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C-Clamps or F Clamps for face laminating Cauls

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Forum topic by NeophyteGrant posted 10-11-2019 12:16 AM 620 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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NeophyteGrant

119 posts in 1022 days


10-11-2019 12:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: clamps f-style c-clamps face lamination lamination

I need a sanity check.

I’m making some nice oak cauls to last a while and got the oak from the BORG (long story—hardwood dealer is far away in Chicago and din’t want to make the drive in traffic for a small thing). 2x being even more pricey at the BORG, I opted to laminate it to size.

I started by throwing down some 24 inch parallel clamps out of habit (and because I somehow have more of them than F clamps) but got tired of lugging those things around for such a small job. Overkill.

I do this kind of thing a lot and was wondering whether i should buy some more small F clamps specifically for it or…wait for it…C clamps could do just as well, since they’re less expensive.

C Clamps for face laminations? Yay, Nay, or Get outta here, you’re a crazy man?


24 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11854 posts in 3941 days


#1 posted 10-11-2019 01:18 AM

C clamps would worrk. I find them less handy than F styles, though. If you’re going to do a lot, F styles would be my choice..

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Rich

5001 posts in 1102 days


#2 posted 10-11-2019 01:44 AM

+1 for F clamps. You’ll spend less time screwing and unscrewing. They’re still clumsy though. You can also add 1/4-20 hex head bolts and knobs to eliminate clamps altogether.

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therealSteveN

3915 posts in 1087 days


#3 posted 10-11-2019 06:57 AM

It’s been a while, but Bessey seemed to be having their mid weight F styles on a card of 4 to 6 varied length clamps not long ago, for almost free.

These aren't bad, but I wanna say the ones I am thinking about were like 9 bux.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5542 posts in 2864 days


#4 posted 10-11-2019 12:11 PM

C clamps will work just as well as F clamps for the intended purpose. However, F clamps are a lot more convenient to use and in the long run are worth the extra cost in my opinion. Since I acquired enough F clamps for most purposes my C clamps remain mostly unused.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

10963 posts in 1651 days


#5 posted 10-11-2019 12:21 PM

I agree with the others. It’s a PITA to screw and unscrew C-clamps so I’d go with F clamps for that reason. However, c-clamps will work just fine. There are quick-release C-clamps available but, they’re usually either too small, too lightweight or too expensive to be a good option.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1460 posts in 3362 days


#6 posted 10-11-2019 12:26 PM

The Harbor Freight 6 inch F clamps are $3 each. Another thread was just discussing F clamps and Lowes had a 6 pack on clearance for $21. I was able to get one using the ship to store on the website. I just peeked around a few of the nearby locations and don’t see it here, but maybe there’s still some around your area.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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ClayandNancy

525 posts in 3528 days


#7 posted 10-11-2019 01:25 PM

I have probably 40 f style clamps from Harbor Freight in various lengths. I think they work better then most of the other manufacturers. And you can’t beat the price.

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bilyo

855 posts in 1615 days


#8 posted 10-11-2019 02:05 PM

I have a small collection of the trigger style clamps that are my “go to” particularly when working with cauls. I find them the most convenient because I can work them with one hand while holding my work aligned with the other. Frankly, I find no difference in convenience between F style and C clamps. They work the same way. F style just have a longer reach. When I run out of the trigger clamps, I’ll reach for the F style or C clamps. Any of them will do the job.

Side note: Be sure to put a small curve on one side of your cauls. When using them to keep wide panel glue-ups flat, put the curve against the work and they will provide more even pressure against the middle of the panel.

View WoodenDreams's profile (online now)

WoodenDreams

749 posts in 423 days


#9 posted 10-11-2019 05:38 PM

+1 on the Harbor Freight F-clamps. You can’t beat the price. With the super coupon the HF 6” F-clamp is currently $2.19. When I use cauls, my go to clamps are the Irwin Quick-Grips.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5987 posts in 3326 days


#10 posted 10-11-2019 08:19 PM

C clamps will give you the most clamping pressure. Use them when high clamping force is a priority.
Both C clamps and F clamps give the very worst distribution of force, because of the small clamping pad.
Often, you’ll have to add blocks or cauls to keep from damaging the workpiece.

That’s where parallel clamps shine.

I use pipe clamps and parallel clamps and not much else. I personally can’t stand most F clamps.
One great everyday clamp is Bessey’s Revo Jr. They’re what I reach for for most light clamping jobs.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View NeophyteGrant's profile

NeophyteGrant

119 posts in 1022 days


#11 posted 10-13-2019 01:46 AM

Thanks all. I went and picked up some Bessey F’s from the BORG but I’m thinking I should check out the HF Fs due to the price. I actually have A LOT of the bessey parallels—forseeing they would be good for a number of things. I use them in a lot of situations and they are great.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

3915 posts in 1087 days


#12 posted 10-13-2019 02:19 PM

I looked at the HF F clamps once, and came away thinking the very short ones could be used. At a foot and longer they had way too much flex across the bar for me to consider them a good deal. Use your Bessey’s, and then just drop in a HF some time, and see what you think.

I had seriously wanted them to be good. The ones at 60” would be a great length, for that amount of money, but I don’t think you could garner 100# of pressure with them.

Titebond woodworking glues, recommends 100 to 150 pounds per square inch (psi) for clamping softwoods and 175–250 psi for hardwoods.

-- Think safe, be safe

View PCDub's profile

PCDub

148 posts in 757 days


#13 posted 10-13-2019 02:24 PM



I looked at the HF F clamps once, and came away thinking the very short ones could be used. At a foot and longer they had way too much flex across the bar for me to consider them a good deal. ...
- therealSteveN

Yes, the short ones are great, and I can attest to the bending of the longer ones when cranked tightly. Having parallel clamps and pipe clamps help when I’m doing glue-ups of larger projects, but most of my clamping has been small stuff that the short F clamps work well on. (That reminds me, I could use a few more…)

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1102 days


#14 posted 10-13-2019 02:29 PM


Titebond woodworking glues, recommends 100 to 150 pounds per square inch (psi) for clamping softwoods and 175–250 psi for hardwoods.

- therealSteveN

How do you measure that?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3983 posts in 1900 days


#15 posted 10-13-2019 03:26 PM

At the risk of starting another debate about clamping pressure, the HF F-clamps will generate plenty of clamping pressure, IMO. If the clamps are flexing excessively, you may be applying too much pressure or the joints aren’t mating well, especially on panel glue ups, or you simply need more clamps (don’t we all). IMO, most clamp manufacturers misuse the “PSI” term when referring to their clamps. PSI is a function of the area of the glue surface and the number and spacing of clamps relative to the width or thickness of the material being clamped. Titebond’s spec on clamping pressure also seems misleading to me. As long as the joint makes full contact and excess glue is forced from the joint, it really doesn’t take a high PSI to get a strong joint. Of course we are probably all guilty of forcing joints together with too much clamping pressure when they don’t quite fit perfectly, especially when we don’t have enough clamps for the job.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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