Not enough clamps

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 05-19-2010 02:04 PM 1685 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4821 posts in 2468 days

05-19-2010 02:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Well , here I am again.
No that I believe that I have to post one question (or more a day) but as I progress in building my bench I have more questions.
Last night I went to buy the lumber for the top at my local Lowes.
This morning as I am thinking about the next steps in the construction I realized that I shall not have enough clamps to clamp the whole thing and especially longer clamps for the final assembly.
I am already over budget for this project so to I would prefer avoiding buying a bunch of additional clamps even if I could use them later.
From the beginning I have thinking about drilling holes all the way through the bench to accommodate 1/2” all threads to keep the all thing tight as it dries, in addition this would solve my problem with clamps.
What do think about this idea?
Is my bench going to turn out as a Switz cheese with all these holes in addition to the holes for the dogs?
Thank you for your time.

-- Bert

15 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


4934 posts in 3083 days

#1 posted 05-19-2010 02:14 PM

Bert—- You can NEVER have too many clamps!

I ran into the same thing when I built my bench … the biggest clamps I had were 6 parallel jaw clamps. I solved the problem at a garage sale … the guy sold me a dozen pipe clamps for $60.

Going with threaded rods would work, but you are talking about drilling a BUNCH of very long, straight holes. And you’d have to make sure they are clear of the dog holes you are going to drill.

The good news is that I find a lot of use for those pipe clamps, so they weren’t wasted money … just an investment I had to make ahead of its time.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2580 days

#2 posted 05-19-2010 02:23 PM

Bert, I’ve done just that on a mini-bench I built. Drill the holes BEFORE you glue it together. Plan their locations so you don’t drill into them when locating your dog holes. :) Or you can take them out after the glue dries. You can also extend smaller clamps using wood strips with perpendicular holes drilled in the ends. Go through a dry-run for your glue-up so you are assured that your method of choice WILL work. Happy clamping.

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

View b2rtch's profile


4821 posts in 2468 days

#3 posted 05-19-2010 02:29 PM

I know I shall never have too many clamps but I also know when I run out of money.

-- Bert

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2494 days

#4 posted 05-19-2010 02:53 PM

I had a situation once where I was thinking of running a couple of threaded rods the length of a bench. Then I changed my mind and used lag screws at each end. I drilled a large hole (1 inch) into the wood far enough that I could bury the head of the lag screw beneath the surface. I even made some wood plugs to hide the heads of the lag screws. It worked out pretty good.

Now I and the people who read this will be the only ones who know that there are lag screws hidden in the construction of the ipe park bench on my front porch.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3294 days

#5 posted 05-19-2010 03:02 PM

Bert, I have a suggestion … cut 3-4” wide strips of wood or ply about 8-12” longer than the final width of your bench. Screw a block on one end of each strip. Screw another block to the strip so you can fit your assembly between the blocks with just a little space to spare. Drive wedges or shims between the blocks and your assembly. You’d be amazed at how much clamping pressure you can create this way.

-- -- --

View b2rtch's profile


4821 posts in 2468 days

#6 posted 05-19-2010 03:30 PM

Gerry, I had the same idea.
Peter, I like your suggestion, thank you.

-- Bert

View Chris 's profile


1877 posts in 3411 days

#7 posted 05-19-2010 03:54 PM

I can tell you that in order to avoid having as many clamps I just acquired some Cauls. I know most of you folks would say make the ,yourself but I decided to purchase these instead: Bowclamp

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2652 days

#8 posted 05-19-2010 04:11 PM

I was going to suggest the cauls thing… I have been running shy of clamps lately, and it’s not like I don’t have a bunch to start with, I just end up using them all doing glue ups and such… I have been resorting to using cauls to spread the load and in turn use less clamps… Seems to be working okay for me so far…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2403 days

#9 posted 05-19-2010 04:15 PM

Have you thought about gluing up the top in sections then gluing the sections together? Then you could make extensions for your clamps to glue the sections together. Thus eliminating the need to buy more clamps at this time.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View b2rtch's profile


4821 posts in 2468 days

#10 posted 05-19-2010 04:23 PM

It really helps to have my job.
I called our main plumbing supplier; he will sale me a 21’ length of 3/4” black pipe for just $5.00 more than HD sales 6.00’ !
In addition it will cut is and thread it free of charge!
The clamps themselves are just a few bucks each at my favorite store: Harbor Freight.
Thank you again for your help.

-- Bert

View jeremy kopena's profile

jeremy kopena

9 posts in 2351 days

#11 posted 05-19-2010 06:19 PM

I do the same as (the dane) does I go to garage sales and you would be surprised on how cheap some clamps to be i bought 4, 36 inch clamps from a guy who realy whated to get rid of them and i only paid 5 bucks for them! you can also buy hand tools cheaply at garage sales as well!

-- garage woodworker

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#12 posted 05-19-2010 06:37 PM

I buy HF 3/4” pipe clamps there on sale sometimes for $3.49 so you can get about four or five for ever brand
name pipe clamp you buy even though a percentage of them don’t work properly it’s still a bargain and you can send the bad ones back and get a replacements. I usually buy about 20 at a time and after putting vaseline on the threads I may have four that don’t work properly.

-- Custom furniture

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 2350 days

#13 posted 05-19-2010 06:50 PM

There are NEVER enough clamps. Theres always that time when you so say…hmmm I need more clamps…
But if you dont want to get the clamps (the poster above me recomended pipe clamps which are great) you just screw and plug the screws. I find myself doing this more and more because I can use contrasting plugs to the main wood. I used paduk plugs on a spalted maple top and it looks great

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View b2rtch's profile


4821 posts in 2468 days

#14 posted 05-19-2010 07:05 PM

Hey Skarp, your work bench is beautiful, how did you get the top together?
Allthread and nuts?
I can see plugs on the side.
Which kind of wood is the top made of?

-- Bert

View davcefai's profile


37 posts in 2817 days

#15 posted 05-23-2010 10:32 AM

Peter O’s suggestion works. What I have done in the past is to sandwich the (door in my case) between strips of wood bolted together. I then drove wedges between the bolts and the door.

If your thicknessing is less than perfect and you are going to plane the glued up assembly then you may need to pad some of the planks to keep the glue-up flat. Do dry runs until it’s all perfect before opening the glue bottle.

-- David

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