Poor man's bench clamp - Router Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Default Poor man's bench clamp

I love those Festool bench clamps:


But being a penny pincher, they are more expensive than I want to pay. So I am trying to make my own:



This uses a big U clamp from Home Depot ($4). It is a work in progress, but I *think* I will be able to come up with something that will work, but I need to figure out a way to keep the top part in line with the bottom part.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 02:04 PM
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Chris, your idea is on-track, but there's a flaw in that each time differing materials join together, there becomes slip in that connection (e.g. wood to bolt). One quick and cheap way to accomplish something similar is to go to Woodcraft, Rockler, etc. and purchase drill press clamp(s) made for temporary attachment atop the table of said drill press. The type I am referring to has a threaded stud on the bottom that goes through slots in the DPT. Often these have a threaded ring that is intended to go under the DPT to mate with said threaded stud. You will still need appropriately spaced and sized holes for the stud to pass through. One of these will set you back about $10-$15.
Good luck and let me know if my description doesn't make sense and I will post a photo of my set-up. Good Luck!

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 03:57 PM
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For $3
6" Quick Release Bar Clamp
I would buy a normal bar clamp and drill a bigger hole in the bench.
I like they way you're thinking though. Do it with what you have at hand. I'm all into that. I have a few old cheap bar clamps that have had the ends fall off and I've been thinking to just weld some steel on the end to make a bench clamp to fit in a smaller hole. I already made one into a hold down clamp for a jig.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I did this last night ... I think I like it enough to get over my Festool envy ...

The holes in my bench are just big enough for the bar of the cheap quick clamps they sell at Harbor Freight. I drilled the nut out to fit a 1/4" bolt to make it easier and quicker.

With this approach, I will be able to secure anything anywhere on the bench:





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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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fwiw, the bench is based on this one from Ron Paulk:

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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I guess Harbor freight used to carry the StrongHand clamps. Mine had ONE of them (the LAST one) the other day. I grabbed it.



And my Sears had some of the Irwin clamp/spreaders that fit my holes on sale for 2 for $12. I grabbed 3 packs.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 10:48 AM
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I am installing a new top on my workbench and hope to have it finished today. I use 3/4 MDF for the top and intentionally built my workbench so I could change the top as needed. This way I can drill, saw or whatever without being concerned I am destroying a $300.00 plus workbench.

As far as clamps go I use the clamps made by Incra, Rockler and others by installing a series of 1/4-20 T-Nuts around 4 inches apart from end to end and side to side over 3/4 of the table top. Once the T-Nuts are installed I place a sheet of cheap plywood over them so they won't pop out then screw the top down into workbench frame. I have 4 of the clamps and they are screwed down using plastic knobs with 4 inch 1/4-20 hex head bolts. I use my B&D screwdriver to tighten and loosen the clamps. Works like a charm.

This the clamp style I am talking about:
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When something is advertised as being foolproof there is always a better class of fool that comes along to prove them wrong.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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That is a neat idea, thanks!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 10:50 AM
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How did your clamps work out? I'm thinking of building the paulk workbench with all the dog holes in it. But I don't have any clamps to use on it.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Curl View Post
I did this last night ... I think I like it enough to get over my Festool envy ...

The holes in my bench are just big enough for the bar of the cheap quick clamps they sell at Harbor Freight. I drilled the nut out to fit a 1/4" bolt to make it easier and quicker.

With this approach, I will be able to secure anything anywhere on the bench:





I have seen a similar design that replaces the clamp end with a piece of flat bar attached through the hole in the clamp - in practice, the flat bar pivots until it's in line with the clamp so that it feeds through the hole and then swivels to 90° so it catches on the underside of the bench top. Would be a perfect modification for one of the inexpensive HF bar clamps.
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