07 July, 2022

Some simple inexpensive and VERY useful fence clamps!

For all the years I have been woodworking, I have always had to, well, kludge together a system to clamp things like sacrificial fences and stop blocks to my table saw rip fence, well that came to an end today.

These were ordered from Amazon super cheap, 

The Milescraft 4009 Fence Clamps are at the time of this writing selling for $11.99 on Amazon. As is my habit, I offer to you my Amazon affiliate link if you'd like to support me here at no cost to you by simply using me as, well the referrer for your purchase. https://amzn.to/3ysc1o6

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Well there is no realy ugly, there is only good and could be a bit better.

The good, 

The come in a pair to the package, and the finish on the aluminum block is typical for Milescraft, and I am starting to amass a bit of a collection of their stuff. Sadly it isn't the beautiful blue of Rockler, or other MFGs, but rather Milescrafts almost trademark hammered silver finish. Not unatractive in the least, but doesn't stand out color wise... 

The fence clamps as just freed from the package!

the castings are exactly what I expect. Threaded L hook in an aluminum block, that is machined for the threads, The casting, and machining are every bit what I expect for, well a hardware store L hook. Nothing special but it serves its purpose. The good thing is this hook in particular is nearly fully threaded until just before the bend, so it provides a LOT of range and solid bite to your fence.
The L hook is nicely made, albeit simple.

The clamping rod / knob / pad are every bit as well done, and could just as easily been on a Jorenson or other high quality F bar style clamp were it not for the different knob / handle. The clamping pad has non marring pads that match standard woodworking clamps. Should one fail or get lost, these pads are available most anywhere that sells F bar clamps like Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Lowes, and Amzon. and the tightener is a simple plastic knob on the end that is most likely cast  / injection molded in place.

Should you need to replace the pads for your Milescraft fence clamps, OR standard F bar clamps, Amazon has the Jorgenson Pony clamp pads for cheap. https://amzn.to/3NKECL6

Now these were a 2 pack, and both are not 100% identical. As is typical for machined threads, the furthest in threads of the L rod, in the actual aluminum block, on one of them, they aren't bad per se, but they could be smoother. I am sure over time running in and out they will smoothen up, but for now you can definately feel the burrs in the metal as you turn the L hook in and out in the last say 1/4". It's not super obvious but you CAN see it in the pics... I am fairly certain a good wash through with WD-40 and about 5 or 6 in / out sessions of the hook would clean / smoothen that right out!
If you look close enough you can see the slightly boogered thread.

So... Are the perfect? Nope. I've yet to discover any product of any sort that is perfect. Are they good for what they are? You betcha! I've not laid hands on the Rockler units, but I suspect that blindfolded, if it weren't for the different knob types, I would be hard pressed to know the difference.  And honestly, I think the style knob of the Milescraft lets you get a bit more torque on the clamp, probably a good thing.

Is it a good value? Well at $10.00 to the penny less expensive than a pair of the Rockler units, I think I will deal with these not being blue... 

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