Shop-made panel clamps
Because I do a lot of frame-and-panel door glue-ups, my horizontal shop space quickly gets taken over by clamped-up boards. I can't afford pricey store-bought stackable clamping systems, so I came up with my own version made from hard maple because of its strength. Here's how I do it:
I cut all the parts to size, pre-drill, then attach the top and bottom to the two ends. I glue and clamp one of the rails in place. Then, I combine the threaded rod, clamping block, coupler, nuts, and clamp assembly, before gluing on the second rail. Finally, I apply paste wax or masking tape to the rails to protect them from glue squeeze-out.
To use the stackable clamps, I can either screw two clamps to a piece of plywood (as shown), or clamp them down to my workbench, making sure they are square and parallel with each other. I assemble a glue-up in the clamps and use a socket-equipped cordless drill to quickly tighten down the clamping block. Then I finish tightening by hand with a socket set.
I can stack the next set of clamps on top of the first and bolt them together with 1⁄4 "×20 bolts through the end holes. I'm limited only by the number of clamps I build.
—Jerry Schneider, Holland, N.Y.