Tool Library Tool of the Week: Handscrew Clamps

By Patrick Dunn

For the workshop dreamers among us, it’s always a tough reality to face. You decide that it’s finally time to get all the tools you need to truly supply your new home workshop. Visions of routers, table saws, bandsaws, and jointers all dance in your head. Norm Abrams and Bob Villa start popping up in your dreams. You even start to design a workflow plan for your garage that’ll allow you to glide from one gloriously shiny new tool to the other, as if choreographing a woodworker’s waltz. This all continues until the day you have that horrible realization. If you’re actually going to have a workshop, before you get any that fancy stuff, one of the first things you’re going to need is probably just a lot of plain old, boring clamps.

Luckily, there’s a huge selection to choose from and plenty of great opportunities to spend your whole budget on clamps alone. When the objective of the tool is simply to hold a couple things in place or apply some pressure, the designs inevitably become vast and varied. Nonetheless, some clamps are definitely cooler than others and the handscrew clamp probably qualifies as one of the more interesting clamps in The Tool Library’s collection.

Though it may look all antique and specialized, it basically does the same job as most other clamps. The real advantage of the handscrew, though, is that the pressure it exerts can be spread out over the surface of the jaws, from the spindles to the tips. Most clamps, such as C and G clamps, usually just apply a single point of pressure and need to be teamed up with some sort of support in over to be effective at securing a larger surface.

The great thing about the handscrew clamp is that it can also apply this pinpoint pressure as well. With a little adjustment of the screws, it can actually reach over and around a surface that doesn’t need to be clamped and still grab one that does. It’s a beautiful tool, by any definition.
Handscrew clamps are just a small part of over 1,000 tools currently available at the West Seattle Tool Library, which is free to use and run primarily on user donations.

If you or someone you know you would like to be involved in The Tool Library, feel free to drop in on Saturdays from 9am-2pm or Sundays from 1-5pm to explore the Library, meet our community of DIYers, and maybe sign up for a membership. In any case, we would look forward to meeting you!

The Tool Library is located in the LHO Complex off the North Entrance to South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Ave SW.

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