Enough clamps for laminated panel?

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Forum topic by jeth posted 12-24-2011 04:41 PM 2134 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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262 posts in 2837 days

12-24-2011 04:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question clamp veneering

Morning all (and seasons greetings) , I am having to lay up some laminated panels for a piano repair. This is not something I am set up to do, I never work with large area of veneer and I don’t want to research and build a vacuum press for a one off job.
I just wanted to run my dry clamp up by folks here as i am unsure if I have sufficient clamping here for this kind of glue up.

I built a semi “torsion box” lower platten with 3/4” MDF with ply webbing, and a beam with two cross pieces half lapped into it, you should be able to see the idea on the photos. The panel is about 40” long by 11” wide, it consists of a 5/8” MDF core which has already been edged with solid wood and two faces of cedar, currently about 3/16” thick. I will run both sides through the planer after glue up to take these faces down to about 1/8”.
I will also use another 3/4” MDF platten, without webbing, on top of the lamination but I left it off for the pics so that the shape of the panel and realtive position of clamps is more visible.

Here’s the pics… one of the lower platten, and a couple of angles that hopefully show the clamp layout OK.

Will I get away with this..? Overall clamp spacing is 7”. .. other than longer/heavier sash style clamps I don’t have any more, I built the handscrew clamps especially for the purpose, so I’m hoping that I get the nod on this one :)

5 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2849 days

#1 posted 12-24-2011 05:52 PM

I’m giving you an A+. Beautifully done, and you didn’t break the bank to get there. Your clamp spacing looks just fine to me.

You may have already anticipated this, but here goes: You’ll want to protect your fixturing from glue squeezeout or you’ll have a mess. Plastic wrap, foil, freezer paper, heck, with your resourcefulness nothing need be said.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 2837 days

#2 posted 12-24-2011 06:21 PM

Thanks a lot Lee, must be my first A+ in history, lol

I had planned to parcel tape the areas of the plattens that are likely to see the squeeze out so hopefully the only thing that will get messy will be me, as always :)

TBH I almost broke the bank as it is , things are tight right now (a bit of time laid up with a bad back).. $15 dollars on the clamps was enough. I had the MDF already, but I shall tack it on the bill all the same ;)

Have a very merry christmas and thanks for a confidence inspiring answer!

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2354 days

#3 posted 12-24-2011 06:46 PM

with a veneer, it’s best to use a solid piece to press down with, instead of the blocks. Your clamps are adequate, but the top of the press just needs to be a solid piece, with a thin layer of wax paper or the like in between it in order to keep from glueing it down.

The Only reason I suggest this, is that with veneers there is a possibility of getting wrinkles :/

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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262 posts in 2837 days

#4 posted 12-24-2011 06:56 PM

Thanks TCC, though if you read back through my OP this is more lamination than veneering, the face panels are at least 3/16” thick and will be surfaced down to around 1/8” after assembly so I don’t think wrinkles will be a problem. I will be using a flat piece of MDF between the boards and the clamps/blocks, just left it off in the photo for the sake of clarity.

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 2837 days

#5 posted 12-26-2011 01:21 AM

Just another couple of questions on this. First up, how long minimum should I leave the panels in the clamps?, I am behind as ever, I know it’s best not to rush things but a safe minimum?

Secondly I had thought about putting in a row of screws before clamp up in the area of the panel that will never be seen as it will be stuck to the pinao main frame.
The idea is to register the pieces and stop them from sliding on me during glue up, just a few 3/4” screws sunk into the inside face enough to pass through the MDF core and bite into the other face. Obviously would have to be careful to control the depth of the screw as I will put the whole panel through the planer after glue up, though I could even take the screws out after glue up.
Any reason why this is a bad idea? The only thing that occured to me was it may restrict even clamping pressure?

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