There’s an old saying in woodworking that you can never have enough clamps, but it’s also a truism that you need the right clamps. Sometimes when clamping up boxes and similar four-sided square constructions or carcases, if you are clamping by hand, it takes a whole rack of clamps to get the job done right, and that includes a lot of checking for square. Of course, a case clamp makes this quite a bit easier, but that’s out of the budget of many shops. One possible solution is a strap clamping system from Lamello.
Four corners to square
Deceptively simple, the Lamello clamping system has just three parts: corners, straps, and levers. Together, they make quick work of squaring and clamping boxes. Extruded aluminum corners, available in a variety of lengths, are placed over the corners of the assembled box. A heavy duty polyester strap is run round the box and corners, and then a heavy steel lever system provides the tension to clamp it all. That sounds simple enough, and there have been many similar systems using ratchet straps and the like, but the Lamello system has some key improvements.
Rounded backs on the corners allow the strap to easily slide and tighten on the box, while plastic ends on the corners keep the strap from slipping off. Since the corners are available in a variety of sizes (12cm, 20cm, 40cm, and 60cm), you can match the corners to the project or even combine corners for large clamp-ups.
Straps used in the system are much stronger and stiffer than the typical nylon straps on ratchet clamps. The stiffness of the straps aids in tangle-free assembly, and the strength takes maximum clamping force.
That force is delivered with a heavy-gauge steel lever that runs on plastic wheels riding against the sides of the box to be clamped. Simply threading the strap correctly through the lever and pressing it down toward the box is all it takes to clamp everything. A notched recess in the end of the lever slips behind the strap to keep the clamp in place. It all takes longer to describe than to do.
So, instead of juggling a minimum of four clamps for a typical box glue-up, you can do it with one or two strap clamps that are easily assembled, adjusted, activated, and stored. I’m also thinking that, with custom corners, the system could easily be used for irregular boxes with more than four sides. Lamello products, including the clamping system, are distributed in the United States by Colonial Saw. For more information, visit www.csaw.com.
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