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Letter: Vacuum Clamp

Letter: Vacuum Clamp

by David Haxton

Originally published in American Lutherie #67, 2001



I share Jon Calkin’s enthusiasm for the dished workboard (see AL#65). I know it’s made my guitars better. But he could trade all his clamps and dedicated workstations for a much simpler and, I would say better, solution: the use of a vacuum pump. You get absolutely even clamping pressure across the entire face of the plate and no dents from over-tightened clamps. In fact, I preshape and sand all my braces before gluing, lessening the need for chisel work after glue-up, and the whole procedure is quicker. I’ve also used my vacuum pump to make radiused sanding blocks for fretwork and laminated linings, and they make great hold-downs. My pump came from a mail-order surplus supply company for about $80.