Woodworker shares a *few* new uses for the Universal Fence Clamp
posted on April 30, 2010 by Kim Adams

Editor's note: Today we offer part one of a two-part post on the Rockler Universal Fence Clamp. Our guest blogger, Dave Owen, first posted this prodigious set of suggested uses for the clamp over on his LumberJocks blog. When we saw his article and the fantastic response it got, we asked Dave to share it with our Buzz Saw readers as well. Get ready to be bowled over with all the things you had never thought of that you can accomplish with the Rockler Universal Fence Clamp!

One of the most versatile (and inexpensive) shop accessories I have is Rockler Universal Fence Clamps. I use one or more of them almost daily for a variety of purposes.

The most common use for Fence Clamps is to hold a sacrificial fence to another fence – usually a table saw fence. In the photo shown below, the sacrificial MDF fence is being used in conjunction with a set of dado blades — allowing the set to be partially buried in the fence to obtain the rabbet desired. But this is only the beginning of uses.


Dado Setup

Laminate Cutting Setup

I enjoyed using these clamps so much that I began to look for other uses. The following several photos show how I made a very versatile high fence. First I drill a pair of 2'' holes, located so that when the fence is in a vertical position, the bottoms of the holes are in line with the top of my table saw fence. The photos below show the front and back views of a 9-3/4'' high fence mounted to the table saw fence.


High Fence, Front

High Fence, Rear

The 9-3/4'' height of the fence shown was determined by setting the distance from the top edge to the top of the hole (as shown in the photo above) to equal the height of my jointer fence. By doing this — and by taking care in the horizontal placement of the holes, I'm not only can use this high fence on the table saw — but also on the jointer, bandsaw, and drill press, as well — all as shown below. Incidentally, I've found 3/4" MDF to be sufficiently stiff as a high fence on all of these tools, but if I ever need a higher or stiffer fence, I will simply make it from two layers rather than one.


High Fence, Jointer

High Fence, Bandsaw          High Fence, Drillpress

To make it easier to clamp the tall fence to the jointer, I glued blocks into the appropriate cavities on the back of the jointer fence. An initial problem I had while making the high fence was the depth of the anchor holes. I didn't have a twist drill bit long, but a sharp 3/8'' spade bit worked fine.

Another handy use for the clamps is for stop blocks for any tools needing same. The following photo shows a pair mounted to a shop-made router fence. Like the low fence, I drill these blocks all the way through. The second photo below shows one of these blocks in use as a cutoff spacer I use when making repetitive cuts with the fence as a gauge. This helps prevent a cut piece from pinching between the fence and the blade.


Stops on Router Fence

Cutoff Spacer

Editor: I'll bet these ideas are fueling your imaginations like they did ours. Next time, we'll give you even more of Dave's ideas for Universal Clamp Uses. 

About Dave Owen:
Dave Owen is a 79 year-old retired Architect who lives in Florida. He's pretty much always been interested in woodworking, but never had his own shop until he retired and designed a nice one for himself! You can see some of Dave's woodworking projects in his gallery on LumberJocks.com

posted on April 30, 2010 by Kim Adams
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7 thoughts on “Woodworker shares a *few* new uses for the Universal Fence Clamp”

  • Jason Kreger

    Maybe this is a dumb question but, how does one drill the 3/8" hole for the clamp into the 2" round hole?

  • Dave Owen

    That's not a dumb question at all, Jason. I tend to forget that others might not have the quill travel on their drill press that I do. As indicated in the blog, for the shorter holes, I use either a twist drill bit or a brad point, and for the longer ones (from the near edge - across the hole - and into the other side), I use a sharp spade bit. For anyone having a quill travel problem, I'd suggest accurately drilling as deep as you can - then either drill the rest of the way with a portable drill, using a longer bit and that drilled hole as a guide - or lowering the table, swapping out for a longer drill and drilling the rest of the way. For anyone not having a drill press, hand drilling using an accurate guide block would be the only way I can think of.

  • Darrel Exline

    I think Jason was trying to figure out how to drill the 3/8" holes
    from inside of the 2-inch holes... the answer is to drill them from
    the bottom edge of the MDF toward the 2-inch holes, not starting r
    from inside the 2-inch holes. ;)

  • Frank Speyerer
    Frank Speyerer May 2, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Thanks Dave, I have been of the fence, so to speak, about these clamps but after your article, I visited my neighborhood store here in Arlington, TX and am now a proud owner of a pair new clamps which I will use this afternoon. Thanks again.

  • Henry Burks

    For the table saw applications use 1-inch material or add spacers to the 3/4 MDF to make a 1-inch total thickness.
    That makes it easy to set the fence using the built-in guide without the mental gymnastics of fractional offsets.
    That's especially helpful with the cut-off block.

  • Dave Owen

    Thanks for helping clear up the drilling issue, Darrel. I thought I had made that clear, but I obviously didn't.

    Good comment on the thickness and measurements, Henry. I'm sure that will help these ideas be more useful for many. It's funny how you get used to doing things a certain way, and assume everyone else does it that way, too. My 'built-in guide' has never been easy to set accurately, and for that reason I've never used the 'built-in' to measure a cut. I just measure directly from the blade to the fence.

  • Paul Elshoff

    Another, easier way to provide the mounting holes on a tall fence would be to make a lower fence the same height as the saw fence, drill the holes in it, then glue and screw it to the tall fence.

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I have been ordering from Rockler for almost 20 years and have found their products to be very inexpensive and of high quality. Shipping is fast even when an item is back ordered. The best prices I have found anywhere."

- Orval - 08/07/2012
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