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Toggle Clamps

Toggle ClampsI had a pair of toggle clamps, bought for some unknown project, sitting in a drawer for many years before I found a use for them. I was working at a furniture shop and the table guy was always bringing various pieces of scrap wood and F clamps to setup a fence for drilling holes into the edge of long table aprons. Setup was slow and the only support was the drill press table. The shop had some pieces of 1530 (1.5 x 3") T-slot extrusion and I came up with the idea of using toggle clamps to clamp it (vertically) to the drill press table, The T-slot also allowed for adjustable outrigger support. I didn't have any 1530 in the shop so the images are with 1575 and show mounting the fence to a 3/4" plywood table.

I've since found numerous other applications for toggle clamps mounted to T-slot extrusions.

Vertical Hold Down

Vertical Hold DownHold down toggle clamps latch with the handle in the vertical or horizontal position. While there are two basic styles (straight and hourglass arm), there are numerous sizes and part numbers. The example vertical clamps are a medium 102-B and a large 101-D. They are currently the best values in their class on eBay (~$3 and $7). I've been favoring the Good Hand brand (e.g. GH-102-B). I'm currently using the 102-B for workholding on my miter and cutoff saws. It would also work fine for clamping a fence to a no lip drill press table (my original project). It can clamp up to 3/4" stock when using a 1/4" mounting plate and a flat head screw spindle.

While the larger 101-D is too big for my current needs, it is capable of clamping pressures comparable to 3700 series F clamps. The potential drawback is that the clamping force is somewhat angular... I've since come up with a semi ball and socket foot that provides even pressure up to ~10 degrees. A smaller foot (or less than max pressure) minimizes the issue, but I wonder if parts might slide a bit when glue is involved. The angular foot movement is also a potential issue when using toggle clamps to mount a fence to a drill press with a lipped table (example doesn't work when opposing clamps are involved, the visible foot leg has to be angular or short). That said, the 101-D has good arm clearance and would work well for clamping any fence to any flat surface, or visa versa.
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Push Pull

Push PullI haven't done anything with push/pull toggle clamps yet. Pictured is the small 301-A (<$2) and large 305-C (~$11)... The 305-C came in handy for a fixture to glue edge-banding to radiused shelves/corbels.
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