Sash clamps are used to hold together projects for an extended period of time, this is usually when gluing up to ensure the parts don’t move while the glue dries. They can also be used for temporary assembly (dry assembly) and to hold the components in the vise and on the bench top. As wood glue is water based, when applied the surface fibres of the wood swell, the clamps are there to stop any movement occurring. They can be tightened to create the desired amount of pressure and the length can also be adjusted.
Note: Paul recommends always putting your project together with a dry run first, this ensures that your parts fit together before you apply the glue.
Oil the threads with 3 in 1 oil to stop them rusting and to keep the mechanism easy to adjust.
Add pads to the shoes, Paul recommends using plywood as this is sturdy and won’t mark the wood. You can fasten these using double sided tape or contact adhesive. If using contact adhesive, make sure to coat both the surfaces before, if only one is coated it will not stick. With double sided tape, press firmly then clamp the feet together to apply more pressure.
The lightweight aluminium clamps have a tendency to twist, you can add a piece of wood down the core of the beam to help reduce the amount that the clamp twists. You are after a snug fit so it does not require any fastening. When finding the internal measurements, make sure to measure from the indents as you don’t want your wooden beam to catch on these. Use a chisel hammer to ensure the beam goes down all the way, then secure it by denting the stem with a nail punch and hammer.
When buying a sash clamp, you want it to be lightweight and strong. You can add things such as pads and a rod down the core for strength (see ‘setting up’). Sash clamps are rarely used alone so it is wise to buy several of these. By having more than one, you can apply equal pressure to your project.
Paul recommends buying 2x 48” (122cm), 2x 36” (90cm) and 4x 24” (61cm). We purchased these Silverline Sash clamps from Amazon:
600mm for £8.65*🇬🇧 ($9.17 +approximately $10 shipping for the US🇺🇸)
900mm for £11.38*🇬🇧 ($13.02 +approximately $10 shipping for the US🇺🇸)
1200mm for £12.94*🇬🇧 ($16.70 + approximately $15 shipping for the US🇺🇸)
*Prices correct as of December 2018
To read more on sash clamps, we recommend the following from Paul’s blog: