Box Clever, Use Box Cleats - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Box Clever, Use Box Cleats

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Box Cleats

 

My workbench project is now underway, but I’m going to avoid showing any detail or videos on the build process until it’s finished. However, I will be posting some of the methods I adopt that translate more broadly into other applications.

With that in mind I needed to laminate 2x4s together to make the legs. I could of reverted to the many clamps we have in our workshop – but decided to try out a simple solution I had seen in my joinery books, namely box cleats.

The photos really do tell the story but a box cleat is simply a robust frame that allows folding wedges to exert clamping forces onto the wood. They can be, and were, sized to suit the application. If the cleat is used regularly it would also have its joint reinforced with metal straps.

I made mine from 2″ x 3″ stud material and they worked very well. It minimized the amount of proprietary clamps I would need to invest in, meaning more funds for books and wood!

Box Cleats

It’s also a good way to practice sawing, nailing and chiseling. I just worked to pencil lines and aimed to get the work done at a good pace. I think there is much to be said for making these types of projects when starting out. It’s not unusual to read of peoples frustrations as they try to gain the skills needed to make quite fine projects. My thoughts are: Get used to cutting some stud material, drive a few nails and get a feel for the process.

I hope this simple clamp will encourage you to review simple and effective methods contained within the pages of an old book.

— Graham Haydon

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Showing 17 comments
  • KnotBuster

    Another fun little project built with accessible materials and hand tools! Despite your pedigree as a joiner, you offer the refreshing perspective that woodworking can be approached and enjoyed as a “cheap and cheerful” activity. Thanks for that.

    • Graham Haydon
      Graham Haydon

      Thanks KnotBuster!

      Sorry for the slow reply. I try to be effective in what I and with a young family economy does feature heavily but hopefully to the detriment of the finished work.

      Best

      G

  • TLM80209

    As I build my clamp arsenal, this is a welcome remedy to my daily conundrum.

    • Graham Haydon
      Graham Haydon

      Cool, I’ll hopefully drop in another as I progress the bench build.

      Best

      G

  • pmac

    …”I needed to laminate 2x4s together to make the legs.”…

    Based on the pics of what is being glued up, that’s a pretty short bench you’re making.

    • Graham Haydon
      Graham Haydon

      Hi pmac

      Photo is for illustration purposes only (forgive me if there in nuanced humor in your comment). You can see the size of leg if you watch the vid and how many box cleats I use. You can see a picture here https://www.instagram.com/p/BAVlU1rLD1q/?taken-by=graham_haydon

      Best

      G

      • pmac

        Yeah, it was tongue in cheek. I always forget the “”.

        • pmac

          Dang it. It didn’t show up in the correction. This is what I always forget: .

          • pmac

            Uhg! It’s a winking emotion.

            • pmac

              Emoticon.
              (I’m going to bed.)

              • Graham Haydon
                Graham Haydon

                Awesome pmac! 🙂

  • Bill Lattanzio

    I’ll tell you what, you English joiners are quite clever. I know, you’ll say that you are only following in the footsteps of those who trod before you. But understanding which footsteps lead to the other side and which footsteps lead you into a mine field separates a clever man from a fool, or something like that.

    • Graham Haydon
      Graham Haydon

      Hi Bill

      I’m always drawn to simple and readily available solutions that only take a dash of elbow grease to realize. I’m just pleased to be in a position of the information relay race, here’s hoping I don’t drop the batten! Thanks for the comment!

      Best

      G

  • gsuing

    Pet peeve – could of –> could’ve

    • Graham Haydon
      Graham Haydon

      Thanks gsuing

      My English teacher was long suffering and made little progress with me. Thanks for taking up the mantle.

      Best

      G

      • Thomas Kila

        Graham,

        I really appreciate your teaching style and enjoy learning “new” methods to accomplish various woodworking tasks. Please keep it up!

        Mahalo!

        TK

        • Graham Haydon
          Graham Haydon

          Hi Thomas

          Thanks for taking the time to comment. I know I’m always discovering, learning and practicing and it’s nice to hear you enjoy following my progress. Nice to hear a Hawaiian word too!

          Best

          G

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