Frugal Woodworking

Woodworking Tips for Affordable Woodworking

Category : Clamps & Vises

Super cheap and effective planing stop

screws for planing stops

We all struggle with various ways to hold wood effectively while we are planing.  There are dogs, toothed bench stops, and now there are screws…really cheap screws.  Seems like for a few bucks for some #14 screws you can modify them to make them very effective planing stops.

Check out the full article about screws as planing stops.



Edge Band clamps

Rockler has some very clever “Bandy Clamps” that use a sling of rubber banding to span the spring clamp ends which makes them useful for gluing on edge banding or edge trim.  They are very useful if you do a lot of that kind of work.  The problem is you need a lot of them and they are kind of pricey.

TabLeft Workshop did I nice video on how to make bunches of equivalent clamps using just inexpensive spring clamps and strips of bicycle inner tube.


Parallel Clamps

This solution to making parallel clamps out of a few strips of wood and 2 screw per clamp is pretty impressive.  Amazingly simple, yet seem to be quite strong.

Thanks to the blog at for putting together this video.


Better grips on clamp handles

Usually in the middle of a project I realize that my grip is not what it used to be.  Unfortunately I realize that right when I need it the most.  In the midst of a glue-up I sometimes discover that I can’t tighten the handles of my clamps down the way I used to, at least not without more discomfort in my hands.  Here are some tips I’ve found for improving clamp handles.

Clamp Handle Wrap Products


Quick Clamp Restore

There is nothing worse and little more dangerous than a clamp that can’t be relied upon to do its job.  I have a pair of Craftsman Quick Clamps that I’ve had for almost 20 years.  Over time, they have lost their ability to clamp tightly.  The mechanism would just slip.  I believe the bar has become too polished and the clutch plates inside too smooth.  And no, the Craftsman Lifetime guarantee does not apply to clamps, somehow Sears does not consider them to be hand tools.

quick clamp repair

No longer able to hold securely, this quick clamp was in need of repair.

I just gave mine a new lease on life and it cost me nothing but a few minutes worth of time.  Here is what I did.  I opened the clamp as wide as it would go, then took a file and made a few passes  over the top and bottom surface of the bar.  I then closed the clamp and did this again to any area that was originally hidden by the clamp head.  You are trying to create just a little flat ridge on the top and bottom surface of the bar.

quick clamp repaired

With both the top and bottom of the bar filed, the clamp now holds tight.

After doing this with all of my clamps, they now hold tight and are able to be clamped down harder than they used to.  The roughing up with the file seems to give something for the clutch plates inside the clamp to grab onto.

Preserving the initial investment in your tools is a big step toward remaining a frugal woodworker.


Surface Vice

This is an inexpensive upgrade to your existing handscrew clamps that makes them a lot more valuable for less than a dollar’s worth of dowel.

Handscrew Dogs are awesome!

Handscrew dogs - a simple modification