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Thread: New Leigh hold-down clamps: Workholding made easy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Between St Joseph and Savannah, MO
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    New Leigh hold-down clamps: Workholding made easy

    From my blog:

    Christopher Schwarz made a terrific presentation at the Berea Hand Tool Conference in November: Forgotten Workbenches and Workholding.

    During his presentation Chris covered workholding. As a result of this presentation, I started doing some serious thinking about my European style workbench, and how I could improve clamping of work pieces when hand cutting dovetails, clamping jigs in place, etc.

    The existing setup was slow and cumbersome:



    One option was to use holdfasts; but this meant drilling holes through the 3-1/2-inch thick bench top. And during The Schwarz's presentation, a little light went on in my brain. I remembered Leigh Industries had announced a new product not long before the conference in Berea: Their hold-down clamps, available in two models.

    You can read a terrific review of these clamps by Dean Bielanowski, at OnlineToolReviews.com. I am not writing this to do another review; but rather, to share some uses I quickly found for these new clamps since I received them, 20 hours ago. In my opinion, these clamps solve many workholding problems at the workbench; they are terrific! Well, I did manage to include a quick review.

    The two versions of the hold-down clamps:

    Bench mount:
    This version allows use of existing bench dog holes and, therefore, would allow use close to the front edge of the bench. The bench mount is a quick, easy way to hold down even small work pieces:



    A huge plus: The bench mount version is also used on the drill press! I have not tried it, but will dedicate one as soon as another clamp arrives.

    Surface mount: The surface hold-down clamp provides another way of cutting dovetails at the bench:



    Sometimes, clamping jigs can be cumbersome; it depends on the style of the workbench. My European-style bench, with the bank of cabinets below the stretcher under the top slab, created a challenge to use clamps. But holding down the FMT is no longer a challenge:

    1. On the left side, the bench clamp:



    2. And on the right, the surface mount clamp:



    3. The FMT with both sides clamped - easy:



    I now envision installing several anchors, to hold surface mount clamps along the front face of the bench. Think crochet (pronounced crow-shay) the easy way; but now you can have one crochet on the left, and one on the right-hand side. Great for edge-jointing, and a terrific way to hold a board on edge on the front face of the bench, in addition to using the face vise. I invite you to read several references to the crochet and its use in workbenches at the Woodworking Magazine blog.

    I will not sell my D4: I have been asked several times if I want to sell my Leigh D4 dovetail jig, since I am improving my skill at hand-cutting dovetails. My reply is still that I cannot, and will not sell the D4; it is my workhorse when I make multiple drawers and large dovetails carcases. I am reserving hand-cutting dovetails for very small drawers, impossible to cut with the D4.


    .
    Last edited by Al Navas; 12-07-2008 at 01:42 PM.
    Al
    Watch videos from Woodworking in America in Berea, KY
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  2. #2
    Look nice, How much do they sell for? Bet they are $$$.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    Thanks for making me aware of these clamps and for a good demonstration of thier use.

    I will probably purchase a couple of these eventually. Right now I have one Veritas surface mount clamp (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...59&cat=1,43838) which serves some of the same function. I really like the L:ee Valley clamp and was planning to get some more. But the Lee Valley clamp is quite a bit more expensive than the Leigh clamp ($72 US rather than $50 US).
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Richardson View Post
    Look nice, How much do they sell for? Bet they are $$$.
    I found them on the web at $49.99 US.
    Cheers, Frank

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pellow View Post
    Thanks for making me aware of these clamps and for a good demonstration of thier use.
    You are welcome, Frank.



    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pellow View Post
    ... I will probably purchase a couple of these eventually. Right now I have one Veritas surface mount clamp (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...59&cat=1,43838) which serves some of the same function. I really like the Lee Valley clamp and was planning to get some more. But the Lee Valley clamp is quite a bit more expensive than the Leigh clamp ($72 US rather than $50 US).
    In your experience, will the Veritas clamp exert sufficient pressure to keep a board from moving? I just don't have a feel for how well the screw mechanism allows you to tighten down.


    .
    Al
    Watch videos from Woodworking in America in Berea, KY
    New blog URL: http://sandal-woodsblog.com/
    Sandal Woods - Fine Woodworking
    We will build your heirlooms

  6. #6
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Brandon, MS
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    Al, the Veritas surface clamp will imobilize whatever you put under it. Just like their hold down, you can really tighten down on it. I have never had an issue with boards moving from under the clamp.
    Don

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Navas View Post
    ...
    In your experience, will the Veritas clamp exert sufficient pressure to keep a board from moving? ...
    .
    I a word: YES.
    Cheers, Frank

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Between St Joseph and Savannah, MO
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    Don and Frank,

    Thanks! Hold-downs are critical, and more so as a function of what I am doing on the bench. Without any experience with the screw-down version I had no feel for it.


    .
    Al
    Watch videos from Woodworking in America in Berea, KY
    New blog URL: http://sandal-woodsblog.com/
    Sandal Woods - Fine Woodworking
    We will build your heirlooms

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Long Hill Township, NJ
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    467
    Wow:

    Those are nice! I also like the Veritas clamping mechanism Frank pointed out.

    My budget would be stressed by several $50 or $75 purchases of that nature.

    I was toying with the idea of using something like the link below:

    http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=5235

    For $20 (with the optional large pad) I'd be tempted to buy one. Worst comes to worst I use it as intended (heaven forbid) on the drill press.

    Next time I'm at Woodcraft I'll have to check it out. I'm assuming it can generate so down pressure as that what it's supposed to do on the DP. I don't know how easy it would be to "jigger" with if the "bolt" end wasn't fixed.

    Something to think about.

    Jim

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