# What advantages do F-style clamps offer for gluing up a thick laminate?

I was reading the "How to Make a Bandsaw Box" by the Drunken Woodworker, and I noticed he used a ton of F-style clamps for the initial glue up. Later he uses some Bessey K-Bodies for re-gluing the drawer back together.

My question is, why use so many F-style clamps rather than just 3-4 parallel bar clamps that would cover the entire surface?

Side note: I glued some 2-3/4" x 5-1/4" pieces together a few nights ago, and had a bit of trouble getting them to stay lined up while I tightened my K-Body style clamps on them. Would the F-style clamps have been easier to achieve a good alignment?

• I think the answers to this could easily become a poll of favourite clamp type. There are obviously multiple clamps that could be used here (including homemade options powered by screw, windlass or wedge) so it might simply be a matter of opinion what's 'best' for this application. Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 17:35
• @Graphus I tried to steer it a little bit away from that with asking the follow up of if the F-style clamps would provide better alignment. I could add some more criteria like "Do parallel bar clamps provide the same pressure distribution?" as well. Thoughts? Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 17:37
• He writes in the article: "I try and use as many f-style clamps as I can to distribute pressure." Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 19:22
• @whatsisname Yes, he does write that in the article. But is it just sheer numbers = better pressure distribution? Because I can cover more surface area with just a few parallel bar clamps that are rated at 1500 lbs max clamping force. Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 19:40
• @whatsisname, more clamps = more uniform clamp pressure but only on the surface the clamps directly act upon. That pressure is spread by a clamping block, in theory it can even be distributed evenly across their entire surface. In practice that's not easy or likely, but given a stiff enough and thick enough material two beefy clamps could equal the performance of five or six mid-size clamps. Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 20:58

My question is, why use so many F-style clamps rather than just 3-4 parallel bar clamps that would cover the entire surface?

Probably the simplest explanation is to spread the clamping force more uniformly. Although this can be done using fewer larger clamps too, with use of clamping blocks, which appear to be in the photograph anyway.

Side note: I glued some 2-3/4" x 5-1/4" pieces together a few nights ago, and had a bit of trouble getting them to stay lined up while I tightened my K-Body style clamps on them. Would the F-style clamps have been easier to achieve a good alignment?

With conventional clamps of any kind keeping alignment can be tricky because so many woodworking glues lubricate the joint surfaces so well. Really it's not a matter of what clamp to use that prevents the problem but a clamping process or procedure that'll counteract it, or modifying the joint to maintain its own alignment: more traditional options including dowels and a long floating tenon (spline), and more recently biscuits.

Another option is to use cauls of some kind to physically hold the glue-up firmly flat, basically by clamping downwards across the boards as well as across the main clamping axis:

One final option that isn't as commonly seen it to build a clamping apparatus of some kind — a jig or clamping frame — that includes within it in some means to hold the glue-up flat, as in this example:

Short F-clamps are lightweight and easy to handle. Parallel jaw clamps are simply more awkward due to weight and bar length.