Misc. Shop Stuff #23: Reworking a Cheap F-Style Clamp

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 06-14-2013 07:44 PM 1487 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: A 'New' Medicine Cabinet Part 23 of Misc. Shop Stuff series Part 24: Things that Arrive in the Shop »

I bought a set of four F-style clamps a decade ago for probably $5 at one of those tool ‘auctions’ of new stuff, the precursor to Harbor Freight (perhaps). Anyway, over the years they’ve lost their ‘grab’ and I can’t tighten them with any certainty, with any significant pressure. But I’ve held off throwing them away.


Today I wanted to clamp through a doghole in my benchtop and reached for one of these bad boys. Ground off the stud at the end so the turnscrew piece would come off, and tried the clamp. Rats, no hold.

I pulled the two flat pieces of sheet stock out of the ‘head’ and took a file to the holes in each, to put a square edge back on them. Well, it worked! With the clamp together, through the bench, it held like crazy.

Now to take apart the other three!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

10 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

16675 posts in 1611 days

#1 posted 06-14-2013 08:06 PM

New life!!! Almost like buying new.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


661 posts in 2316 days

#2 posted 06-14-2013 08:11 PM

Isn’t that a great technique?! I’ve done the same, however I reversed the clamp. I put the fixed head under the bench and the adjustable head on top.

I found it much easier to adjust the head cams and then tighten the screw handle while stand up at my bench rather than squatting and reaching under (tired old knees and bad back – let alone my belly getting in the way! – but that’s another story.)

I selected the longest clamp that I could slip into the dog holes from underneath the bench and went with them. That allows me to slip on the adjustable clamp head and slide it all the way down.

Well done, sir! And thanks for sharing!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Mauricio's profile


7062 posts in 2195 days

#3 posted 06-14-2013 08:22 PM

I have one just like that which also slips. Like you I havent thrown it away yet. I’ll have to try your filling trick.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View stefang's profile


14706 posts in 2377 days

#4 posted 06-14-2013 10:05 PM

Good one Smitty! I too have used some of my F-clamps by removing the top jaw and just dropping the bar into a hole that goes through my bench top. It works great, but I very seldom have need of it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View knothead's profile


160 posts in 2991 days

#5 posted 06-14-2013 11:45 PM

I have done exactly the same thing to three HF clamps for clamping items to the bench! Beats throwing them away

-- So Much Wood - So Little Time! --

View Brit's profile


5723 posts in 1886 days

#6 posted 06-15-2013 02:38 PM

Nothing worse than a clamp that won’t clamp. Nothing better than putting a tool back to work.

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

View Dave's profile


11254 posts in 1883 days

#7 posted 06-17-2013 03:52 PM

Nice clamp save!

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View AnthonyReed's profile


6535 posts in 1483 days

#8 posted 06-18-2013 01:58 PM

Your Don-esque ingenuity is is showing…. just a heads-up.

-- ~Tony

View Sylvain's profile


614 posts in 1542 days

#9 posted 06-18-2013 05:04 PM

If filing the hole with a square edge is not enough, there is also the Matthias Wandel trick :

It might help if the hole doesn’t keep its edge.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


12062 posts in 1661 days

#10 posted 06-18-2013 05:28 PM

The clamp above actually had that done to it. It helped for a while, a bit, then went back to it’s slipping ways. I’d guess both procedures done at the same time might be the way to go…

Thanks Sylvain.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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