Adding Clamps

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The T-square is a classic jig. It has only two pans, neither of them moving. It has a singular purpose that it fulfills faultlessly. The one way you can improve it is to add clamps. So I did.

The clamp block configuration is borrowed from the split fence. Two are used, as you can see. One. a fixed clamp, is located directly under the intersection of the fence and the crossbar. The second clamp moves in a slot routed in the fence. To use this T-square, you set the crossbar firmly against the edge of the work, and tighten the fixed clamp. Then you slide die second clamp into position and tighten it.

BASIC T-SQUARE Cutting List

Part

Qty. Dimensions

Material

Fence

1 fc" x 3Vi" x 30"

Plywood

Crossbar

1 fc" x 2/2" x 9Î6"

Hardwood

Hardware

4 drywall screws, #6x1"

While it is easier lo rout the slot in the fence be/on I assembling the T-square, there's no reason why you can't I retrofit clamps to an old T-square.

Making the Clamps

While you don't need much stock to make the clamp I blocks, it should be thick. If you don't see an 8/4 (eight* I quarter) hardwood in your scrap bin, then gluc-laminatc I thinner slock. You can even use plywood.

1. Cut and shape the clamp blocks. The contour I and dimensions of the clamp blocks are shown in the I drawing Clamp Detail. Note that the two clamp blocks arc I slighUy different.

The clamps are easiest to form with a band saw and sta-1 tionary sandcr. You can enlarge the pattern, transfer it to a I single board of the correct thickness, then saw out the I blocks. The sander will make quick work of smoothing and I blending the edges.

Alternatives? You can saw out the clamp blocks with al table-mounted saber saw. You can rough them out on the I table saw; the details of doing this arc related in the direc-l tions for making the Split Fencc on page 237.

Finish shaping the clamp blocks by sanding or filing j a narrow flat at the jaw's tip. Then round-over the I

T-SQUARE WITH CLAMPS

TOP VIEW

P-dia. hanging hole x 7

'/«'wide slot, centered on the blade

'/«'wide slot, centered on the blade

EDGE VIEW

Fixed clamp

Movable clamp

Fixed clamp exposed edges with sandpaper or a file.

2. Drill the holes in the blocks. Thr clamp blocks are mounted to the T-square with 54-inch carriage bolts. Lelt at that, the blocks would easily twist out of position, which would be pretty annoying when you are trying to set the damps. Each clamp block therefore has an alignment pin protruding from the top. On the fixed clamp, the pin is actually a panhead screw. This screw projects into a hole in the crossbar, keeping the block from twisting. On the movable clamp, the pin is a short piece of '/»-inch dowel that projects into the slot.

To provide a little play for the mounting bolts, bore a Snnch hole (for one bolt) thrtxigh each block, as shown in the drawing Clamp Detail

Drill a pilot hole for the alignment screw in the fixed damp block, then drive a panhead screw into it, as shown in the drawing. Leave the head protruding about vi<. inch.

Drill a pilot hole for the aLgnmcnt pin in the movable

Movable clamp

T-SQUARE WITH CLAMPS Cutting List

Part Qty. Dimensions Material

Clama blocks 2 1 ft" x 1 fc" x 3*4" Hardwood Alignment pin 1 %" dia. x I %" Dowel

Hardware

1 panhead screw, #8 x I" I carriage bolt, %"20 x 3!*"

2 compression springs, 14" I.D. x P long 2 flat washers, fc" I.D.

2 plastic wing nuts with ^"-20 threaded inserts

CLAMP DETAIL

PATTERNS

Sand a flat on tip of the jaw.

Alignment s/i6" hole for bolt

Alignment pin

Vi6" hole for bolt

FIXED CLAMP

Sand a flat on tip of the jaw.

Alignment s/i6" hole for bolt

MOVABLE CLAMP

clamp block, then glue a short piece of dowel into it. Leave the dowel protruding about H inch.

3. Prepare the T-square. The slot can l>e routed on the router table or with a edge guide-equipped portable router. And you can do it after the T-square is assembled. The specifics of the slot arc shown in the drawing T-Square with Chimps.

Lay out and drill the mounting-bolt hole in the crossbar after theT-squarc is assembled. Temporarily install the fixed clamp to mark the location of the alignment-screw hole in the crossbar. Just press the clamp hard against the crossbar, and the screw head will dent the wood where you need to drill the hole.

4. Mount the clamps. Insert the bolts in the holes in the clamp blocks and seat the heads with a hammer blow. Slip the bolts through the T-square, drop a flat washer over the shank of each, and turn the wing nuts onto the bolts. Align the screw and pin to align the blocks.

To pop the clamps free of the workpiece. slip a compression spring over the bolt before feeding it into the T-square. The spring will push the block away from the T-square.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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