The old truism is that you can never have enough clamps in a woodworking shop. Actually it’s more a matter of having the right clamps in the right size and the right number for the right job. Rockler is doing its part to help meet that challenge with introduction of two new clamping options. One is a 3-way face clamp, and the other is a new line of Sure-Foot F-clamps. We put them both to the test.
3-way face clamp
This is a specialized clamp designed to hold face frames in proper alignment for fixing them to cabinet carcases. But it is also useful for other common cabinet and furniture shop applications, such as clamping solid wood edging to a tabletop or countertop.
The die-cast aluminum body accommodates stock up to 5 inches wide and 3 inches off center in either direction. There are three Acme thread screw clamps, all with soft rubber, non-marring pads. The center screw is standard, but the other two have quick-release buttons to make positioning quick and easy.
In use, we found the clamp fast and effective for those jobs that seem to need a third hand. The knobs on the screws don’t allow you to put a huge amount of torque into play, but for typical face-frame applications that should not be necessary.
Sure-Foot F clamps
There are lots of generic F-style clamps on the market, but these attempt to step it up a notch. Available in the most popular sizes of 6, 12, 18, and 24 inches, these clamps get their name from a flange that is part of the clamp casting. That allows the clamps to stand up on a bench for easier glue-ups.
The clamps are a pleasure to use in both comfort and function. The large polymer screw handle allows for plenty of torque on the Acme threaded clamp mechanism. A rubber cover on the quick-release clutch makes it easy and slip-free to adjust the clamp opening. Strong serrations in the zinc-plated clamp bar engage the clutch precisely for no slipping. And the 1-inch-wide I-beam profile of the clamp bar resists twisting and bending under clamp force.
Throat depth is 2-1/2 inches, which is about standard for this kind of clamp. I’d like to see Rockler come out with a deep-throat version, too. The screw clamping pad is covered in non-marring material, but the fixed clamp face is not. Still, it is of larger area than usual and machined flat, so marring was not an issue in use.
Both the 3-way clamp and the Sure-Foot F-clamps are great tools to add to your clamping arsenal. You can learn more about them at www.rockler.com.
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