Keep This Simple Vise Add-On Handy
To clamp tapered or uneven thickness parts in my bench vise, I use a shop-made pivoting jaw. It’s just a small length of handrail glued to a 2×6. As you tighten the vise jaws on your workpiece, the jaw pivots to the taper of the workpiece.
Stabilize Longer BoardsHere's a great way to hold boards for routing and planing with ne'er a worry that they'll slide around or flop over as you work. Clamp two handscrews to a sawhorse or tabletop so their jaws are lined up. Slide the workpiece into the jaws and tighten the handscrews. Medium-size handscrews have 5/8 in. of usable jaw surface above the screws, so they grip the board like two long-jawed vises. This tip is especially useful when routing molding profiles on narrow boards. You can also screw the handscrews to a piece of 3/4-in plywood on your shop floor and use them to hold doors for edge-planing. Here's another cool handscrew hack for the workshop.
Bar Clamp ViseSlender, curvy workpieces tend to slip and slide in regular woodworking vises, so try Richard Chowin’s great alternative. Clamp a bar or pipe clamp in your bench vise, then tighten the clamp to grip the workpiece at each end. Your future masterpiece won’t move a smidgen while you work, and you’ll have access to all the curves and recesses along its length. This vise also works great for holding more delicate projects for sanding or ﬁnishing.
Simple Pipe Clamp HackMoaning again that your pipe clamps aren’t long enough to assemble your new “monsterpiece?" Pipe down and quit whining! A few extra 2- and 4-ft. pipe segments plus a handful of pipe couplings are all you need for the extra-long or extra-wide job. Screw couplings and extra pipes to those too short pipes to create the needed lengths. If the clamps are under the wood, add spacers slightly higher than the couplings perpendicular to the pipes. When you’re finished, unscrew and store the extra pipes with couplings and you’ll be ready for the next jumbo project that comes down the pipeline. A big thanks to Jeff Poirier for tipping us off to this great idea.
Gentle JawsAre your C-clamp jaws leaving dents in projects or the furniture you’re repairing? Press adhesive-backed felt pads for table and chair legs on the jaw faces (you’ll get a better bond if you lightly sand the faces with fine sandpaper). Look for larger precut rectangular shapes that you can trim to fit your bar clamp faces as well. Gripping thanks to Kurt Lawton for this nifty tip. Plus: Check out these clamp storage ideas for your workshop.
Spring Clamp TrayServe up your spring clamps on a tray—a slotted piece of 3/4-in. plywood with 1/4-in. plywood fins glued in the slots. A clamp tray defies the natural tendency of tools to create clutter. Just pull the tray off a peg, takes a few clamps off the fins, stick them back on the fins when you’re done, and hang up the tray. Plus: How to build the ultimate clamp rack.
Pipe clamp cradle
Tape Works, TooClamping mitered edges can be a real hassle because they never seems to line up correctly. The easiest way that I've found to get around this process is to use painter’s tape as clamps. First set the pieces so that the outer edges are facing up and tape them edge-to-edge. The flip the pieces over so the beveled edges are facing up and glue them together. Complete the process by taping the last two edges together and let sit until completed. The tape removes easily and the glue won’t attach to the tape, making sanding and finishing very simple. Use this technique to build hexagon shelves for your living room.
Corner Clamping GadgetsCorner clamping blocks for assembling picture frames aren't a new idea: woodworking magazines have shown variations for years. But these are among the best I've seen. The holes span the corner, keeping the clamps from stick to the frames when the glue squeezes out. — Travis Larson Plus: Clamping table basics.
3 Ways to Get a Grip
- When driving screws by hand, use a piece of rubber shelf liner to cushion your hand and increase torque on the screwdriver handle.
- Slide bicycle handlebar grips on bar clamp handles.
- Cut the fingers off old rubber dishwashing gloves and stretch them over handles of handscrews.