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What is a Bar Clamp?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A bar clamp is a tool used when working with wood. It has cast iron jaws made with a heat-treated steel bar. This steel adds to the overall strength of the clamp. It is also possible for one to have a nickel-plated steel screw with a swivel pad and a hardwood screw handle.

A woodworking bar clamp can be used in a number of ways. If the project calls for gluing two pieces together, this clamp is used to keep them held tightly together to ensure a proper connection. This is important because many types of glue tend to bubble. If the pieces are not held together tightly, the bubbled glue can cause a break in the connection between the pieces.

When using a bar clamp to glue together two pieces of wood, it is important to tighten the clamps carefully in order to distribute the pressure evenly throughout the area. It is also important to alternate the direction of the clamps in order to keep the seal properly together. While doing this, it is necessary to measure the diagonals to keep the work square.

If your project is not square, the clamps need to be loosened and readjusted. Fortunately, this type of clamp can easily be adjusted as needed. After the work is securely clamped down, however, best practice is to reinforce the joints with finishing nails.

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A bar clamp can also be used when screwing or nailing two pieces of wood together. One that is properly placed makes it possible for the user to hold the pieces of wood in place while working on them.

Bar clamps come in many different sizes. Therefore, it is important to select one that is the right size for the project. The length is measured by its jaw opening, which represents its capacity for holding wood. The large, parallel jaws in a bigger clamp distribute even pressure across the entire surface, which prevents bowing, as well as the need to turn and lift the work.

Most bar clamps also feature encased clamps, which add to the strength and stability of the tool. The casing of this type is also non-marring and glue-resistant. This clamp is best when working with a finished surface or softer wood.

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