These five styles can help solve your clamping quandaries.
Bringing flat, square edges and faces together on a woodworking project isn’t rocket science. A collection of bar, pipe and screw clamps can accomplish these sorts of day-in-and-day-out shop assemblies with ease. But what about those circumstances where you need a secure hold on curves or angles, or a clamp must push rather than pull? Here’s when a few specialized clamps are not only practical at glue-up time but could even prevent a trip to the emergency room. Consider the following woodworking scenarios and some handy clamp variations that’ll do the job when others don’t.
Covering the Spread
While you probably spend most of your time assembling projects, sooner or later every woodworker encounters the occasional repair job — and quite often that involves some creative disassembly. A common furniture failure involves broken joints where stretcher spindles separate from chair legs. Tension and racking from use is tough on these cross-grain glue bonds. But, if just one stretcher breaks free and not the others, how do you separate them all to make the fix? Here’s where knowing your glue chemistry can really help — and so can having a few bar clamps that act as spreaders. Bessey’s Revo Junior clamps, for example, have a removable clamp head that can be reversed on the bar to direct pressure away from the fixed head (see Photo 1). A uniform and controlled application of pressure, parallel to the chair stretcher, will often separate the joints neatly and without resorting to pounding, twisting or other brute force.