Woodworking clamps are there to help you when you are working wood. Because wood is a flexible material, it absorbs vibrations and movement from sanding and hammering. Woodworking clamps will help hold the wood together during these tasks or anything else.
Woodworking clamps are essential for woodworking, especially when you’re just getting into it. There are many different types of clamps, but they all fall into two categories – C-clamps and spring clamps.
The former can handle any project; the latter is used exclusively for smaller pieces of wood that can break if used on a larger project. However, there is one thing that both types have in common: you need them to get any practical use out of your woodworking tools.
Using clamps is an integral part of any woodworking project. Most people have at least one clamp-type in their workshop, but not everyone knows how to use them properly. This guide will help you learn how to get the most out of your woodworking clamps by using them properly and effectively.
If you want to learn how to use woodworking clamps step by step and how to make the most out of this tool, keep reading below.
What You’ll Need
Before getting started, collect all the items required for a smooth process. Here is a list of items you’ll need for a woodworking project while using clamps.
- Scrap wood
- A piece of cardboard
- Rubber bands
Step 1: Use the Correct Size Clamp
First, you’ll need to figure out the clamp size you need. This is usually easy, but sometimes it isn’t. You see, the size of your clamp depends on the size of your wood. The bigger the wood, the bigger your clamp should be to keep it from moving around while you’re working on it.
Luckily for us all, there are handy charts available on the internet that show how big clamps should be based on their widths.
Step 2: Set Up Parallel Jaws
Clamp jaws should be parallel to each other and the workpieces and parallel to any surface it’s clamping onto.
When setting up clamps with faces that don’t match perfectly, you may need to shim or wedge them into place so they line up perfectly. The best way to do this is with a layer of wax paper or cork between the two pieces; simply apply pressure until everything lines up correctly.
Step 3: Evenly Apply Pressure.
The third step is to apply pressure evenly. You should make sure that the clamp is level so that it applies the same amount of pressure to both sides of your project. There are several ways to do this, but we recommend using a clamping bar or clamping block.
They’re simple tools that can be made out of scrap wood and help keep your clamps balanced so that they don’t bend or warp as you work on them.
If you want something more precise, a clamping gauge might be more helpful as well! This tool uses a series of pins on its faceplate that line up with grooves on your workbench’s top surface (or vice versa).
When adjusted properly, these two surfaces will automatically align themselves without additional effort or adjustment needed from users, making them perfect for beginners who want something easy but effective!
Step 4: Only Use Them on a Flat Surface.
Using clamps on an uneven surface will cause the wood to warp, which can be very frustrating. You’ll also want to avoid using them on softwoods since they tend to be very sensitive.
If you’ve got a new project in mind, now is the time to pick up some clamps and get started!
Step 5: Cushion Your Material
To protect your workpiece from damage, you should use one of the following methods:
- Place a piece of scrap wood between the clamp and your material. This can be anything as long as it’s soft and doesn’t leave marks on your material.
- Place a piece of cardboard between the clamp and your material. This will help prevent any scratches or dents in your project by absorbing any impact that may occur when tightening the clamps down with force.
- Use a soft cloth (such as flannel) instead of just using cardboard alone because it provides more protection against scratches than only using cardboard would do on its own!
- Wrap rubber bands around each end of each clamp before attaching them with screws so they don’t damage whatever surface they’re being attached to while tightening them down firmly enough so they won’t come apart during use later.
When You’re Not Using Clamps, Store Them Properly.
When not in use, always ensure that your clamps are appropriately stored. This will help them last longer and maintain their functionality.
When storing clamping devices, keep the following points in mind:
- Store them in a dry place. Moisture can cause the wood to swell or shrink and may weaken the bond between pieces of wood that rely on glue or nails for strength.
- Do not expose your clamps to sunlight as this may result in discoloration of the wood. Similarly, do not store them where they will be exposed to chemicals or cool temperatures, which can deteriorate their strength over time.
Our Final Thoughts
The whole idea of woodworking is to follow a pattern and work at it until you complete the intended object. To make that possible, you need to get many things right.
Clamping comes in handy here. There are many kinds of clamping you can use. Each offers a different kind of convenience when keeping the object in place.
When using clamps, follow all the steps discussed above to get the best out of this hand tool. Learn which size would work best according to the size of your wood to avoid any hurdles while woodworking.
Use it parallel on an even surface for an aligned cut or a smooth end result. Remember to use a cushion while working. And lastly, store the clamps properly for durability.