How Do I Clamp Corners?

Clamps make it easier for you to finish any project you embark on, regardless of whether you want to make frames, cabinets, boxes, or cases. Clamps can ensure that all the parts of whatever you are building are straight and in the perfect position, giving you solid, more secure joints for your projects. 

Here’s how you can clamp corners in 6 simple steps:

  1. Align the corners.
  2. Glue the joints together.
  3. Clamp the corners.
  4. Allow the glue to dry.
  5. Drill holes near the corners.
  6. Fix the screws to secure the angles.

For a more detailed guide on using clamps for the best results, stick with me. I’ll walk you through the steps to using clamps and give you some pro tips along the way. I’ll also teach you about the different clamp types and help you determine which one is best for your project. 

1. Align the Corners

Lay the pieces of wood you have organized for your project on a flat surface and align the corners at 45 or 90 degrees, which are the most used angles. Use a carpenter square to ensure that the corner angles are accurate.

Inaccuracy of the angles will cause your project to look crooked, spoiling its beauty. As you line up the edges, ensure you don’t leave space between the wood pieces.

2. Glue the Joints Together

When you have ensured that the pieces are firmly joined together without any space left between them and at right angles, seal them together with wood glue.

Apply the glue to the corners and join them to stick together.

3. Clamp the Corners

Before you clamp the corners of your frame, place protectors on the clamp to prevent it from damaging the item you are working on. 

You can use felt pads or thin pieces of wood to protect the frame from dents and marks. You can also place wax paper between the wood and the clamp to stop black stains from the clamp from getting on the wood.

Clamp each corner correctly to get perfectly aligned joints. However, don’t over-clamp, as too much force will push your frame out of alignment.

You can use clamps with a vise to firmly hold the frames together or clamps with adjustable handles to secure the corners. 

4. Allow the Glue To Dry

As you wait for the glue to dry, reexamine the piece to ascertain that the corners are perpendicular and flushed together without any gap.

If you discover that the joints aren’t correctly aligned, you should use a soft hammer to hit them into the proper position. The glue can take 5 to 20 minutes to dry and set.

5. Drill Holes Near the Corners

After the glue has dried, you can add some screws or nails to secure your joints further. To add screws without damaging the wood, you need to use a small drill bit to create tiny holes. 

When you drill or hammer on the joint, take your time and don’t apply too much pressure. You risk splitting the wood or undoing your glue if you work too quickly or forcefully. 

6. Fix the Screws To Secure the Angles

Next, if you choose to add screws, place the screws into all the holes you created and tighten them. Use a screwdriver for the best results (and for the least risk of splitting the wood). However, if you use a drill to screw in the screws, just ensure that you work very slowly. 

Screwing the wooden frames together will ensure that the structure holds firmly together. With that done, you can now remove the clamps.

To get a better understanding of how to clamp corners, watch this YouTube video from Zack of All Trades:

The Different Types of Clamps To Use

There are various clamp sizes and types that you can use depending on the project you are working on. Here are the types of clamps you can use:

Bar Clamps

These are the easiest and faster clamps to use. Their lightweight parts make them the best option when you need moderate pressure and a long reach. Some examples of when to use bar clamps are when making frames, joining the sides of boxes, or creating shelving. 

Their only downside is that you can’t use them on smaller pieces in a limited space. However, there are different bar clamps to use, including sash clamps, T-bars, and quick-release ones.

While using them, you can position them along the length or across the width of your workpiece. However, you may sometimes have to clamp in both directions or make the clamps cross over each other, depending on how big your project is.

I always go for these IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Bar Clamps on Amazon for almost every woodworking project I undertake. They are easy to use, offer a reliable quick-release tab for simple size adjustments, and last. So, you can’t go wrong with these clamps. 

Pipe Clamps

Pipe clamps are most commonly used in woodworking because they can work on most projects regardless of size and shape.

Although they are usually the most expensive clamps, one set does the trick since they offer a secure hold. 

That is because you can clamp one corner at a time before moving on to use the set on the different lengths of pipes on the frame. It’s best to buy pipe lengths of 2, 3, and 4 feet (61, 91, and 122 centimeters) to suit any project you embark on.

This Bessey BPC-H34 Style Pipe Clamp on Amazon is an excellent example of a pipe clamp. It’s the perfect size for most hobbyist woodworking pieces, such as frames, boxes, and other small projects. It’s also supremely reliable and offers plenty of size adjustments for the perfect fit. 

Spring Clamps

These are the clamps to use if you need to quickly hold your pieces together while applying light pressure on the corners. When applied to a corner, the pressure of the metal spring can compress both sides to keep the joints firmly together.

For them to work best, you must buy the right size for your pieces. Spring clamps usually range from 3 to 9 inches (7.6 to 22.9 centimeters), with 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) being the most common.

The good thing about these clamps is that they are the cheapest on the market.

If you are in the market for a spring clamp, I recommend this WORKPRO Steel Spring Clamp on Amazon. The steel is durable, and the spring is very tight, allowing you to securely join your project no matter how much resistance it puts up. In addition, I love the steel finish and red rubber tips because they make it easy to spot and clean off any leftover glue or gunk. 

Final Thoughts

To successfully clamp corners of your frame, follow the above steps diligently while paying particular attention to detail. While choosing clamps for your project, go for those that will work well in corners without giving you a hard time.

Simple and easy-to-use clamps will help you finish your project faster and ensure that it’s in perfect alignment.

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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