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How to Make and Use a Panel Clamp

A jig design makes sure panels stay flat during gluing. David Thiel of Tools & Techniques demonstrates how to make and use the panel clamp.

More in Home Improvement

  • Time

    1 hour

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Attach the Block to the Plywood

Drill a hole through a 2x4 block and put a threaded rod through it. The rod will be placed at one end of the panel clamp (Image 1). After securing the panels into the jig, turn the rod to squeeze the panels together. Use a spacer block between the end of the rod and the end of the block.

Attach the 2x4 block with the threaded rod to a piece of plywood (Image 2).

Step 2: Attach Another Block and Piece of Plywood

Attach another block on the opposite end of the plywood. If you frequently work on 3/4" panels, substitute 3/4" blocks instead of 2x4s.

Attach another piece of plywood to the block without the threaded rod with a hinge.

attach hinge to plywood

Step 3: Add a Spacer Board

Place a piece of wax paper over the bottom piece of plywood, so the panels do not become glued to the board.

Position panels in the jig (Image 1), then place a spacer board between the end panel and the threaded rod so the end of the rod will not damage the panel (Image 2).

Step 4: Clamp the Jig

Tighten the rod. If the panels are shorter than the 2x4 blocks, place spacer board over them.

Pull the hinger plywood board over the panels and clamp the jig together.

clamp jig together

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