In Tool Reviews, Tools

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microjig matchfit dovetail clamps

A lot of the work in any machine-oriented woodshop revolves around creating and improving jigs. While I’ve used hold-down and F-style clamps in most of my shop fixtures, the Microjig Matchfit Dovetail Clamps offer a new means of integrating adjustable clamping into a jig, securely and out of the way of blades and bits.

The clamps have a dovetail cross section on the top arm that fits into a 14º angle, 1/2″-wide x 3/8″-deep dovetail groove in any piece of wood that’s at least 5⁄8″ in thickness. This allows you to easily create a new guide for your circular saw or router, new table saw or band saw fixtures and whatever power tool paraphernalia you’ve got to make.

The clamps run in and out of the groove tightly, without much slop – a little wax on the head might make it run even smoother. I’m not looking for slop in a clamping setup, though, so the tightness is appreciated. They have a clamping range of up to 5-1⁄4″, which makes them deep enough to clamp to even the widest table saw fences or machine tables in our shop, and also makes them eligible for clamping onto thicker benchtops.

A handheld router or router table is pretty much essential to use these clamps – putting in sliding dovetails by hand in a shop fixture might be more work than it’s worth. That said, I can imagine an array of uses in a hand-tool shop, too – a paring block for dovetailing, cauls for keeping wide glue-ups flat, a thick planing stop and joinery jigs to name just a few. And the price is low enough (about $40 per pair) to justify keeping a pair or two on hand.

 

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