how do parallel clamp work

How Do Parallel Clamps Work? Mechanism and Working Procedure

Parallel clamps are very commonly used in carpentry and joinery work to hold two pieces of wood together so that they can be worked on and permanently joined at the end of the process. How do parallel clamps work? Let us first understand how they actually work so that we can appreciate their true utility, advantages and disadvantages in detail.

What is a Parallel Clamp?

parallel clamps

As the name suggests, parallel clamps have two jaws that are parallel to each other. However, these jaws are wider than bar clamps and have more surface area to create pressure. A good feature of a parallel clamp is that both jaws are movable to adjust the size. Ideal for holding large boards together while the glue dries, these clamps can also be used to clamp boards together while you route or sand the edges.

Parallel clamps come in many sizes and shapes, but their basic function remains unchanged. If you’re looking for a versatile option for your workshop, these should definitely be on your list!

Know More: What Clamps Do I Need for Woodworking

Mechanism of Parallel Clamp

parallel clamp jaws

There are two main types of parallel clamps: those that use a cam-type mech mechanism to generate clamping force, and those that use a screw-type mechanism. Cam-type parallel clamps are generally easier to use because they don’t require the user to generate clamping force by turning a handle. However, screw-type parallel clamps provide more clamping force per unit of area, so they are better suited for applications where a very strong clamping force is required.

parallel clmap spring handle

When using a parallel clamp, it is important to ensure that the workpieces are properly aligned before applying pressure. If the workpieces are not correctly aligned, the clamping force will not be evenly distributed, and the workpieces could be damaged. Once the workpieces are properly aligned, the clamp can be applied, and the screw or cam mechanism tightened to secure the workpieces together.

How Do Parallel Clamps Work?

If you’ve ever tried to clamp two pieces of wood together, you know that it can be difficult to get the clamping pressure just right. Too much pressure and the wood can split; too little pressure and the joint won’t hold. A parallel clamp is a device that takes the guesswork out of clamping, providing consistent, even pressure across the entire surface.

parallel clamp handle

Here’s how it works: two metal plates are connected by a series of rods, with each rod passing through a clamping pad. As the clamping pads are tightened, they press against the wood, holding it securely in place. The advantage of a parallel clamp is that it can apply more pressure than a traditional clamp without the risk of damaging the wood as it has a wider jaw surface.

When are you using a parallel, what is the first thing you do? You place your clamps in the desired position. After placing the clamps, you adjust the jaws with a screw or a handle. When you tighten the screw, it will press the two bars attached against the wood. The pressure is evenly distributed, which prevents the boards from sliding and breaking.

If both jaws are adjustable, you can use both jaws to tighten the clamp or keep one of them fixed and adjust the other one. When both jaws touch wood and you are tightening the screw, start pressing the wood and grip it tightly. You will not have to worry about your workpiece slipping away from your clamps. 

parallel clamp machanism

The other thing that is important when using parallel clamps is that you have to make sure that they are tight enough but not too tight so that they will damage your workpiece. You should be able to move them easily without any force applied to them if they are tight enough. Also, when using a parallel clamp, make sure that there are no gaps between your workpiece and clamps; otherwise, it will not hold properly.

When your work is done, and you want to remove the clamps start by loosening the knob on the clamp. This will give you some slack in the clamp so you can easily remove it. Next, use one hand to hold onto the clamp while you use your other hand to push down on the release lever. Once the release lever is pushed down, the clamp should easily come off.

That’s how a parallel clamp work. 

Know More: How Clamps Work: Different Types and Their Mechanisms

Where Can We Use These Clamps?

There are many different ways that you can use parallel clamps in your everyday life. Here are just a few examples:

parallel clamps uses

1. Hang a picture frame: You can use two clamps to secure the frame to the wall while you’re hammering in the nails if you’re hanging a picture frame. This will help prevent the frame from slipping and falling.

2. Fix a wobbly table: You can use two clamps to secure the legs and stabilize the table if you have a table that’s starting to wobble.

3. Hold a door open: If you need to hold a door open for someone, you can use a clamp to prop the door open. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to keep a door open for a pet or child.

4. Make a temporary repair: If you need to make a quick repair, you can use a clamp to hold something in place while you’re waiting for a more permanent fix. For example, if a drawer is coming loose, you can clamp it shut until you have time to glue or screw it back into place.

5. Hold a piece of wood: When you’re working with wood, you can use a clamp to hold a piece in place while you’re sawing, nailing, or otherwise working on it. This is especially helpful when you’re working with large pieces of wood.

There are endless possibilities for using clamps in your everyday life. The next time you need to hold something in place, think about whether a clamp would be helpful.

Know More: Bar Clamp vs Parallel Clamp: Which is Right for the Job?

Tips for Working With These Clamps

If you’re working with parallel clamps, you can do a few things to help make the process go more smoothly.

  1. First, when setting up your clamping surface, make sure that it’s level and flat. This will help ensure that your clamps stay parallel to each other.
  2. When you’re ready to clamp your workpiece, make sure that you evenly distribute the clamping force. This will help prevent your workpiece from becoming warped or distorted.
  3. When you’re ready to remove your clamps, be sure to do so gently. If you yank them off, you run the risk of damaging your workpiece.
  4. If you’re using more than one clamp, it can be helpful to mark out where each clamp should go before you start. This will help you keep track of where each clamp is supposed to go and make it easier to get them all in the right place.
  5. Once your clamps are in place, make sure that they’re tight. Loose clamps can cause your project to shift, which can ruin your work.
  6. When you’re finished working with your parallel clamps, make sure to clean them off before storing them. This will help prevent rust and other corrosion.
  7. Finally, take your time. Rushing through the clamping process can lead to mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to do it right. With these tips in mind, you should be able to get great results from your parallel clamps.

Know More: How to Store Wood Clamps Without Taking Up Too Much Space

Frequently Asked Questions are Answered

1. Are Parallel Clamps Worth it?

Parallel clamps are worth the investment if you do a lot of woodworking or if you need to complete a project that requires multiple clamps. They are also worth the investment if you have limited space to work with, as they take up less space than traditional clamps.

2. How Do You Hang Parallel Clamps?

To hang parallel clamps, first determine where you want to hang them and mark the wall. Then, use a drill to make holes for the screws. Finally, use screws to secure the clamps to the wall.

3. Why Should I Use a Parallel Clamp?

There are several reasons to use a parallel clamp: 

  • To evenly distribute clamping force across a wide area
  • To avoid marring the workpiece
  • To avoid distorting the workpiece
  • To avoid crushing the workpiece
  • To provide greater clamping force than a regular clamp


There are many different ways that parallel clamps can be used in order to achieve different results. Whether you are looking to create a strong bond between two pieces of wood or you are trying to keep a piece of wood from slipping, these clamps are a great option. With so many different options available, it is important to take the time to find the right clamp for the job.

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