An Alternative to Bench Dogs
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Paul shows various ways to clamp your work to your workbench. You can use clamps in combination with your vice to hold almost any piece of work without spending masses on a work holding system. Paul has used these methods for years to hold pieces for planing, sawing or scraping small to very large boards, or when shaping and carving.
For more info on clamps and retrofitting them see the following:
This is a great video. I’ve worked for years now on less than ideal work surfaces and had to be very creative in how to get a board to stick to the benchtop, whether that was a hollow core door on sawhorses or a laminated top without a proper vise. You can make anything work (at least workingly well) with a little creativity and persistence (and patience).
Where to buy those clamps in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe? On the site of Hilka (UK) they don’t exist!
I believe i got them from amazon.co.uk or axminster.co.uk. I am also from the netherlands.
hyvlar.se has got some similar clamps too
I bought these type of clamps (juuma) from Dieter Schmidt by mail order.
you can found some thing similar here
Is in germany
I purchased mine from Harbor Freight in USA. They also have a website, but I’m unsure if they ship internationally.
Also from the Netherlands. You can buy them in the Netherlands from
Or google for ‘sergeant klem’, which is the Dutch bastardization of serre-joint clamp, for a few other suppliers. Usually they are very limited in lengths and expensive in transport costs. Fine tools in Germany is probably cheapest, and their clamps are a bit more solid.
here you can buy them http://www.silverlinetools-shop.nl/p/116311:c:3357_3422_7741/gereedschap/klemgereedschap/serre-joints/aluminium-serre-joint-600-mm/
Thanks WWMC team!
Thank you. Very informative as usual. While this is off the topic of clamping, I don’t know where else to ask this question: In all your shop videos you use a bench with a very dark colored top. I’ve always believed that a light colored top is preferable. In your bench-build videos you don’t offer any advice about staining the bench, so it would seem you don’t advocate doing so. Is there any reason why this bench is dark?
I think I heard Paul say he stains the top to make things more clear for the viewer. He uses a lot of pine and oak which is lighter. And it’s easier for the camera man. Please correct me if I’m wrong Mister Sellers.
I believe it is dark for the camera a video work. The tools and demonstrations show up better.
It does indeed help with the camera work, but the finish also helps keep the bench top presentable when initialising and refurbishing lots of tools.
I love these little tips and tricks that are learned by years of experience.
I’ve looked at Hilka UK site and a couple of other outlets – I can’t find them, perhaps they are no longer available. I can find similar types of clamp but not made of aluminium.
However, excellent video (as usual) with so much useful information. Never had the business of the vice jaws set away from the edge of the workbench explained to me before. We waste a lot of time and effort re-inventing the wheel nowadays don’t we?
hilka no longer do them but you can get similar from both screwfix and toolstaion also from proper job if any of those shops near you
There are plenty of these type of clamps on ebay, just search for aluminium sash clamps.
Screwfix have them
I also found them here too
Just to a Google search for “Aluminium Sash Clamps Buy”.
I love these vise systems—I wish I didn’t cut bench dog holes on my workbench—they’re such a dust catchers (and sometimes they can be a screwdriver holder too)
More brilliance from the master. I am learning so much as a beginner woodworker. Tx
Thanks for helping woodworkers cut through the chatter out there.
Would love to see a video on how you would turn a wooden slab into furniture – something I have always wanted to do but never really seen any tutorials on the subject. These slabs are usually pretty expensive so some guidance would be much really useful.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen you use hand screws in your shop. I use them often in combination with the bench vise to apply pressure in 2 (or more) dimensions. I feel like I have more control over the clamping pressure with wood on wood. Maybe not your cuppa tea.
Just bought what looks exactly like the Hilka for $9.99 at Harbor Freight!
Thank you for the lesson.
i use this system ,i did do to dogs and hold fasts for a time but reverted back .i would advocate a good quality vise however as the mechanisms on the cheap ones can cause problems. i do like to plane long wide boards straight on the bench against a stop .excellent advice Paul
You’ve made me realize opportunities I have missed with my current cheap bench. I needed this. Thanks, Paul.
I’ve used the clamping techniques for a while as I’ve seen Paul do this in many of the project videos. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread in my opinion. I haven’t run into any situation where I couldn’t secure my work using this method.
I love how you use your bar clamps in this video. What type of wood do you use in your bar clamps? Thanks for all your fine videos.
Anything will work. We use cheap grade pine usually.
Thanks Paul for another great tip. The above techniques are just important to a more experienced woodworker as they are to a beginner. There have been a number of times in the past when I could have used these techniques rather then the bench dog system I currently have. Once again you have shown us why these are Master Classes.
Fantastic ideas. Thank you, Paul!
Great idea, light weight but heavy duty work load clamping.
They are fantastic,
They are very versatile and relatively inexpensive.
Hi Paul, thanks for this post on clamps, I use the dog method however I have to keep clearing the bench of tools and shavings a little frustrating to say the least.
I think I will be adopting the clamp method from now on, also I can see its potential when shooting up mouldings,
Great video of clamping Paul. i have a bench and a dog system, but I still like the clamp in a clamp idea for many uses.
Good one Paul. It will be useful where space is restricted. It can also be used if you have no vice at all. Surprising what you can do with a few clamps. I wondered why you put the piece of wood inside the tube. Then the penny dropped. Repeated clamping could collapse the square section tube. It also stops the clamp from bending. Thanks I have learned something today.
You can’t imagine how timely this video was. I’ve seen you do several of these techniques in other videos, but this was a great reminder. I’ve been cutting some rebates in some small box parts with my Stanley 78 (another timely couple of posts there) and struggling with holdfasts. I get by with holdfasts a lot, but you need to get one holdfast on both ends of a long piece to avoid swivelling. With these small parts, this was impossible and I was getting really frustrated. Ah yes, the old clamp in the vise trick. It worked wonders. Just what I needed.
Your ‘Clamp in Vice’ method relies on the clearance behind the rear vice jaw to work.
By insetting the vice flush with the front apron, the woodworker is robbed of this versatile clamping option.
Just curious if Paul ever uses bench dogs or if he uses this clamping method for all his work. Thanks!
Answer in the first 15 seconds here
When I was under tuition, probably in my second year, because the first year was spent brewing up, hanging sashes, fitting casement stays, with a little bit of dry run thrown in just to keep me interested, Bob taught me to clamp the clamp and wood the plane – clamp the plane in the vise and apply wood to plane, and yes the quick release Parkes or Record vises were offset on the apron…
And another classic… ‘If you can’t hide it, emphasise it’… tips like that never leave you.
Great to see this; happy days.
Thanks so much for the practical, commonsense guidance. I’d really be lost and fumbling without around and miserable without your advice, examples and tutelage. I’ve just started my workbench, vise is on the way and have tracking number. I was thinking about methods of securing pieces for work today. How amazingly resourceful your sites and videos are. I can’t thank you enough, really.
Thank you for your kind feedback. I have forwarded your message onto the whole team.