How to go about clamping large pieces?

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Forum topic by botanist posted 01-31-2013 06:45 PM 2462 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 3501 days

01-31-2013 06:45 PM

In designing my new bed, I came across a conundrum about clamping large pieces, namely the headboard and footboard. I could get pipes long enough to span the distance, or I could use long strap clamps. How would you clamp long (or wide) pieces and what potential problems could I face if I used either one of my ideas?

8 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3121 days

#1 posted 01-31-2013 06:58 PM

This doesn’t help, but I’d bolt rails to footboards and headboards. You’d never get it out of the house otherwise. You can use glued on cleats to bolt into.

Alternatively, a design that incorporates sliding dovetails (or other) for those joints would be kinda cool.

-- jay,

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2877 days

#2 posted 01-31-2013 07:22 PM

I like Jay’s idea about sliding dovetails with wedges. They work great. I did this on my workbench and they really stay snug. If you look at my workbench and visualize just/only the bottom rail being a bed frame holding both ends together, WITHOUT the top, you will get the idea, especially if you used a wider rail.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2798 days

#3 posted 01-31-2013 07:22 PM

My plan is to nail down a couple of sturdy boards to the floor, both as long as the height of the headboard and spaced an inch or two wider than the length of the headboard. So when it comes time to clamp I can lay the headboard on the floor against one board and tap wedges between the headboard and the second board basically compressing the headboard between the two boards. I can then use standard bar clamps to clamp the top and bottom of the headboard.
I’m not certain strap clamps are the answer as I don’t believe they are strong enough. Bar clamps will work, just make sure to alternate top and bottom and you may need to a board under the pipes about midway across to counter the flex the pipes might experience if it is a king sized headboard. If king sized buy extra clamp pieces and when you’re done you can cut the pipe down for extra clamps, if queen sized stick the clamps out of the way when done as you may need a set that long sometime down the road.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View chrisstef's profile


17299 posts in 2969 days

#4 posted 01-31-2013 07:30 PM

I was watching rough cut last night and Tommy was making a bed and had to deal with this exact problem. His idea was pretty slick. He took a wooden clamp and cranked it down across the back stretche and inserted his tenon into the mortise. From there he took 2 more clamps and using the wooden clamp he ran the 2 clampsoff the wooden one to the post pulling it tight. Im going to see if i can find some pics.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View bondogaposis's profile


4680 posts in 2314 days

#5 posted 01-31-2013 07:36 PM

If you have some pipe clamps you can make them longer w/ a pipe coupler, making 2 clamps into one double long clamp. When the bed is finished you remove the coupler and put them back to the way they were.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3121 days

#6 posted 01-31-2013 08:05 PM

In general, you can use parallel clamps or pipe clamps, two per side, which pull on each other and double their effective lengths. For something extra long, you just need a helper to help set them.

-- jay,

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2332 days

#7 posted 01-31-2013 09:08 PM

I’m with chrisstef. That episode came right to mind when I read your post. I think Tommy Mac’s way would be the quickest/easiest.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5618 posts in 2776 days

#8 posted 01-31-2013 09:27 PM

1+ bondos comment. Two 4’ pipe clamps coupled together will work for a headboard.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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