It’s often said that a woodworker can never have enough clamps but this isn’t something I‘ve really considered to be true (Unless you build workbenches for a living!) . When it comes to buying clamps I could think of a lot more exciting things to be spending my money on and once they arrive they’re certainly a pretty awkward and ugly thing to be having to store. Using clamps is never fun either, it seems your always battling with them to hold your piece in the exact position at the exact angle and all the while your painfully aware that there’s only moments left before your glue is going to set and the whole ordeal becomes pointless! Of course it’s not always that bad but no matter how smoothly it goes at the end your work has quadrupled in size so you’re left with no space and you’ve added that much weight even the smallest piece is now likely to pull your spleen out if you try to move it.
There are certainly times when clamps are necessary but if they can be avoided then that’s what’s I’ll do. A good example of working without any clamps is to drawbore your joinery since the joints pull themselves tight as you knock the pegs in and then hold themselves there – simple.
We don’t tend to hear of pinch dogs very much but for a long time these were all that I had available; just a handful of little pins which altogether could fit in to the corner of a small drawer.
All you need to do is apply glue to your joint and rub it together a little so you know the glue has a hold, now tap one of these dogs in to each end and keep hammering until you get glue squeezing out. The tapered sides of the dog will pinch the boards together and hold them tight until the glue sets; what could be easier than that?
I’ve used these for as long as I’ve made furniture and every time I end up with a tight and strong glue line. The key to success is ensuring that you have a perfect join. The beauty to using these is you can tap them in gently without the work slipping and use you fingers to feel when the boards are in plane. Pinch dogs are a very humble clamp that are generally used for gluing up panels and tops, they are one of those simple solutions that really do work.