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Review 13

Multi Angle Work Holder  From the Craftsman Gallery

I have recently received  a revised Multi Angle Work Holder from the Craftsman Gallery to review. I say revised in the sense that the original concept came from a design of the same name and for use on the WoodRat. In truth this one is all new and rather more "up market" with an eye catching alloy plate.

'Rat or RB hold work well in their respective clamps but only parallel to the plate or box section face. Making and fitting a shop made rail permits angled cuts in a single plane but can be a bit tricky to set accurately.

Enter the new MAWH. A C.N.C machined plate can set your work at a multitude of compound  and repeatable angles.

MDF parts There are not many separate parts in the box but the immediate sensation is that of sturdiness.
The MDF parts which appear to be CNC cut are 3/4" thick and comprise of two side cheeks, a rear support plate and two triangular corner re-enforcing pieces.
These parts will be found together in a plastic bag. It is not clear from the photo but the the two black quadrant shaped pieces are protractors that are graduated in degrees.
I will show how it all fits together later.
Hardware
Plate Now this really is the WOW! bit and I suspect the most costly part by far. Weighs a ton and made of stainless steel.
Ah hem..... no, made of alloy and weighs 8lbs and 4 1/2 ounces (3755 grams) actually. Superbly engineered and excellent silver anodising.
It measures 1 5" by 8" by 3/4 inches thick!
It is so substantial that it really feels as though it were made of steel though.
The small holes accept plastic pegs to set the work at varying angles and the larger holes are for the holding clamp shown below.
Vertical pre-set angles of 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 22.5 degrees both left and right are designed in.
Again this of a very sturdy design. The main shaft is of black steel and knurled for extra grip. The cast alloy horizontal carrier arm is powder coated and free to slide up and down the steel shaft. It can be very positively locked in any position by the familiar sprung trigger mechanism. Clamp1
Clamp2 The alloy plate of course would normally be vertical or at an angle from vertical and I guess you can already see that the clamp could be used as a bench hold down too.
I am sure there are other uses and my mind is working away on that.
Maybe Lewis will sell it as a separate item.*

*Confirmed: It will be available separately with two sizes of steel spigot tubes for fitting into your workbench etc.
The alloy plate pivots on a steel pin which in turn runs in plastic sleeve bearings. The bearings are a tight fit and so must be encouraged into the alloy with care. I used a synthetic hammer slid along the bench surface to gently tap them in. Do not hit at an angle or the bearing could be damaged. Hammer
Pin The lip of the bearing is fully flush with the face of the alloy edge and the pin placed in.
Next job is to fit the two quadrant protractors with the supplied screws. Fit the the correct way around! Fitted
Divisions These protractors do have degree markings on them but are not numbered. They are not clear to read and to be honest in use I found them to be superfluous as I relied on the use of a pre-set sliding bevel when setting up compound angles. ( Plate face to under side of main plate).
Plastic pivot bearings also have to be pressed into the MDF side cheeks. First gently set them into the holes. CheekBushes
ViseFit I slowly pressed them into the holes using my bench vise like this. They did make some squeaking and groaning noises as they were fitted!
The instructions recommend a dry assembly to ensure everything fits well and square before gluing as mistakes cannot be rectified after. Test Fit
Glueing up I used polyurethane glue but any wood glue is suitable. I placed one long clamp to hold both cheeks to the back plate and one small cramp on each corner fillet. It is essential to ensure that you do not distort or twist the frame whilst gluing.
Who is going to be the first person to glue up without pre fitting the plate?!
The bottom adjustment cams are held with a bolt and washer into a square nut as shown. A neat solution I think. Adjustment Cams
rear pegs On the back plate are a series of CNC drilled holes. Two plastic pegs fit into those holes and are used to locate/suspend the jig on the slider. One peg on either side.
Set them to align the top of the jig with:
a. Bottom of the dust chute.
b. Top of the box beam.
c. Top of the riser plate.
There are also two positions for use on the WoodRat.
There is an optional T-bolt  available for positively fixing the jig to the slider. This requires three holes to be drilled in the indicated positions. All described in the instruction sheets.
I strongly feel that this bolt should be mandatory as it prevents the jig from falling when the camlock is loosened. The whole jig is very hefty and you wouldn't want that falling on your toes.
One little annoyance I found: the T-bolt has thread lock compound on it which needs cleaning off to permit the knob free travel.
Optional
Correct Tension When set on the machine the whole structure is held firmly enough between the fence and sliding fence but I feel a lot more comfortable with this safety T-bolt in place. Only just ease the knob up to the MDF back plate.
In this shot you can see the MDF remains straight and not binding on the box beam face.
I don't know if you can see here but the knob has been tightened a little too  much causing the back plate to bend and foul the box beam. Too Tight
Speed clamp The jig has considerable mass and although I have sandpaper stuck to my fixed fence I found it would move without much encouragement. I considered all sort of additional fixings but settled on using a quick clamp as shown here. That completely stopped any movement at all.
I took this shot just to demonstrate how the work locates against the location pegs at set angles. It would be a good idea to always have your instruction sheet to hand for reference. I am going to plastic laminate mine. It doesn't take much tightening force on the clamp to lock the work more solid than a solid thing!
It won't move once gripped and will hold work up to four inches thick.
Clamp 3
Compound cut Cutting a compound angled face on the end of the work.
Notice the T-slots! Use your imagination and come up with some alternative work holding solutions.


The wood below is square in section......... the cut confuses the eye.
Demo 2 Demo 1
Some quick test cuts.
Compound end face cut.
A half lap mitred corner cut.
An off set mitred open corner mortise.
The list is endless.

When I get more time I plan to publish some joint samples here.
Demo 3

VERDICT

So here we have a jig that is built like a brick out house! With a plate that exudes quality and can be used on the 'Rat or RB. The clamp is a great feature that can be used off the jig with the appropriate spigot tube that will be available by the time you see this report.

The T-bolt in my opinion is essential, not optional and I would not recommend using the jig with out it fitted for safety reasons.

Note: The T-bolts will be included in all kits now.

Assembly was easy but care must be taken to ensure everything is square when gluing up. One disadvantage is the fact that the plate face is 4 1/8 inches away from the box beam face and places quite a load on the gripping fences.

It places the work into the narrower area of the central cut out in the main plate so there is reduced visibility of the cutter plus it is further away from the rear dust chute so can be a bit messy when cutting.

Tip:

Before setting the bottom cams of the jig  move and lock the router out to the working position on the main plate. Although the main alloy router plate is stiff, it does impact on the angle setting of the jig front plate.

With the jig plate correctly set to 90 degrees to the main plate cutting to any of the preset angles is a complete doddle. Make sure you have your brain in gear before cutting at compound angles though!

The protractor degree markings are good to have but I confess I never referred to them at all.

I try to have all my cut lines on the work facing me and it could pay to have some form of lighting from below.

Currently priced at $189.00 from the Craftsman Gallery.

So, an excellent jig and the only one to have for compound angle cutting, however, if  you do not require the compound feature then consider the Power Feed Work Holder.




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