Clamping tools buying guide
Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester10 guides
- Clamping power
How can clamping tools be classified?
- Assembly tools - to tighten two pieces together when assembling;
- Holding tools - to keep a piece in place while you work on it.
Six assembly tools...
- Panel press: consists of a set of parallel threaded rods, held at the ends by a square wooden or metal element, allowing you to press together wooden batons for bonding. Pressing height is about 1m on an average-sized model; length can be increased by adding as many rods as you need!
- Frame press: ideal for assembling decorative frames, these presses can work with a strap or a cord. In either case, this flexible element surrounds the frame assembly and, by means of four reinforced corners, consolidates the corners of the frame. Pressure is then applied by means of a ratchet mechanism.
- Bench clamp: as the name suggests, this tool is fixed to your workbench. It will keep a firm grip on any iron component (e.g. rod, flat iron) so you can machine it without risk - it's a sturdy workhorse! These clamps will accommodate fairly large pieces (up to 40cm).
- Quick-release clamp: this small, handy clamp lets you rapidly press two pieces together; super-practical in delicate situations! Pull the trigger and the jaws instantly lock.
- Spring clamps: these look like giant clothes pegs made of rigid plastic or metal. Very practical for gluing small pieces together, their aperture varies between about 2-7cm. However, clamping power is limited by the strength of the spring.
- Adjustable clamps: coming in different sizes and designs, these clamps are characterized by their aperture, clamping power and depth. They can be tightened by screwing (pump clamps, screw clamps, C-clamps) pinching (one-handed or quick-release clamps) or striking (masonry clamps).
Two holding tools...
- Vice: the essential workshop tool. Made of hardened steel, with a rotating base and variable jaw aperture, it includes an anvil . Its role is to immobilize everything that passes between its jaws with a turn of arms. The clamping lever operates a screw, closing the movable jaw against the fixed jaw along a parallel slide. Other, more compact and portable models can be attached to a drill press table. These let you keep your pieces (e.g. planed timber, metal sections) dead still while you work on them. You can get angular jaws (90° angle) and U-shaped jaws (for round pieces such as tubes), generally made of hardened steel or aluminium. Some vices allow transverse clamping, while others are tiltable.
A final word of advice on clamping tools?
Learn more about woodworking equipment...
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How to choose your masonry tools?
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How to choose your workshop vacuum cleaner?
How to choose your lubricant, oil and grease?
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How to choose your hearing protection?
How to choose your safety shoes?
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Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester 10 guides écrits
My professional experience as an artisan craftsman (ok the word says ‘man’, but it can work for me too.), allows me to with a material and that’s both noble and common at the same time: wood.
Surrounded by carpenters and other builders, I am constantly interacting with professional and amateur wood workers, but also various kinds of manufacturing. I am also an amateur gardener, I like to cultivate my vegetable garden. You could say that summer ends under the sign of ratatouille.
So, with two passions, I hope to answer your questions.
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