Quick action repetitive clamps
June 30, 2010 | 7:00 pm CDT

Custom work often requires custom clamping. But in the case of cabinetry, just as often there is some redundancy in the clamping requirements.

Maybe you have the same setup to do over several times. Or you might have a jig or fixture that needs a hold-down clamp for several operations on similar parts.

Most of these chores present challenges for conventional clamps with time-sapping screw mechanisms. The new line of  Lidwig clamps from Australia offers an innovative solution.

Hybrid design

Lidwig clamps offer a unique hybrid design that combines some of the best attributes of several clamps ( see video ). The basic concept is to marry a screw adjustment with a quick-action handgrip. The clamps work a lot like common locking pliers, but with a lot more range of adjustment.

To add further versatility, the clamps come in several configurations. The smallest is the X4 model, which is made of tough glass resin construction and has a clamping capacity of just over 2 inches and throat depth about the same. It clamps with a force of 220 pounds, which is plenty for most jig and fixture applications.

The  X5 model is similar to the  X4 with the same throat depth, but it uses a sliding bar with pin-locked stops to increase capacity up to about 6 inches. It grips with the same 220-pound clamping force.

Two more clamps from Lidwig use the same clamping principle but with aluminum alloy construction. That boosts clamping power to 440 pounds. The  X6 has 2-inch clamp capacity with a 4-inch throat. The  X7 uses a sliding bar mechanism to increase capacity to 12 inches with a 4-inch throat.

Trying them out

These clamps work a lot like common locking pliers. You set the screw for the force and capacity you want, then just close the grip levers to activate the clamp. The beauty of the system shows through in any repetitive operation, since you get exactly the same clamping force and the clamp is set precisely for the job.

These work great as hold-downs on drill presses or to grip a workpiece in a fixture. They are very handy for repetitive operations on the benchtop, such as sanding a bunch of similar parts. They have non-marring cauls to protect workpieces from damage. Because the clamping force is applied in line instead of at an angle or with a screw, these clamps are lots easier to place exactly where you want them. They are also designed to resist vibration.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user willsampson
About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.