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Woodpeckers Clamping Fixtures
Box Clamps, Clamping Squares and Miter Clamps
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Once again, the folks at Woodpeckers Inc. have developed a group of new products that make woodworking easier and more accurate. If square corners and joints are important to you, Woodpeckers new line of clamping squares are for you.
Woodpeckers new clamping fixtures show what happens when woodworker/machinists apply high-end CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining centers and innovative design to solving a common problem.
The Box Clamps, 6" Clamping Squares and Miter Clamps reviewed below are all made from solid top-quality aluminum (no castings) using ultra-precise machining that insures absolute accuracy and slick anodizing that keeps them looking good.
6" Precision Clamping Squares
Many perfectly cut pieces are assembled out-of-square because woodworkers lack the third hand needed to hold the pieces properly during assembly and fastening. The 6" Precision Clamping Squares (CS6) are a simple but highly effective solution.
With ¾"-thick by 1"-wide legs, the CS6 looks a little oversized but there is a reason. In addition to brute strength, the heavy-duty dimensions insure the CNC accuracy will remain a permanent feature of these tools. They also provide plenty of surface for clamps.
During our evaluation of the CS6, it was discovered that huge clamps were not necessary and often counter-productive because they made handling the pieces to be joined more difficult. I found using the CS6 easiest with medium to small hand operated speed clamps. The cushioned jaws on this type of clamp resist slipping, plus protect the wood and CS6.
In most cases, two CS6, one clamped near either edge of the joint kept the pieces very stable and perfectly square. The CS6 are perfectly square on both the interior and exterior surfaces so they can be used inside or outside of the joint with equal accuracy. The interior corner has a machined relief that insures both pieces lay flat against the CS6.
Each CS6 has two counter-bored holes in each leg for attaching them to a wood platform to make super accurate jigs for when several assemblies have to be made.
With a street price of $16.95 each or $15.95 each in quantities of 2 or more (9-24-2005), the Woodpeckers 6" Precision Clamping Squares are a bargain, especially considering the time saved and frustration prevented in the shop.
Miter Clamp Square
There may be nothing more frustrating than cutting an accurate 45-degree miter and then having a gap appear after assembly. The Woodpeckers Miter Clamping Squares (MCS) are an easy to use solution.
Precisely machined from ¾"-thick aluminum, the MCS (assembled empty) is 3" long by 2 7/8"-wide. The pieces have perfect inside 90-degree corners that hold mitered pieces in perfect position for assembly with a single clamp. The outside piece has a round relief at the corner that prevents the tips of the miters from holding the pieces out of alignment, insuring the accuracy of the joint. Because the MCS halves are not connected, the range of material sizes compatible with them is surprisingly large. The outside MCS half even has a flat machined at the end to make clamping accurate and easy.
Each half of the MCS has a pair of counter-bored holes for screwing them to a wood platform to make a custom corner jig when multiple joints have to be made.
With a street price of $16.95 each or $15.95 each in quantities of 2 or more, (9-24-2005) you can make super accurate clamping jigs or clamp individual joints accurately and economically.
Woodpeckers Box Clamp (BC4) is simple to use but complex in its design. The BC4 makes clamping virtually any type of corner joint, including miters, simple and very accurate. A unique feature of the BC4 is being able to assemble perfect 90-dgree joints anywhere along a panel. To insure their accuracy, all of the BC4 components are precisely machined from solid aluminum and given a durable red anodized finish.
Because the ¾"-deep channels in which the material is clamped are open ended, the BC4 can be used to install shelves or dividers anywhere along a panel, not just at the ends. The BC4 is designed to work with material from ¼" to 1"-thick.
As with the other Woodpeckers clamping aids, the BC4 is drilled and counter-bored so it can be secured to a board to create a clamping fixture. The BC4 kit includes a finger knob and hardware that allow operating the clamping block from the backside, along with a hex wrench used in the fixture mode. Screwing one BC4 to a work surface and using another in the hand-operated mode makes assembling virtually any corner joint by one person easy and very accurate.
A pair of triangular blocks adjusts the BC4 to fit the wood. The mating surfaces of these blocks are machined at an angle and the inside block has springs beneath it. Once adjusted to fit the material, loosening the inside block allows it to ride up and back, freeing the wood. The next piece is dropped in and when the knob or bolt is tightened, the block is pulled down and forward to clamp the wood securely. This ingenious design is invaluable when multiple joints are being made. Used in pairs, the BC4 makes assembling virtually any box-shaped project fast, accurate and very easy.
With a street price of $31.95 each or $29.95 each in quantities of 4 or more (9-24-2005), the Woodpeckers Box Clamps are surprisingly economical when the quality and range of use are considered.
The Woodpeckers 6" Clamping Squares, Miter Clamps and Box Clamps are exceptionally well made, cleverly designed tools that bring accuracy, simplicity and speed to a wide range of project assembly tasks. In addition, they make many assembly tasks easy for one person to do without compromising the accuracy of the joint.
Whether you build fixtures or simply clamp project pieces together for fastening, the Woodpeckers clamping aids will make life easier and far more accurate. Before tackling the next project in your shop, check out the Woodpeckers 6" Clamping Squares, Miter Clamps and Box Clamps.
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