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Most of the clamps in our woodworking arsenal are designed to produce tons of pressure per square inch. While we use them to hold pieces over the workbench, close joints, or keep glued parts from moving while the glue dries, these heavy cast iron (or steel) clamps are not very handy when dealing with narrow or delicate parts. Leathers, conservers, and restorers who work with fragile parts and refrain from applying too much pressure while assembling their projects have more gentle ways for clamping, and I found some of them very helpful in my shop too.

Recently I had to glue a narrow, short piece of wood to a box lid that a former student of mine built. The lid’s corner broke off and got lost, so I decided to add a new piece instead of the missing one. The problem was that the thin and delicate piece could not be conveniently clamped using a bar or an F-Camp. I could have used a parallel clamp, but I needed to gain maximum control over the process, and the formidable pressure produced by a big and heavy clamp was just too awkward to handle. 

I took this gluing opportunity to demonstrate some of the light clamping options at our disposal in hope that they will be of help the next time a delicate clamping situation requires an effective resolution. 

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