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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #109: Using Drill Press Clamps in Workbench Dog Holes

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Blog entry by retired_guru posted 02-26-2020 01:02 PM 790 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 108: Benchtop Moxon Vice Part 109 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 110: Variable Thickness Anti-Racking Gadget »

A while ago I was at a Harbor Freight store picking up some 6” F-clamps when I came across their Pittsburgh 9” Drill Press Locking Clamps. An idea came to mind, so I picked up two at the price of $8.99 each. Sure enough, when I got home and tried them out in the dog holes on my Harbor Freight Windsor workbench, they fit perfectly. I’ve recently drilled out the dog holes to the standard 3/4” size, and they still work just as well.

Obviously, the threaded ends aren’t very long, more than adequate for the thin top on the HF workbench, and you have to be able to get to the underside of the top to work the eye nuts, which isn’t a problem for this workbench. The threads are course, so spinning the eye nuts on and off is a breeze, very fast in fact. You’d be surprised at how quickly these clamps can be put into service and put away when done.

Clamping pressure is quite adequate. One of these applied to 5/4 oak board seen in the picture was enough to make the whole bench move when trying to budge the board.

On the apron opposite the end vice I have a twin hat hook, where I store the clamps when not needed.

Of course, you don’t need to own a HF Windsor workbench to capitalized on this tip. Any accessible bench or table top, B&D Workmates, etc., with a top thickness no greater than the threaded ends will work.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.



9 comments so far

View shawnSK's profile

shawnSK

39 posts in 137 days


#1 posted 02-26-2020 10:17 PM

I saw these in a Lee Valley catalogue the other day and almost ordered them. How are they for getting your hand around to lock down and release them? I thought maybe the bench would get in the way too much?

-- Shawn, Saskatchewan

View Buck's profile

Buck

4 posts in 146 days


#2 posted 02-26-2020 11:01 PM

SHAWN, c the extra little lever under/on at the end the top handle, that is the easy release of/for the clamping action.

-- olbigun

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2137 days


#3 posted 02-27-2020 12:37 AM



I saw these in a Lee Valley catalogue the other day and almost ordered them. How are they for getting your hand around to lock down and release them? I thought maybe the bench would get in the way too much?

- shawnSK

No more difficult to operate than any other pair of channel-lock pliers. Same mechanism.

I took a look at what Lee Valley’s offering in the same. Theirs has a more refined finish on the outside, but otherwise looks identical in design to the Harbor Freight units I bought. Big price point difference, of course.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

519 posts in 164 days


#4 posted 02-27-2020 05:06 AM

I have one of these from an unknown supplier that I picked up 10 years or so ago. I use it on my drill press and it’s great. It only engages about two threads or so when used with a drill press table. Definitely doesn’t work on my workbench due to thickness.

-- Darrel

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2137 days


#5 posted 02-27-2020 10:43 AM



I have one of these from an unknown supplier that I picked up 10 years or so ago. I use it on my drill press and it s great. It only engages about two threads or so when used with a drill press table. Definitely doesn t work on my workbench due to thickness.

- Foghorn

Yes, these won’t work on any thick bench top designed to work with traditional holdfasts, not ‘as is’.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View shawnSK's profile

shawnSK

39 posts in 137 days


#6 posted 02-27-2020 04:39 PM

Good points about the thickness. My bench is just a Workmate for now, so these seem like a decent holdfast alternative. And Paul, thanks for your comments too. $25 seems to be the going rate for them in Canada, if you can find them (not many hardware stores stock them), but your comment had me look around a bit more and I see Princess Auto sells them for less. Not as refined, but available locally, so that’s a win!

-- Shawn, Saskatchewan

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2137 days


#7 posted 02-27-2020 05:46 PM



Good points about the thickness. My bench is just a Workmate for now, so these seem like a decent holdfast alternative. And Paul, thanks for your comments too. $25 seems to be the going rate for them in Canada, if you can find them (not many hardware stores stock them), but your comment had me look around a bit more and I see Princess Auto sells them for less. Not as refined, but available locally, so that s a win!

- shawnSK

Great, Shawn. I hope those offered at Princess Auto turn out to be a helpful addition on the Workmate.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View JCinVA's profile

JCinVA

218 posts in 1608 days


#8 posted 03-02-2020 08:04 AM

Great idea for my workmates!

Did yours come with the red protectors? The HF website shows just the metal head with checkering.

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2137 days


#9 posted 03-02-2020 01:26 PM



Great idea for my workmates!

Did yours come with the red protectors? The HF website shows just the metal head with checkering.

- JCinVA

I forgot about the C-clamp jaw pads! No, the drill press clamps come without the protective pads on. I had bought them previously, to use on F-Clamps that were given to me. Here’s the link to them:

https://www.harborfreight.com/9-pairs-c-clamp-jaw-pads-91952.html?_br_psugg_q=clamp+pads

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

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