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Work bench clamps

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GadgetBuster

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Hi all, I'm new, pls be gentle. I was wondering if anyone can help. I have seen some images of metal clamps used on workbenchs. I was wondering if I explain what they look like someone may know what they are called as I was thinking of buying some for my new workshop. If anyone has experience of them I would also appreciate that. Ok here goes, they are metal, I think round bar, have a 90 degree angle on them, one end is a bit splayed out, the other end goes in a hole in your work bench, the splayed end goes on top of the piece of wood you want to clamp down, the rod in the hole is lowered until the splayed end touches the wood to be clamped and then a couple of small taps with a hammer on the 90 degree bend secures it down. Any ideas pls
Simon
 

heimlaga

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Holdfasts

They can be forged from broken coil springs from a car or bought ready made.

Cheap factory made ones break easily. They seem to be cast and that's not a suitable material for the purpose.
 

ED65

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Although you've asked in metalworking these can also be made from wood.

The very earliest versions of this type of clamp were simply a crotch of wood, basically a main stem and a short branch, see here on David Fisher's blog.

You can also build them up if you want or need to. A good hardwood is probably best for the top arm but they can even be made from plywood (but note the orientation of the plies):



Also worth mentioning that although some sources say for holdfasts to work properly the workbench top needs to be very thick (2" or more is often mentioned) you can see that the top in the above image is much thinner than that. Benchtops that do happen to be too thin can have packing added where the holes will be drilled. If too thick an area around each hole can be relieved to make it thinner just where needed.
 

MusicMan

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They are amazingly good clamps. The shape does turn out to be fairly important for best performance. I use and like the Simon James clamps from e.g. Workshop Heaven. Yes, a light tap will secure for many purposes, but I do sometimes need a good welt with a mallet to really hold something down, which wooden ones would not take. Remember to put a piece of scrap between the clamp and the work. Note also that you can use a notched batten together with a holdfast and a dog to hold wood flat for planing, see https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/th ... ten-video/.
 

GadgetBuster

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. I'm impressed so many people commented on my post, you have a really good active forum here. I'm glad I joined. Simon :D
 

MikeG.

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MusicMan":wyiyncl7 said:
........... I do sometimes need a good welt with a mallet to really hold something down, which wooden ones would not take..........
You're more than welcome to come along to my workshop with the biggest hammer you can carry and see if you can break mine.
 

MusicMan

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MikeG.":15hio4lq said:
MusicMan":15hio4lq said:
........... I do sometimes need a good welt with a mallet to really hold something down, which wooden ones would not take..........
You're more than welcome to come along to my workshop with the biggest hammer you can carry and see if you can break mine.
haha. No, I don't plan on destroying your shop when I come for the bog oak!
 
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