Rockler Auto-Lock T-Track Hold Down Clamp

443
10
(Rating: 5 - ???).
 
Boy and Girls,
 
On back of the shitcanning I have received recently for my price choices and before  yazall start ripping me a new one about my unscrupulous shekel redistribution to conglomerates, I am reviewing the item for its existence and/or functionality once you have parted with your precious shekels... I am not necessarily spruiking its purchase.
 
This was written up at LJ on Jan 2020 and has been lost in the annals of their disorganised “Review” debacle.
 
I’ve dragged it across as another clamp representative in my latest Blog Series on various clamps (I own).

 
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Boys and Girls,
 
The question marks is my “voice” (in text), so I thought I'd do a review (my opinion) on these Rockler Auto-Lock T-Track Hold Down Clamp (herewith referred to as Rockler clamp).
 
While I have given them 5 stars, I would probably only rate them as 3 without my modifications.
 
The gallery pictures show the clamp holding one to three 19mm separate pieces on the same tension setting.  In all fairness, the pressure on the 3 pieces is less than that on the one, however, is still sufficient to minimise (if not totally prevent) movement.
 
The clamp comes with a 5/16" t-bolt
which only fits the Rockler t-tracks without modification.
If you file down the head of the bolt, you will be able to fit them into some Incra tracks,
however, the 5/16" bolt (shaft) itself will not fit into a Kreg t-track, Incra Mitre Guide Flip Fence or some of the other not so obvious brands,
while you'll notice the ¼" bolts will fit into all tracks.
 
What I have done is printed off some 3D printed ¼" nut retention wheels and swapped the 5/16" t-bolt for a ¼" t-bolt

or optionally a ¼" bolt with the hex head ground down
 
For all those whingers out there that are now blaring… not everyone has a 3D printer… here is a wooden one I whipped up in under 5 minutes just as a POC…
 
 

Though I did find some bandsaw groves made it simple to really crank it down (unnecessarily),
You only need enough pressure on the wheel to ensure there is no play between the shoulder of the bolt and the top of the t-track… also prevents the clamp sliding down if the t-track is vertical (or slide up if you live in Australia).
 
This will now fit all my t-tracks,
  
You can adjust the tension using these small on-board bolts
The less that protrudes, the greater the pressure.  You need to lock it in with the nut as it is a loose fit and can twist, thereby unintentionally changing the desired pressured.  The secret is to not slam the handle down but push it down with a slowish movement till the protruding bolt engages the mechanism (whatever it's called) and that then sets the pressure.  You can then push the handle all the way down and depending on your setting you will need to apply the required force to "lock" the clamp.
 
Now in all fairness, these Bessey clamps are made from stainless,
and are more rugged than the aluminium/cast Rockler ones.  I haven't used any scientific means to compare the max pressure of each other than it is obvious by the feel that I can exert a lot more force with the Bessey over the Rockler.  However, I would be hesitant in using the Bessye's full capacity as  I reckon I could jeopardise the integrity of the t-track or pull it out of it's mount.  I feel that the Rockler could apply more than enough pressure without fear of t-track failure and any firmer holding requirements, would be compensated by using either my Fe$tool, Irwin or Jack clamps, through the benchtop dog holes,
 
Another "feature" that assists to the 5 star rating is the ability to expand on the clamps anchorage options.  Don't ask me where I got these… don't askdon't… but I picked them up in some local toolshop or as a stocking filler while Internet shopping/surfing…  attached using 1/4" hardware, 
You could probably fabricate something similar using fender washers and 19mm dowels.
With these gizmos, I can use the clamps in my tablesaw, bandsaw or router table's mitre slot… why?... cause I can
Naturally you do need a mitre t-slot.
 
Now why the hell would you want to clamp items down on a TS, BS or router table???... fences, guides or whatever may strike your fancy that you otherwise could not do as easily... convenience/versatility.
  
Another option I have used is to attache these 5/16" (8mm) bolts through a 20mm dowel and with a large fender washer on the underside (you'll need to play around with bolt lengths to ensure they don't protrude too much and interfere with the internals of the clamp on it's wheeled end),
I can mount the clamps through dog holes…
with this type of mounting I have no hesitation in applying maximum force…
 
For all those with poor eyesight that find reading hard, here is an equally hard to view video that I posted on YouTube… at least you can hear my gruff unrehearsed monolog, especially if you hate reading as much as I do…
 
PS.  Rockler also flog an Auto-Lock T-Track Clamps but rather than waste real estate here, here is a link to the review timbertailor made of them… 
The same customisation can be made to those to make them even more versatile.
 
HINTS.  If your benchtop lacks thickness, to adequatly secure the t-tracks, use a piece of timber glued under the "bench/table-top/base", underneath the track to permit use of longer screws,
 
You can reverse this process if you want to screw a jig/whatever to a thin base with long screws from underneath rather than the traditional top down,
Traditionally, you could only use 6mm screws, while in this configuration, I used 25mm… yeah… ima hero by 19mm!

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

10 Comments

I bought a few of these when they were a sale item at the local store. The clamps do really well as hold downs. So well in fact they could test your application skills when it comes to the T track you are using them on. Really kinda the same with a DeStaco type clamp. You can literally lever up a poorly mounted T track.

I have not had this misadventure, however I have seen it twice now, LMAO as I type this. The first time was at the Rockler store, on one of their premade T track tabletops. Dood was doing a demo, and pop, up came the track, and mangled it all to hail. So it was probably screwed down pretty well, but evidently no epoxy.

Just an FYI, if you see this while it's still new. Rockler has them on sale.
Agree with t-track mounting fears GW... That's why I wrote a few lines at the end of the article on how I beef up my t-tracks... In the past I have added either a strip or usually just blocks under the bench (in line with the t-track) so I can screw it down with some serious length screws, after countersinking the t-tack holes to accept the larger screw head... just need to worry about pulling through the hole. 

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

that looks like a useful clamp.  i have a few fom kreg that ar similar.

thanks for posting

Petey

Reminds me of those "perpetual" drinking birds. I can see the attraction to other water base fowl! 🤠

So if you were looking for a "forever" set, Rockler or Bessy?

 SplinterGroup 
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So if you were looking for a "forever" set, Rockler or Bessy?

Fortunately I have enough and don't need more so a decision is not required... however, if you offer me a cask-o-vino, for my use I would select the Bessey... they cost more, but are heavier duty and as I have made an extensive investment into the MFT style tabletops, the Bessey are TSO loc-dog friendly.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

I'll send you some of Calif's finest!


All my buddies behind the bus station say this is the BEST!
If you add some sugar to it and put it in a bucket for a few weeks it gets even better!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Taste is immaterial... I drink for effect... so shekels are wasted on glass packaging... gimme the good old cardboard... you can even pack white vino in a red package... I'd know no difference.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

You Wine Connie-sewers know all about them there grapes. I never know what brand mine is, the paper bag hides that info.

Also take a look at the Armor track clamp It usually comes down to who is on sale?

 GeorgeWest
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Also take a look at the Armor track clamp It usually comes down to who is on sale?

In all fairness, I should have mentioned them... I have seen them around, however, not having one I wasn't confident in commenting... Now that you have made me take a closer look... and flipped it horizontally...
Same dog, different legs,

Only difference seems to be the Rockler pips it by 2 shekels and a better looking knurled knob on the Armor (probably 2 shekels worth).
Oh, yeah... and a whopping $70 to ship the Armor to Aussieland... the Rockler is available from our local Carba-Tec.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD