I need a better clamping system and am thinking about a clamp rack, like the JLT 8 footer. I have never used or seen one so I am wondering how good they work. Can you chuck some boards in it and quickly align them and tighten, or are they harder to use like pipe clamps where you have to adjust and make sure the joint doesn’t bow, etc? Quite a bit of cash for a few clamps, I am guessing they must work awesome.
From contributor G:
There are two types, a clamp rack doesn’t rotate like a carrier. Whichever one you get make sure it has a flattener. The flattener makes it awesome.
The vertical space between rows of clamps is pretty tight so work from the bottom up or for shorter parts work in the center and slide them sideways. We lube the back rails with anti seize to make sliding easier. Put cardboard on the floor under the rack. With this size clamp you can pretty much keep going and not have to wait for the glue to totally set. We glue right from the SL rip saw. For flattening 8/4 you may be asking too much for an accessory clamp. We have two flattening clamps that are much like a vice grip with a long bar on the top that forces the panel sort of flat and a cross wise bar that goes across the clamps on the bottom. Works fine on 4/4. 8/4 is just too stiff to affect much.
All told it beats the heck out of pipe or bar clamps. We don't do constant panel gluing and don't want to spend that much shop space. If you are serious production gluing there are lots of used glue wheels out there. Get one with the power tightening and the flattening bar. There are the electronic (MW) gluers too that take a lot less space.