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Apply pressure with water

Apply pressure with water

Some woodworkers keep a stack of bricks in the shop for those times when weight is better than clamps. But I think plastic buckets make the best weights. Filled with water, they provide a lot of weight. When empty, they’re light, easy to store and handy for other jobs.
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Shift clamps to square your work

Shift clamps to square your work

To check the squareness of a cabinet frame or box, take diagonal measurements. If the measurements aren’t equal, shift the positions of the clamps. In this photo, I exaggerated the shift for clarity. In most cases, a slight shift will do the trick. Sometimes, shifting just one clamp will pull the assembly into square.
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Use one caul instead of many clamps

Use one caul instead of many clamps

Thin, flexible parts require lots of clamps to create a consistently tight fit. Or you can use a caul. This solid-wood edging on plywood, for example, would have required a clamp every few inches. But with a stiff caul to spread the clamping force, I was able to use fewer clamps, spaced far apart.
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Iron out veneer-clamping problems

Iron out veneer-clamping problems

Gluing down veneer is tough. You have to apply flat, even pressure over every square inch. There are fancy tools for this, but for small veneer jobs, try this nifty trick: Apply a thin coat of wood glue to the substrate and the back of your veneer. Let the glue dry. Then position the veneer and use a hot iron (no steam) to reactivate the glue and press it into place. The bond is almost instant and very strong. I love it.
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Overhead hold-down

Overhead hold-down

Sometimes, a 2×4 wedged against overhead joists is better than a clamp. When routing a tabletop, for example, I can rout all the way around without stopping and shifting clamps. This trick is also handy when I need to apply pressure where clamps won’t reach: gluing down bubbled veneer in the middle of a large tabletop, for example.
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Hold it square

Hold it square

When you’re clamping cabinets together, getting a square assembly is half the battle. These simple blocks, made from three layers of 1/2-in. plywood, pull the cabinet into square and keep it there. After the squaring blocks are in place, I use pipe clamps to squeeze the joints tightly together.
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Long-jaw hand screw

Long-jaw hand screw

Extend the reach of your hand screw clamps with a couple of lengths of scrap wood. Screw the jaw extensions to the side of your hand screw and away you go. Works great and couldn’t be easier.
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Magnetic clamp pads

Magnetic clamp pads

Instant on and instant off. You can’t beat the convenience of these wooden clamp pads. Best of all, they don’t leave oily stains like the plastic ones do. To make mine, I drilled shallow holes in 3/8-in.-thick blocks of softwood. Then I dropped in dabs of epoxy and inserted rare earth magnets. My magnets were 1/2 in. diameter and 1/8 in. thick. Make sure the magnet is flush or slightly below the pad surface.
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How to clamp with tape

How to clamp with tape

Every woodworker I know occasionally uses masking tape in place of clamps. But I prefer electrical tape because it’s stretchy and lets me put the pressure exactly where I need it.
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Slow down!

Slow down!

Glue-ups can be a frenzied, nerve-jangling activity. So why not slow things down a bit? Take the edge off your glue-ups with a slow-setting glue such as Titebond’s Extend. The extra 10 minutes of open time can be a real lifesaver and nerve calmer.
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Anti-slip tip

Anti-slip tip

Wet glue is like grease, allowing parts to slide around while you’re trying to clamp them. But a few strategically placed brads or pins prevent that frustration. I like to use my 23-gauge pinner because the heads are almost invisible. But a standard brad nailer works too.
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Convertible pipe clamps

Convertible pipe clamps

When you buy pipe for your pipe clamps, also pick up some couplers. That way, you can join pipes to make longer clamps.
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A dry run is a must-do

A dry run is a must-do

Every time I skip this step, I end up regretting my impatience. Don’t make the same mistake. Take the time to rehearse your glue-up. That way you’ll know all the clamps you need are at hand and there won’t be any nasty, unexpected misfits in your joinery to ruin your glue-up and your day.
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Put the pinch on miter joints

Put the pinch on miter joints

A pair of notched ‘pinch blocks’ puts clamp pressure right on the miter joint. This approach is especially good for picture frames because it lets you deal with one joint at a time rather than all four at once. Position the blocks shy of the mitered ends so you can see how the joint lines up.
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Essential Clamps for Beginning Woodworkers (and Everyone Else)

Essential Clamps for Beginning Woodworkers (and Everyone Else)

Pipe clamps: Pipe clamps are the everyday, high-pressure workhorses of woodworking. Because you can quickly screw the clamps onto different lengths of pipe, one set of pipe clamps does the same work as several lengths of bar clamps. Buy pipes in 2-, 3- and 4-ft. lengths and you’re ready for most situations.

Bar clamps: Quicker and easier to use than pipe clamps, light-duty bar clamps are perfect when you need a long reach and moderate pressure.

Spring clamps: These are the fastest helpers for holding your work in place or doing light-pressure clamping.

Originally Published on sitename.com

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