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Thread: Do YOU use handscrew clamps?

  1. #1

    Do YOU use handscrew clamps?

    There's another thread where a guy in europe is buying a bunch of clamps and asked for advice. There's some back and forth about wooden handscrew clamps. (Like these) One man says everybody has some but most people don't use them often. Another man says he uses them for a lot of things. I didnt want to hijack the other thread, so I started this one.

    In what ways do you use your wooden handscrew clamps? I have 4 and I use them seldom. So I'd love to see pictures or hear descriptions of how others make use of them.

    Thanks guys!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    North Alabama
    For years I had only four handscrew clamps and used them rarely. I use two of them to hold my router table fence in place against the table. There's nothing especially advantageous about using handscrews for this purpose--other kinds of clamps would do the job just fine--but they have the job. Thinking back to years past, the only uses I can remember putting the others to was clamping them to fence posts to rest stringers on while I fastened the stringers into place, or giving my bar clamps something to pull against when drawing together a long panel made from two sheets of plywood (I clamped the handscrews along the edges of the sheets).

    More recently, though, I've found them useful in more glue-up situations and have been growing my collection. The larger sizes have deeper reach than my usual favorites, my Bessey K-bodies. The center of mass of a handscrew is somewhere perpendicular to the clamping direction, as opposed to being off to the side in the case of a bar clamp, and sometimes that matters for balance or stress on the workpiece. Obviously they offer some use in clamping where the outer surfaces aren't parallel.

    I used them as effective edge clamps for a headboard and footboard late last year by clamping them tight to the panel and using wedges under the screws. They hold smallish parts for operations on the bandsaw or drill press--the smallest size I have will just about fit on the tiny table of my sensitive drill press. They really are pretty versatile tools, more so than I realized for a long time.
    Chuck Taylor

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Tucson, Arizona
    I use my Jorgensens occasionally, most recently on my router table with my Incra box joint jig - clamping the work piece to the fence. They are handy for this and release quickly for speedy operation. I'll see if I can find some photos and post.
    Last edited by David Buchhauser; 08-06-2020 at 8:51 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    I'd hate to be without them. Like any tool their value will vary with what you do. I keep mine handy hanging in a knotted cord in an otherwise useless corner.

    Hand Screws 001.jpg

    I use one in place of a board jack at the bench.


    Of course, they excel at clamping irregular surfaces. I also use them as small parts holders; any time I paint myself into a corner and have to mill a small blank I clamp it into a hand screw to make it larger. This allows safe router table work holding, sanding, drilling. Anywhere that clamping the small part directly is awkward, clamp it in a hand screw and clamp the hand screw to the machine or table.

    I have leather liners on some for delicate work, grooves in others for holding round stock. I think the time Rockler had them on sale for 75% off during one of their garage sales back in the mid-2000's could have had something to do with my collection. The 4" are Harbor Freight I think. They work fine but the larger HF hand screws use an odd thread that slips. Glad I only tried one of them ;-) New Jet and Rockler along with some used Jorgensen and old no-names are the bulk of mine.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Elmodel, Ga.
    i love using mine on the drill press to hold small parts. I have two that I have cut v-notches in to hold dowels and small square stock on end for drilling. One is 4" and the other an 8", They excel in this regard. Would not want to be without them. They have their place.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Most used clamp in my shop
    use one as a stop on the radial arm saw fence all the time
    have 4" not much use, 8" and 10" use a lot and larger ones that get used for glue ups
    sometimes have all of the 8,10 and large in use for a glue up total of 30+-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    SE South Dakota
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eure View Post
    i love using mine on the drill press to hold small parts. I have two that I have cut v-notches in to hold dowels and small square stock on end for drilling. One is 4" and the other an 8", They excel in this regard. Would not want to be without them. They have their place.

    Epilog TT 35W, 2 LMI SE225CV's
    CorelDraw 4 through 11
    paper and pencils

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    I have two of them that I got early on in my woodworking activity. I use them maybe once a year, if that. They are certainly handy for some tasks, but not what I reach for first.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Very handy for holding doors and the like upright on or next to a bench- clamp the handscrew to the bench and use it to hold the door.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Columbus, OH
    I think I hit the same sale that Glenn mentioned as I bought a box of 10 10" handscrews from our local Rockler store ( @ WoodWerks). Think I've only used at most 4 at any 1 time primarily to hold small parts on the router table and drill press and to clamp stock on edge. They definitely fill a nitch need in my shop.

    On a side note, last Fall, my next door neighbor found a set of handscrew hardware ( 1 each of 8", 10", 12") in a relatives garage cleanout. He asked me to make the jaws for a gift to his father. Was a lot of fun to do. Jaws are hard maple.


    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Charlottesville Va
    I use mine frequently. Most recently to help position boards when building a shed as a one man job.

  12. #12
    I have about a dozen. They get used, but not as often as the cheap F clamps, pipe clamps, and C clamps. They do have their place, and when you need them, nothing else works better. As mentioned above, they are good for clamping small things for use in the drill press, making ersatz handles for things, odd sized and positioned work, concentrating pressure at a certain point, etc.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    I have 2 that were given to me and 2 that belonged to my dad. I rarely ever use them.
    Please help support the Creek.

    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
    - Steven Wright

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    Let me see.. in the past month (and I haven't been spending a lot of time in the shop this month) I have; used them to hold cylindrical objects, used them to make a tall and narrow item stand on a bench surface for assembly, used them to clamp a piece to a crosscut sled, used them to hold a piece in a more ergonomic position (clamped the item, then clamped the handscrew in a bench vise), used them as a third hand in assembly (reassembling a table saw specifically), used them as a temporary mounting so that I could measure and mark.

    I have about 12 of them, ranging from 24" to 3". I'll not get rid of any of them. If they're just sitting around, IMO, it's because you haven't played around with them

    scope creep

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Arlington, TX
    I have maybe a couple dozen hand screw clamps, from 4" to 14" in size. A couple of old Craftsman's, some newer Miro-Moose (Dubuque), and the rest are older Jorgensen's, made long before they sold out to China. I inherited maybe half of them from my best friend.

    I use them for work-holding a lot. Sometimes I hold one in a machinist vise on one of my benches, to hold small work nearer to eye level. I often use one to hold the work, and another to clamp the first clamp to a table/bench/etc., as a makeshift vise, especially at the kitchen table.

    I have cut V grooves in the jaws of a few of them (usually cross-wise, but lengthwise on one), to hold round stock more securely, or square stock at a 45 degree angle.

    I use them for stops on fences and fence rails, for various stopped or repetitive cuts, drills, routes, etc.

    I use them to create clamping ledges on the legs or rungs of chairs I have repaired. Or as stops to keep a band clamp from riding up on splayed, round legs.

    I use them to spread furniture pieces apart for replacement/repair.

    I use them for a temporary foot/brace to hold something up, vertical on the bench.

    I use them to create a safe handle on small work pieces on the router table and drill press. One of them has a scar to show for it.

    Not all uses are for woodworking or furniture repair. I modified one for a crude sight-pusher on a handgun, with a threaded insert and a soft-tipped screw through one jaw. The modification did not interfere with normal use of the hand screw afterwards.

    Their broad, wooden clamping surfaces obviate clamp pads for most surfaces. I haven't affixed leather to any of mine, but I like that idea!

    A tip I saw somewhere recently, suggested always holding the end handle in the same hand (and the middle handle in the other). That way, you always spin it the same direction to close/open. All these years, and I never thought of that before...

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

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