What Are the Best Metal clamps
Clamps are one of the few tools that are absolutely essential for woodworking. It is also one of the few tools that people often buy without considering the best product for their needs… usually one that translates into “metal bends”. In my opinion, this is rather foolish as not all woodworking places or workshops have the tools available to support the needs of the woodworker.
The real question is which clamps are best for a given task. Metal bending clamps, while certainly not obsolete, do need a bit more of your attention and care than its softer counterpart. The main reason for this is what I shall call the “metal bending season” — when you require bending, particularly metal and need the tools at hand for fastening and loosening etc. As it happens, any clamp is better than no clamp at all and there is no reason that a metal clamp does not re Handle as well as another piece of metal. I readily dismiss the old saying that “you get what you pay for”. Applying this principle in woodworking, most folks have stainless steel clamps, while the premium grade stainless steel clamps are usually used by the light use woodworker.
Carpenters tend to use the T-nut, or “metal T-bolt”. Used for light metal bending projects, these clamps not only are a little less expensive than ordinary metal clamps but they also can do the job better due to the tolerances set by the job. In situations where there is no other way for a given piece of steel to be bent (e.g. when a positive placement of two adjacent bolts hold two pieces of wood together), I’m sure you’re already using a T-nut or bolt on your project to begin with. This is another case where good metal clamps (T-bolts) can make your project “go faster”. Being an extension of the C-clamp, the C-nut holds a bolt in place. When clamping, you can use both sides of the nut if it’s properly adjusted. So neither half of the nut slop you clamp is wasted.
If you use a tack clamp or retractable cable clamp for when you need light clamping or you are converting it to a heavier duty duty load of work, then you only need (a) the C- clamp that fits above your pruning saw to be used for light work, or (b) the T-shaped metal clamp, which will be used for heavy duty jobs or for scraps where a heavier duty clamp is preferred.
On upholstering projects, you probably have an upholstery tuck clamp or a special spray adhesive tuck. These are small pieces of hardware that work no differently than standard screws for holding up fixtures and other such as on upholstered chairs. (Please note that if you use the tuck clamp on chairs, you must make sure that the underside of the back of the chair is inside the head rail to avoid your pliable tuck getting caught on the tuck plate inside the head rail.) From a mechanical point of view, it really works like an ordinary screw.
In my work setting, I use small, deck fasteners for attaching the deck boards to the joists (Please note that these fasteners will also work for framing the roof rafters). These are threaded all the way around and their diameter is usually not less than 1/4″ or 3/16″ or 1/8″. They will provide the best holding with minimal attention to the additional details. I use T-shaped, all-en accounts screw fasteners specially made for deck fasteners plus a small drill bit to drill pilot holes for the deck screws. I also useinch andabbreviixed byoned screwsin tight places where nailed fasteners would mechanical disadvantage.