Building a press for inlays

Has anyone built a small press to provide sufficient clamping pressure on the glue up inlays? I don’t really want to spend the a couple hundred dollars for a HF press and I don’t have the space either. So I was thinking of something smaller using a couple of bottle jacks or maybe a car jack.

I just built one using two of these

Similar to this, with glued layers of 3/4 ply for the base (2) and press plate (4), hard maple for the uprights and top bar.

Mine has a working area of 24" x 18". Went with two screws to give more even pressure across the whole surface. A smaller working area would probably need only one screw. Works great.


Just get some 4 way clamps. I use them in my woodworking all the time. You can make the bars as long or short as you want.

Peachtree Woodworking Supply 2 Pack of 4 Way Pressure Clamps For Clamping Panels - Using Pressure From All Four Directions. For Woodworkers, Cabinet and Furniture Makers (2 four way pressure clamps)


I have a 20 ton shop press but have never used it. What I do use is the arbor plates from it. I went to my local steel place and picked up some pieces 1 1/8" thick 4"x8". They weigh about 10lbs each and I just stack them on top of the work. They sold them to me for scrap price since they were drops. I have 7 or 8 of them. If I’m worried about the wood I’ll wrap them in newspaper. The biggest advantage over clamps is that clamps only work near a edge.

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