Pipe- and bar-clamp blocks
These easy-to-make shop aids really simplify edge-gluing boards. The clamp blocks spread each clamp’s pressure over a wider area, and feature hardboard “outriggers” that keep the blocks in place while you position the clamps. They also prevent the clamp’s pipe or bar from touching the panel’s surface and creating a glue stain on your project.
The blocks without outriggers, called alignment blocks, bridge across the faces of mating boards, keeping their surfaces flush during assembly and as the glue dries. Cutouts prevent accidentally gluing the blocks to your workpieces.
To make a set of blocks, start by cutting a 2-1/2"-wide blank from 3/4"-thick stock, as shown below. Make the blank as long as you wish, working in multiples of 4-1/8". Next, lay out and drill a series of 1" holes through the blank, centered on its width, where dimensioned on the drawing. Now rip and crosscut the blank as dimensioned.
Cut a pair of 1/2" bevels on each block, using a bandsaw. For now, set aside the pairs you plan to use as alignment blocks. Complete the clamping blocks by adding 1/4" hardboard outriggers.
Add a couple of coats of clear finish to all the blocks to prevent glue from sticking to them. Finally, apply 3/4" self-adhesive cork pads (available in hardware stores) to the edges of the clamping blocks to prevent workpiece marring.
Project design: Jeff Mertz
For more in-depth information on gluing and clamping, visit our Gluing and Clamping section in the WOOD Store.