Most everyone that uses pocket-hole construction loves it. Pocket holes make for fast joinery and fast assemblies, with or without glue. But one of the minor irritants has always been making sure parts are aligned properly when screwing them together. Because of the angled screws, there is a tendency for the parts to shift slightly on assembly. Rockler recently released its new Pock-It Hole Clamp to solve that problem.
What it does
Most previous dedicated pocket hole clamps were based on some form of locking pliers with big circular pads. The idea was to span the joint with the pads to clamp both sides while aligning them. That works fine if the two parts are exactly the same thickness, but it won’t work if they are not. That kind of clamp also depends a lot on the size of the bad to provide clamping force evenly across the two parts because no clamping force is actually being applied to force the parts together.
Rockler’s solution is a die-cast aluminum screw clamp. On one end is a plastic pin designed to fit in 3/8-inch 15-degree pocket holes. On the other end is an Acme threaded screw handle. The clamp applies force in one of the pocket holes in exactly the same direction as the assembly screw would do. Capacity is 3 inches.
How it works
This clamp has a number of nice features to make it more convenient to use. For assembling face frames flat on a table, the ratcheting feature of the clamping screw allows you to tighten it despite lacking clearance. When it comes time to assemble the parts, the portion of the clamp nearest the pocket hole is cut away to give plenty of clearance to get the shaft of a driver into the pocket.
One disadvantage of the unit is that you can only screw in one pocket hole while it is clamped. You have to remove it to gain access to the second hole. That takes a bit more time than the locking plier-type clamps that don’t obscure any holes. However, the extra time the Rockler clamp takes is probably paid back in more accurate setups.
The Rockler Pock-It Hole Clamp sells for about $20 and is certainly worth checking out if you do pocket hole joinery. For more information, visit www.rockler.com.
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