Keeping your parts square is a basic practice of woodworking. Picture frames, door frames, boxes, or shelves, all of them need to be square. On today’s market there are a number of options when it comes to equipment to help you make things square and keep it that way while you work. The Universal Clamp-it Kit from Rockler is one such tool.
The kit contains one angle bracket that is 8” x 8”, made from sturdy, high impact plastic. Also in the kit are 2 universal Fence Clamps that are used to keep your work tight against the angle bracket. The fence clamps can also be used in a number of other ways. They can be used to hold an auxiliary fence board against your table saw fence. I am sure you will find other uses when you get your hands on one of these sets. If not then there are several examples on the Rockler site.
At around $25, the Universal Clamp-It Kit is a good investment for your shop. To be genuinely useful you will need at least 2 kits, but 4 sets are preferable. Bringing the price up to around $100 for the sets and that can be a little much to spend on a set of tools that basically perform one or two task. So the debate can go either way. As some of you may know I prefer tools that can multi-task. Any tool that can handle a number of jobs are always preferable when you work in a small shop like I do.
My plan was pretty simple, I would us the Clamp-it Kit on the bookcase project that my wife asked me to build, a frame and a simple shelf unit. Whenever we can, the This Old Workshop crew prefers to test tools in a real setting After working with the Clamp-it Kit on my various projects I was impressed by how easy the bracket and clamps worked. Line it up clamp it down and there you have it. The kit kept the boards at a perfect 90 degrees angle and performed that trick time and time again. And with each test the tolerance was about a 32nd of an inch or less. Although one of my projects, the shelf unit to be exact, didn’t fair so good. The clamp-it just didn’t fit. The space between the sheves was only 6 inches and the Clamp-it is 8” on a side, too large to use on this project. For our friends at Rockler, I suggest something. How about a smaller version of the Clamp-it
So sum up I do like the Clamp-It Kit and will definitely use them in my shop. Do you need them for your shop? I would have to answer yes to that question. I know there are several options that you can use to get the same results but the Clamp-it kits are easy to use and I like that the clamps can be used in other tasks as well, (See the inset pictures). When you have your hands on the array of tools we get to test in our shops it’s easy to see which tools were designed with the help of real-life woodworkers. The Clamp-it kit was definitely one of those tools.