Toggle Clamp frustration - Router Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2006, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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Angry Toggle Clamp frustration

You guys are gonna think I'm nuts, but I cannot seem to make toggle clamps work properly! Okay.....now that you've stopped laughing, heres the problem. I see Bob and Rick and all the other real guys solidly clamping down their toggle clamps. Looks neat. Seems tight. Looks really cool. BUT, I have about 75 of them now, I bought all sizes and types, and I can't lock down a simple piece of 3/4 junk wood to run it by a trim bit. Oh....it'll flip over onto the wood alright, but there is no "locking" sound or motion.
I have scared myself witless twice now and I AIN'T going back into that shop until I feel safe again! Please help. I won't even be offended if you draw it out in crayon so I can understand it.
Thanks.
Anniedog

formerly Birchwood until I discovered that no matter how I tried the system was NOT gonna let me in with my old name and Pword.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2006, 12:12 PM
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This sounds like a height adjustment problem. Your toggle clamps should have an adjusting screw with a rubber pad on the clamping end. By lowering this pad in the open position you increase the clamping pressure. A bit of trial and error should give you the proper amount of adjustment to firmly clamp your workpiece down. If you can not get your clamp to securely hold the wood in place you may need a smaller clamp. Never try using an incorrectly adjusted clamp as your wood could be thrown from the jig.
Sometimes with larger or thicker pieces of wood you will need to install a riser block underneath your clamp to allow for the thickness and get your clamp into the proper adjusting range. I will edit this post later today with a photo or two to show you proper adjustment.

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Last edited by Mike; 05-12-2006 at 12:16 PM.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2006, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
 
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Okay. I got ONE to work and I now suspect another is simply faulty. I will keep trying. Am trying to make a simple little "fixture" to hold some pieces I want to run through the table mounted router. I see Bob & Rick using little devices like what I'm trying to make, but I have not seen any actual plans for such jigs. Have I missed something somewhere?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2006, 01:19 PM
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Any chance you can send a pic of the problem clamp?

Mike
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
 
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Basically I have a 1/2" piece of B.Birch 5X12. I have mounted another piece about 2 1/2X 12 across the "back" and put the toggles on top of it, so the arms go down onto the single piece, about 6 inches apart. I want to hole pieces to run them through the bit (lengthwise) i.e. along the 12" side, held down by the toggles. I am going to mess with it again today, but I am really thinking I may have ONE bad toggle. I DID get one to work. I have a bag wtih about a billion of them in it I bought on Ebay. I think I have enough toggles to clamp down Nebraska!!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 09:11 AM
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Another way to help the clamps work is to put sandpaper on the surface of the fixture pattern. You need to get the correct tension on the clamp and sandpaper to prevent the skidding.

Also make sure you have very little material to remove with the router. We bandsaw the rough shape out leaving about 1/8" exposed then cut the leftovers with the router.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks boys. I have also tried to post pix of my crude device, but I cannot figure out how to do it. Not only am I NOT a real woodworker I am NOT a computer guy. Makes you wonder just what the hell I AM doesn't it!? HA!
Hey, the new Woodworker Channel is a WINNER.
I'm gonna keep on clampin'.......I'll figure out the basics to those things yet. So far I have gotten ONE to work.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 09:59 AM
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To post a picture enter the text as a quick reply and then click on Go Advanced button at the bottom of the window. This opens the advanced window and if you scroll down you will see a button that says Manage attachments. Click on that and then locate the file you want to upload in the attachment window. Select upload and the image will load onto the web site. Click the close button and then select the submit button. You should then see your post with thumbnails of your picture or pictures.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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If you can't post a picture perhaps you can better explain
what you mean when you say the, "The clamps don't work."
Do you mean the rubber clamping bumper doesn't contact
the workpiece at all or not hard enough to hold the piece?
Or do you mean that the rubber bumper contacts the workpiece
but you're unable to get the clamp to continue it's full range
of motion and lock down? Or do you mean that the movement
of the clamp is very stiff and hard to move? Those are the
only ways I can think of that a toggle clamp won't work. The
first two problems can be solved by just adjusting the height
of the threaded rod that the bumper is attached to. It might
take a little trial and error but it's really pretty simple. It it's
just too stiff then try lubricating the pivot points a little.

I've purchased some clamps from Harbor Freight that are
probably the least expensive toggle clamps available anywhere
and they work just fine. I can't imagine there being anything
defective with these unless they're homemade. Either that
or you're just pulling our leg to see how many responses you
can get. Post a picture if you can.

Bruce
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Bruce, I assure you I am NOT pulling your leg! I will try again to post a picture. The toggles will turn over, adjusted to just touch the piece I want to hold, but they will not "click" or "lock". I'm guessing I have still not figured out how to adjust them, but believe me I have tried until my mind begins turning to jelly!! Now I'm guessing I am using the wrong sized clamp. I think I've bothered you guys enough with this, but I WILL try again to post pictures. Thanks to all.
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