Question: Best Clamps
  Re: RE: Question: Best Clamps by D_Harris (Can anyone tell me i...)
(03-19-2020, 10:44 AM)D_Harris Wrote: Can anyone tell me if four to eight 12" clamps would be sufficient for my project? And what would be the recommended clamp-square size? (Four or eight inches?).


Darren Harris
Staten Island, New York.

In the hierarchy of clamp quality, Harbor Freight clamps are on the bottom rung.  Whether or not this quality level is going to be suitable to you is a question we cannot answer.  Some people are perfectly happy with a HF $3.00 hammer, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a $3.00 hammer.

There's a lot of text in this thread and darn few photos.  Let that be instructive.

Below is a plywood box glue up.  The box is laying on its back.  The back is 3/4" thick since this a drawer box.

On the top and bottoms, there are three orange USA-made Jorgensen 3524 aluminum bar clamps.  They are light weight but don't have a lot of clamping pressure.  They are often just the thing for short distances of plywood.  They are the favorites of a lot of workshops because they are quick and easy.  I wanted more clamps so I got a couple of wannabes from HF because at the time Jorgensen had closed.  The HF aluminum bar is half the thickness of the Jorgensen and thus very whippy and weak, but still managed to exert what little pressure I needed.  If I had to use all HF aluminum bar clamps on the tops and bottoms, I'd have to use at least five clamps and maybe even six per side.  I still use them where not much pressure is needed and the weight of a good clamp would be overwhelming for the project.

Better form on the tops and bottoms (ends in the photo) would be 3/4" pipe clamps.  1/2" pipe clamps may have worked also.

On the bottom are Hargrave 640 clamps with a clamping caul.  These guys put on the pressure.  The Jorgensen 7000 series is about the same in pressure if not a wee bit more.

Wood (PVA) glue is thick and viscous.  It takes a lot of pressure to get the glue squeezed into the joint so the joint closes up adequately.

Every time I do a glue up, I'll notice that clamps are wee bit easier to loosen than they were tightening.  On big glue-ups of many boards, this is really noticeable, but that's not the issue here.

Estate sales are good sources as long as the shop equipment wasn't sourced from HF in the first place.  Business bankruptcy auctions are another good source.  Know that the buying public will likely already have their HF clamp experiences so expect bidding to be competitive.  Sources of good USA-made clamps like the ones shown are no longer available.


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