What is a good clamp substitute

When suitable clamps are not available, a rope tourniquet can often be fashioned to apply the needed pressure.

Simply wrap rope around the pieces that must be held together (or around the entire outside circumference of the piece of furniture if necessary ) , and then apply pressure by twisting the cords, tourniquet style, using a short stick or length of dowel as a winch. This type of “Spanish windlass” can be used to apply a great deal of pressure over odd-shaped pieces, but corners should be protected with wads of folded cardboard to prevent denting.

Another clamping arrangement that can be used to apply pressure over a large horizontal area is to pile on heavy weights, such as bricks, blocks or pails of water and sand. A protective sheet of plywood should be laid over the work first to prevent marring.

In all clamping operations be careful to avoid squeezing the joint too tightly. Too much pressure will squeeze much of the glue out and may weaken the joint severely. In addition, excessive pressure may damage the very piece you are trying to repair by buckling, warping or crushing it.

Before tightening clamps permanently, always check carefully to make certain that pressure is being applied in the proper direction and that clamp jaws are evenly seated on the work surfaces.