5 essential clamps

You can never have too many clamps in your workshop

By Susan Peters

Photo by Daniel Harrison

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When you’re in the middle of gluing up, there’s no such thing as too many clamps. But using the right kind of clamp is just as important as having enough. Applied with sufficient pressure, the perfect clamp makes joinery a snap. Remember to dry-fit joints first, protect the wood’s surface by padding your clamps, space them evenly on the workpiece and, if a joint feels like it’s not fitting, don’t fall prey to the temptation to crank the clamp just a little harder.

1. Handscrews have been around for centuries; earlier versions used wooden screws, although they’re made of metal on modern ones like a No. 2 Jorgensen ($30). Handscrews excel at clamping irregular surfaces because the two jaws can be adjusted independently.

2. C-clamps are universal in woodworking because they’re economical and versatile. C-clamps are made in a range of sizes, including this 2″ Craftsman ($5) and 3″ Adjustable ($5).



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