When you are working in the woodshop, you don’t always have a helping hand. That is why there are tools that can provide you with assistance. The bar clamp is among the handiest tools you can have, but not everyone knows how do bar clamps work. In this article, let us discuss what you need to know about bar clamps.
Knowing how do bar clamps work is essential for any serious craftsman. The process of operating a bar clamp may be straightforward if you know what you are working with. Before we show you how do bar clamps work, you should first distinguish what type of bar clamp you have.
What Is A Bar Clamp
Bar clamps are used to firmly attach a piece of material from your project to any surface, usually flat. It gives you the ability to clamp two pieces of wood together securely for bonding and molding purposes. We will go through the standard bar clamp to discuss its components and how it works.
A bar clamp consists of a steel bar with two jars, one is fixed, and the other is adjustable. To operate the bar clamp, the jar, which is not fixed, runs through a screw mechanism that tightens when you crank. It also comes with a flat tip to rest on the material you want to hold in place.
With the innovations of woodworking tools, we have different types of bar clamps available in the market. Knowing how do bar clamps work and understanding their function requires you to know what kind of bar clamp you have.
Different Types Of Bar Clamps
Various bar clamps differentiate in the mechanism. These clamps usually have the same function but are made for a more specific job. Some clamps are designed to accommodate larger projects. Let’s go through the different types of bar clamps to understand them better.
- Sash clamp bar clamp
The most common type of bar clamp is the sash clamp. We had described its characteristics when we went over “what is a bar clamp”. The sash clamp has two jaws where one is fixed, and the other is adjustable. The steel bar also consists of ridges where a peg is inserted to keep the clamp in place.
- T-bar clamp
This clamp is like the sash clamp, but the only difference is it resembles a T. The top section of the bar is wide and flat, which provides for more excellent stability and support when clamping more extensive materials. The T-bar clamp is also sturdy, rigid, and comes in a high-quality build. It usually costs more to purchase than a sash clamp.
- Pipe clamp
The pipe clamp differs from the regular clamp because its bar is circular. It also resembles a pipe and is generally used for smaller objects. Despite the name given to the clamp, it is not used for clamping pipes. Rather, it serves more for gluing two pieces of wood together and clamping molds.
- Quick-release bar clamp
The quick-release bar clamp is an innovative rendition to the bar clamp. Its mechanism allows the jaws to close and open with speed to save time on job sites. The quick-release clamp is also known as a tiger clamp. All you must do is squeeze on its trigger to lock tight and to release.
Different Size Bar Clamps
Knowing how do bar clamps work is also learning about their different sizes. Bar clamps can be useful for small and large-scale woodworking jobs. They are considered the largest open capacity of all clamp types. Its lengths for clamping objects can reach up to 2 meters and sometimes more.
The length of the rod will determine how wide the jaw of a bar clamp can open. The rod or bar is available in the following sizes:
- 600mm (24 inches)
- 900mm (35 inches)
- 1200mm (47 inches)
- 1350mm (53 inches)
- 1520mm (60 inches)
- 1800mm (71 inches)
- 2100mm (83 inches)
For jobs that require a more substantial bar, there are also accessories like the lengthening bar that you can connect to your bar clamp. It will provide it with the maximum length for optimum clamping capacity needed, usually for bigger jobs. The lengthening bar is also available in two sizes which are:
- 900mm (35 inches)
- 1200mm (47 inches)
Common Problems With Bar Clamps
If you want to know how do bar clamps work effectively, you should be able to correct common mistakes while using the bar clamp.
- Some clamps can bend under extreme pressure, particularly if the clamps are 4 feet or longer. You can limit this problem by using 3/4-inch bar clamps. It is also wise if you utilize multiple bar clamps on your bonding or molding project. This will lessen the pressure on the shaft and eliminate the possibility of your bars bending.
- A common problem when bonding boards with glue while using a clamp is applying to much pressure. This can cause the board to deflect, which in turn causes bowing. A solution to bowing is to alternate your clamps on both sides of the workpiece and tighten them evenly. This process will also aid in spreading your glue or adhesive on the wood equally.
- When you clamp in your material tight, especially when working with wood, marks and dents can be acquired. An excellent solution to this is to have a rubber pad on the tip of your jaws or a piece of cloth that can be a barrier. You can also sand-off marks that are too visible in your project.
Bar clamps are very effective in providing additional support in the woodshop, especially when you have no one to assist you with a project. Knowing how do bar clamps work gives you an advantage because you will know exactly how to operate a bar clamp the right way. You will be able to efficiently identify which type and size of bar clamp you will need for your specific needs. It is essential to have high-quality bar clamps, so you are assured that they won’t bend easily under pressure or during use. Find out more about bar clamps.