An Alternative to Bench Dogs

Clamping Techniques

This is a free video, want to watch it?

Just log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many more!

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:



  1. Derek Long on 27 May 2016 at 2:39 pm

    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).

  2. Pieter Hermans on 27 May 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Where to buy those clamps in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe? On the site of Hilka (UK) they don’t exist!

  3. António on 27 May 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks WWMC team!

  4. Terrance Gray on 27 May 2016 at 4:46 pm

    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?
    Thanks, again.
    Terry Gray

    • driescaekebeke on 28 May 2016 at 10:47 am

      Hi Terrance,

      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.

    • beach512 on 28 May 2016 at 10:50 am

      I believe it is dark for the camera a video work. The tools and demonstrations show up better.

      • Philip Adams on 31 May 2016 at 9:27 am

        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.

  5. Thomas Angle on 27 May 2016 at 4:53 pm

    I love these little tips and tricks that are learned by years of experience.

  6. David Barker on 27 May 2016 at 5:00 pm

    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?

    • tubthumper on 27 May 2016 at 7:14 pm

      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

    • Richard MacE on 31 May 2016 at 7:59 am

      There are plenty of these type of clamps on ebay, just search for aluminium sash clamps.

  7. NikonD80 on 27 May 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Screwfix have them

    I also found them here too

    Just to a Google search for “Aluminium Sash Clamps Buy”.


  8. jakegevorgian on 27 May 2016 at 5:48 pm

    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)

  9. Dr. Ron Goldstein on 27 May 2016 at 6:04 pm

    More brilliance from the master. I am learning so much as a beginner woodworker. Tx

  10. Chad Magiera on 27 May 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for helping woodworkers cut through the chatter out there.

  11. andrewsco on 27 May 2016 at 7:30 pm


    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.


  12. phillnleblanc on 27 May 2016 at 9:50 pm

    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.

  13. garyrick on 27 May 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Just bought what looks exactly like the Hilka for $9.99 at Harbor Freight!

  14. knightlylad on 27 May 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  15. david o'sullivan on 28 May 2016 at 12:03 am

    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

  16. Paul Bucalo on 28 May 2016 at 12:53 am

    You’ve made me realize opportunities I have missed with my current cheap bench. I needed this. Thanks, Paul.

  17. Sandy on 28 May 2016 at 3:33 am

    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.

  18. James Lemaster on 28 May 2016 at 10:11 pm

    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.

  19. Jeffrey DiBella on 29 May 2016 at 2:09 am

    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.

  20. Larry Williams on 29 May 2016 at 8:47 am

    Fantastic ideas. Thank you, Paul!

  21. adrian on 29 May 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Great idea, light weight but heavy duty work load clamping.
    They are fantastic,
    They are very versatile and relatively inexpensive.

  22. larryl49 on 31 May 2016 at 3:19 pm

    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,
    Regards Larry.

  23. tmpt on 31 May 2016 at 8:31 pm

    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.

  24. Ted Charlton on 1 June 2016 at 12:21 pm

    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.

  25. bit101 on 1 June 2016 at 2:08 pm

    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.

  26. stevewales on 18 June 2016 at 6:42 pm

    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.

  27. pickarni on 13 March 2018 at 4:42 am

    Just curious if Paul ever uses bench dogs or if he uses this clamping method for all his work. Thanks!

  28. Larry Geib on 13 March 2018 at 6:26 am

    Answer in the first 15 seconds here

  29. Greg Wagner on 21 March 2018 at 9:42 pm

    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.

  30. Wayne Rogers on 4 August 2022 at 9:23 pm

    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.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.