Another Great Use for a Handscrew: Holding Very Small Pieces

Reading old woodworking books like Aldren Watson’s Hand Tools, it’s amazing to me how often a handscrew is recommended for solving work-holding problems.. I use them all the time, and here’s one handy way to use that classic clamping device.

I was trying to cut up some small scraps of figured hardwood to make refrigerator magnets, and I was having no success clamping them in a regular bench vise for either sawing or planing.  (The scraps are all briar wood left over from making tobacco pipes.)  In desperation, I reached for one of my smaller handscrews.

With the piece secured in the handscrew, I clamped the handscrew into my bench vise and used a panel saw to resaw it.  The handscrew held it very tightly while holding the workpiece at a comfortable height for sawing.

One of my daughters wanted to come see what I was doing.  She’s happy about the prospect of having pretty wooden magnets for the refrigerator.

Once I had sawed the workpiece to the right thickness, I took the handscrew out of the vise but left the workpiece in the handscrew.  Then I set the whole thing up against my planing stop and planed the surface smooth.

Yes, those are different workpieces in the photos; I did this with several pieces.  It worked extremely well.

The magnets have been securing the kids’ artwork to the refrigerator for quite some time now.

(Note for You Curious Types: the timestamp on the pictures is accurate.  I just now got around to blogging about this.)

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3 Responses to Another Great Use for a Handscrew: Holding Very Small Pieces

  1. Coisas E'Madeira says:

    I’m a fan of that book!
    When I get it in my hands I always get some new ideas!
    And last week I made my 1st handscrew (or wooden parallel clamp). Nothing fancy just a threaded rod and some wood!
    Made my life much easier 🙂

  2. Mike O says:

    They are excellent to hold small logs vertically for ripping into rough stock as well with a handsaw. I’ll use a pair, one to hold the log, and one to clamp the first down to a sawhorse.

  3. Stefan says:

    I’ve got one always in reach. And I’m always overseeing it as a work-holding solution.
    Thanks for raising my attention.

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