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Portable Pre-assembly Tables with the Clam Clamp

The Clam Clamp Method

Since I first took the pictures you saw in the first half of my article, Portable Pre-assembly Tables, I was able to figure out an even better way to pre-assemble casing, especially small casing. Now I use a Clam Clamp!

To use Clam Clamps (see Gary’s tool review) on thin casing, I rabbet the assembly tables.

For typical 9/16 casing or 5/8 thick casing, I make the rabbet 5/32 in. deep—that centers the clamp pins perfectly on the casing. Because the casing is so small, I remove the two lower pins, otherwise the Clam Clamp puts too much pressure below the miter.
This technique works much better with Clam Clamps, but the process is the same: Always clamp the casing to the assembly tables first. I position the casing so that it hangs over the rabbet just a bit.

Once the Clam Clamps are on, the assembly tables make it much easier to move the frame. You can’t get this kind of clamping pressure from spring clamps, and when you use Clam Clamps, the joints are so durable, firing a brad nail through the miter becomes a waste of effort.

(This article originally appeared on


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