How to Use Bar Clamps to Steady Woodworking Projects

Bar clamps can act as a helping hand when you’re working solo on a wood project.

It’s not always possible to have a helper for every project. And for woodworkers and do-it-yourselfers, only having two hands to join two pieces of wood together can be frustrating.

If there’s nobody around to help you join two pieces of wood, there are a few alternative solutions to try. You could try holding both pieces with one hand and screwing them together with your free hand. However, this isn’t ideal.

Not only can you slip and injure your hand, but the awkward positioning can lead to a mistake, which in turn results in wasted materials, increased job time and even more frustration.

You also could use a shelf bracket, but not everyone has one of those to spare, especially if you aren’t building shelves.

This can be easily avoided with tools that you might already have lying around. To free up your hands and keep your project secure, use bar clamps!

Two bar clamps on top of a piece of wood
Bar clamps secure a board to a surface or another piece of wood. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

What Are Bar Clamps?

Bar clamps, also known as F-clamps, are common tools in the woodworking field. They’re mainly used to hold pieces of wood in place as wood glue dries. They also have practical uses in welding.

Bar clamps are composed of a long metal or plastic rod and two parallel bars attached to it, forming the shape of the letter “F”.

Using a bar clamp is simple. All you have to do is unfasten the screw or whatever device is used to move the parallel bars. Then, adjust the bars to the width you need to fit the piece of wood you’re working with, and fasten the clamp back down.

The long bar acts as a kickstand to hold up a piece of wood. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

How to Use Bar Clamps for a Helping Hand

This part is easy! Or, should I say, simple — like all my other Simple Solutions. All you need is two short bar clamps to use as outriggers to keep your piece of wood in place. Here’s how:

1. Fasten each clamp to the bottom of the piece of wood that you want to stand still, making sure that each bar is facing the opposite way.

2. Now, the piece of wood should be standing straight up on its own, balancing between the two clamps.

3. Line up the piece of wood you want to attach to your now free-standing board.

4. Use a drill and screw to attach the two pieces of wood together.

Further Reading


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