Clamps - never too many
I have a large sized Big Lots not too far from the house. I have
found them to be good resource of different things I need like cloth
drop cloths, painter's tape, and occasionally some nice paint
brushes. It's rare, but they will have a lot of nice brushes once or
twice a year. (My old painter turned me on to BL for this stuff).
So I am in there to get some roller covers (this BL usually has Shur
Line) and some tape and I see clamps. Lots of clamps - nice clamps!
They are Stanley "Bailey" branded (how's that for whoring out the last
ounce of a good name?) clamps that are the deeper throated models.
They call them the quick clutch F type clamps, and they have 24, 30,
and 36 inch models for $10 each. Of course, the longer the clamp they
better the buy is - they are all $10, no matter the size. They also
had a huge jawed 30" clamps that have a 1 1/4" X 1/4" bar on it that
looks like you could use it for a pry bar at the same price.
They had some other lighter style of clamps which I happen to like,
too. Marked Stanley Bailey as well, bought some nice 36" clamps where
both the head and the foot slide on a smooth bar by squeezing the two
clips to release to rough adjustment, then the handscrew tightens to
finish. Don't know what this style of clamp is called, but it is
lighter weight and damn handy. I have some really cheap Rockler
clamps that are starting to come apart, and this second style will
fill the bill nicely in replacing them.
I can't afford all the Bessey clamps I want, no matter what the sale
is. So I have a few Besseys that I use to orient and start my
clamping for glue ups. These are perfect for the rest of the clamps
that go on the work piece to secure it.
All those BL Stanley clamps all seem like nice clamps , and for the
sizes it's a great buy.
Never enough clamps.
Another thing stores like this are good for. Buying crummy tools that no
good releatives can borrow.
Good thing they didn't have any surplus Festool clamps. You would have gone
into a tool buying frenzy! <G>
Doubtful! If they had been Festool, I would have been
able to afford one clamp! Of course it would have
lasted the rest of my life, but the wood I clamp doesn't
seem to know what the make and model of the clamps
are that I use.
I was actually hoping someone would take a quick look
at their local BL and but some for themselves.
Affordable tools that actually work are kind of a rarity
I stopped in the local BL to check out the clamps. On the shelf are 8 of
the Stanley Bailey clamps, four at 24" and four at 36" and at only $8 each.
I took all 8. I can't buy pipe clamps for that price. These are nice
medium duty clamps, steel "I" beam type bar and both ends slide on the bar.
These 8 will make a good addition to my clamp collection.
You can never have to many clamps.
Well, I had to go an pick up some myself. Thanks Robert.
Now the bad part, these clamps come with rubber pads to protect the surface
being clamped. Picth'em, they ooze oil on your wood. I just had this same
issue with Bessey clones that had rubber pads. The Stanly pads come off and
the surface under the pads is smooth so the pads offer little protection.
Other than that, they do work well and both ends slide along the shaft like
some of the new Bessey's will do.
I got mine for $8 each.
One of us will come up with a work around. I will fiddle around a bit
when paying 65% off. I am thinking about hot melt gluing a piece of
something over the pads or on the jaws themselves. Back in the old,
ancient days of bar and pipe clamps we didn't have pads for the
clamps, so we glued pieces on (or kept some around) to use as pads for
the jaws when clamping. I had some jaws pads made from commercial
grade vinyl floor base that lasted really well, and they were glued on
the clamps with liquid nails. They lasted for years.
Sombitch... why did I have to pay $10??? I was robbed!!
Actually, anytime I could pay $10 for a decent 36" clamp, I'll take
Add me to the "Thanks fer the heads up list"!
Just came back from purchasing a few (2 each of 24, 30, and 36 at $8,
plus two 30" wide-jaws at $10 each). They also had the 12 or 14 inchers
for $8 as well, but I didn't get those.
I hadn't been in that particular Big Lots in about 10 years, but
methinks I'll be going back semi-often - good stuff in there now.
My work around is to use nothing. I have several clamps with "smooth" metal
clamping surfaces and unless I crank down severely I don't get marks. If I
do need to apply lots of pressure I substitute a pieve of plywood scrap
between the clamp face and the project.
Good point. Especially with the largest of the clamps, I rarely use
them for anything "fine". Those bigger boys (like one of those havy
duty 30" depp throat jobs) are perfect for lining up 2X materials when
making beams, twisting a joist back where is should be before nailing,
And I find I don't clamp things with as much pressure as I used to in
years past. I read an article on furniture making that the glue
makers ( I >think< it was Franklin) and some furniture makers group
tested out the glues and their application several years ago.
They opined that there are a few things that screw up a glue up,
.with most of these being pointed at edge to edge laminations
for tops, etc.:
- Over tightening clamps can actually squeeze out too
much glue. Until I read that, I always squeeeezed out everything
I could withing reason. In my defense, nothing has ever come
apart over the years
- By over tightening the clamps, it makes the wood walk around when
trying to clamp for that perfect, no-sand joint. This makes it more
difficult to accurately place the pieces. To me this is a technique
though, at least on some cases. But, one thing I thought was
was the observation that over tightened clamps will allow the wood to
rest in place while you finish, and then (especially with the glues
long open times) move around later. I have personally had this
many times and make it a habit to check on my glue ups about 20
minutes after the last clamp is set. Most of the time, nothing, but
sometimes an adjustment is needed
- Not gluing both sides of the material. I have seen many articles
and tests since then that also said it was good to wipe your
surfaces with a damp cloth before glueing as it would keep
the initial contact point of the glue from drying out when the
dry wood sucks out the immediately available moisture. Makes
sense to me, but I still don't do it.
- Not enough clamps used. The obvious conclusion is that even
pressure across a surface by frequently deployed clamps is
better than clamping the snot out of surfaces with the clamps
few and far between. An adjunct to this was inconsistent clamping
pressure by using all different manner of clamps in the shop
(guilty as charged)
LMAO! Got a good snort out of that one!
I have about 80 clamps now, some are just heavy enough to get the
done (my little Rockler aluminum bars clamps), pipe clamps that are
probably 30 years old, some ratcheting bar clamps from the '20 - 30's
that were used by an old furniture maker (estate sale find), squeeze
clamps I keep in my truck to hold things while I attach or quick glue
a project, C clamps, etc., etc. And yet, if they go on sale
a great price again, I will buy more.
I have never been sorry about buying more clamps. The only clamps
I have I don't use are my 52" Besseys. I know I will use them again
sometime, but I don't know when. I bought them when making a "farm
table" top, and paid $65 a piece for them plus tax. I have used them
I had a friend in the hill country that for a while had a furniture
shop. After touring his setup and admiring his tools, he was annoyed
with me for mentioning the fact he actually (I mean literally!) had
much more money tied up in his Bessey collection of clamps than he did
his table saw.
It is kinda strange, isn't it?
I have never had a joint from clamping too tightly but clamping tightly is
really not needed unless you need to persuade a joint to close. Masking
tape is plenty if the joint is a perfect fit.
Yeah I think that falls in the urban legend that you can starve a joint by
clamping too tightly.
True, I am building a Walnut desk at the moment with laminated legs. The
glue up was going to be a slippery one because of the creep when applying
the clamping pressure so I used 1 3/8" pins on the ends to hold every thing
in place, that works out bery well. Domino's on panel glue ups.
I was counting today, not as many as Swingman, ;~) but I am up to 26 bar
clamps, about half Cabinet Masters and Jet's + 6 or so pipe clamps and
numerous small ones.
Yeah, I have 6, 50" Cabinet Masters and wish I had more that were shorter
but I got a deal at about $17 each several years ago.
I have been using the "heavy duty" stick-on pads that Home Depot (and
others) sell for putting on the bottom of furniture legs to protect
floors from scratching. They are made of very thick felt-like material
and come with a strong adhesive. They come in multiple round & square
sizes or you can cut your own from a bigger sheet. They give a lot of
protection and don't ooze anything...
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