A press for gluing stacked bowl blanks

Until recently, I used my drill press to clamp layers of wood together for vases or bowl blanks. Problem is, the drill press isn’t really designed for this task, and I actually bent the rack gear on a large drill press doing it. After that, I decided there had to be a better—and less expensive—way.

So, I came up with the clamping fixture shown in the drawing. The heart of the system is a simple veneer-press screw costing less than $20 (part no. 143569 at Woodcraft, 800/225-1153 or www.woodcraft.com). I made the sides and bridge from 34 x 3" hardwood scraps, and the base from some leftover plywood.

After assembling the base, sides, and bridge, I removed the swivel from the end of the veneer-press screw, drilled a hole slightly larger than the screw in the center of the bridge, then mounted the screw as shown. Finally, I mounted a shop-made hardwood clamp pad to the swivel. 

This clamping fixture works great and provides even pressure, reducing the likelihood of collapsing the segments below the new glue joint. The screw isn’t long enough to reach the bottom layers of a glue-up by itself, so I keep a handful of hardwood spacers on hand that I can stack between the clamping pad and lathe faceplate.
—Bob Weigel, Tucson

For more in-depth information on gluing and clamping, visit our Gluing and Clamping section in the WOOD Store.

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