Wise Buys: Band Clamps
Every workshop should have at least one band clamp--also known as a strap or web clamp--for pulling together joints on projects that prove difficult for standard bar or pipe clamps, such as frames, chairs, cases, columns, or any odd-shaped project. They all come with corner blocks for supporting angled joints, but you also can use these clamps without them. Just be aware that without corner blocks, glue squeeze-out seeps into the nylon bands and can be difficult to remove. WOOD tool tester Bob Saunders tested nine band clamps and recommends these three.
Lee Valley 17F10.13
This low-cost clamp works like the ratcheting tie-downs I use to secure cargo to my pickup truck. But instead of rubber-coated metal hooks on the ends of the 16'-long nylon band, it's secured to the ratchet at one end with the other end loose to pull through the ratchet before tightening. It comes with four 90° nylon corner brackets that clip onto the band and work great for square glue-ups. For odd angles, I use Lee Valley's accessory variable-angle corners (4-pack, #50K57.01, $12.95, shown in the photo) because they adjust from 30° to 180°--the only ones with this much flexibility. My advice: Buy the band clamp (#17F10.02) itself for $9.95, then get the variable corners.
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