Sideways Squeeze

For the June print issue, I’m building a big plywood shop project. Several pieces in the project include some rather thick edging strips, which can be difficult to clamp tightly in place. Especially when they’re on the ends of an 8-ft. sheet of plywood.

I’ve used thicker edging before in a few projects, and each time I’ve wondered about those funky C-clamps made for jobs like these. They’ve got three screw jaws instead of just one—the most helpful being the third that runs through the spine of the clamp, perpendicular to the other two.

Well, last week I took the plunge and bought a half dozen to give them a try.

There are several brands of these clamps on the market. I bought Pony’s 3325 model, for around $10 apiece.

In the long run, I think it’s going to be money well spent. As you can see in the bottom photo, I didn’t use clamp pads under each of the metal jaws, so I needed to be careful about how much clamping pressure I applied. Didn’t want to dent the fragile face veneer of the plywood. But, even so, the opposing jaws held tightly enough for me to apply the tension I needed from the side of the clamp to press the edging into place. Had I used some clamp pads, I could have applied much more pressure if I needed to.

Aside from installing edging, the jaws of these three-way clamps will open to 2-1/2″, so you could also use them for reaching around the rails and stiles of a face frame to grip the cabinet parts behind, then press the frame against the carcass. I didn’t try that application, but it seems plausible enough.

Ah, that adage about never having enough clamps is true for me. Now I’ve got a few more of them on the clamp rack. But, for those unique applications, you might find these handy for your projects, too. I’m glad I’ve got them.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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About Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall has been writing for Woodworker's Journal as a contributing editor and field editor since 2001. Prior to that, he spent five years developing home improvement and woodworking books. He's written five of them and has served as a contributing writer on many more. A wood and tool junkie since childhood, Chris thoroughly enjoys building projects and reviewing woodworking tools for the Journal. When he's not assembling new machinery, sawing parts, taking photos or crunching text for an upcoming story, he enjoys spending time with his family and a houseful of pets at their home in rural Ohio.

3 thoughts on “Sideways Squeeze

  1. i have these same clamps for several years
    i have tried to use them on occasion but
    they are horrible
    when i clamp them on the main piece of wood they are fine
    when i start to turn the third screw to clamp the edging
    the other two screws start to slide toward the edge
    not enough pressure can be applied with that third screw
    i tried again this past weekend and same problem
    nice idea but it doesnt work

  2. In the March/April 2012 issue of Woodworkers Journal there is a tip in the Tricks of the Trade department on how to use C-clamps or F-clamps as substitutes for 3-way(3-point) clamps. The picture is worth 1000 words.

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