It goes where no clamp has gone before, or something like that. . .
Articulated Clamp
© Frank Ford, 5/17/02; Photos by FF, 2002

Sometimes when I clamping up a top crack I want to have several clamps lined up along the crack so I can get the crack level along its length, and clamp a variety of things underneath, such as loose braces and reinforcement patches. That's why I bent some of my Waverly clamps years ago to reach around each other in a straight line back from the soundhole.

Recently I acquired a small milling machine and started making a few new items I've always wanted. First on my list was this jointed clamp, which allows me to reach behind another clamp from either side:

It's actually the fifth incarnation of my "take apart clamp" so I stamped it appropriately:

I used strong 3/8" thick cold rolled steel for the main body, 1/2" wide for the arms, and 1-1/2" wide for the back section. I made the front sections of brass because it's fun to machine - the stuff is just like mahogany; it's stable, cuts easily, strong and downright friendly:

I don't really intend to use both joints, though.

The idea was to have two working lengths:

Here's the back section:

I have a simple little tongue and groove to keep the sections aligned so I can reach the bottom part inside the guitar and drop the upper one on without worrying about the top and bottom mating up a the far end. Even with its full 12" throat, it's easy to stick the bottom section into most any round soundhole guitar.

I could have made the clamp really tall to reach inside, but then I wouldn't be able to do my favorite little trick of adding a heavy clamp on top to get that extra squeeze, effectively halving the length of the arms:

The clamp in this photo is actually "Mark IV," should you care.

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