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SHOP MADE TOGGLE CLAMPS

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Blog entry by stefang posted 02-07-2019 03:17 PM 655 reads 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first project post on LJ back in 2009 was some shop made toggle clamps. I doubt if many would be seeing this old post in my gallery now, so I decided to post this blog to introduce it to new members. I have been using these on various jigs for the last 14 years and they are all still in service. Here are some photos of the clamps. They aren’t pretty, but they work just as well as the commercial ones.

Materials needed (You will probably have enough scrap ply in your waste bin for this project).

  1. For the 4 axles needed for each clamp I used cut-off lengths of approx. 1/8” dia. concrete nails.
  2. Plywood in the thickness as indicated on the templates. (You can cut thicker ply thinner if needed).
  3. Threaded Rod and nuts to secure it to the neck. One big advantage is that you can make the threaded rod as long as you like to make it super adjustable

I made up two sets of templates, one for the small clamps and the other for the large ones as pictured below. I keep these templates handy so I can make up more clamps whenever I want.

  • You will need 2 of every part for the smaller clamps except for the ‘neck’ part that holds the threaded rod. You will need 1/2” for that or alternatively you can make two from 1/4” ply and face glue them together.
  • As you Can see from the photo I have glued up the neck part on the large clamp from 4 mitered pieces, but you can also just face glue three 1/2” pieces together.
  • There is a countersunk screw hole that is vertically drilled through the centre of each side piece. This allows you to anchor the clamps on any wooden surface.
  • It is a good idea to glue some small thin caps over all of the axle holes after installing the axels to prevent them from spinning out. I just used hot glue, which worked well but it doesn’t look very good.

I would like to stress that these clamps are extremely easy and quick to make. Just trace the pattern from the templates and cut out on your band saw or scroll saw, drill the holes, clip the axle lengths and assemble.

Printing the templates
You can take a screen print of the templates and then print that out and it will come out the size of the ones I have made. Otherwise you can make a PDF file of the screen print and save it to your desktop and then print out in whatever size you want using the PDF print menu. Take only a screen print of the photo, not the whole page. If don’t know how, just google it for either MAC or Windows.

I don’t know if anyone else has actually made any of these clamps, but the original project post has had over 55,000 views and has been favourited 115 times. I know these types of clamps aren’t too expensive these days, but you will have the option to make whatever size you desire and the fun of making something really useful in your shop.

Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to reply. Thanks for reading!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



13 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117468 posts in 3848 days


#1 posted 02-07-2019 03:24 PM

Hi Mike Obviously your clamp is a good design because it’s stood the test of time

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

View stefang's profile

stefang

16391 posts in 3605 days


#2 posted 02-07-2019 03:40 PM

Hi Jim. Yes they have. I was very proud of this design when I first posted it because I am not very mechanically inclined and it was refreshing for me to make something mechanical that actually worked. Probably my one and only success! I was looking at some of shop note’s plans for shop made tools yesterday and there is some mind boggling stuff there. Wish I had the space to accommodate some of those wonderful items.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View htl's profile

htl

4468 posts in 1430 days


#3 posted 02-07-2019 04:12 PM

Thanks stefang for the up dated post.
And your so right there’s so much info here that’s last to us unless we check out older posts.
The search doesn’t seem to find them very well.
Many times I’ll be on Pinterest and a project or great model will show up that is just what I have been needing to figure something out.
So what I have started doing is as comments come to my posts I check out the projects of those I haven’t seen before, but this still leaves a bunch that don’t comment that much any more.
So if you find something interesting add a small comment and it will be brought back to the top for all to see.
Again just my $.02

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs http://lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/116729

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1798 posts in 3130 days


#4 posted 02-07-2019 04:45 PM

Well, your original project post is still available. This blog post is a great update of the original.

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8137 posts in 2314 days


#5 posted 02-07-2019 05:52 PM

I find this interesting Mike. Like you said it gets forgotten over time. I needed a toggle clamp for my segment jig and it would of been great to make this for it. I just bought it yesterday too. Been busy around the house but getting free time here and there. I will try one of these soon.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View hunter71's profile

hunter71

3336 posts in 3457 days


#6 posted 02-07-2019 06:12 PM

lOOK’S LIKE A GOOD ONE MIKE.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View stefang's profile

stefang

16391 posts in 3605 days


#7 posted 02-07-2019 06:55 PM

Thanks for the positive comments guys!

Just a little warning that I have made a couple of major changes to the blog since the original posting as follows:
  1. The measurements on the templates denote the thickness of the different parts. I therefore deleted the line about disregarding the measurements. I had forgotten what those dimensions represented (the fog of old age I guess).
  2. I changed the material list to reflect the above change.

Dave I’ve been using my wedgie sled without any clamps. Do you really need them? I’m thinking that it would just take more time to cut the segments. If you are worried about slippage you might use some double sided tape to fasten some sandpaper strips the inside and outside edges of the fences. Just a thought.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10439 posts in 4323 days


#8 posted 02-07-2019 07:24 PM

Very GOOD, Mike!!
I must have missed this somehow, way back then…

Thank you for giving it a Shot in The Arm!! Another Oldie but Goodie!!
I have to try this sometime…

I guess all we have to do is Copy your posted picture of the parts… Enlarge as desired to make them?

I have not read all posts in great detail… I presume there are instructions about How to put the Parts together?

Looks simply GREAT!

Thanks again!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View stefang's profile

stefang

16391 posts in 3605 days


#9 posted 02-07-2019 09:36 PM

Hi Joe. Yes any size will do as long as the proportions are the same, so you can just enlarge the photos, cut them out and paste them onto some thin hardboard or wood to make the templates and cut them out. I think I left enough info otherwise to enable you to make them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View bushmaster's profile

bushmaster

3524 posts in 2553 days


#10 posted 02-08-2019 07:57 PM

Thanks for posting again. hate to have missed this one.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Brit's profile

Brit

7634 posts in 3113 days


#11 posted 02-09-2019 10:13 AM

Very nice Mike. Thanks for the prompt.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8137 posts in 2314 days


#12 posted 02-09-2019 01:28 PM

Hi Mike. I do have a strip of sandpaper and a toggle clamp on my segment jig. I only use it when I get down to the nitty gritty if I need that last piece in that strip. For some reason it seems to happen enough for me to have one. But you are right, otherwise it holds tight without it. I was just updating a different clamp to fit the needs better.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View stefang's profile

stefang

16391 posts in 3605 days


#13 posted 02-09-2019 04:47 PM

Dave Good thought. I also often find myself gripping the end of the board in desperation to get the last segment cut (usually after botching one of segment cuts). I will probably have to try using a clamp for that like you do.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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