In Tricks of the Trade

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Bar clamps can wear out over time. Usually, it’s because the ridges on the bar get worn down. When this happens, the clamps lose their grip, rendering them useless. Even if it’s just one worn spot on the bar, it’s very annoying.

So why not just go buy a new clamp? Well, I’m a little too frugal for that. Since I couldn’t bring myself to throw the clamp away, I started looking for a solution.

First, I tried slipping a toothpick between the bar and the sliding jaw and it worked great. However, the toothpick was destroyed each time I used the clamp. Since I didn’t want to have to keep a ready supply of toothpicks on hand, I scrapped that idea. Then I tried using a short length of wire instead of the toothpick; problem solved! I’ll be able to get many more years of use out of my “worn-out” clamp. -Serge Duclos



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Showing 2 comments
  • LivesayE

    I didn’t even know this was an issue that anyone with a bar clamp didn’t already know how to fix them. Every woodworker I know runs into this sooner or later. The fix is just take a file a make the grooves a little deeper. Perfect quick fix. Works every time.


    I wanted to let you know how I fixed my worn out bar clamp… I took a 4″ grinder and a very thin metal cutting wheel and put shallow notches every 1/8″ down the back of the bar. It has worked perfectly for over 10 years.

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