Frugal Woodworking

Woodworking Tips for Affordable Woodworking

Category : Tool Restoration

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.


Sharpen your own planer and jointer blades

One way to avoid spending money on new planer or jointer blades is to keep using the ones you already have.  Unless they are severely damaged, they can be sharpened without too much effort.

Here is an example of a jig to make sharpening consistent and easy.  It requires only a block of wood and a table saw to make it.


Tool Restoration

The Norsewoodsmith has a ton of great information on restoring and tuning old tools.  A great way to stay frugal by buying used tools and tuning them up

Norse Tool Restoration Tips