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A clamp a tool with opposing, often adjustable sides or parts for bracing objects or holding them together. It is an essential fastening device to hold objects tightly together so that it can prevent movement or separation while applying inward pressure. Clamps are a versatile part of any tool kit. Clamps are used to secure a workpiece to a work surface. They can easily secure a straight edge across a work piece for routing and sawing. They can hold a workpiece during gluing. Materials of construction of clamps include metals, plastics, and composite materials.

Types of clamps
There are different clamps used for varied purposes. Some are temporary while some others are permanent. The temporary clamps are those which are used to position components while fixing them together. We give below a list of some of the most common types of clamps:
  • C Clamp: C" clamps consist of a "C" shaped frame into which an adjustable screw is assembled. The size of a "C" clamp is measured by its capacity, which is measured by the dimension of the largest object, the frame can accommodate with the screw fully extended. Also important is depth of throat, the distance from the center-line of the screw. to the inside edge of the frame. "C" clamps range from 1" to 12".

  • Bar Clamp: Bar clamps have a clamping device built on a bar made usually of steel. Their length varies from 6" to 8". The length of the bar determines the capacity of the clamp, which is the dimension of the largest object that can be accommodated between its clamping jaws. "Reach" is the distance from the edge of the bar to the end of the clamping jaws. Screw pressure applies the final clamping load. Another type of bar clamp features one-handed operation. A pistol-grip handle allows the woodworker to adjust jaw pressure with one hand where a trigger release unlocks the grip. It is available in jaw openings from 6" to 36". A pipe-clamp fixture is an adaptation of the bar clamp. A set of clamp fixtures is mounted on a piece of pipe of any length to make an economical, practical bar clamp. The fixtures are easily switched from one piece of pipe to another.

  • Spring clamp: A spring clamp is two metal jaws to which clamping pressure is applied by use of a steel spring.

  • Hand-screw clamp: A hand-screw clamp is two hardwood clamping jaws adjusted to the work by two steel screw spindles assembled into the jaws. Also known as 'Toolmaker's clamps', they are usually used in metalwork. They can also be used to clamp small items. There are wooden hand screw clamps as well which are used for furniture repairs.

  • Web clamp: Web clamps apply even clamping pressures around regular and irregular shapes and hold tight by means of a spring-loaded locking fixture. They are ideal for frames.

  • Edging clamps: Edging clamps are used for installing molding and trim on furniture, countertops etc. They are also used for holding work at right angles, welding or soldering. They are designed to hold edging strips, molding, trim, etc., firmly when fastening to the edge or side of work, leaving hands free.

  • Corner clamps: Corner clamps are designed to hold miter or butt joints at a 90° angle. They can be used for making picture frames, cabinets, molding and trim.

  • Picture Frame Clamp: The clamp is so designed so that it can hold the mitred corners of picture frames.

  • Speed Clamp: This clamp is in the shape of a metal bar with serrations. When there is application of clamping pressure, the serrations lock & secure the sliding head.

  • Screw Clamp: This type of clamp has a fast and powerful closing and opening grip due to presence of special thread and handle grip.
What are the rules for clamping?
The steps to follow are as follows:
  • It is very essential to use a piece of scrap wood between the clamp's jaws and the workpiece so as to prevent damage.

  • When a clamp is positioned, the jaws should be closed till the clamp feels tight. In some cases when gluing, some will be squeezed out around the joint, which implies that it is tight enough.

  • It is to be noted that clamping pressure should be applied at right angles to the glue line. If this is not done, there is chance of slippage .

  • Never over tighten a clamp. The purpose of a clamp is not to force two surfaces to fit but to maintain uniform pressure between them.

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