Bar clamps are the ultimate workmate for a carpenter or joiner who regularly works with large projects. The bar clamp is a simple device which has one fixed point and one moveable point. The fixed point is laid against one surface of the project. The moveable point is the bottom part of the clamp, which is tightened to the opposite surface of the project to hold multiple parts together. The two parts are held on with a flat, thick, steel bar, as opposed to a rounded rod used in other types of clamp.
1. Joinery and Cabinets
Cabinet makers all over the world rely heavily on their bar clamps (often referred to as F clamps) to maintain the integrity of a project which requires plenty of gluing. Some large surfaces require two or more pieces of wood to be glued together to create one finished surface. In this instance a bar clamp can be a highly effective and essential tool. The top half of the bar clamps works in conjunction with the moveable lower part and together they tighten and rest against the edges of the glued wood.
Usually the wood is not just glued, but ‘biscuit’ joints are applied inside the joins to secure the glued surfaces and keep them strong. The clamp holds on to the pieces until the glue dries and the result is a beautiful table top or door. Anyone who is a fan of the New Yankee Workshop will have seen Norm Abrams using clamps when he is making one of his brilliant pieces of furniture. He is a great proponent of bar and belt clamps and uses them regularly in his joinery shop.
2. Metal Work Uses
Bar clamps are also extremely handy when it comes to welding. If the project requires a welded joint to make two pieces into one, the clamp can be employed to hold them together while the weld is being created. It should also be kept on while it dries and sets. Once the clamp is released the two pieces will be set together to make one large piece. A metal join will remain hot for a time after it has been welded and leaving the clamps on will assist the melding process. If the underside is to be welded too, the clamps will keep the two pieces safely together while they are turned over.
3. Other Uses
The use of bar clamps is not limited to holding two parts of a soon-to-be-married item together. They can also function as regular clamps to hold vice grips to a bench, or hold a piece of lumber securely while it is being cut. Some clamps can be quick-grip or quick-release clamps which can be employed in other projects as well as metalwork and woodwork. Bar clamps can also be used for clamping down edging which is being adhered to a large piece of wood or particleboard.