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Anke and I are building our next boat, and writing about it at Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.

Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write, and I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirl gmail daughter com

Friday, January 27, 2017

Many Hands Make Light Work

I shall build... THe ARK!
Heard it's gonna rain.

We cannot do with more than four
To give a hand to each.
-- From The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

Many Hands Make Light Work

Maybe I should be satisfied with two arms, hands and opposable thumbs. But most days it just doesn't seem enough - even with a bucket of clams to back us up.

So here's a few ways to give ourselves a hand.

Stanley MaxSteel Multi-Angle Bench Vice

This light duty vice rotates in all angles around the ball joint we see protruding at the right. This means you can clamp the whole vice either horizontally or vertically, then angle the 3 in jaws as you choose.

This has been very handy for any number of small projects!


SE MZ101B Helping Hand

This doohickey has a weighted base, and all the parts slide and lock.

It's been especially useful for soldering wire and electrical components. Definitely a friend  in need when trying to juggle a soldering iron, flux, the wire and whatever fitting we're trying to make as one.


I couldn't find the artist to credit for this great drawing!

This bar clamp works by setting up wedge pressure at the variable end against a block fixed at the far end.

Our first workbench featured this system, cut in half. The far end was bolted under our work surface with the variable end protruding. The bench edge acted as the fixed block. In actual fact, the 'variable' end, in our case, was fixed at an angle that matched the wedge (block and wedge cut from a wide, 2x plank).


Pallet WorkBench

Our Q&D mentor turned us on to workbenches made from pallets. Any number can be joined by sliding 2x4 stock longitudinally between the slats before adding legs to any comfortable height. Two or three usually does the trick. Can usually find them free for the asking.

It's easy to clamp, anywhere, and circular saw cuts into the slats are no big deal (cut clear of nails, though!). Just swap 'em out as necessary. For a solid surface, we find it's easiest to lay down a square of plywood.

While any pallets can be used, look for those with slats of uniform height and check that their longitudinals are undamaged and have good grain.


This is just the tip o' the iceberg!

Try scrolling down these image search returns for DIY clamps. Lots of great ideas out there. Wood and wedge, nut and bolt, even PVC springs!

We don't need most or all of them, by any means, but it's amazing how often an idea tucked away comes in handy, one day.

 Handy, handy!


  1. A gripping post! (sorry, couldn't resist :-) ) Another few short weeks and winter's done. Looking forward to more Wayward.

    1. Hi Alan,

      You and we both!

      @Alan and Chris: Puns are a vice.

      Dave Z

  2. Hey Alan, me thinks you might want to clamp down on the gripping humor!

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