I feel just a bit silly about writing an article just on these little Clothes Pin Clamps, but, on the other hand, I use them all the time, so I will pass this little trick on. They are used for the most part to glue linings on to the instrument sides. They replace the small 1″ spring clamps, which can save you about $100.00 in clamp costs, or more.
2 Bags of Hardwood Spring Clothes Pins
1/4 Pound Bag #64 Rubber Bands – These are the same rubber bands you can use to glue plates to sides.
Gather The Materials:
Purchase 2 bags of Diamond Large Hardwood Clothes Pins. They come in 100 count bags, and are the spring type. Refer to the photo at the beginning of this article. These little clothes pins will last a lifetime.
Next visit you local Stationary Supply Store and buy a 1/4 pound bag of #64 Rubber Bands. I bought mine at Office Max, but I’m sure you can get them just about anywhere.
I’ve found this size to be the best as they give you enough pressure without winding them too tightly.
Making the Clamps:
Take one of the #64 rubber bands and start to wrap it around the body of the clothes pin. You need to be on the jaw side of the spring joint.
I find that if you center your wrap right over the channel where the spring sits, it will leave enough of the jaw sticking out to fit over the lining and side, and it gives you adequate clamping pressure. You should be able to easily spread the clamp enough to span the kerfing and the side and should not have to force the clamp in place. It his become to difficult, it probably means there are too many wraps with the rubber band. Loosen it up slightly and try again to get it just right. If you can open the clamp without bend the wood of the clothes pin, that is likely the right pressure.
With the #64 rubber bands, wrapping 5 times around the clothes pin gives you just the right amount of pressure that you need for gluing the lining tightly against the side plates. Test one of the clamps before you make all of them. It is best to test them on actual triangular kerfing and side wood.
You will need about 60 of these little clamps to go around one side of an acoustic guitar. So plan on making about 130 so you have a few around in case the rubber bands break or you drop some. I just keep mine in a couple of plastic coffee cans with lids.
Using the Clamps:
When using the Clothes Pin Clamps for gluing lining, I place them shoulder to shoulder, which means directly adjacent to each other. I find that if you lean the clamp inward, toward the center of the guitar, the jaws will provide the most clamping pressure as this is the ideal angle. Jam the clamp down to the center-line of the lining to provide equal clamping pressure on the lining from top to bottom.
If you keep your clamps in the coffee cans with lids UV rays will not weaken the rubber nearly as quickly. These clamps will last for years and save you a cool $100.00 or a lot more, over commercial spring clamps. Over time you may need to tighten the rubber bands a bit as they will loose some of there elastic properties. If you start snapping rubber bands or cannot attain enough clamping pressure, it is likely you need to replace the rubber bands with fresh ones.