7 Hidden DIY Secrets of an Ordinary Boring Clamp

  • By: Monica Shulz

A G-Clamp is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your workshop. You can extend the functionality of a standard clamp by combining it with others or by building specific jigs for it.

In this article, we’ll be showing you 7 hidden secrets of a clamp. We’ll take you step-by-step on how you can clamp irregular shapes, assemble wood joints, and so much more!

So, let’s get to work with our clamps.

Project 1

Clamp Two Boards Together Horizontally

Clamping two boards together horizontally can be difficult because their combined width might be too much for one clamp. You can fix this with two clamps and a wedge

Position The Wooden Boards on The Table

Place the boards on the table and ensure the smaller one is right on the edge. Next, clamp the bigger board to the table at both ends.

Secure Both Boards with a Wedge

Take a wedge and gently hammer it between the wedge and the clamp until it is snug and tight. Take another wedge and do the same for the second clamp.

Final Product

Now, your two boards are securely joined together, and you didn’t even need to invest in a bigger clamp.

Project 2

How To Clamp Wide Workpieces Together

Not many people know this, but you can combine two clamps to hold wider workpieces. But first, you must create a jig to increase the clamp’s jaw surface area, so it doesn’t slip.

Cut Out the Blanks for The Jig

From a 10mm thick piece of plywood, cut out four blanks measuring 25mm by 25mm.

Drill Holes for The Clamp’s Jaws

Take two of the blanks you just cut and join their opposite edges using a pencil to find their center. Clamp them in a bench vise.

Measure the diameter of your clamp’s jaw. Using the appropriate bit, drill a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the jaw into the blanks in the vise.

Make sure the hole only goes about 5mm deep.

Join The Blanks Together

Take one of the blanks without a hole and place it perpendicularly on the bottom of one with a hole. Ensure its edge is about 20mm away from the edge of the top piece.

Glue them together. Do the same for the second set.

Secure The Jig with A Screw

After gluing the pieces, clamp both of them in a bench vise with their holes facing up. Secure the bottom part to the top part using screws.

Final Product

Place the jigs on either side of the wood piece you want to join. Place a clamp on either side of the board. Ensure the top jaws of both clamps intersect and their bottom jaws are firmly in the jigs.

Now, you can tighten them to hold the board in place properly.

Project 3

How to Clamp a Right-Angled Joint

Assembling two workpieces perpendicularly can be a struggle because clamping them together is not easy. However, you can use a helpful tool called a clamping triangle to make this work easier.

Here’s how you can make one.

Cut Out the Blanks for The Clamps

On a 15mm thick piece of plywood, mark and cut out a 20cm-by-20cm piece. After cutting, join a pair of opposite corners together using a pencil.

Cut the blank into two triangles along that line using a band saw.

Drill Some Clamping Holes in Both Triangles

Clamp one of the triangles down on your workbench. Next, mark two equally spaced points about 2” from the triangle’s base. Do the same for the other bases.

At those points, drill a hole with a diameter of 3cm through the triangle. Do the same for the second triangle.

Assemble Your Workpieces

Place the base of the workpieces you want to clamp together close to the edge of your workbench. Place the clamping triangle on it and clamp them together through one of the clamping holes.

Do the same for the other side. Next, place the upright piece by the side of the triangle and clamp them together through one of the clamping holes too.

Project 4

Create a Temporary Vise for Planing

One of the nifty things you can do with clamps is use them as an emergency bench vise. If you don’t have a vise, or the one you have isn’t suitable for your workpiece, you can easily fashion a vise out of a set of clamps.

Clamp the Inner ‘Jaw’ To the Table

Take a block of wood about an inch thick and place it on the edge of your workbench. Clamp it securely to the workbench on both ends.

Assemble The Vise

Place the workpiece in the middle and place another block of wood at its back. Using a bigger clamp, clamp the inner and the outer jaw together with the workpiece in between.

Final Product

Now, you have a makeshift vise that will hold your workpiece in place. You can properly continue your planing with both hands.

Project 5

How to Clamp a Miter Joint Together

Clamping joints like miter, corner, or butt joints can prove difficult due to their shape. However, by using a jig, you can line them up and clamp them perfectly.

Cut Out the Blanks for The Jig

From a 10mm thick piece of wood, cut out a blank that’s 135mm x 150mm in size. Next, join the opposite corner of each blank to each other to divide the blank into four quadrants.

Drill a Hole in The Blank

Place the blank on the drill press. Using the appropriate bit, drill a 15mm diameter hole in the middle of the blank where the lines intersect.

Divide The Blanks

Place an angle square on one of the longer sides and make sure its center is on the center of the blank. Using a pencil, draw an angle of 90 degrees at that position.

Next, use a bandsaw to cut out that 90 degrees from the blank. Keep both the bigger and smaller parts.

Assemble The Joint

Place your miter joint in the bigger piece of the jig, then place the smaller piece inside the joint. Place your clamp over the assembly and tighten it.

Final Product

You can now securely clamp miter joints with the aid of your jig.

Project 6

Clamping a Tee Joint

Clamping two pieces of wood together to form a Tee shape can be hard because no clamp is large enough for that. To clamp them successfully, you’ll have to use a jig that extends the length of your clamp.

Cut the Blanks for The Jig

From a 10mm thick piece of plywood, cut out a piece 80mm wide and 20mm long. Next, cut out another piece 80mm wide and as long as the length of the T-joint’s bottom piece.

On the tail end of the longer piece, drill a hole that’s about 40mm in diameter.

Join The Blanks Together

Place the shorter jig in a vertical position, so it’s sitting on its butt. Join the end of the longer jig to the bigger one using glue. Make sure their edges line up perfectly.

Reinforce the joint with some screws.

Assemble the Joint

Assemble the T joint in place and place the jig directly over the joint. Place the head of the clamp in the hole on the jig and place its lower jaw on the bottom.

Tighten the clamp to secure your joint.

Final Product

Now, your Tee joint is secure, and the glue can set properly.

Project 7

Reverse a Clamp’s Direction

Not many people know this, but you can reverse the direction of the jaws on a DeWalt squeeze clamp. Here’s a quick guide on how you can do this:

Release the Clamp’s Jaw

Make sure the clamp is fully closed, then press the button on the upper jaw to release the upper jaw. Remove the upper jaw.

Re-attach The Jaw To The Other End

Place the jaw on the other end of the clamp and secure it on the hole there. Drag the other jaw back to it.

Now, you have a reverse clamp.

Final Product

Now, you can use your clamp as a spreader to apply outwards pressure.

For more hardware tips and tricks, you can check out the DIY Projects YouTube channel. You can also subscribe to their Yandex page for more updates.

Photo by DIY projects / CC BY 3.0