Cam Clamps and Dog Rail clips? What are you talking about, I hear you ask. Let me try to explain.
It was probably the ancient Greeks who first classified six simple types of mechanism. The lever, an inclined plane, a pulley, a wedge, screws, the wheel and axle. Even though things have moved on after a few thousand years, you can guarantee that one, all, or some of those simple mechanisms can be found in any machine today. Even the keyboard of an iMac!
Of those six, the inclined plane is one of the simplest, a ramp up which you can move a heavy load. Make the area beneath the ramp into a solid object and you now have a wedge. Wrap the wedge round a stick and you’ve made a screw. But wrap the same wedge round a pivot point, and you’ve invented the cam.
Using a cam
Apart from its use in all sorts of machines, a cam is another handy method of securing something flat onto the workbench. A wooden chair seat is a good example, as it needs to be held securely on the bench whilst the centre section is shaped.
The one disadvantage of using a cam is that a screw needs to be used for the pivot point. And, if like me, you want to avoid banging nails and screws into your pristine workbench top, you then need an alternative. That would be to use a large sub-base made from some scrap material.
The pic shows a well used bit of 18mm mdf which has innumerable holes, chisel cuts and router slots. But for this purpose it’s ideal for the job.
Twist on tradition
The UJK Technology Cam Duck Clamps are based around the traditional workshop clamps with the very useful addition of a locking screw through the duck’s ‘eye’.
A standard cam is liable to vibrate free if subjected to vibration from sanding or routing. The Cam Duck Clamps hold the work a lot more securely. They’re CNC-machined from 12mm thick phenolic laminate, and, in order to hold your work properly, four are needed.
Interesting addition to UJK Range
The other interesting addition to the UJK range is a pair of Dog Rail Clips. On the face of it, these may seem a little superfluous. But I could have done with these last year when I made a pair of multi-purpose storage units using the power tool table I’d made earlier.
While building my storage units, I had to cut all the rails to identical lengths to ensure each one was square. A single cut with the TS55 was the way I decided to do it. Much to my surprise, it worked. Every rail was the same length and cut dead square.
That, however, was only due to my unusually meticulous setting up procedure. Check everything’s clamped tight, the saw is set to the right depth of cut, extractor connected and the track rail tight against the Parf Dogs etc.
Except that on one or two occasions, the track had shifted away from the Parf Dog by a few mm (arrowed). Had I not been more observant, I would have cut all the rails incorrectly.
Using Dog Rail Clips would remove the possibility of inaccuracies, as they force the track onto the Parf Dog. As a consequence, there’s no room for any error to occur.
If you have a saw/track combination and use a Multifunction Workbench, or have built your own version as I did, a pair of these Dog Rail Clips is an almost indispensable accessory and highly recommended.