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Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps
These clamps stand on their own so that you can work easier
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 5-5-2011
F-Style clamps have been popular with woodworkers for a long time because of their reach that allows them to apply pressure where you need it on a wide range of projects. The design of F-style clamps lets them hold the project while the glue dries or while you install fasteners. Rockler tweaked the F-style clamp design and came up with their Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps that make working in the shop easier, especially when you are alone.
The Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps are built around all Zinc-plated steel bars that are formed with an I-beam style profile that dramatically increases their rigidity. The top and bottom edges of the bars have serrations that interact with the locking plates within the moveable jaw to produce a slip-free grip when clamping pressure is applied.
The moveable jaw uses the tried and true plate locking system that can withstand huge clamping forces without slipping. A trigger-actuated clutch allows the user to reposition the jaw against the stock with one hand easily and quickly. If you have ever tried to hold the pieces being glued, hold the end of the clamp and operate the trigger all at the same time you will appreciate this feature!
The pressure spindle on the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamp is formed with an Acme-style thread that is favored on many woodworking clamps because it applies pressure quickly with surprisingly little effort. The coarseness of the Acme thread also lets it function smoothly even when contaminated with dust. The composite handle that turns the spindle is ergonomically-correct to make using it easier for the user. The end of the pressure spindle has a swivel-mounted round contact pad that helps the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps get a solid grip on surfaces that might not be perfectly parallel. This pad comes equipped with a removable, no-mar pad.
The Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps sport a new wide-based foot on both the fixed and movable jaws. These cast-in feet are designed to let the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps stand upright on the bench while you load the stock to be glued, adjust the position of the moveable jaw and then apply pressure. Having the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps stand upright makes it far easier to work by yourself. That position also makes it easier for you to focus on getting the stock aligned accurately because you can see everything clearly and with the stability of the new feet there is less unintended movement of the stock.
That cast-in foot in no way interferes with the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps functions. The feet have a low profile that allows them to work with lots of stability but do not require special space consideration when storing the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps.
Accommodating Sizes and Prices
The Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps are offered in four sizes that service the majority of home woodworking needs. All Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps have a 2-1/2" throat depth but are available in four lengths. The smallest has a 6" (# 40333) capacity and carries a retail price of $16.99. The 12" (# 40334) capacity model has a retail price of $17.99 and the 18" (# 40335) model sells for $18.99. The longest Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamp has a 24" (# 40339) capacity with a retail price of $19.99. The Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps are in-house branded products so you can only find them at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware stores, Rockler's independent resellers, Rockler.com or through the Rockler catalog. Prices shown above were current as of 5-5-2011.
In the Shop
Using the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps is as you might suspect easy, but maybe more so because of a couple features. The Sure-Foot™ system really does let you stand these clamps up on a reasonably flat surface which frees your hands to get the wood laid into them. That one feature is a big help for the very large number of woodworkers that work alone in their shops.
The release trigger on the movable jaw lets you slide that jaw up against the stock with one hand and that again makes using the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps easier than clamps without this feature. Here again, we are freeing up a hand that in this case can make you more accurate in aligning the pieces of wood being clamped up.
The bars and jaws really do resist flex very well under all clamping forces used by woodworkers on the good side of reasonability. The reach of the jaws is a good compromise that maintains stability while letting you apply clamping force where it is most beneficial to the project.
I love the F-style clamp for securing dovetailed boxes because you can literally reach over the joint and apply pressure where it is most needed without interfering with the seating of the joint itself. The contact pads on the Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps let you apply all of the force you need without marking up the wood in the process.
The Rockler Sure-Foot™ F-Style Clamps are well made and carry a lower price tag than many would expect. With the marketing horsepower of Rockler obtaining these clamps is easy matter where you live. The fact that you are buying them from Rockler will be another positive for many of us who have dealt with this company for many years.
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