New clamps

 Bench holdfast

Much of my woodworking involves working on the surface of boards, adding lettering or designs using my router. I also often work in faced mdf which requires lipping to hide the cut edges. When making the lipping flush again I have to work on the surface of the board.

I have had a bench holdfast for years. A very simple design involving a metal leg inserted through the bench top, with an arm on a pivot which screws down on to the work piece holding it in place.

Although the system works well the arm and any block of wood placed to save any damage to the workpiece is always in the way, which can be critical particularly of free handing lettering.

A recent visit to the Bessey stand at a woodwork show provided me with a solution.










 Bessey surface clamps

The Bessey clamps I purchased are designed to fit on a table or through the bench top and come as a set of four pieces, two are bench dogs which are fixed, the other pair being similar but have an adjustable head on a lever which provides the clamping force, some large headed bolts are also provided to allow the pieces to be fixed on the bench top in the required position.

I already have some 20mm diameter holes in my bench top but they run in a line parallel to the front edge of the bench, so I needed to design a table to give me multiple positions for my new clamping system.

A piece of 18mm ply approx. 600mmx1000mm with a regular grid of holes forms the surface of the table with strips underneath to provide support and allow access for the fixing bolts underneath. I then fixed another piece of ply vertically to the front edge which would fit in my bench vice.

The first trial seemed to work very well, allowing easy access to the workpiece without needing to reposition the clamps.