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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