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Tip #161
Avoiding clamp jaw damage

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Some clamps (especially "high mileage", metal-jawed models) can mar workpieces when you apply the torque during glue-ups.

Experienced woodworkers know this and use wooden cauls (small pieces of scrap wood) between the jaws of these clamps and their workpieces during glue-ups to prevent this problem.

Here are a few valuable tips along these lines.

  • Cut a bunch of 2" x 2" wooden squares for use as cauls. Hold them to your clamp jaws with double-stick carpet tape - or with small, circular magnets glued into counterbored holes in the cauls.
  • Here are some additional items that make great cauls:
    • The lids from plastic jugs and bottles (that match the sizes of your clamp jaws)
    • 35mm film can lids
    • 2" x 2" squares of indoor/outdoor carpeting
    • Self-adhesive felt
    • Bulletin board cork, glued to your clamp jaws

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