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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 below. The heart of the system is a simple veneer-press screw costing less than $20 (part no. 143569 at Woodcraft, 800/225-1153 or I made the sides and bridge from 3/4 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

A press for gluing stacked bowl banks

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


Comments (5)
pogybait wrote:

To OandJmill: turn the top concentric ring with a slight cone shape as this will automatically center the ring below it

1/6/2011 11:50:34 AM Report Abuse
oandjmill wrote:

I made some segmented bowls for Xmas gifts using a press with this same idea but the biggest problem I encountered was keeping the top ring concentric with the ring below it. I need to find an answer to this problem.

1/8/2010 04:47:52 PM Report Abuse
ahc416 wrote:

I built one similar to this and I use a removable MDF base insert covered with a piece of formica. Glue won't stick and a damp cloth or a sharp chisel quickly removes the excess glue. Arnold Clement

1/7/2010 08:35:40 PM Report Abuse
thomas parquet wrote:

This is a great idea. I've made stackwood bowls before and clamping up was always problem.

1/7/2010 10:54:52 AM Report Abuse
maurice bedard wrote:

Make sure you use a piece of wax paper between your glue-up and the plywood base to prevent it from sticking to the base.

1/7/2010 10:03:45 AM Report Abuse

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