How to use a bar clamp for woodworking

     
     
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 Wonkee Donkee's DIY guide to using a bar clamp for woodworking 

A bar clamp is most commonly used for applications involving wood. It is especially handy for projects where two pieces of wood need to be held together for gluing or nailing. 

 

For a guide on how to clamp wood without damaging it, follow the steps below.  

 
     
 Select the best suited bar clamp for the job Before you begin, you should select the bar clamp that's best suited for the job. Choosing one which is ideal for the task in hand will make the process easier. The wooden workpiece should be able to fit inside the open jaws without feeling as though it is being forced.  
     
 Make sure your clamp is clean before use Also, it is important to make sure the bar clamp you are using is clean before you begin clamping, as any dirt could transfer on to the wood and leave unwanted marks.  
     
 Place the clamp on a suitable work surface 

Step 1 - Set clamp

The first step is to set the clamp on a suitable work surface, such as a bench top or table. 

 
     
 Open the jaws by rotating the screw to the left 

Step 2 - Open jaws

Open the jaws of the clamp as wide as is necessary. Do this by rotating the screw to the left in order to move the head jaw backwards, and sliding the back jaw all the way to the end of bar.

 
     
 Press the quick-release lever down to move the back jaw Alternatively, if you are using a model with a quick-release mechanism, press the lever down to free the back jaw before moving it to the end of the bar.  
     
 Use wax paper in between the bar and the wood 

Step 3 - Protect workpiece

To avoid the risk of the metal bar leaving any residue on the wood, it may be an idea to protect your workpiece before clamping. Do this by either placing a sheet of wax paper in between the wood and bar, or spraying the bar with penetrating oil and wiping it away. This will prevent any marks from being left on the wood.  

 
     
 Insert the wood into the bar clamp's jaws 

Step 4 - Position workpiece

Insert the workpiece into the open jaws of the clamp. 

 
    Donkee says 'If you are clamping softwood, you may wish to use a piece of scrap wood to protect the workpiece' 
     
 Tighten the screw to close the jaws 

Step 5 - Close jaws

To close the jaws, start by sliding the back jaw along the bar until it is aligned with the edge of the wood. Depening on which model you are using, either place a pin in the nearest hole, or let go of the quick-release lever to lock the jaw in place. 

 

Next, rotate the screw to the right until the head jaw closes in on the workpiece. 

 
     
 Don't tighten the clamp too tight or the wood might split Keep rotating until the workpiece is firmly secured, but be careful not to over-tighten the screw, as this may damage and split the wood, or even bend the bar.  
     
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