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Poorboy Parallel Clamps…questions from a Woodworker

Woodworker Parallel clamps made in the Wood Shop

Woodworking Parallel clamps made in the Wood Shop

Perhaps you watched the recent woodworking video How to make poorboy Parallel Clamps.

Here are a few questions from one viewer that got me thinking.
A quick question …The poorboy parallel clamps obviously works well for panel glue ups, but what are limitations you could see. For instance:

* Could you use this with deeper pads for a benchtop glue up? or would the clamping force not be up to that task?
* Would longer pads apply more pressure across whole glue up or would more clamps be better?

………………………

These are very interesting questions.
1.) Benchtop glue-up. While I have not experienced a benchtop glue-up using the poorboy adjustable parallel clamps, I sense that it could be done if the wood clamps were proportionate to the pieces being clamped. I believe the system itself would work and that the clamping force would be adequate for a good glue-up. (However, for larger glue-ups I may consider using steel screws or perhaps lag screws instead of drywall screws where the pillow blocks attach to the main beam.)

Deeper pads? I believe the pads could be a bit deeper. However, consider putting the poorboy clamps on both the top and the bottom of the glue-up. This could give good even pressure all the way around and on the top and bottom of the pieces being glued. Remember, these woodworking clamps are cost effective so it doesn’t hurt for woodworkers to add more clamps.

2.) Longer pads or more clamps?…My instincts tell me more clamps. Here are my thoughts why. A clamp has so much pressure when fully tightened. A longer pad will not increase this pressure, but it will dispurse it in a wider area. More clamps mean more of pressure that can be equally distributed. (disclaimer…woodworker here, not a rocket scientist) ;)

Limitations? Keep an open imagination as there are many beneficial uses for the poorboy clamp.

Woodworking parallel clamp made by a woodworker

Poorboy parallel clamp tightened for a glue-up

A few thoughts…

Miguel, a viewer to the blog mentioned that he now has 3 pairs of the poorboy clamps. He brought up a good point when he explained that he likes the clamps because they are light in weight. This makes the clamps easier to handle than a heavier parallel or pipe clamp. If you were clamping all day long which type clamp would you prefer?

A woodworker may consider having pairs of these parallel clamps that vary in length. However, a longer length clamp can simply be shortened by moving the second pillow block or adding a third pillow block to create the length needed at the time.

Certainly, there are instance where it is advantageous the use store bought parallel clamps or pipe clamps before using the poorboy parallel clamps. However, there are numerous occasions where the poorboy parallel clamps would be my first choice. Why?
Because…
On the job site and in the workshop.
1.) On the job site, rarely does a finish carpenter have access to all the parallel clamps needed for the job at hand. However, a carpenter does have access to wood and screws necessary to build the poorboy clamps. There is very little cost in materials and in labor to make the size of clamps needed for the wood project.

2.) The poorboy clamps are very light in weight and easy to position. At this point it is simply a matter of tapping the pillow block to secure the fit.

3.) The poorboy clamps can be made to virtually any length that is required. Store bought parallel clamps are limited by their length. Pipe clamps and bar clamps can be long, but they can also heavy to handle and can also mar the surface of the material being glued.

Let me know how the poorboy parallel clamps work for you.

Recommended Videos:

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