A woodworker’s clamp for a workbench

You may think that, given the title, we are moving away from railway modelling. But many of us have to do willy-nilly carpentry work, especially to build the infrastructure of a layout.

Personally, I own a vice-workbench that everyone will recognize, a priori very clever compared to the old models, but full of flaws that did not affect the older models. However, it remains useful for those who live in a flat.

Photo Black & Decker.fr

Workmate workbench

I also own some clamps from another brand known for its often inventive tools, although not always of higher quality. The problem is that it is difficult to tighten a piece of wood on the workbench with these clamps, because they come quickly stopped against the chassis under the tray.

Photo Wolfcraft

Wolfcraft one hand clamp

Moreover, to fix a part on a workbench, the woodworkers rather use this very simple tool called woodworker’s clamp, which works by jamming into the table. But in order for the jamming to be effective, the table must be thick enough, which is not the case with a vice-workbench.

Photo Établis François

Woodworker’s clamp

The Wolfcraft clamp is smart!

The Wolfcraft clamp has a jaw easily removable by means of a push-button (arrow), which allows it to be reversed to work as a spreader (see photo gallery). All what is required is to mount this jaw at the other end of the stem.

Disassembled clamp

When this jaw is removed, doesn’t the rest look like a woodworker’s clamp? And is it possible, by chance, that the stem could be inserted into the workbench holes (ø 20 mm)? Well yes! It just fits! And I even think it was studied for; but the manufacturer doesn’t mention it!

However, the tray remains too thin to jam this makeshift woodworker’s clamp. What if we put the removable jaw back under the tray? No sooner said than done.

Here we are! Certainly, the implementation is a bit long. But the clamping is very effective now.

Clamps laid

The Wolfcraft clamp is smart (bis)!

And there, I’m really not involved. Your clamp doesn’t have an opening large enough for your need? You can make a very large one with two smaller ones, thanks to this push-button connector. Simply remove the removable jaws and connect the two stems together.

Clamp with extension

We agree that, in the photo, it is useless, eh; it’s just to demonstrate.

Another trick that is not mine

While I am there: the ø 20 holes are apparently standardized for vice workbenches. There are stops delivered with, like the — very tired — red one in this picture. But we can make others, really inexpensive, with IRL electric tube of the same diameter. It’s not very sturdy, but it’s so quickly replaced!

Low-cost stop for workbench

Among other tricks:

  • front jaw vertically positionable for perpendicular clamping;
  • cranks connected by a perforated belt to keep one hand free during tightening (on approach only);
  • repositionable rear jaw for clamping wide workpieces.

Main defects:

  • tray too thin, not rigid (bamboo…), so the perpendicular tightening is illusory;
  • the perforated belt jumps very easily, and to put it back in place isn’t a breeze! Time saving?
  • because of the belt guard, no clamp can be placed on the front of the platform;
  • lots of backlash everywhere.

See, for example, a video on the installation of a not too expensive carpentry workbench, on the excellent Copain des copeaux website.

“Wolfcraft 3038000 Connector Pro/ Easy - One-Hand Clamp Adapter for Combining Two One-Hand Clamps”
£17.45 (price 2017) at Amazon.co.uk

Or rather, they offer a special woodworker’s clamp that has exactly the same function: the PRO 65-150-W. And I did not notice it until I had discovered this possibility.