Woodworking Tips Index
When gluing up a solid-wood panel, the boards always seem to shift up or down slightly. So I often end up with a small "step" at the joint line.
To create a flat panel, I clamp pressure bars across the boards, as you can see in the photo. The pressure bars are squeezed together by tightening wing knobs on carriage bolts that pass through the bars.
The bars need to be pretty stiff, so I used 1 3/4"-square hardwood, as shown in the drawing. Mine are long enough to glue up panels 36" wide.
Drilling a few extra holes along one end of both bars allow me to move the bolts closer together when gluing narrow panels. And each hole is counterbored so the bars can sit flat on my workbench or the shop floor. Before using the pressure bars, you'll want to apply a generous coat of paste wax to their inside faces. This prevents them from getting permanently glued to the boards.
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