Clamping time?

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Forum topic by yuri posted 10-18-2010 09:29 PM 2412 views 1 time favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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136 posts in 3837 days

10-18-2010 09:29 PM

That question bothered me for some time. When I assemble my project with joinery, I use wood glue (titebond or elmers) and clamp, put aside usually overnight. Only after that I take off clamps. Directions on glue bottles says 40min-1hours clamping time, but I can not force myself to unclamp even after 2 hours. Though, sometimes I’d prefer to make it 1 hour to free clamps for next gluing.
Am I paranoid? What’s your procedure? Anybody made any tests?

27 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3407 days

#1 posted 10-18-2010 09:32 PM

Usually, after glue-up, you’re supposed to wait 24hrs before stressing the joint, so … it depends on what you want to DO with your work, after only an hour or two.

-- -- Neil

View yuri's profile


136 posts in 3837 days

#2 posted 10-18-2010 09:38 PM

Neil, yes, that is what I am thinking too. But I do not intend to use right after unclamping, just keep it unclamped aside for cure and use freed clamps for next project.

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3394 days

#3 posted 10-18-2010 09:41 PM

Am I paranoid? Yes. :)
What’s your procedure? Follow directions on the bottle.
Anybody made any tests? FWW, I believe.

Seriously, as Neil said above.

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

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1577 posts in 3799 days

#4 posted 10-18-2010 09:44 PM

Clamp up some scrap, wait about 15 min then try to take it apart, that should lessen your concern. I tried to take a cutting board apart after 10-15 min and the wood broke…not the glue.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3168 days

#5 posted 10-18-2010 10:11 PM

I did remove the clamps after 30mn on a couple of occasion. I use titebond III.
I did not have any issue (just sat them aside).
I do prefere to leave the clamps overnight on some glue up.

I believe that temperature and air moisture would have a role on when to remove those clamps so I will say if you can clamp them longer.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3114 days

#6 posted 10-18-2010 10:58 PM

I almost never leave my stuff clamped overnight. I have often taken the clamps off after an only an hour of clamp time and I don’t think I have ever had any issues. I don’t put any stress on the joints though. I guess it depends on the joint and depends on what your making.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View yuri's profile


136 posts in 3837 days

#7 posted 10-18-2010 11:02 PM

OK, guys, you convinced me to lower my paranoia level down quite a bit ;-)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18422 posts in 3909 days

#8 posted 10-19-2010 06:27 AM

Me too! I’ll take the clamps off before tomorrow if I need to, from now on, maybe??

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3306 days

#9 posted 10-19-2010 09:34 AM

I rarely leave clamps on for more than 15 minutes. I won’t stress the piece for a couple of hours but I’ve never had any problem pulling the clamps off that soon in order to clamp something else.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3519 days

#10 posted 10-19-2010 02:04 PM

I usually like to leave clamps on for at least an hour, but that’s if I need to rotate clamps. Very seldom do I leave them on over night, unless that’s the last thing I do before leaving for the day. I’ve never had a problem. Cold weather will make a difference, but I usually have some heat going and usually let things stay on clamps a few hours longer.

-- John @

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 3276 days

#11 posted 10-19-2010 02:18 PM

At work I leave panels clamped up for about an hour during the warmer weather, maybe an extra 30 minutes during cold weather or if the humidity’s really high. That’s for raised panels for doors or drawer fronts or wood tops, etc.
The exception to that for me is bent lamination work. If I’m gluing up an arched door jamb or window frame I will leave it overnight if I can. Or glue it up first thing in the morning and another in the afternoon so each is in the clamps 4-6 hours or more.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4452 days

#12 posted 10-19-2010 03:00 PM

Here’s a little different angle, though….

I have no problem taking the clamps off early in a totally flat glue up. But what about a situation where your clamps are actually pulling two boards together. In that case, isn’t taking the clamps off before 24 hours actually stressing the joint, which is what the label tells you not to do?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3159 days

#13 posted 10-19-2010 04:17 PM

I think you are right Charlie, but unless you are gluing and clamping thin strips for a curved piece, larger boards that have to be clamped to close a gap will stress the wood fibers and will fail sooner than the glue, in my opinion…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4452 days

#14 posted 10-19-2010 05:22 PM

Randy: What I had in mind were spring joints, which a lot of experts recommend for edge gluing boards.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4127 days

#15 posted 10-19-2010 05:36 PM

If I’m gluing up a 5 piece door, the clamps come off after 1hour.

If I’m gluing up a piece of fiurniture like ie., a dresser or a desk…........they stay on for at least 12 hours, generally take them off the next day

I think it depends on what your gluing up ?, and the noticable stresses that occur while gluing up

it also depends on the glue being used.

I like titebond III

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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