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Question regarding clamps

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pgurns, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    I have my neck laminates all cut to size and I want to glue them up this weekend. My question is, What type of clamps do you all use when gluing laminates, body wings, fretboards etc?

    I have a bunch of the Irwin Quick Grip clamps but I'm not sure if these provide enough clamping force. Are bar or pipe type clamps needed? I'm sure the quaity of the joint is of paramount importance and I will be using Titebond for the glue. Asuming all quality joints how much force do you really need ?

  2. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I just use a bunch of the big, black looking C-clamps that are metal, like this one:


    plus I have a few of these kind:


    these are just examples........I just use whatever I have laying around....it's usually a concoction of all the clamps....I only have one wooden one, but I'd like more of those. You can never have too many clamps!!
  3. Parallel jaw clamps are very nice. As the name implies, they provide nice, even pressure. VERY expensive(I have none), as opposed to pretty pricey for just about any other decent clamp.
  4. phatcactus


    Apr 2, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Once I stick the pieces together, I space out several quick spring-loaded clamps (perhaps the same style you have?) on first to keep everything together, then put on the slower screw-clamps and the kind with the notches and set screws. As many as I can find. I'm not a fan of wooden clamps. They always go the wrong way for me.
  5. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I use just about every kind of clamp known to man. Bar clamps, spring clamps, quick grips, parallel jaw wooden clamps, C-clamps, long reach welder type vise grips...I agree. You can never have enough clamps...and lots of small blocks of wood so you don't mar your work piece.
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I would not count on the quick-grip type for any gluing.

    I use C-clamps and Wetzler bar clamps. If you can afford them, Wetzlers are the best bar clamps I have seen. I have one Bessey K-body clamp (I think that's what it's called) and those are decent as well. Pipe clamps and then C-clamps are probably the cheapest safe way to go.
  7. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    Thanks for the replies. It looks like the most cost effective way to go is going to be pipe clamps. Anybody have any recommendations on brand? I see the prices vary greatly, since the pipe is holding most of the force does it really matter if you get the really high price ones?
  8. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I just went to the DEpot and bought the orange PONY bar clamps. The pipe doesnt come with it, but I went to the pipe section and bought some of the black, lightweight pipe clamp. They sell lengths that are pretty long.....They'll cut the pipe up for you to whatever length you want.........i just cut one in half for gluing up the body wings and whatnot......
    cheap and efficient.
    I don't like using the little rubber grommets you can put on the ends..... :eyebrow:
    hope that helped.
    for necks though, I personally think they're overkill.........just buy some c-clamps..........get a variety
    check used tool shops for c-clamps........could probly get them pretty cheap
  9. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    thanks. It does help. The Irwin clamps that I have now are the pistol grip style ones not just the spring deals and it says it applies 250 pounds of force. I saw some craftsman ones that are a modified version using a cam lock mechanism and they are rated at 500 psi. I am sure the bar clamps exert more force than either of those, just not sure how much is enough. Since I already bought 10 of thr 6 inchers I may just keep them for necks and use bar clamps for the bodies. How far apart do you normally space the clamps for bodies? I do realize that "you can never have enough clamps" but putting them right next to each other every inch is not in the budget :) what would be an acceptable compromise? every 6 inches?
  10. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    Thanks again. I just got back from Home Depot and bought 11 3/4 inch pipe clamps with enough pipe to do up the neck. I will get longer pipes when I am ready to do the body wings. Anyone know where I can buy te rubber end caps for them? The Depot did not sel them there
  11. You don't need rubber end caps for pipe clamps. The ends of the pipes don't come into play in the clamping process.

    I too, use every type of clamp you can think of. For body blanks it's usually pipe or bar clamps. For tops and laminates it's short bar or C clamps. For small part holding it's plier type spring loaded with swiveling jaws.

    And then there's the usual assortment of "analog" clamps like cinderblocks, car batterys, pavement pressure core samples, bricks, and large slabs of steel plate. :D
  12. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I used a full 3-4 gallon plastic jugs of water (the alhambra kind) once! it also worked wonders for straightening out some thin wood that was bowed. :p
  13. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    I meant for the jaws of the clamp not the pipe :)

    LOL thats the best term I have heard yet. Lord knows I have plenty of good ole analog clampng devices arond the garage, glad to know they can be used.
  14. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    you said something about using the irwins for your neck?

    BAD BAD BAD idea...the neck is a VERY important joint, i personaly go super overkill and use about 20-30 C clamps for a neck threw with 1/2 plywood all around for a cam and to help even out the pressure

    dont skimp on clamps, irwins are great for general woodworking, but something like this, they just dont keep steady pressure ( they loosen up over time )
  15. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    Thanks Pasdabeer, that seemed too be the general concensus so I returned them all and bought 11 super heavyduty clamps. I bought out every clamp they had, as soon as they get more I will buy them.

    Just another reason why I love this forum, I almost used the damn Irwins not knowing any better.
    Thanks again
  16. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    As usual...Hambone comes through!!!
    Those are exactly the pads I was looking for nad they have tons of other really cool stuff too :)

    I know I have said it many times b4 but this forum rocks. I will be posting some pics documenting the start of my first attempt at a bass this weekend. Thanks again