How do I clamp large panels

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Forum topic by bluchz posted 05-24-2009 04:31 PM 11056 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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187 posts in 3852 days

05-24-2009 04:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I will soon be trying to clamp together a kitchen island top. The plan is to do it in 3 steps. Clamping 2 halves, let the glue dry, then clamping the 2 halves together. Now the big question. could i use pocket screws to hold the pieces together till the glue dries then remove them? I don’t have long enough clamps to hold the final glue together. I saw a jig once for a long counter glue up maybe i need to make one for a wide glue up? I would hate to spend $2-300 dollars on clamps all at once but i may have to.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

17 replies so far

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3819 days

#1 posted 05-24-2009 04:50 PM

you can make temp. clamp with some planks ( 2×4 or whatever ) separated and atached together with same thikness
pieces as top and drive wedges on sides to bring glueup together , make as many as you want and reuse later or take apart and and make something else with wood .
. put wax paper or plastic wrap top and bottom betwen clamp and glueup
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-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View SteveB's profile


57 posts in 4536 days

#2 posted 05-24-2009 10:26 PM

I have a pair of ten-foot clamps. They’re ten feet long because that’s the only length pipes the hardware store had. I really only needed eight feet. ;-)

Get a few pairs of pipe clamps, and use whatever length pipe you like. Put cauls on either side to keep the slabs aligned.

-- Steve B - New Life Home Improvement

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4055 days

#3 posted 05-24-2009 10:43 PM

I’m wondering what kind of joinery and what kind of counter top. If this is pre made laminate counter top you connect from underneath with special bolts you rout out for . If wood you can screw some temporary blocks on the bottom and use small clamps to hold it together until the glue drys.

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3800 days

#4 posted 05-25-2009 12:25 AM

I picked up a tool to address this very problem (SURPRISE!). Rockler has a kit that is geared toward keeping flat glue ups flat. Now, I have to admit that I haven’t done a table top or cutting board since I got it (naturally). but it sure looks good. It consists of several plastic 90 degree angles strapped onto the workpiece by adjustable straps. The intent is to apply pressure inwards while giving the pieces nowhere to go. It was pretty cheap as far as tools go (around $30 if I recall correctly). Take a look and see if it might work for you.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 3852 days

#5 posted 05-25-2009 01:19 AM

OK again i suffer from lack of detail. th peice will be made from SYP and is about 6 pieces 7-1/4” wide. The plan was to Biscuit joint them to keep ‘em in line and Pocket screw them until the glue dried.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3819 days

#6 posted 05-25-2009 01:35 AM

you still need the pressure to hold the glue.
another method is to put 2 stops 1 either side of glue up , leaving about 1 or 2 inches and drive wedges to tighten them you can still do biscuit

and if upside down can do your screws , dont forget the plastic on work table

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View degoose's profile


7255 posts in 3833 days

#7 posted 05-25-2009 09:50 AM

David I agree with you, wedges were used by the ancients . to split and to clamp. Clamping pressure need not be great if the joints are tight ,, just enough to hold while the glue dries, with the internal clamping of the biscuits,
but by all means use pocket screws to pull it together,


-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3800 days

#8 posted 05-25-2009 11:52 AM

These are the clamps I was talking about above. I think they might just be what you need. They run $25-30 at Woodcraft but I’m sure Rockler will have a version of it as well.
They squeeze your panels from all four sides at the same time and the clamp itself holds the panel flat. Best of luck.
Double Bar Clamp

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 3852 days

#9 posted 05-25-2009 11:54 AM

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1466 posts in 4566 days

#10 posted 05-25-2009 02:06 PM

I looked at my July 2009 WOOD magazine just after reading your query.

It has a tip on making clamps that would easily solve your problem.

I tried to find it in WOOD online but was not able to do that.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View AeroClassics's profile


15 posts in 3846 days

#11 posted 06-12-2009 01:39 AM

If you need/want a modern mechanical clamp, then pipe clamps offer the least expensive way. Using a jig and a wedge is very effective. My question is how thick are these boards? If thick enough you can drill each board for a piece of all thread. On the boards next to the outside boards counter sink for the nuts. This will pull the boards together. Once dry you can remove the all thread or leave it in, depending on how much movement you expect. Pocket screws will be fine as long as you remove them when the top is dry. For what it is worth this is an excellent project for polyurethane glue.


-- Doug, Carrollton, TX.

View sweets's profile


42 posts in 3809 days

#12 posted 06-12-2009 03:22 PM

Why would you want to remove the pocket screws after the glue dries?

-- Lee ---- South Louisiana

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3966 days

#13 posted 06-12-2009 03:39 PM

When I have a very large item I need to clamp, I resort to the ratchet straps you can get from Home depot and some very straight 2×4 stock. I cut the 2×4 stock short of the width of the item to allow for contact of the straps to the edge of the item. You can also “clip” the ends of the 2×4 at a 45 degree angle to allow for this contact. The 2×4’s keep the item from cupping when you tighten up the straps. I put a 2×4 on the top and bottom and run the strap around the 2×4’s. This keeps the ratchet and hooks from messing up the item being clamped. You will want to put some paper or plastic between the 2×4’s and the item to keep it from getting stuck while clamping.

Normally in my area you can get 4 of this ratchet clamps from Home Deport for $14.00.

-- James

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4127 days

#14 posted 06-12-2009 04:06 PM

I usually will do like James does – 2×4s and a ratchet strap – I use those to transport lumber etc on my cars’ roof rack, so they are available for me to use. if not – Davids idea of 2×4 construction with wedges is a great technique – but if you just want to avoid making something – pipe clamps are a great way to go about it – they are as long as you can get a pipe (cheap) for them, and have the highest clamping pressure. you’ll need a clamp about every 12” or so, and you’re all set.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 4004 days

#15 posted 06-12-2009 04:16 PM

All you need to do is let the pocket screws do the work, and no clamps will be needed. Simple as that.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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