The Clutch Clamp is an economical way to fill out your clamp rack.
There are so many helpful options when it comes to clamps for your project. Each clamp has a specific purpose and function that separates it from the others. I’ve researched through the internet and put together a quick summary on clutch clamps.
What is a clutch clamp? The clutch clamp is a simple mechanical device that is used to hold together workpieces during woodworking and metalworking processes, usually before a permanent attachment is made with either nails, screws, glue, or any other adhesive.
Keep reading below to learn more about clutch clamps and what they can be used for.
What Is A Clutch Clamp?
A clutch clamp is a simple mechanical device that is used to hold together workpieces during woodworking and metalworking processes, usually before a permanent attachment is made with either nails, screws, glue, or any other adhesive.
The clutch clamp is made up of two horizontal bars that are connected by a vertical bar. The horizontal bars are responsible for holding onto the jaws of the clamp and there is a screw, which is connected to a handle that is used to tighten or loosen the jaws around the workpiece.
The clutch clamp is very similar to the F-clamp in that it assumes the same F-shape which the former takes.
The main difference in the two clamps comes in the appearance and effect of the jaws. The clutch clamp is used very frequently by professionals and DIYers alike due to the ease with which it can be used.
The jaws are perfectly parallel so the workpieces are also aligned with the highest possible accuracy.
They are available in different sizes and this allows it to be used for different sizes of workpieces. You could even choose to use more than one clutch clamp on a workpiece depending on its size as well as the work you would be performing.
The clutch clamp is made up of several parts that enable it to carry out the clamping operation efficiently, and these parts include:
The Vertical Bar: The vertical bar of the clutch clamp plays the part of the frame as it makes up the majority of the clamp’s body. The vertical bar is a long piece of metal that is typically made from forged steel.
It is also tempered to increase the toughness of the metal so it can withstand the extreme pressures it will be put under during the clamping process. The clutch clamp could also be galvanized to prevent it from rusting, as this would affect the easy sliding of the horizontal bars.
The Horizontal Bars: Two horizontal bars sit parallel to each other along the vertical bar. These bars are typically made of plastic and are screwed unto the vertical bar. The top horizontal bar is tightly screwed on to the vertical bar so it is immoveable, whereas the lower bar is screwed on but it can be loosened when the user needs to slide it to clamp the workpiece.
These horizontal bars are responsible for holding onto the jaws as well as moving them so the workpiece can be securely clamped.
The Jaws: The jaws of a clutch clamp are powder-coated ductile cast iron plates that are placed parallel to each other and are used for gripping the workpiece and keeping it securely in place. They are made of this material to provide more impact as well as fatigue resistance.
One of the jaws is fixed at the top end of the bar while the other can be moved along the vertical bar so it is placed in the exact position it is needed. The clutch pads also have non-marring plastic pads that protect the workpiece by ensuring there is no damage to the piece as a result of the jaws’ pressure.
The Screw: A clutch clamp also has a threaded screw that controls the movement of the moveable jaw along the vertical bar. The screw could be loosened and moved closer to the fixed jaw, and then tightened when it has been placed at the required location.
The Handle: The clutch clamp has a large and very comfortable handle that is used for turning the screw, whether clockwise or counter clockwise, to tighten or loosen the jaw to the workpiece. The handle has a fantastic grip so it can easily be operated using just one hand while the other hand is used to perform another operation with the workpiece.
Clutch Plate: Possibly the most important piece and the piece that differentiates an F-clamp from the clutch clamp is the 2-piece slip clutch plate. This is a feature that is located in the sliding jaw and it allows you to keep the jaw in place while you tighten it down or until you have re-positioned the jaw.
The clutch clamp can come in two different types, depending on the number of fixed jaws that are present in the clamp. These kinds are:
The Single Head Clutch Clamp: This type of clutch clamp has just one fixed jaw as the name suggests. It is the more common type of the two kinds.
The Double-Jawed Clutch Clamp: The double jaw clutch clamp has a fixed jaw that seems to be split into two with the two jaws facing opposite directions. The double jaw clutch clamp can do things most other clamps can not. It is very useful with corner glue-ups as well as delicate work where the clamping pressure needs to be equally distributed between several parts of a workpiece.
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Clutch style bar clamps are a popular regular-duty clamp used by woodworkers, cabinet makers, home crafters, and metal workers across North America because they are very suitable for “close quarters” clamping.
How To Use A Clutch Clamp
The clutch clamp is quite a simple tool to use and it is also very efficient in holding workpieces securely with little to no damage. Before you use the clutch clamp, you must first select the joining material you would wish to use, then open the clamp up till it overwhelms the workpiece that you want to clamp.
You should then tighten the clamp around the workpiece, using the screw and the 2-piece slip clutch place to hold it in place around the piece. You can then easily work on the wood or metal that you will be operating on with no hassle about the workpiece moving out of place. You could use more than one clutch clamp to ensure that the pressure on the workpiece is spread evenly throughout.
All the moveable parts of the clutch clamp should be cleaned and oiled regularly so they continue to function perfectly. You could also choose to lubricate or galvanize your clamp and keep it in a dry place to prevent rusting, as this could pose a problem when you are using your clutch clamp.