The other day I posted about a neat clamping accessory – Blokkz universal clamping blocks – and inadvertently sparked a long discussion about hold down clamps in the comments section. There are many different hold down clamp designs, ranging from simple machines pieces of aluminum to complex and pricey mechanisms.
I have many more clamps that I’d like to admit, but there are two that I use most often with a drill press – the above-shown WoodRiver quick clamp, and a sort of half ViseGrip-style locking clamp (examples via Amazon).
Drill press vises are of course my method of choice for holding smaller parts, but nothing beats quick a clamp like this one for holding down wider boards, blocks, or sheets.
While the WoodRiver quick vise isn’t terribly remarkable, it has served me well over the years. It comes with a nice sized (1-1/2″) rubber clamping pad, and a larger V-grooved rectangular block is available separately for users that want to clamp down on slippery or cylindrical materials.
A large round ring wing nut makes repositioning the hold down clamp quick and easy.
The hold down clamp is priced at about $18, and I’d buy another one should I ever break mine.
Reminder: Unless a fence or additional stop is used, drill press clamps like this should be positioned such that the post is in contact ahead of the workpiece. If a drill bit seizes it will try to spin the workpiece in a clockwise direction. Hold down clamps don’t provide a lot of lateral holding power, which is why you want either the post, a fence, or other clamp to prevent the workpiece from catching and spinning.