixs of my clamps. I keep a mixed assortment of all, but my favorites are the Bessey clamps.. sizes range from 12”——- 60” on the Besseys…. I really like them and plan to get some more…...Just look on page 13…. may be 14 by the time you get this, or even page 15….. things move pretty fast around here… you’ll find it.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View RONWEN's profile


40 posts in 2646 days

#4 posted 04-15-2010 08:18 AM

Parallel bar clamps are probably best for most cabinet/furniture sized projects. I’ve read tests where Jet, Jorgensen and Bessey ranked in that order as far as clamping force/deflection. Pipe clamps are cheaper & will apply lots of force but also flex far more than the parallel bar clamps. I like the Bessey K Body Revo clamps and add to my collection whenever I see them on special. For your workbench top whatever clamps you choose, place an equal number on each side (top & bottom). With the any of the clamps mentioned it isn’t possible to clamp the joints too tightly.

-- RonWen

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2532 days

#5 posted 04-15-2010 11:25 AM

How you clamp will depend on the project you are working on. If you google “how to benchtop glue-ups” you will get a number of resources for how to set them up. I have a post where I performed an edge to edge glue up for a scrollsaw stand worktop here. I am not an expert, but it gives you a picture view of a glue up in progress. Note the use of wood pieces across the face of the board with clamps running vertically to keep the board from buckling. I use wax paper underneath the boards to keep glue squeeze out from causing the cauls (fancy name for them) to become fastened to the project.

I am assuming that you are making the bench by face to face gluing of your pine pieces. When working with pine, keep in mind that glue-ups have to be performed fairly quickly, as pine absorbs glue at a fast rate. If you are doing face to face, I would invest in a small paint roller. I wouldn’t try to glue up all the boards at one time, but make sets of 4-6 boards at a time, then glue the sets together.

As far as types of clamps, you will get many different responses. I recently replaced a good deal of my Harbor Freight clamps and have the following -

Jorgensen 48 inch cabinet clamps – Useful for large carcasses and panel edge to edge glue ups. approx 35+ bucks a piece. I have two.

Irwin 6 inch and 12 inch quick grip clamps – When clamping edge to edge or using right angle jigs , smaller clamps are useful for applying vertical pressure on edge to edge glue ups and for carcass glue ups using the right angle jigs. The jigs are used to align carcass glue ups to the proper 90 degrees so the carcass is square. I have a half dozen of each.

I also like the Bessey reversible clamps= of which I have a couple 12 and 24 inch versions. They are nice because you can lay them down like cabinet clamps or use them vertically and horizontally with other clamps. I also have a small collection of their hand clamps, which are good for many purposes.

F-Style bar clamps are good to have in all sizes, these and traditional wood hand screws can be found at very reasonable prices at Harbor Freight and their versions are pretty decent. Lowes carries Irwin and Bessey products, and Home Depot carries the Jorgensen and Irwin brands.

Good luck and I hope this helps,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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