I have used inexpensive clamps for decades and the perfectionist 0or elitist amongst us might shun me for daring to compare the best with the rest but the problem with many clamps made from steel and heavy impact resistant plastics is usually weight. We recently aired the lever cam clamps favoured by musical instrument makers on our free masterclass.com series and then on YouTube too and the four-part presentation has been well received. It’s the first time anyone has shown the simplicity of making them by hand and I must say the reduction in hoop-jumping and mass-making equipment is staggering. This is our way of equipping the majority to take charge if their lives as far as I am concerned and of course they work for a wide range of clamping needs not just instrument making. Clamping components in place requires zero twisting torque which means the clamp faces seat on the spot and stay in place when the clamp pressure is applied via the lever. dead simple.
Yesterday we launched the clamp retrofit to improve lower cost clamps on YouTube here. The clamps are available in the US from Harbor Freight. They are inexpensive indeed there at only £8 a pop. In the UK you can them from Screwfix and other hardware stores. Hilka is one distributor name but these are exactly the same as Screwfix models, the difference being the colour of paint used; Screwfix is black and Hilka red. Either way, follow the steps and you will feel a great improvement. As is always he case, what some pay in dollars we pay in pounds so the same sized clamp is £12, but that’s still half the price of anything close to equivalent. With the retrofit we show in the video the clamp is upgraded to near perfection and of course it beats the pants of heavy-duty clamps by the simple reality that mostly we need lightweight not heavy unless we are working on joinery for construction needs and not furniture and general woodworking.
Enjoy the video and make change happen for abetter woodworking future without it costing an arm and a leg and the planet!