Strategies for Clamping
Work on a flat surface, and test-fit everything first
Synopsis: Jim Tolpin learned the hard way — in the middle of making a spiral staircase with two laminations – that it’s important to have all the necessary materials on hand before getting started. He talks about the benefits of having a flat assembly table and the right glue. He explains how to dry-assemble before glue-up and offers tips on frame assemblies. Side information includes illustrations on how to clamp a frame and how to correct an out-of-square frame. Tolpin also shares procedures for clamping boxes and carcases.
My partner and I weren’t expecting much trouble when we set out to clamp up our first spiral staircase. Each of the two laminations making up the staircase consisted of six layers of 1 ⁄2-in. red oak. We were well into gluing the oak strips and clamping them to the bending form when I realized that we were using a lot of clamps.…