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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:

Let’s Build a Drill Press Table
Let’s Build a Dedicated Dado Sled for the Table Saw
Let’s Build a Drill Press Table

The Apprentice and The Journeyman now has woodworking Plans and Books available for purchase.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


37…How to make poorboy Parallel Clamps

Learn how to make Parallel Clamps

 

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
John Keats…English Romantic poet (1795-1821)

The Need for Parallel Clamps

We have all heard that a woodworker can never have too many clamps. However, what do you do when you need parallel clamps for gluing up lots of panels of Koa wood, you are on an island, and you don’t have any clamps available? You simply have to be creative and use the materials available to you make your own parallel clamps. This was the case for me twenty years ago while working as a finish carpenter at a 5-star resort on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

At that time there were no hardware stores available that one could easily purchase parallel clamps or woodworking supplies. All of our materials and equipment were shipped in a cargo container from Southern California and would take weeks to receive. Waiting for any parallel clamps to arrive was out of the question. However, a fellow finish carpenter and I came up with a solution that worked like a charm. In this post I’ll share it with you.

Cost Effective Parallel Clamps

The poorboy parallel clamps are easily made from scrap material and are adjustable for varying widths of material to be glued. All you need for a clamp is a beam, two pillow blocks, and two drywall screws. Drill pilot holes and then drive the screws through the beams and into the pillow blocks. Make as many wood parallel clamps as necessary to get even clamping pressure. (Also…make sure to place a piece of plastic or wax paper between the parallel clamps beam and the glue seam to avoid gluing the clamp.)

The distance between the pillow blocks should be the width of the glue-up plus about 1/4″. Place the parallel clamps over the wood to be glued and simply tap the pillow blocks to create an evenly distributed pressure along the glue joint. The tightened woodworking parallel clamps will produce a nice, tight joint. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

Recommended Video… Woodworking Tip…The Power of the Shim

The Apprentice and The Journeyman now has woodworking Plans and Books available for purchase.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 


A Woodworking Drill Press Table

Drill Press Table 004

Drill Press Table for Woodworking

The drill press is one of the great woodworking power tools for a woodworker to have in the woodworking shop. However, the small metal table that often comes with this tool is rather limiting for woodworking. So, the answer to this limitation is to either buy a drill press table or build a shop made drill press table. If you choose to purchase a drill press table you could have it that very day if you have a woodworking store close by. Then again you could find a drill press table that you like online or in a mail order catalog and have it delivered in a week or so. Prices for the drill press table will vary, but you can probably expect to pay $100 for the basic table and then shipping. Hardware can also cost you extra. In this article we will learn how to make a drill press table for woodworking.

The other alternative a craftsman has is to build his own drill press table. What are the advantages of building your own drill press table? 1.) Obviously, you can save money. 2.) You can save time. 3.) You have the pride of using your skills and your own woodworking tools to create a table equally if not better than a store bought model. Plus, you can be enjoying the drill press and its new table within a few hours . It’s a good woodworking project and one you’ll be proud that you made with your own hands.

Drill Press Table 016The nice thing about making your own table is that you can customize it to your drill press model and to your own personal needs. You can use scrap material for the project that you have in the shop. There is not much material required for this project. However, you’ll want material for the table that is flat and durable and for the fence you’ll want straight material. In my case I had 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood available in the shop and that is what I chose.

My drill press table dimensions are 1″ x 18″ x 24″. I laminated the 1/2″ Baltic birch for the 1″ thickness to attain better rigidity. The table has two 3/4″ x 3/8″ x 18″ dadoes to accept universal T Track. On my table both tracks are centered 6″ from the center of the table. These tracks work well and they accept 5/16″ T bolts, 1/4″ T bolts, and 1/4″ hex bolts. The mounting holes of the track are pre-drilled and countersunk 4″ on center.

Here’s how to attach the new table to the existing drill press table. Take a ripping of hardwood that is 3/4″ x 2″ x 19″ and create a 3/8″ x 3/8″ rabbet along its length. Cut the ripping in half so the length is about 8 1/2″.

Drill Press Table 014These two lengths will be used under the new table to secure it to the existing table. The rabbets of each block will allow for the new table to slide along and under the existing table. Then when the new table is positioned to your liking through bolts and threaded star knobs will secure the new table to the existing. Note: The heads of these bolts are countersunk into the surface of the table and the threaded star knobs are tightened below the table. Also, notice the 3/4″ x 1″ x 22″ stiff back in front of the metal table. This helps to keep the new table flat as well as position the new table against the existing metal table.

For the fence I used two layers of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood laminated together. The actual fence is 1″ x 2 1/2″ x 24″. There is also a 3/4″ x 3/8″ x 24″ dado to accept a T track that is centered at 1 3/8′” from the fence’s bottom.

Drill Press Table 012In order to strengthen, straighten, and and keep the fence square to the table I added triangular 3/4″ plywood gussets to two 3/4″ x 3″ x 9 1/4″ rear bases. Keep these rear bases flush with the ends of the fence in order to allow for a 5 1/2″ clearance of the drill press post. This will allow the fence to travel deeper on the table giving you more adjustment area when needed. Note: The bottom of the fence has a 1/8″ x 1/8″ rabbet along its length to allow for wood chips and debris clearance.

You’ll be ready to put your new drill press table to good use once it is completed and you’ll find much more versatility with your drill press than you previously had. Moreover, clamping objects to the drill press table will be much easier and safer than before because you can now simply adjust and tighten your hold down clamps.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or insights…let me know. If you have any photos of your drill press table that you’d like to share…feel free to contact me.

Recommended Video:

Let’s Build a Drill Press Table


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

The Splined Miter Joint

How to Make a Splined Miter Joint

Splined mitre joint jig used on the table sawThe woodworking video shows how to make a splined miter joint on the table saw using a splined miter jig that is made in the woodworking shop. The jig for the table saw is easy to make and yet very accurate when cutting miter joints that include a spline. Notice how the plywood miter jig is slid along the surface of the table while sliding also against the table saw fence. Also, an 8 inch dado blade is used to cut the slot for the spline while a clamp secures the picture frame to the miter jig.

Walnut spline miter joints for a mahogany picture frame.The Splined Miter Joint is a decorative yet very strong joint. The addition of the spline and glue makes a regular miter joint all the more stronger while aiding in keeping the miter joint nice and tight. By using a wood spline that is of a contrasting wood, the woodworker can achieve a very distinctive appearance at the miter corners. This is why it is a favorite woodworking joint used when making a picture frame. (This joinery was cut on the table saw with the aid of a sliding woodworking jig. The splined miter joint can also be cut on the router table as well.)

 

Walnut splined mitre joint in a mahogany picture frameNote: The grain of the wood spline needs to be in the slot at a right angle to the miter joint when glued in order to give the splined miter joint its full strength.

 

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 Recommended Videos:

Let’s Make Splined Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled

Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Mastering the Miter Joint

How to Make a Miter Joint

Perfect Miter Joint made with a table saw miter sledA miter joint is one of the most common wood joints. This woodworking tutorial features a woodworking video on cutting a perfect miter joint. If you’ve done carpentry or woodworking there probably was a time or two that the fitting of a  miter joint was a challenge. Maybe you have been cutting miter joints using a miter saw. This video shows a better way of how the miter joint can be cut. It  fits with great accuracy and is done safely. It can be performed with ease every single time by employing the table saw miter sled. The woodworking technique is predictable and duplicatable. Watch the video and learn how to make a great miter joint.

What if you could take your wood projects to another level? Now you can. You can feel comfortable cutting one miter or hundreds of miter joints as the table saw miter sled method ensures accuracy and efficiency. Simply follow the techniques used in the woodworking video. As you will see, all four of the miter cuts line up the way they are supposed to. A woodworker can cut perfect miter joints every single time using this woodworking system.

Note: Prior to the demonstration of building the picture frame a new Woodworker II saw blade was installed on the tablesaw. A Wixey digital angle gauge was used to calibrate the saw blade to ensure it would be set at 90 degrees to the table saw bed. This is a must to achieve the correct miter angles.

Perfect Miter Joint secured with an Ulmia spring pinch clamp - Miter Joint ClampsNotice how the Ulmia spring pinch clamps were used to hold the miters together during glue up. These miter joint clamps are invaluable as they provide adequate pressure to hold the miter joint. Simply find a place on your woodworking bench, glue and align the joints, and open and close the Ulmia pinch clamps. It saves time and it’s that easy. (You’ll love these pinch clamps. I highly recommend them as they hold the miter joint tight while the glue sets. You’ll be glad to have them.)

Recommended Video:
Let’s Make Spline Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled

Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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