Substituting composite structures for conventional metallic structures has many advantages for structural dynamic characteristics because composite materials have the higher specific stiffness and damping characteristics than conventional materials. However, the dynamic characteristics such as the fundamental natural frequency and damping of composite structures are influenced much by their joints. In this work, the effects of clamping conditions on the dynamic characteristics of cantilever type composite machine tool structures with clamped joint were investigated to increase the natural frequency and damping of structures. In order to improve the shear property of the clamping part of composite machine tool bar, a new method for the clamping part was developed with metal core or sleeve inserted in the composite body at the clamping part. From the finite element and experimental results, suitable clamping conditions for the maximum dynamic stiffness were obtained for the composite structures with clamped joint. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.