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"homegrown" clamp...Good idea / Bad idea

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ljzimmer, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. ljzimmer


    Oct 24, 2007
    Yesterday woodcraft had a big sale and I wanted to pick up a couple of things as well as look for a clamp that stew mac carries (the kind violin makers use for gluing on fingerboards). I happened to run into a friend of mine from work and described the clamp. After walking around the store a little he asked if I might be able to use a hose clamp in some manner. I thought about it for a second and thought why not. After I was finished at wood craft I went to the hardware store and picked up a couple.

    So here is what I've come up with. My main concern is that the metal parts would gouge the neck and fingerboard. I think that I could use a strip of scrap running along the back of the neck to absorb any gouges that the adjustment portion of the clamp would make. I also picked up some vinyl tubing that fit around the metal strap. It feels like it should be soft enough not to gouge the wood but apply enough pressure to hold the fingerboard in place.

    I'm sorry for the long post, but if you save me from ruining my project it's been well worth it for me, if this works well it could be a great cost effective solution for the rest of the TB community.

    So what do you think, is this a good idea or bad idea?

    Thanks so much for all of the help,

  2. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Sounds like a solid idea, it may be a bit of a hassle getting them in place while the glue is wet. I've seen where people have used zip ties in the same manner. My first bass I built using clamps I made from 2x2 angle iron, they were crude but worked. I still have them but since buying good clamps I really don't use them.
  3. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Hose clamps don't lend themselves to self-re-bending around sharp corners too easily. That, combined with the stickyness of the vinyl, would make me afraid that as I tightened the clamp, it might pull the fretboard sideways, and otherwise apply uneven pressure.
  4. ljzimmer


    Oct 24, 2007
    Thanks Scotty, I think I will give them a try (unless someone gives me a compelling reason not to)
  5. ljzimmer


    Oct 24, 2007
    My hope is that I can use two of the stewmac versions (one at each end) to "lock" the fingerboard in place and then very carefully place the hose clamps. But I hadn't thought about the "sticky factor"

    Thanks for the input...hmmmmm
  6. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I always liked the idea of using inner tubes to clamp a fretboard. Seems cheap/free and would put even pressure on every single square inch of the fretboard. You just use some registration pins to keep the FB and neck lined up without slipping, then wrap them around super tight.
  7. OHSPyro89


    Jun 21, 2009
    This is a very odd idea, but I've used it.

    My parents have one of those meat packaging vacuum things. I'm sure you can find cheaper ones that would work fine.

    Anyways, it's just like a vacuum press. All that needs to be done is apply the glue, and put some tape/zipties around the neck and fretboard so the board won't slide. Then put it in the bag and seal it down. It applies great pressure and comes out great. I did it with a headstock veneer once.

    I still get a look when I am vacuum sealing wood in the kitchen though...
  8. axaneel


    May 9, 2009
    Thick 9 oz. leather strips would do the trick rather nicely.
    Solves all of my gouge problems easily.
    Can be cut with a razor, bent, reshaped, nothin better than a bit a good ol cow bits.
  9. raytsmith


    Nov 21, 2007
    Central Ky
    Latex tubing might work. Depends how much pressure you need. Its pretty good for clamping odd shapes and won't damage wood. Just wrap it tight and tie it off.

    Lowe's used to carry some pretty thick latex. I suspect Stewmac or LMI might have it too.