Slow Down, I Think I’m Getting A Clamp




Cigar box guitars and amplifiers are a wonderful way to begin building playable instruments. Whether you choose to build a simple three string cigar box guitar or a credenza, you will at some point need wood clamps. There are various types and styles of wood clamps available to the modern woodworker. You will find having one or two clamps just may not be enough. I have seen shops with as many as 30 clamps. That’s not a record I’m sure. I myself have may be 14 or 15. Different clamps are used in holding different objects. When using any type of clamp on a wooden project keep in mind you must repair any mark your clamp puts on your project.

I keep various thin materials such as cardboard, wax paper and thin strips of wood to cover the jaws of my wood clamps. From time to time you need to check and clean the jaws of whatever clamp you are using. Clamps are generally used for glue ups or holding something in place to drill or screw. I absolutely endorse nothing here but I will say there are some fine glues out there. For a wide variety of materials. I just can’t imagine anything you could not glue together with the proper glue and the help of some quality clamps.

When your project calls for a complicated or even a simple glue up, I suggest a kind of “dry rehearsal.” Think about how you are going to use your clamps, what are the best clamps to use and how are you going to do all of this with glue all over your hands. I make it a point to use latex gloves when I glue up a project. And if you do it right it helps keep the glue off your clamps. Nothing will mess up the finish of a project faster than glue on the jaws of a clamp.

TIP: Remember to put on gloves. I keep all my clues epoxies etc. on a shelf and set the box of gloves in front of them. When I reach for the glue I can’t get to them without moving the gloves. I will admit before it was a habit I did move the gloves a few times only to put them back on the shelf with glue on my hand later.

Be careful don’t  get in a hurry. I know after I have taken the time to design and build a cigar box guitar and get it to the point of its first glue-up it is hard not to just dive right in. You need to slow down, stage all your clamps and don’t get in a hurry. Do a little dry rehearsal, and be sure to put the clamps back into their staging position before starting the actual glue-up. Equally important is cleaning up any glue that has made its way to the surface. Remember different glues use different methods of cleaning up the excess glue. It is simple to have a wet paper towel and cleanup excess wood glue. It is somewhat more difficult to clean up an epoxy based glue.


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