Clothespin Clamps

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clothespin clamps
Wrap a rubber band around a clothespin and it holds tighter.  Keep the band closer to the spring so there is clearance inside the jaws.

Clothespin clamps are a very cost effective way to create a large number of clamps in a very short amount of time.  There are instances in guitar making where dozens and dozens of clamps are needed. Gluing the kerfing to the sides is one of those instances, so having many inexpensive clamps on hand can make a big difference.

You can make several of these for a few dollars, and they hold very well.  Purchase a pack or two of spring style clothespins from a dollar store, grocery store, or online.  Also, purchase a bag of rubber bands that are all the same size.  Bands that are about 2″ to 3″ in size and around 1/4″ thick are perfect for this.

Wrap the head of the clothespin several times with the rubber band, staying a little closer to the spring.  Then, test the action of the clamp by squeezing the ends.  It should be firm, but not too tough to press, and there should be room enough inside the jaws to clamp over the kerfing.

Clothespin clamps are super inexpensive, easy to make, and last a long time. They may not be pretty, but they can save you quite a bit of money over small spring clamps.

clothespin clamps
Clothespin clamps are used to hold the kerfing in place when gluing.

To use the clamps, spread glue on the back of the kerfing, and then apply them one by one right next to each other. Grouping them closely increases the clamping force, because every inch of the kerfing has a clamp on it.  This spreads out the pressure very well, and keeps the kerfing in place while the glue is drying.

For more ways to save money on materials costs, my article called Are you Paying too Much For Sandpaper reveals a little trick that the sandpaper manufacturers hope you never figure out.

My book, Acoustic Guitar Making: How to make Tools, Templates, and Jigs shows beginning acoustic guitar makers this and many other money saving tools.  With over 500 pages and 1600 images, it takes a lot of the guess work out of guitar making.

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brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

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