Clamping question

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Forum topic by TraylorPark posted 12-13-2014 03:04 PM 1434 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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213 posts in 1834 days

12-13-2014 03:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: spring clamps question

Lately I have found myself doing a fair number of laminations for legs and things. I am fairly clamp poor right now and was wondering if the cheap 2” spring clamps have the clamping power sufficient for a solid lamination? Anyone have any experience or thoughts? I’ve been using bar clamps to do them, but without really cranking on them to avoid marring the surface.

-- --Zach

10 replies so far

View Oldtool's profile


2747 posts in 2426 days

#1 posted 12-13-2014 03:16 PM

I would say that as long as you don’t see any gaps between the boards, you are good to go.
In my opinion, the first objective of the clamp is to hold the components together until the glue sets up. Second, the clamps are used to close gaps as in the case of a panel assembly, or close any jointing gaps such as rails to stiles or keep dove tails secure in place.
I made my first major project, a country cabinet, and I didn’t own any clamps or a work bench. I wedged components tightly together with stops on a sheet of plywood, and small wishes. Personally I think all the clamping hype is malarkey, promoted by the vendors to make sales.
Just make sure you surface the boards sufficiently to eliminate gaps when dry assembled.
This is just my humble opinion, based on my experiences.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 2125 days

#2 posted 12-13-2014 03:17 PM

If the stock is square and flat it realistically doesn’t take much force to pull them together.

View Julian's profile


1433 posts in 2926 days

#3 posted 12-13-2014 03:24 PM

You might also consider purchasing some relatively cheap clamps from Harbor Freight. Their metal F style clamps work well and with a 20% coupon they are a deal. Using wedges as mentioned above is another good way to glue up pieces.

-- Julian

View ChefHDAN's profile


1227 posts in 3085 days

#4 posted 12-13-2014 03:29 PM

Only issue sometimes with the spring clamps can be when their jaws arent large enough to exert force evenly against each other and parts can “squirt” out. I ‘spose there’s always Norm’s line “shoot a few brads till the glue sets” too ;-)

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2812 days

#5 posted 12-13-2014 03:52 PM

Rubber bands work.

Shop made cauls rock.

Ratcheting tie down straps come to mind.

Here’s some more cauls:

View Neptuno's profile


32 posts in 1553 days

#6 posted 12-13-2014 04:42 PM

If you are talking Bend lamination, you need a lot of clamping force, that can only be obtained, in my experience, with good quality F clamps, and lots of them. Some laminations will work with a vacuum bag also.


-- We must all cross the line.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1141 posts in 2470 days

#7 posted 12-13-2014 05:45 PM

I don’t know how I would get by without my shop made cauls.

-- Jerry

View TraylorPark's profile


213 posts in 1834 days

#8 posted 12-13-2014 08:08 PM

Thanks all for the insight. Mostly I’m doing face jointing on variable thickness boards to achieve a thicker stock. I haven’t jumped into bent laminations yet. So I gather that as long as the boards are prepped well there isn’t a huge need to really crank them together. Also, the cauls are a fantastic item that I didn’t know existed. So many thanks for that knowledge bomb. I will for sure be making a few sets of those before my next project.

-- --Zach

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2929 days

#9 posted 12-14-2014 02:04 PM

A couple suggestions. Rope or twine can make a great clamp, I use it all the time when reassembling chairs I have repaired. And it is also used on a panel clamp I have posted on here a couple times. Also look into plans for building your own wooden cam clamps. I made a bunch of these many years ago and they are still working just fine. You can also make your own hand screw clamps. Gluing takes just enough pressure if you think a clamp isn’t strong enough just try clamping your finger, if it’s uncomfortable it’s ok.


-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


7106 posts in 2435 days

#10 posted 12-14-2014 06:21 PM

You don’t need a lot of force when laminating.. too much pressure will squeeze most of the glue out of the joint and actually weaken the bond. Just tight enough to minimize the gaps between substrates with just a little squeeze out (to ensure proper coverage) is what you are looking for. Bent laminations are even more problematic as you generally need quite a bit of force to make the bends. I have made bent laminated sailboat tillers and getting the right pressure on those is a bit of a chore.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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