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Wood Bar Clamps

As I had previously mentioned in another post, my family has recently purchased our first home but the kitchen was in need of some work. Part of that involves adding some open shelves, 9 foot long by approximately 1 foot deep. Which will require me to glue up some slightly narrower boards to reach the width I want.  My only problem is that I don’t have enough clamps for that long of a glue up and unfortunately it isn’t in the remodeling budget to purchase the requisite number of K-Body Clamps. But what is in the budget is furring strips and dowels.

I don’t know if the idea is original with me or simply a memory of something I had read but where is now forgotten. It involves using furring strips to make a sandwich around the boards to be glued and then applying pressure with a wedge. As you can see in the picture of my glue-up, I am gluing together two boards. At about 1 foot intervals I have a furring clamp. The clamp has a bottom board and a top board of identical dimensions. The boards also have clear packing tape on the side that could come into contact with the glue to prevent sticking. Through the clamp boards I have two holes drilled to receive 3/4” dowels. They are spaced wider than the width of the boards being glued to allow room for the wedge. In my case the clamp boards are much longer than necessary, but this is because I plan to reuse them for a wider glue-up down the road, to do that I will simply drill a new 3/4” hole to reposition the second dowel for that project’s width.

Tightening the ClampWith the clamp boards in place and the dowels in their holes, applying pressure is easy. Simply drive the wedge in tight by striking the back of it. My experience is that it is best to position the wedges so that you are always driving them towards the center of the boards being glued up. This means that all the wedges on the righthand end of the board will be driven to the left, and all the wedges on the lefthand end of the board will be driven to the right.

Loosening the Wedge

To release the clamping pressure simply strike the tip of the wedge driving it into the boards being glued together. The flexible nature of wood will allow the wedge to be released from its friction held position and come out easily.

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