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Useful Gadgets and Gizmos            

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Starrett Type Clamp

Certain simple mechanisms and gadgets work well and are made with modest effort in my shop so I find I use them repeatedly. Some visitors may have noticed how these ideas get incorporated, sometimes with little changes, into various things I've built. This page is an attempt to collect some of these useful ideas in one place to make their use and re-use more obvious.

Starrett Type Clamp

The Starrett type clamp seen above is used in several Starrett tools, e.g. their #257 surface gauge. When loosened it allows sliding/rotating the clamp along one bar and sliding/rotating the other bar through the clamp. Both of these motions can be locked by turning one knob. This comes in handy when positioning an indicator but works well in other applications that need more than one degree of freedom - like my slitting saw sharpener where it is used to hold the index for the saw teeth. The copy shown above is the first one I made and has an extra slit on the left - This was in the Starrett but I don't understand what it does and haven't included it in later copies I've made.


The camlock tailstock was the first application of a cam in my shop. The carriage DRO clamps to the bed with a cam. As part of the DRO installation, the carriage lock was changed to use a cam due to a space conflict. A camlock is used in the Brooks slitting saw sharpener. A cam is used in the round QCTP's threading tool for retraction.

Pin Vise

The first pin vise I made was for Derek Brown's 4 facet drill sharpener. Next came a larger version for the HoneDrill. The pin vise concept is a simple collet and closer, where I noted that it grips round objects securely but also allows adjusting the collet's grip from light to firm easily and quickly without marking the gripped object. A specialized pin vise was used as an adjustable traverse stop for the Brooks table. The same idea was used again in the steady rest to lock the position of the steady's fingers.

Split Cotter

The split cotter is a compact way of locking a round object in position. The depth stop on my drill press was changed to use a split cotter - far faster and more convenient than the original threaded stop. The graver rest uses a split cotter to set the height and angle.

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