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How many clamps do I need?


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Hi, i need to get some clamps. I can lay my hands on a couple of sash clamps, would i need more than that? I also need some G Clamps but what sizes shoudl i get? I was thinking of just getting mostly 4 inch ones and a few 6 inch? How many of each should I get assuming I will only ever be building one guitar at a time. I need to cater for glueing the splices of a neck thru guitar, i guess that would be the most clamp intensive job?



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I use F-clamps to glue up body blanks. You can use 3, 2 on one side, 1 on the other, I use 5 here because they were on sale and I bought 5. 3 on one side, 2 on the other. Always balance out the clamping, because it's possible the pieces could pop apart. The two C-clamps on the ends of the board prevent the pieces from sliding out of alignment.


Here is a laminated neck blank being glued. I have alot of C-clamps. I have a few small ones for small stuff, but they are mostly 4" and a couple 5" ones.


Here is a fingerboard being glued. Note the clamping caul to spread the force.


Do you notice how I have the C-clamps alternating in size? They go 5"-4"-4"-4"-5"-4"-4"-4"-5"-4"-4"-4"-5" in the two neck pictures. I like to create even clamping pressure when I clamp stuff, not sure if anyone else is this picky, maybe it's just a 'thing' I have. :D

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four sash clamps and an additional four bar clamps of two foot length should be enough to get you started, although as our esteemed colleague mentioned you can never have too many. And I agree with him again in that the "quick clamps" don't get the job done. Like the rest of us you will end up buying clamps on sale or "inheriting" them, so start with the basics - the rest will just show up in the shop over time.

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Hi Lex, with regards to even clamping pressure and whether youre just being picky....my dad was an electronices wiz and great with engines as well. It did not matter what he pulled part, he'd lay the nuts, bolts, screws and other parts out in an area in the same manner they were taken out. and thats the way and order they went back in. With building things (guitars included) he'd do the same as you with clamps. His work could never be faulted as he planned well, set things out evenly and expected the unexpected. Everything had to be evenly balanced out and his work always turned out excellent.

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I use two sash clamps, about 8 G clamps and a couple of the quick release ratchet type. I use the quick release ones to hold things steady when I'm lining hem up for the proper clamps.

When I use the proper clamps I uses scrap wood to protect the guitar, but I use pieces about 1/2 inch thick, 1 inch wide and 10 inces long. I put a clamp at each end of these to spread the load a little more evenly. It's also a good idea to wrap your scrap bits of wood in cling film so that you don't have to wrestle if off of the guitar.

Good luck dude

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