I just finished using bar clamps to glue up a small Oak table top that I
am (slowly) making. It is about 16" x 15" after the three boards were
My problem was holding the boards, the clamps, the pieces of wood under
the clamp ends all at once. Many times, the clamps or the mar-protector
wood pieces slipped to the floor. That is when I resorted to some
"Non-Sunday School" Language.
I got it together at last - before the glue set. Is there some secret
method that has escaped my studies, other than being reborn as an
I just glued up a 45 piece butcher block 25x25 and next time I think I will wax
up a piece of old formica counter top, lay it out and clamp it there. I used
some sailor language trying to get everything flat myself. I probably should
have used biscuits but it would have taken about 100.
I did end up with nothing more than 1/16th out and my belt sander got it all
pretty smooth but it was a struggle.
First, dry clamp to get what you are going to do down pat before you put on
Next, bar clamps have their place but you would be better off with at least
two pipe clamps (one at either end) to put under the stock (put tape over
the bars where the glue joints will be to prevent ending up with black
marks). Then use the bar clamps.
Clamp from right to left or left to right and,if possible, alternate the
clamps under and over the stock. The pipe clamps should leave you plenty of
room to slip the bar clamps underneath.
There's several things you can do. I just did something similar for
the first time. I used small C-clamps to clamp the ends of my pipe
clamps to a small piece of metal to keep them straight. I used some
masking tape to hold the scrap wood pads to the clamps.
You can make some cradles to hold the clamps in one place.
I use dowels to align my boards, but many now use biscuits -- using
dowels is cheaper since most people already have a drill.
You can use a small brad with the head cut off to help align the
boards. Hammer it into one board edge, then clip the head off and it
will help keep the boards from moving around when you clamp them. I
don't like this, because you have to keep track of the nails if you
drill or whatever the top later.
I only had 2 pipe clamps at the time, so I used a large C-clamp to
clamp down the boards against the pipe clamp pipes to keep it from
buckling. I put a piece of plywood on top to the boards being glued
and a board under the pipes for something for the clamp to clamp onto.
I use some sheets of polyethlene plastic between the wood and the
whatever to keep the glue from sitcking to anything it wasn't supposed
I'm sure there are more technically correct ways the experts know to
do things better but for this beginner it all worked and I was quite
happy with the result (so was my fiance -- which makes it much easier
to justify MORE TOOLS)
On Sun, 17 Aug 2003 10:31:37 -0600, Godzilla wrote:
Jim Tolpin in his book "Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets" described
a wonderfully simple device which helped me deal with this problem.
Basically the idea is this: Make a pair of supports to lift the assembly
clear of the bench so that you can get the clamps on without moving the
Build each lift by glueing two pieces of plywood --- each about 6 inches
wide and somewhat longer than the width of the panel you are glueing ---
together at a right angle in a "T". Place the "T" upside down on the
bench. Cover the top edge with laminate to prevent glue from sticking.
(I've used mylar tape.) Now you can shim the lifts if necessary so that
boards placed on top of them lie in a plane. When glueing, alternate
clamps top and bottom. Dowels or biscuits can also be used to improve
no spam diversion jbriggs at xmission dot com
Before I got Bessey K-bodies, I used bar and pipe clamps. I took a 2x4 and
cut slots or 1/2 circles on the edge and used that to support the clamps. I
space the clamps so I could put half the clamps on the bottom of the panel
and 1/2 on the top. Drape wax paper over the clamps or put tape on the
clamps to keep glue off the clamps and to keep the clamps from discoloring
the stock. For the wood pieces to prevent marring, use a little hot-melt
glue to hold them.
Also, I always do a dry run (even with easy glue ups) before adding the glue
to the mix. You would be surprised how many times I had to change something
to make a good glue up. It is a lot harder to do if the glue is already
spread on the boards. I have a friend who sneers at my doing the dry runs,
but you should see how poorly his glue ups go. He spreads the glue and
starts clamping. Immediately, he sees he needs more clamps, or the panel is
bowing, or it isn't squared up. What should be a simple glue up turns into
10 minutes of a high blood pressure frenzy. Even then, the final glue up,
although acceptable to him, doesn't pass muster.
If you mean the pieces that go between the clamp face and the panel, I
attach them to the clamp face with hot-melt glue. You could just as easily
attach it to the panel. The hot melt glue scrapes off easy enough with a
Is scraping off the glue good enough to not interfere with the
If it is polyurethane glue, I let it cure, then scrape and sand it off. If
you try before it cures, it is messy and will smear all over. For yellow
glues, I let the panel sit in the clamps for about an hour until the glue
hardens to a rubber-like state and then I scrape it off. If you use a wet
rag to wipe of the squeeze out, you will rub it into the pores which will
affect the finish. If you let the glue harden, small chunks of wood will
come up if you scrape it off. If you sand it, the heat softens the glue and
it clogs up the sanding belt.
That is why, when using yellow glue, I don't let it sit in the clamps
It's important to remember that it won't make a strong enough bond to
actually hold anything together permanently. You may already know
this, but others reading may not. It can be used pretty much wherever
you'd use double-sided tape - to temporarily affix two pieces of wood
while you're doing something, but that you expect to either unstick
later or make more permanent using some other method.
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