Side clamps with 5 star knobs (Alternate view)

Side Clamps Revisited…Already

Workbench side clamps are not something I think anyone would generally use on a daily basis, but when the job calls for the sort of clamping they provide, they do a great job. I think one of the reasons they were not used often is the time it takes to affix them to the workbench — usually requires the use of nuts and wrenches.

How can I improve the likelihood I will use my new side clamps? 

The 3/8″  5 star knobs I ordered from Rockler for my side clamps arrived yesterday and I gave them a shot.

Side clamps with 5 star knobs
Side clamps with 5 star knobs

On the left you can see both knobs on the same side of the clamping block and on the right you can see one knob on the top and one knob on the bottom. Either configuration works well. With a 5 star knob you can easily loosen both knobs and remove one knob to move the block around.

The verdict?

The above tweak is not an earth shattering change but it does remove the need for a wrench and make it a little more likely I’ll break out the side clamps with the need comes up.

Take care,
-Bill
@TheRainford

P.S. If you’d like to read up on how to build your own pair of side clamps you can read my earlier post on that topic here.

4 thoughts on “Side Clamps Revisited…Already”

  1. Nice! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Love seeing how you are bringing the side clamps to light. Tell us more about your saw horses under the bench! Thinking of putting a pair together from the wood pile. I couldn’t sell the workbench….ole Chandler and Barber is just to much a part of the family right now. There were $250 & $300 offers and I passed.

    On Dec 30, 2016 9:25 AM, “Rainford Restorations” wrote:

    > @TheRainford posted: “Workbench side clamps are not something I think > anyone would generally use on a daily basis, but when the job calls for the > sort of clamping they provide, they do a great job. I think one of the > reasons they were not used often is the time it takes to aff” >

    1. Hi Jim,
      It’s good to hear from you. I was wondering what you’ve been up to. Glad to hear you still have the C&B workbench.
      The saw bench I built was based on a set of 2006 plans from Chris Schwarz via his Popular Woodworking blog. I built it back when I was a student at NBSS and have all the pre-cut pieces to build a second so I’d have a matching pair, but 8 year have gone by and I never got back to it. I use that first bench near daily in the shop. You should be able to download the plans for it here: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/traditional_sawbench
      I built mine out of all 2x materials except for the legs which where from a 4×4 I re-sawed to size. I also recall using miller stepped dowels to affix the legs.
      Take care,
      -Bill

  2. If you double-nutted the bolt on the block so it has some but minimal play then you could use just one knob on the dog-hole bolt. Seems like it would speed things up and be a bit more convenient, maybe?

    1. Hi Gavin,
      That is certainly a workable solution. I liked having the double set of knobs so I could loosen the second bolt swing away the upper connecting plate out of the way and leave the bolt in the lower plate as I moved it. With your solution the connecting plates would be fixed in place and the dog hole bolt would have to be removed from both plates in order to move it. Either could work and is likely just a preference thing. The only other thing I could think might differentiate it is given the plates are at a diagonal angle is that loosening both bolts via knob you’d always be able to set the blocks flush with the apron of the bench vs. if one is fixed you might have to adjust the fixed nuts if heavy clamping tweaked them a bit out of where you want them.
      Take care,
      -Bill

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