Klingspor's Woodworking Shop (Locations)

Special Events in the next 30 days

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 31
  1. #1
    Staff Advisor
    Returning Member
    DaveO's Avatar
    Nickname
    DaveO (47)
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clayton, NC
    Posts
    15,299
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    555
    Classifieds
    0

    Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    A while back someone created a thread about Bowclamps. There was a little discussion about them, but the general consensus was that nobody had tried them to give a reliable opinion about them. A reply was posted to that thread by Craig Feuerzeig of Zig Industries, the creator and maker of the Bowclamp system. He offered a set of the clamping cauls to be tested and reviewed by a member of NCwoodworker. D L Ames, took on the task, but due to a very busy work schedule has been unable to make the time to give them a good testing for review. He handed the set off to me to test and give y'all my thoughts and opinions about them. And they follow:


    I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the Bowclamp system. Not about the technique or method of using clamping cauls as it is a time proven method of distributing clamping pressure across a large area. Nor that they were well made items. But about the whole idea of buying curved pieces of wood for between $22-32 a set.
    Well, I picked them up from D L on Saturday, and gave them a work over today. My first impression of the cauls as I removed them from the box was that they were definitely hand made, not by a CNC or any other automated process. You could see the tooling marks, a little burn from a router or shaper, and some slight chip-out from shaping. None of these thing affected the usability of the cauls, it just proved that Craig is a one man operation, and made each on himself.
    Right off the bat I noticed that each set of cauls had their own unique curvature, definitely not random. I wanted to see if they would bow like they were designed to do so they could provide even pressure across the entire work piece.
    Here's a shot of the cauls without clamps showing the curvature:

    And with clamps applied closing up the gaps to a straight line:




    After doing that I decided to put them to use in a panel glue up. I was making a cat bed, (as something to make that would require the use of the cauls). First I milled up three pieces of Lacewood that were to be the “headboard” of the bed. Normally I would use 3 or 4 Bessy clamps for this glue-up.
    Here's a shot of the panels and cauls before clamping:


    And after, showing very even (somewhat excessive for illustration purposes) glue squeeze out across the entire joint:




    The cauls applied excellent pressure even though only two F-style clamps were being utilized.
    The only draw back I found in this application was that I need to make 1/2” spacers to lift the panel so that it was in the center of the caul face to provide parallel pressure.


    The next application I tried was a quick lamination of some Red Oak 5/4 stock to make the legs for the bed. Seeing as the panel was still drying in one set of the cauls I had to use my standard method of clamping for one and the cauls for the other.
    Here's a 18” lamination using 3 Bessy clamps:


    And here's a 26” lamination of the same stock using the 36” Bowclamp cauls:



    Excellent glue squeeze out across the entire joint line:




    The only issue I had during this application and others was the amount of screw travel to completely close the cauls. It takes almost the entire thread length of my standard F-style clamps...that's a lot of twisting.


    I wish that I had a scientific method of testing how much pressure the cauls applied compared to a standard K-body style parallel jaw clamp. But I don't so I tried to break the joint after the glue had cured and the wood broke first...that's enough pressure in my book, it created a solid joint.


    My overall impression of the Bowclamp caul system is that they are well designed, do what they are designed to do, and worth the money. A full set of 3 pairs of cauls 24”, 36” & 48” runs about $130. If you bought the wood to make them, about 6 BF of 8/4 hard Maple, you would spend around $36. Then factor in 3-4 hours milling, squaring, dimensioning, routing, cutting sanding and finishing, and you would come out better buying them. If you value your time like I do. I much rather be making something fun than some high tech bowed sticks.
    And the savings goes even farther because instead of having a arsenal of expensive parallel jaw clamps you can use many less and cheaper F-style clamps. That is something that I found to be quite advantageous as I have many of the cheaper F-style clamps that I don't use very often due to their tendency to not stay parallel and to mar the work piece with their small area of surface contact.
    My biggest complaint is that I don't have 2 sets of any of the sizes to be able to utilize them to help keep a panel glue up flat, something which I think that they would also excel in doing.


    I would like to thank Craig for the opportunity to test out his product and commend him on taking something very simple and refining it to perfection for a reasonable cost.
    Also thanks to D L for being to busy to test them out...I will find lots of use for them in my shop. If anyone would like to give them a test run themselves, I would be more than happy to let you give them a try providing you post your thoughts also.


    Respectfully submitted,
    Dave:-)

    Bowclamp
    :-D Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile :-D

    Honestly Honey, that will cost around $100 $150 $200, and I need a few more tools.

    Heard from a client..."If I had your tools and experience...I could do it myself"

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
    --Dr. Seuss

  2. The following user says Thank You to DaveO for this useful post:


  3. #2
    Returning Member Toddler's Avatar
    Nickname
    Todd
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Posts
    505
    Visit Freq
    0.08 visits/week
    Threads
    48
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Nice review DaveO.

    and seriously. . . cat bed???



    PS) PM me your address so I can send that nesting box plan.

  4. #3
    Forum Leader Returning Member cskipper's Avatar
    Nickname
    Cathy (61)
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Forest City, NC
    Posts
    8,303
    Visit Freq
    0.12 visits/week
    Threads
    579
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Dave, thanks for a well written review. I think I was one of the first to mention these in thee original dissuasion, so I was especially interested in the results. It was also good to hear that DL is alive and well.
    Cathy Skipper




  5. #4
    User
    DQ
    nelsone's Avatar
    Nickname
    Ed
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Mint Hill, NC
    Posts
    3,452
    Visit Freq
    0.12 visits/week
    Threads
    153
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Good Review Dave! I have also been skeptical about purchaing cauls. You did a good job on the cost breakdown.

  6. #5
    Returning Member DavidF's Avatar
    Nickname
    David (60)
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lydlinch UK, NC
    Posts
    4,172
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    139
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    They sound like a good thing that I would find very useful. I have never been able to justify the high cost of K body clamps and their ilk, so I too have many "F" style clamps. I am going to be glueing up a lot of panels for the bedside cabs so perhaps I could borrow the 24" set??
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

  7. #6
    User
    DQ
    Splinter's Avatar
    Nickname
    Dolan Brown (68)
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wallace, NC
    Posts
    1,264
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    149
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Dave, thanks for the detailed review. It helps to get a review from a know WW'er not just from the company's web site. I have to put them on my wish list.
    You can't work without tools. So many tools so little money.

  8. #7
    Staff Advisor
    Returning Member
    DaveO's Avatar
    Nickname
    DaveO (47)
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clayton, NC
    Posts
    15,299
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    555
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidF View Post
    I am going to be glueing up a lot of panels for the bedside cabs so perhaps I could borrow the 24" set??
    Certainly, just let me know when you would need them, and I can drop them by Apex when I am in the area.
    Dave:-)
    :-D Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile :-D

    Honestly Honey, that will cost around $100 $150 $200, and I need a few more tools.

    Heard from a client..."If I had your tools and experience...I could do it myself"

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
    --Dr. Seuss

  9. #8
    Returning Member DavidF's Avatar
    Nickname
    David (60)
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lydlinch UK, NC
    Posts
    4,172
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    139
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Certainly, just let me know when you would need them, and I can drop them by Apex when I am in the area.
    Dave:-)
    Starting next week end! how about bringing them to the Apex lunch tomorrow? then everybody could see them and I could take them away
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

  10. #9
    Staff Advisor
    Returning Member
    DaveO's Avatar
    Nickname
    DaveO (47)
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clayton, NC
    Posts
    15,299
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    555
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    You bet, I'll write myself a note right now.
    Dave:-)
    :-D Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile :-D

    Honestly Honey, that will cost around $100 $150 $200, and I need a few more tools.

    Heard from a client..."If I had your tools and experience...I could do it myself"

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
    --Dr. Seuss

  11. #10
    Deleted at User's Request Corporate Member
    DQ

    Nickname
    jay
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Washington, NC
    Posts
    1,312
    Visit Freq
    3.58 visits/week
    Threads
    218
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Quote Originally Posted by Toddler View Post
    Nice review DaveO.
    and seriously. . . cat bed???

    Exact same thing I was thinking! Geez-louweez, lacewood and all. The darn bed I sleep on ain't no where near nice as that.

  12. #11
    User
    DQ

    Nickname
    Chuck
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Rocky Mount, NC
    Posts
    2,781
    Visit Freq
    0.62 visits/week
    Threads
    119
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Very well-written, objective review, Dave.

    I agree with you on the value of my time. And if you reckoned you could build a set in 3-4 hours that means it would likely take me a few days!! :lol:

    Chuck

  13. #12
    Returning Member DavidF's Avatar
    Nickname
    David (60)
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lydlinch UK, NC
    Posts
    4,172
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    139
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    You bet, I'll write myself a note right now.
    Dave:-)
    Thank you Sir, I appreciate that.
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

  14. #13
    Returning Member sapwood's Avatar
    Nickname
    Roger (71)
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    7,110
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    168
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Well thought out and thorough review Dave
    Excellent point about not needing the big Besseys'. Their cost has limited me to mostly F-clamps.

    Roger
    I ain't never had too much fun!

  15. #14
    Staff Advisor
    Returning Member
    DaveO's Avatar
    Nickname
    DaveO (47)
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clayton, NC
    Posts
    15,299
    Visit Freq
    0.00 visits/week
    Threads
    555
    Classifieds
    0

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post


    My first impression of the cauls as I removed them from the box was that they were definitely hand made, not by a CNC or any other automated process.
    Dave:-)

    Bowclamp
    An amendment to my review. After visiting the SMC Bowclamp forum I realized that CNC technology (Shopbot as a matter of a fact) is used quite heavily in the production of the cauls. In addition to a very cool Drycleaner's conveyor system to automate the finishing process.
    YouTube - bowclamp dipping mock-up
    That doesn't detract from their usefullness, I just didn't want to be giving out incorrect information...even if it was only my erroneous impressions.
    Dave:-)
    :-D Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile :-D

    Honestly Honey, that will cost around $100 $150 $200, and I need a few more tools.

    Heard from a client..."If I had your tools and experience...I could do it myself"

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
    --Dr. Seuss

  16. #15
    Returning Member John Reeves's Avatar
    Nickname
    John Reeves (62)
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    460
    Visit Freq
    0.31 visits/week
    Threads
    81
    Classifieds
    1

    Re: Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed

    Thanks for the review Dave. It really helps when a trusted source comes forth.

Similar Threads

  1. Bowclamp clamping cauls reviewed
    By DaveO in forum Reviews
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 02-05-2007, 10:35 PM
  2. Need help clamping odd shape
    By rhett in forum General Woodworking
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 01-21-2007, 08:10 PM
  3. Bow clamp
    By cskipper in forum Reviews
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-12-2006, 12:34 PM
  4. Calls or Cauls (?) (Re. Bow Clamp)
    By John Reeves in forum General Woodworking
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-28-2006, 01:00 PM
  5. Clamp down
    By sapwood in forum General Woodworking
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-02-2006, 10:19 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •