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Thread: Thoughts about glue-ups and clamps

  1. #1

    Thoughts about glue-ups and clamps

    A few weeks ago, I posted about how impressed I was with some new parallel clamps I finally tried. Since then, I've used them more and I'd like to compare notes with all of you on some of my observations about glue ups in general.

    1. First, let me just eat some crow and say that our Pro's were, of course, right. There are certain times that, like it or not, you have to force a joint closed using more pressure than normal. It's not something I have to do often, but I had to get out the pipe clamps yesterday on the final section of that butcher block table. The JETs just wouldn't close the gap.

    2. In my (hobbyist) shop, needing greater clamping force seems to happen when either I haven't done a dry fit to check how it all comes together, or I've fiddled with the wet glue-up until some of it is starting to set up. The partially dried glue has been known to "clog" the gap between two parts, rather like a shim. But if I properly fit my joints ahead of time, I don't seem to need a ton of pressure to get a rock solid glue up (on the things I build). Do you folks see the same - well fit joints need less pressure? Or is that just because I build small, simple stuff, rather than mahogany entry doors?

    3. Parallel clamps won't correct small errors in un-square surfaces. What I mean, is that an F-clamp can swivel a degree or two and bring out of square parts together without leaving a gap. (You'll have to plane the mated boards flat again of course.) But if your parts aren't good and square, the parallel clamp will not create a tight joint - you'll have a thin gap filled with glue with wood touching wood only on one edge.

    4. I'd forgotten how much I hate black pipe. Got crud from the pipe all over my workpiece because I forgot to wipe them down first (in the middle of that glue up). But man, can those stinkers apply force.

    5. Glue gets stuck to parallel clamps. Not sure why it's more of a problem to remove than on F-clamps - the "tracks" look about the same to me - but dried glue does clog them. I wax the tracks and wipe them clean immediately after removing the glued up item. If it's stuck, I clean the track with a brass brush. How do you deal with this?

    6. F-clamps are NOT the solution to everything, especially wide panels. They flex too much. (At least my 24" Jorgey's do.) I never snapped to that until recently. I'm finding that it works best for me to place 4 pipe clamps or parallel clamps on the work, then only use the F-clamps to fill in the gaps between. Even if the joint is fit right, the flex pulls the work out of plane. YMMV and yes, cauls can help with that. But it's so much easier using clamps that don't flex.

    The Best Things has 10 Dubuque 24" clamps for about $210+shipping. I think I'm going to start saving up for a set. I've bought some old planes from there and enjoyed doing business with them.

    7. For narrower glue ups, I really like the Bessey Revo Jr in an 18" length. Lightweight and effective. But again, I wouldn't go longer with the Juniors because of potential flex. I get out the JETs. But that's just me.

    Any thoughts on my observations, or on glue ups in general?

    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 02-26-2017 at 4:36 PM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    There's nothing wrong with galvanized pipe for glue ups. There was a time everyone was against it, but it works fine... you'll also find a time for a variety of clamps..
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    Last edited by jack duren; 02-26-2017 at 5:03 PM.

  3. #3
    95% of what I clamp up is by pipe clamps. I have some squeeze clamps and wood screw clamps for special operations, but the pipe clamp reins king in my shop.




  4. #4
    I use my parallel clamps for assembly. For gluing up panels, I have a few I beam clamps. If my panels fit right, I just use one I beam in the center, and use cauls on both edges, in a few inches, and if there is an offset on the ends, I use a c clamp to make it even. Cauls make a huge difference in the flatness of my panels, thanks to the forum for the information on using cauls.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I use the clamp that is needed, and I have a ton of them. Sometimes parallel clamps, sometimes Klik-clamps, sometimes F-style. It just depends on the situation.

    Doc
    As Cort would say: Fools are the only folk on the earth who can absolutely count on getting what they deserve.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Is the difference between parallel clamps and pipe clamps due to the handle design? Both clamps use a threaded rod with around 4-5 threads per inch. The parallel clamps only give you a 1" diameter handle. Pipe clamps have a 3" wide lever to be able to apply a lot of torque.

    I have been thinking of getting a couple of Jorgensen I-beam clamps for the few cases where I need to really pull something together.

    Steve

  7. #7
    I recognize that parallel clamps provide more even pressure than do pipe clamps.

    However (and I wonder if I'm the only one who has this issue), parallel clamps take a little trick to get them to engage. I often have to push the mechanism up while turning the handle or it won't engage and the I turn and turn and the threads just bottom out. I was teaching a beginner how to glue up a case last Friday and he had a devil of a time getting the Besseys to engage.

    The pipe clamps, on the other hand, engage effortlessly. You know what you're going to get as you start turning. This makes long, panel glue ups much easier for me - especially with cauls where the increased cabinet clamp depth is moot.

    I am about the messiest gluer-upper there is, and I never have issues with black pipe staining. It always planes, scrapes, or sands off pretty easily.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    St. Francis, Kansas
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    I don't use anything but pipe clamps, & don't have any problems. I have a few harbor freight squeeze clamps, too, but they don't have enough pressure for a glue up. Some of my pipe clamps are on galvenized pipe, & others are on black pipe. I use a putty knife to clean the dried glue off the pipe. Placing the clamps is important. I put one on top & one on the bottom all the way across the glue up. I've always had good luck clamping this way. I plane & joint my face & edge joints to be glued. This insures a good flat surface to glue to.
    Sawdust703

  9. #9
    The weight of pipe clamps can overwhelm a lightweight cabinet or frame unless it is possible to lay the clamps on the bench, jaws up, with the frame on top of them, in which case the frame need not support the heavy clamps. For my work I generally prefer Jorgensen Pony clamps or the lightweight aluminum bar clamps. If you fit properly excessive clamping pressure is unnecessary.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  10. #10
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    I think you summed it up pretty well, just want to make you aware of a great clamp, the Piher F style clamp, very deep reach and will not flex at all, and can give crazy pressure. I use them when I need to force a Domino joint together.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    most of the time my glue ups are laying flat on my work table, on the pipe clamps. I've found that equal pressure on both sides of the glue up gives a better glue up, & less pressure is needed if all sides & edged are jointed & faced.
    Sawdust703

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dindner View Post
    I think you summed it up pretty well, just want to make you aware of a great clamp, the Piher F style clamp, very deep reach and will not flex at all, and can give crazy pressure. I use them when I need to force a Domino joint together.
    Thanks Bill. I hadn't seen these before.
    Fred

  13. #13
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    I am not even at complete newbie status yet. I am very close to Finally having made enough room in basement to start setting up a woodworking shop. Another flaw (LOL) for me is I am an electrician, tend to see things more from that side. I read a lot of these threads and try to learn as much as possible so that hopefully I can eliminate some of the upcoming trial and errors. After reading this thread a question I have is for pipe clamps, i have bought some of the pipe clamps and was planning on using aluminum rigid threaded conduit for the pipe. I can cut and thread as much of this as I want at work (See it's that electrician thinking). It seems from reading this thread that there are some negatives about using pipe other than black iron (which I can also rather easily get and thread, but it is much heavier) Any opinions on this might help me only cut and thread the proper type of pipe, the first time. I have found this forum to be like a school/teacher/mentor. Thanks for any input.

  14. #14
    Arthur,
    I think that using conduit will give you too much flex in the clamp when you tighten it up. I'd go with black pipe over conduit and find a way to keep it from gunking up the parts you are gluing. Some have also mentioned using galvanized pipe successfully, but I haven't ttried that yet.

    Good luck!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Hines, MD View Post
    I use the clamp that is needed, and I have a ton of them. Sometimes parallel clamps, sometimes Klik-clamps, sometimes F-style. It just depends on the situation.

    Doc
    That would be me
    Who knows what stands in front of,
    our lives; I fashion my future on films in space.

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