Walko Surface Clamps on Order

After recently using the Walko Workbench, one thing that really impressed me was how functional and useful the Walko surface clamps were.  With the TWC, I think they would be perfect, with a matrix of holes cut into the MDF top to fit the Walko Clamps where-ever needed.

WALKO Surface Clamps

I’ve got 2 sets on order (apparently floating somewhere off the coast of Australia as I type) from Ideal Tools (they have a dedicated WALKO website now online).

The beauty of these clamps is they are really low profile, clamp very irregular shapes, quick action, fit anywhere (at least anywhere there is a round dog hole) and did I mention low profile?

Once they arrive, I will convert my TWC to a massive radial arm drill, and cut regular dog holes over the surface of the workbench’s sacrificial MDF top.

Speaking of the top, I have determined that because of the cast iron router table I am using at one end of the workcentre, my top needs to be 40mm thick.  I could do this with one thick MDF sheet (I assume sheets that thick are available), but instead I am going for 2x 16mm sheets, with an 8mm sheet sandwiched between them.  These will be screwed, not glued together, so once the first surface is completely wrecked in time by cutting/routing into it, I can simply flip it over for a new top, then rinse and repeat for all the other sides.  I expect it will be some time before I need to actually replace all the sheets!

I could always go 5 sheets of 8mm – wonder if that would be better?  My only concern is ensuring the sheets remain as flat as possible – whether regular screws are suitable, or perhaps regular bolts would be even better to ensure they are held tightly together.  A trick learned from the Ideal Tools course where lines drawn on the top intersect above each screw (or bolt), so that you know exactly where they are when setting up for through-surface cuts which would otherwise result in an untimely meeting of carbide and steel.

4 Responses

  1. These look great. Reminds me of the Festool one but obviously cheaper. Keen to hear what you think of them. Would be perfect for holding down panels and things for sanding.

    • From what I can gather, they are very-much based on the Festool ones, but around $70 a pair cheaper.

      They don’t have as strong a clamping force, have more range (for the movable side), and don’t have under-the-table securing, which I never missed when I was using them, and would be impractical for this application anyway.

      I became very partial to them when I was reviewing the whole WALKO system, and was seriously considering making a workbench or assembly table to incorporate them. The TWC just happened to be perfect timing, and a perfect platform/justification for getting them.

  2. I don’t see a problem with screwing the sheets of MDF together. If you were gluing them though, I think there’d be a greater risk that they might want to warp and distort.

    You could lip the edges with solid wood to prevent moisture from getting in to the “end grain” of the MDF?

    I’m sure you could find a 40mm thick sheet, if you keep looking hard enough… We can get thicker sheets in the UK but, they aren’t generally available in the DIY sheds.

    Olly.

  3. Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your website accidentally, and I am surprised why this twist of fate did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

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