WOOD Online FREE Shop Tip June 11, 2007

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Shop Tip: Stretcher lets small clamps tackle big-clamp jobs

While building a long, low bookcase, I needed to find a way to clamp the short sides to the 90"-long shelves. Because I wanted to avoid nail holes and didn't have any 8' pipe clamps, I hit on the idea of using holes in a board to hold small bar clamps like those shown in the illustration at right.

To make the clamping boards, I cut four boards. I used scrap plywood, 1" shorter than the inside length of the bookcase. Next, I bored a 2" hole in each end of each board to accept one jaw of the clamp. I had to make several trips back and forth as I slowly increased the tension on each clamp, but the results meant I didn't have to buy and store extra-long pipe clamps.

—Shirley Sanford, Amherst, Nova Scotia

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