11 Tricky Clamping Solutions

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This video is all about solutions for tricky clamping situations when the usual methods just won’t work. Check it out.

When you have an unusual shape and multiple joints that need securing at the same time, grab a scrap board and place your glue up on top.

Now place a scrap blocks at the ends as well as the joints, then attach them to the backer board with a screw. Leave just a slight gap so that next you can use some wedges to apply pressure at every joint. 

When you’re trying to clamp onto a sloped surface, the clamp will just slip more as you tighten more. To solve this, grab a scrap and make two notch boards that have parallel clamping surfaces. You can leave a foot at the end of these boards to hook onto your project. 

When gluing on something long, such as this trim piece, you could use as many clamps as you can get on the surface…..or you can use a caul. This caul has a slight cup in it and if you place it with the curve facing the trim piece, you can use two clamps on either end to apply even pressure over the entire length. 

With a similar principal in mind, another method would be to use F style clamps but leave a small gap between the trim and the neck of the clamp.

This way you can use a wedge to apply a larger footprint of pressure and not have to use so many clamps. 

A different method of cauls is glue cauls….have you ever had something longer than your clamps that you needed to clamp together? Instead of buying 8’ clamps a trick is to first glue down some scrap blocks to brown construction paper. Then glue the paper down on either side of your joint.

After about 30 seconds and a bit of downward pressure, the pieces are ready to be clamped onto and pull things together. After it dried, the cauls can be knocked off and the paper sanded away. 

I) Another work around for not having really long clamps is to prop your glue up on two boards then screw down a scrap at the end.

Now on the end you need to clamp something to, use another scrap with a lag bolt threaded in the edge.

Screw it down so the lag bolt is touching the wood, then as you thread out on the lag bolt, it applies pressure to the joint and negates having to have extremely long clamps. 

Pieces often shift during clamping which can be frustrating so to get a perfectly flush edge, use a scrap to shoot a brad nail or two into the edge of the wood.

Trim off the head so only a small nub is remaining. Now line up your joining board and press it down onto the nails.

Now when you clamp the joint, the slick surface won’t matter. 

I love that last trick but another method that gets the same results is biscuits.

They also won’t allow your boards to shift while applying pressure with a clamp. 

Sometimes when clamping, you’ll run into situations where the clamps don’t have a long enough reach.

Hand Screw clamps are a wonderful solution because they are made with a wooden body, meaning you can very quickly screw on extensions for any length you need. 

Want a more even pressure when clamps can’t reach the center of a board? Never rule out just dumb weight.

So many items around a shop can work for clamping including…extra glue bottles….


Or even a bucket of water set directly on top or on an expanded footprint that fits the surface area.

Or one I particular like is a door jam. If you have a mobile work bench, roll the glue up to a door jam and use a few scraps to go up to the jam.

You can place them at a slight angle then use wedges to get them snug. Now as you tap them vertical it applies more pressure down to the workpiece. If you create a larger footprint like I have with 2x4s, then the pressure is distributed over the entire piece. 

Then last but not least, don’t rule out the power of tape. When glueing together four miters, lay out a piece of tape with the adhesive facing up.

Place your parts so that the corners touch, then after applying glue, simply roll it up and let it dry.

I hope these tips have helped you learn a trick or two! Leave me a comment below and let me know what your favorite trick is, if I didn’t mention it.

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