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You Can Never Have Too Many Clamps

At least, this is what I was told by a professional cabinetmaker. In
that profession the quantity of clamps is certainly important. But
for pinewood derby use, having one or two clamps of the right type
will make your work much easier and more accurate.

There is a huge variety of specialty clamps available today, but we
will focus on two types of clamps. The first is a Quick-Grip clamp
from Irwin, which is basically a bar clamp that is tightened by
squeezing the handle. A lever then quickly releases the clamp.
Quick-Grip clamps range in size from very small to quite large. For
pinewood derby use, the smallest is the clamp of choice.

Figure 1 - Quick-Grip Mini Clamps
Source: Rockler

The second type of clamp is a Bar Clamp from Bessey. This clamp
(sometimes referred to as an "F-Clamp" is similar to a traditional "C-
clamp" in that it tightens with a bolt. However, this Bar Clamp is
superior to a C-clamp in that it combines the bolt tightening method
of the C-clamp with the adjustment mechanism of a bar clamp. This
provides a wider range of clamping applications and faster clamping

Figure 2 - Bessey Bar Clamp
Source: Rockler

My recommendation is to acquire one of the Bessey Bar Clamps, and a
pair of Quick-Grip Micro Clamps (normally sold in pairs). The
combination of these two clamp types will give you many options for
clamping. Here are a few examples.

Quick-Grip Clamp
The Squeeze Clamp is used where the size and force of a large clamp is
not required. Possibilities include holding a wood or metal part to
the pinewood derby car body while the adhesive dries, and holding a
wood chip in place when repairing a flaw.

Bar Clamp
The Bessey Bar Clamp is used where a larger force is required.
Generally this is needed when the block must be sawed, drilled, or
shaped with a file (an optional method for filing is described below).

Combination Clamping
Sometimes it is helpful to use both clamps in combination. One
opportunity is when a file (or Dremel-type tool) is used to shape the
car body. If the car is clamped to a work bench, then the sides and
bottom edge of the car cannot be easily worked.

An alternative is to clamp the car to a narrow board using a Quick-
Grip Clamp, and then clamp the board to the work bench with a Bar
Clamp (see Figure 3). This method of clamping allows much more
freedom of access than if the car was directly clamped to the work

Figure 3 - Combination Clamping

Read More at: Pinewood Derby Times Volume 9, Issue 12

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