You can’t ever have enough clamps. The longer you work with wood the truer this statement gets. Your budget might not agree with this fact however. If that’s the case then READ ON for some great ideas and tips for alternatives to clamping…

The guys at SawmillCreek have some great ideas for a fellow building a laminated workbench. Here’s the original thread: Alternative to lots of clamps?

john bateman:
If you really don’t want to get some big clamps, you could glue and screw each board to the next one, driving the screws directly through the faces of each board.

(this idea got the most agreement in the thread…)

Lance Norris:
How about threaded rod? You could make clamps with it. Take some 8/4 stock, say 2″ wide by 10″ long and drill a hole at each end, for 2 rods. Make 2 boards and run the rods through them and clamp your glue up between these. Wrenches and nuts will get you incredible force.

[example and pics of doing this from LumberJocks: Screw clamps, the easiest, cheapest and fastest (…for me)]

Jesse Cloud:
Make a bunch of wedges, about 3 inches long from scrap. Clamp one piece of the glue-up to your assembly table. In dry fit mode, add the other pieces to be glued up. After the last piece to be glued up, put pairs of wedges together loosely every few inches. Clamp a solid straight board after the wedges. Use a small hammer to bring the wedges together and act as clamps on your glueup.

Walt Nicholson:
I saw this years ago when a neighbor was making a laminated top for a country kitchen table top and (with no clamps) had to improvise. He glued his pieces together, put strong, straight 2X4s on either edge, placed 3 bottle jacks (one was a screw type from his car) in position on the 2X4s, looped and hooked some chain around them and then used the jacks to create the pressure. It was amazing how much glue was squeezed out and the finished product turned out very nice.

Mike Holden:
How about Friends? Friends with clamps that is.

David DeCristoforo:
Of course, there is also my “famous truck bumper” clamping system which involves laying your boards on saw horses against the side of your shop and backing your truck up against them.

Other suggestions:
Harbor Freight clamps
Ratchet Belts
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig

Other Resources:
Alternative to lots of clamps?
Screw clamps, the easiest, cheapest and fastest (…for me)
Parallel Clamps: Jet vs. Bessey
Tell me why I shouldn’t buy… (the cheap Harbor Freight clamps)