Cleaning woodworking clamps – A Bite-Sized guide

Woodworking clamps are tools that are temporarily used to hold materials together securely as you work. They are handy in several places including woodworking, carpentry, and furniture making and even when working with metal.

metal woodworking clumps

They have many uses, and that makes them get dirty over a while. One of the problems that you’ll get clamps having is glue. Here we are going to explore how you can clean your clamps and leave them looking showroom worthy.

White vinegar

cleaning yoru metal clump

The first way to clean your clamps is through the use of all-purpose vinegar. You can also get the cleaning variety from the store. You don’t have to get something too concentrated; five percent is enough.

You can use a large container, preferably one that is in the shape of a cylinder so that clamps are in an upright position as you’re soaking them. Ensure that you have removed any plastic or rubber elements so that you’re just cleaning the metal in the vinegar.

Don’t fill the cylinder container to the brim. You’re better off putting half, placing your clamps inside and then filling them up. You also want something that is long enough for all the clamp sizes you have because you want them fully submerged in the vinegar.

Once they are inside the container, leave them to soak from an hour. You might want to use open space to soak the clamps because you don’t want your workshop smelling of vinegar. That is especially if it is a small tight space. You can do this outdoors but in the shade.

After the hour is over, take a bright scotch pad and clean away any debris that is left on the clamps. The longer you soak the clamps, the easier this next cleaning process will be.

You, however, should keep the clamps in the vinegar below the one hour mark as you don’t want there to be discoloration of your clamps. Sure they will work the same, but you want to maintain a shiny look to them. In general, when it comes to cleaning, it should take little time to remove dirt. If you have extra chunks of glue left, use the scotch bright to remove them.

Maintain your clamp’s new look by storing it safely in your workshop.


Likely, the clamps will not look good as new with prolonged use. You can, however, keep them in good condition and ready to use on your next project. One of the ways you can make them look almost as good as new is though using paste wax.

You’ll be doing your clamps a favor as you’ll be protecting them from the glue that might eventually end up building up. When that happens, the lower jaw tends to get stuck on the dried glue. You’ll then have to use serious force to get it unstuck.

Why you need a clean clamp

woodworking clumps

You want to ensure that your clamp is working at optimum. If it is dirty, you won’t get the full use of it as you wanted. What’s worse, you can end up getting the dirt and debris on the clamp onto your work surface, leading to a less than appealing final product.

Also, remember to oil moving parts so that it moves seamlessly during use. That way you keep them in top condition and keep rusting and uncomfortable unhinging noises at bay. When you’re storing your clamps, keep them in a dry place and away from heat.

Wrap up

Manufacturers tend to claim that their clamps are glue resistant, but that’s different than the reality as we know it. If you leave them as is, then you’ll have stuck glue to contend with. You ought to put in paste wax on new clamps to help in repelling the glue. You want to continue that routine so that you’re sorted for a while.

Should there be some glue, you can use a putty knife to remove it. For other areas, you’ll have to go for a steel brush to remove the debris. You don’t ways have time to stop and clean your clamps, so these tips work in the meantime.

If you’re not keen to be doing any of the above, then you can opt for wax paper or plastic paper where the glue can get on instead. That keeps your clamps looking as new as the day you got them. You can also ensure that you wipe off the adhesive as soon as it gets on the exposed clamp.



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