Box/drawer clamping - has anyone experienced this?

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Forum topic by JJohnston posted 11-08-2010 12:16 AM 4530 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11-08-2010 12:16 AM

I’m not terribly experienced in building boxes and drawers, and I observed something unexpected today. Anybody else notice this?

I was gluing up drawer boxes, 1/2” baltic birch, about 8.5”x24”x19” outside dimension. I’m using a lock rabbet corner joint (see picture). On the first 2 of 4 I put the clamps on as shown in the upper picture; no particular reason, just that I would put the clamps on the first side, then spin it around, and put the clamps on the second side the same way. These were not square as they went together, and I was having to use a squaring clamp. They were both out-of-square the same way: the long diagonal was between the moveable jaws.

On the next 2, I was using much longer clamps, and I decided to have all the tails pointing the same way to make them easier to handle (as shown in the lower drawing). When clamped up this way, they were square. I went back to the first 2 and flipped the clamps on one side, and they became square without a squaring clamp.

Am I the last one to know about this, or have I discovered something new?

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

6 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3165 days

#1 posted 11-08-2010 12:36 AM

I’m not lucky enough to have Bessey K body clamps, yet, but I’ll be watching this thread closely.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2993 days

#2 posted 11-08-2010 01:01 AM

That’s what I would expect with my cabinet clamps used the way you showed. I don’t have Bessey but have a few Jorgensen Cabinet Masters. That’s the way they work. The way you turned them in the second view, if one clamp has a slight skew to it, the opposite clamp would offset the skew and cancel it out.

View traupmann's profile


124 posts in 2809 days

#3 posted 11-08-2010 01:18 AM

Probably neither the last to know or the discoverer; I have noticed that the Bessey clamps at the clamp end do angle an they tighten. Your description is perfect. I know of no clamp that doesn’t have some inherent problem similar to this. Some years back one of the woodworking mags gave the Rockler clamps the squarest award, but mine hang while I use the Bessey.

I would guess this is one of those ‘learning’ moments. Learning to use our tools correctly and precisely is a long richly rewarding experience, wouldn’t you say?

-- chas -- looking for Serta sponsorship to go Pro...

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7992 posts in 2820 days

#4 posted 11-08-2010 01:35 AM

I’ve never noticed it but I always set both clamps the same way so I can stand the assembly out of the way on those nice flat Bessy toes.

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

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2948 days

#5 posted 11-08-2010 01:51 AM

I have used Bessey clamps for many years, have about 60 or so of the K clamps, and have never noticed what you describe.

Thinking about it, I do as you have noted in your second photo, and as Paul says, clamping with tails in one direction so I can stand them out of the way to dry.

Interesting question, I will try it the first way as I am working on some drawers this week.

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

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1622 posts in 3313 days

#6 posted 11-08-2010 02:45 AM

Great – I’ll look forward to your results.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

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