I hope I'm not re-inventing the wheel with this.  I have been trying to glue cleats to the inside of a long side crack.  I wanted to use HHG, but there was no way that that I could get the Teeter clamps in place and wound up in the time available.  Mulling over different approaches, I finally came up with this one.

These clamps are available for $1.99 at Harbor Freight.  The top image shows how they come in the store, but they have a wing nut that allows you to reverse the action, so that they push apart rather than clamp.  Bottom image shows that configuration.  Harbor Freight sells two similar clamps, but the one that works the best has a grey release button.  A 1/16 hole is drilled through each of the pads.

I made up some string clamps out of 1/4 inch hexagonal brass rod.  The rod is drilled and tapped for a screw (I used 8-32), and then a 1/16 inch hole drilled through the side.  Guitar 2nd strings with 0.016 diameter have worked well.

Where the crack comes together, I have been using a hand drill with a #74 drill (0.0225), thread the guitar string through that hole from the outside, and then add the cleat, the caul, and the brass string clamp.

The outside part of the guitar string is threaded through the Harbor Freight clamp, and another brass string clamp.  I don't tighten that clamp yet, but use clothespin type of clamp to keep it from sliding off.

I have been able to put the HHG on, pull it into place, slide everything up, tighten the brass string clamp, and expand the HF clamp in under a minute.  There is much better control of the amount of pressure applied.  Plucking the string between the two pads also lets you know how tight it is.

Hope this makes somebody's life easier. 

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Hey, that's some good thinking there, George.  There's always room for a better mousetrap and you may have hit-upon an improvement to the "teeter tuners"!  

What's most appealing to me is that you can get everything in place, apply the HHG and put the pressure on almost immediately.  Very creative... now I've got another item on the Harbor Freight list.  Thanks for sharing.

Thanks George. This a great idea!  I'm gonna to try it.

FANTASTIC idea thanks for sharing

Hello George, 

Thanks for sharing. Nice idea!

Keep in mind those little clamps can be notorious for breaking down/losing clamping pressure in action. (maybe the Harbor Freight's are better quality). It happened to me a couple of times (even when tested/tried the clamps in dry runs.) So I'm always a bit cautious around those clamps.


You took the words right outta my mouth - these buck-fiddy wannabe clamps have no traction and loose tension real quick - the up market ones with the metal triggers are the go.  Way to test them is to work the tension lever - if it stops and hangs up they are good to go - if it keeps tensioning and tensioning with no end in sight they are done for. Also if you release them and they go "clack" they are good - if you release them and they don't react they have lost tension.

Probably not a big deal in this situation but they can be a let down for wood to wood joining.


Very true. They are useful little clamps and I bought 20 or so thinking that they would do the job. Sadly buying cheap is a false economy,  the triggers break all to easily - without any warning- and they don't actually clamp very well. As my apprentice instructor said all to many years ago buy the best it's cheaper in the long run.


 George, this does look like a terrific idea! The only mod I would make would be to be using a way smaller wire. Holes that size are going to be vera hard to disguise and make invisible. 

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback.

Jelle and Rusty,  I have used 3 of these small clamps to glue 18 cleats, so far, and have had no slippage yet.   I have probably 15 of the Teeter clamps, but I can't imagine using them again.  I would much rather spend another $1.99.

Kerry, I tried using Guitar 1st strings (0.012) with the Teeter clamps, and about half of them broke.  That's why I went to the 0.016.  I know the holes look big in the picture, but they are hard to see with the naked eye, which is why I was marking their locations with the green masking tape arrows.

I also found that it was helpful to drill the holes in the cleats just a little off-center in the vertical direction.  In places where you can't get your hand in to guide them, it keeps the cleats hanging vertically on the wire, and at right angles to the grain of the side.

Here are a couple of pictures of the Rube Goldberg set-up I was dealing with, trying to get the sides of the split lined up.  The Harbor Freight clamps have a much smaller "footprint" than the Teeter clamps, and could easily fit into the space where I removed a Teeter clamp.



Kudos to you all! Its like mad scientists making all these repairs 'happen'! You guys are scaring my amateur 'self'....Yikes... ;-)

Yes, I have newly found respect after looking at the last pics!!


Thats quite the set-up! Class!


The only thing that'd make me nervous is the way the clamp hangs. But if it works, it works.

Ingenious rig, George.  I'm going to give this a shot, but I think I might cut the clamp bar in half to reduce the levering mentioned by Andrew. I might also reduce the length of the screw and maybe use a pre-threaded aluminum cylindrical spacer to reduce steps.


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