Shopsmith clamps

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Review by richgreer posted 05-26-2011 06:07 PM 9650 views 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Shopsmith clamps No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I was using these clamps today and thought to myself that I have never seen a review of these clamps on LJ.

These are my favorite clamps for gluing up panels (like table tops or chair bottoms). What you see in this picture will be a chair bottom by the end of the day. When you tighten these clamps you are applying pressure to the edges and the sides. This does a great job of keeping the boards aligned.

I particularly like these clamps when I am making something that is too big to go through my thickness planner.

Be advised that you can buy the hardware and make clamps like this yourself (i.e. make the wood part). I have done that and I do not like them. That hardware does not have any springs built into them and without the springs these clamps are hard to use. The springs put pressure down from the top and up from the bottom. Note – my bungee cord idea did not work out very well.

You can, and I have, make your own wood parts if you need something longer than what the standard clamps can reach. As an FYI – I try to make the wood parts with a very slight convex curve to increase pressure in the middle.

Some may find these clamps a little awkward to use because you slide the boards in from the side of the clamps while holding them open. This is something you will get better at the more you work with them.

I have tried to use wax paper to keep any glue off the clamps and I have stopped doing that. It is too awkward to do easily.

These clamps look well used – because they are used a lot.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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4541 posts in 3875 days

16 comments so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12214 posts in 4229 days

#1 posted 05-26-2011 06:23 PM

Thanks for the review, Rich. They are said to be the very best of the 4 way type on the market.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3875 days

#2 posted 05-26-2011 06:35 PM

FYI – Because I was curious about what these clamps cost now, I went to the Shopsmith website and with the 2 larger sizes I see the notation “quantities are low”. With the smallest one I see the notation “may be backordered or made after ordered”. I translate this to mean that these clamps may be hard to buy new.

Here is the website -

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View shipwright's profile


8570 posts in 3599 days

#3 posted 05-26-2011 07:33 PM

I got four of the larger ones with my Mark V 510 in Green Valley and I agree. They are excellent clamps and very well made.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3689 days

#4 posted 05-26-2011 07:54 PM

To keep glue squeeze out from sticking, give the parts a good coat of paste wax and buff them up nicely. A couple of coats may be needed for best protection.

I’ve seen an all wood version of these i n an old cabinet shop back east many years ago. They looked older than time and were well worn from use, and I never visited the shop (it belonged to my best friend’s dad and wasat the side of their home) that there wasn’t something in a set of them. Wasn’t into wood back then, so the only reason I took notice was the fact that I had never seen anything like them before.

Where these are metal, his were wood, even the threaded rod. His had an end lever similar to those you find on a bench vice, a sliding dowel with round knobs on each end. Instead of having notches on top to fit the pieces in for adjusting, his had holes drilled through the long rails (cauls?) that were fixed in place with dowels. They were obviously shop-made and looked to be rosewood or something similar in colour.

I wouldn’t mind trying to make a set some time, just for the challenge.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 4497 days

#5 posted 05-26-2011 11:12 PM

Rich, About 10 years ago I went to an auction and there were 4 of them that went up for bid, every asked what are they, I said I dont know but I will bid 4.00 , I got them . Then I said they are clamps for glueing up panels. I got the last laugh on them. They are very nice clamps.Thanks for posting.Chuck

-- Chuck, wiswood2

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4541 posts in 3875 days

#6 posted 05-27-2011 12:56 AM

For the record, I bought mine used also, but mine were in like new condition. I don’t recall what I paid, but it was a lot more than $4.00 and a lot less than the price for new ones.

I wish that Shopsmith would sell their hardware only.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4489 days

#7 posted 05-27-2011 01:21 AM

I was / am also going to recommend waxing them : )
It works very well , even on metal clamps. Found out after staining the heck out of my Bessey’s.
Thanks for the review.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3860 days

#8 posted 05-27-2011 11:41 AM


Do the wooden cauls (wooden part of the clamp) have a slight convex shape to them on the edges that contact the project. I would think that a slight convex shape would help in appying an even pressure across the project to keep the boards aligned similar to the way a typical clamping caul works.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3875 days

#9 posted 05-27-2011 01:28 PM

Yes, the cauls have a slight convex shape to them. I have also made my own custom cauls when I needed some extra long ones and, with a hand plane, I put a slight convex shape on them.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4996 days

#10 posted 05-27-2011 04:52 PM

I’m glad for your review. While I have a ton of Shopsmith stuff (duh) I haven’t come across these when I’ve gone Shopsmith hunting. I wouldn’t have known what they were for if I had. I will definitely keep me eyes open for them in the future. Based on what you’ve said here, I want some. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View dragondncr's profile


38 posts in 4230 days

#11 posted 05-27-2011 09:01 PM

I have a set of these and they work great. I bought some hardware from woodcraft and made my own. They worked, but not as easy as the shopsmith ones.

Rich, you said you slide the boards in from the side. I remove the top part of the clamp and glue up my boards, then slide that part back in. Too me, alot easier than sliding the boards in.

-- dragondncr

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3875 days

#12 posted 05-27-2011 09:09 PM

dragon – - I’ve done it both ways and, to me, they take about the same amount of effort. My point is that this is not like setting a pipe clamp down on the panel and tightening it.

As an FYI – - If I am doing a longer panel, I still only use 3 shopsmith clamps in the middle and both ends and I fill in between these clamps with more conventional pipe clamps or something similar. I like to have a clamp every 6-8”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


727 posts in 3491 days

#13 posted 05-29-2011 06:12 PM

Woodcraft has these clamps on sale for $19.99 currently. I agree that these are fantastic clamps and only wish I had used them years ago…

-- -Al, Oak Harbor, WA

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3681 days

#14 posted 05-31-2011 10:12 PM

I have a set of these clamps from shopsmith that were my dads. I have only used them once so far but was very happy with how they worked. I know my dad liked them to.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4898 days

#15 posted 06-04-2011 07:32 PM

These the same clamps? Impossible to tell from the photos.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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