Tighten, glue, repair, and save money

The clamp is a useful assistant.

Are you asking why just clamps? They rank among the most commonly used DIY and workshop assistants, second only to power and cordless tools. Their usefulness makes them indispensable many a workshop, garage and household. They are not only a privilege for craftsmen or any men. You can employ them in household repair as well as for your art creations. Fastening things together, and locking them at an angle comes in useful in many situations.

Clamps = extra hands

Clamping things tight, gripping or locking them in place is required in the workshop and when machine tooling. Sometimes pressing things together and saying twenty-second is not enough. Not even instant-bonding glue bonds instantly. Dispersion glues for wood require firm clamping for at least an hour, depending on the product and material type. After all, clamps are not only used for gluing, but often also for holding materials instead of another hand, or for accurately keeping a chosen angle. You can fasten a long plank on a board and cut along it, or fasten any material being cut, milled, painted or otherwise worked on.

Theoretically, clamps could be divided into tightening, gluing and auxiliary, doubling for extra hands. Moreover, there could be modelmakers, joiners and locksmiths clamps.

Choosing a clamp

So what to look for when choosing a clamp and how to choose them? First of all, it depends on your application. Some clamps are single-purpose, others serve multiple jobs. Good clamps do not go for a shilling, which is why careful choice is important.

They should be strong, capable of tightening, holding and clamping well. Either straight or at an angle. They must be firm and, most importantly, must not slip or come undone; this applies equally to conventional, quick-acting and specialised clamps.

So-called quick-acting, screw-type and combined clamps are among the most common. A conventional screw-type clamps is pushed towards the material and tightened by hand. It struts and locks firmly in a steel bar with a fine toothing preventing slipping. Deep clamps with long jaws are used only for repairing shoes or guitar bridges, but also to mend a bicycle inner tube. Use edge clamps to fix or attach a decorative moulding or table edge or a veneer that has come loose. A locksmiths angle clamp will hold your metal bar to keep an accurate angle when welding.

Furniture repair

Quick-acting clamps work just like a cartridge gun. Press the brake lever to travel quickly along the clamp body. Then just press the handle and it tightens up. The fastening mechanism consists of a spring, which presses on the metal bar in the clamp gripper, thus forming a clamping angle preventing the jaw from slipping. Work with it is fast and very comfortable. Its advantage is a straight pressing surface without having to screw, making it ideal for one-handed use, which is very convenient particularly while working or assembling. Conventional straight clamps will help you repair and glue together rickety or wobbly furniture.

Frame clamps and specialised clamps

Frame clamps are another interesting type. They typically have a firmly set right angle, and will very easily join a frame and slats cut at an angle.

Adjustable frame clamps are very interesting and indispensable for a number of jobs. The loose segments with a fixed angle are connected with a steel band four metres long. Using the band and the swinging pads, you can accurately tighten not only rectangular shapes but also atypical arches or circles.

Other clamp types include eccentric and lever-operated clamps, which grip the material firmly once they pass the dead point of the lever. Their force may be three hundred kilos or more. They are used for quick clamping, e.g., when welding. Small drilling machine vices are also useful if you need to fasten material when drilling. But we will look at those next time.

New clamps are lighter and do not rust

The material used is an advantage of contemporary clamps. Old clamps used to be heavy and made of iron, meaning that they were not only difficult to handle when clamping larger pieces, but started to rust after some time in a moist environment. Their wooden handle slipped in the hand when tightening really firmly.

The I-bar clamp is the strongest

The I-bar, a large joiners glue press, is used when repairing and manufacturing doors and window frames. The strongest force is required for gluing and fixating battenboard and wood, and for tightening mortise and tenon joints in window frames, doors and other structures. That is precisely the use for an I-bar ‒ joiners slang for a specialised strong clamp, used for the strongest tightening.

The base of an I-bar clamp is a small I-profile "girder" 80 mm high, which lends the strength and rigidity and counterpull for a strong clamping. The large cast-iron crank with a ball counterweight on the axis is easy and fast to rotate and leans against the sliding fastening and stopping segment. This is fastened to the load-bearing girder with a massive tenon.

Our tip: good glue and padding

For work with clamps to make sense, it is necessary to use a suitable glue for the material you need to bond. Sometimes you have different combinations of materials. It is a good idea to put a pad in your clamp to increase the surface and distribute the clamping pressure on the material. Make sure not to bond your clamp padding to the material. Use clamps, glue presses, I-bar clamps or vices to repair and mend many items by yourself. Sometimes it is just a matter of the right glue, then tightening things strongly together and gluing them.