Damstom Panel Clamp Review - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A quick and easy way to simplify panel glue-up.

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Damstom Panel Clamp



Like quite a few woodworkers, I use a lot of parallel clamps, bar clamps, and cauls when gluing up panels. The process can often be quite time consuming. There are specialty panel clamping systems around, though they tend to be quite expensive. A commercial system like the popular Plano Vertical Glue Press starts at $370 for two clamps and one rail. Alternately, you could make your own system using panel clamping hardware and lumber. The Veritas Panel Clamp hardware, for example, retails for $46 for a single clamp - plus the purchase of the lumber, putting the cost for a two clamp system at around $100. 

A third alternative is the Canadian-made Damstom D300 Panel Clamp. It's a lower cost alternative to a commercial panel press, and more convenient for those who don't want to make their own clamping system. A two clamp D300 system is approximately $150.

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(L) Original D300; (R) D300 BE

The D300 is designed to provide uniform edge-to-edge clamping pressure with the sandwiching effect that cauls deliver. The clamps come in 24" (D200) and 38" (D300) models. The D300 model I tested has been replaced with an upgraded model, the D300 BE, which features a redesigned handle that now has an Acme threaded rod for a quicker feed, and a more robust handle for easier turning.
 
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All steel construction for durability

The D300 consists of 4 parts: two perforated powder coated metal rails that measure 3/4" x 1-1/4" x 42"; and two steel bars that are 3/4" x 3/4" x 7-5/16". Integrated into the head bar is a 3/4" diameter threaded rod with a 1" diameter clamping head and a 1/4" x 3-1/3" handle. A tail bar serves as a stop, similar to the fixed jaw on a parallel clamp.

The parts are all well made, and the threaded rod moves moves smoothly. The handle is a tad small, but I found that by placing a 1/2" diameter metal pipe over the handle I could exert more force with comparative ease. The powder coating on the rails make it easier to wipe up glue drips, and dried glue is easily peeled off.

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Clamp panels from 3/4" to 4-1/2" thick

You can clamp panels from 3/4" to 4-1/2" thick by adjusting the height of the rails, and up to 38-3/4" wide by adjusting the placement of the tail bars in the rail perforations.Two aluminum locking knobs hold the rails at the desired height. The perforations on the rails are 1-1/2" apart, which makes it very quick to adjust the D300 for whatever panel width you're clamping.

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Small clamping head can deform stock

The small steel clamping head can easily dent the edge of a panel under pressure, regardless of whether you're clamping hard or soft wood. You can deal with this in two ways, either by making your panels over wide, and sawing or planing off the dented edge after glue-up, or, better yet, you can use a caul, which will also help spread out the clamping pressure.

I don't know what the rated clamping pressure is for the D300, but I would estimate it to be in the range of a quick-grip clamp, about 450 pounds.

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Quick and easy to set up and use

The D300 makes panel glue-up very quick and easy. Setting up the panel in the photo above took three or four minutes. Add a few minutes for glue application and you're all done. Once the panel is clamped you can store it against a shop wall while the glue dries - a real space saver when you have a small shop.

At a minimum, you need to purchase two D300 clamps. For wider panels you'll need to purchase extra D300s. If you don't have a lot of clamps, and you plan on making a lot of panels, then the D300 is certainly worth considering. You'll still need a range of other clamps, as the D300 is a one trick pony - it's only good for clamping panels. But, it does a darn good job of it.

NOTE: Damstom is selling off the original D300 clamps at a discounted price of $59.95, while stock lasts. 


KEY FEATURES:

  • Rails (Perforated steel, powder coated black): 3/4" x 1-1/4" x 42"
  • Perforation spacing: 1-1/2"
  • Rail inserts (steel): 3/4" x 3/4" x 7-5/16"
  • Handle (steel): 1/4" x 3-1/3"
  • Diameter of clamp head: 3/4"
  • Clamp head travel: 2-5/8"
  • Maximum panel length: 38-3/4"
  • Panel thickness: 3/4" to 4-1/2"
  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year

COMPANY:Damstom Inc
MODEL:D300
PRICE:$59.95 (2012 stock)
$74.95 (D300 BE)
MADE IN:Canada
SOURCE:Dealer Locator
Carl Duguay, November, 2013
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