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Straight Edge Clamp Guides | A Low Cost High Value Accessory

– In today's video, we're exploring the many uses of a straight edge clamp guide. Plus, we're taking a quick look at a very unique frame guide system made by Trend Tools. Straight edge guides may be one of the most widely used accessories in the shop. They work extremely well at guiding circular saws, jigsaws, and routers. For those that don't know, straight edge clamp guides are straight edge guides that have a built-in clamping system that allows the guide to be securely attached to the work without the need of extra clamps. Now I've had this particular straight edge clamp here for almost 20 years. And unfortunately, as you can imagine, they don't sell this brand anymore. However, I recently found one made by Trend Tools that elevate straight edge clamps to a whole other level. And I'll demonstrate this later on. I do wanna let you know that Trend Tools did send me their straight edge clamp for free. However, they have zero control over what I say about their products. Now, regardless of what brand you buy, let's look at what makes these straight edge clamp guides so amazing. For starters, straight edge clamp guides are a great option for those who don't want to spend the money on a table saw or a track saw set up. If you already have a circular saw, but you've been mostly using it freehand, the addition of this straight edge clamp will drastically increase the quality of your work. When used with a circular saw, they work great at breaking down large sheets of plywood. And they work great for smaller boards as well. Like I mentioned earlier, they also work great with jigsaws and extremely well for guiding routers. Bottom line, straight edge clamp guides are really good at one thing, and that's guiding power tools in a straight line so that the end result is a precise and straight cut. But in addition to all of that, the setup of this tool is extremely easy because, like I said earlier, it combines a straight edge and two clamps all in one. Now, if you don't wanna spend the money on a straight edge clamp guide like this, you can always use a straight piece of board and two clamps. And there's technically nothing wrong with that, but sometimes the clamps can get in the way. Plus, wood moves. So what was once a straight piece of wood is no longer straight over time. So what makes Trends straight edge clamp guide different than anything else I've seen on the market is that they've built into the guide itself these T-tracks or T-slots. And what T-slots or T-tracks do is allows other accessories to be attached to the guide itself. So, for example, if I'm using a router to cut grooves in the middle of a panel, I could install these stops into the guide, which act now as starting and stopping points for my router. As you can imagine, these T-tracks introduce more options to an already useful tool. So now that you know a little bit more about straight edge clamp guides, let's take a quick look at Trends routing frame jig. This system is designed for cutting squares and rectangular recesses, grooves, openings for sinks, and much more. To adjust the frame, simply loosen all the silver screws and adjust the frame to whatever size you need. Check it for square and tighten the screws back down. Trend sells clamps that are used with this system, which I highly recommend you buy, and they slide into the slots under the rails. Once tightened down, the frame is securely attached without anything on the surface to interfere with the work you're about to do. As a side note, I've been playing around with different brands of T-track or T-slot clamps like these with the Trend system. Now I know Trend Tools never designed these types of clamps to be used with their system, but I had to try, and here's what I found. If I use these hold down clamps directly over the underside clamps by Trend, I'm able to tighten the hold downs without having the rails bend up because if you get too far away from the bottom clamps, the guide will want to lift off the material. Again, I'm not saying that you should use these along with their system. It does add a lot of stress to the rail, but I thought I'd just let you know what I've been playing around with. There might be something here. Once the frame is attached and secure, there are two methods that you can use to guide the router along the frame to make your cuts. The first method is to use the frame to guide the base of the router like this. You obviously need to account for the width of the base, but this method is very simple. The second method is to use a router bushing guide that gets attached to the router base first, and that bushing follows the frame as the router rides on top of the jig. The only additional thing you need for the second method is a spacer block so that it stops the router from tipping as you're riding along the top of the frame. The kit comes with a spacer, which is a simple piece of material that is the same thickness as the frame height. There are so many different ways that you can use this frame, and for the sake of time, we're just not gonna get into those. However, if you'd like me to make a full video just on this jig itself, drop me a comment below. I do have to say that I don't really recommend this system for the newbie. Not because of the tool itself but because there's a lot of routing techniques that need to be established first in order to be able to use a jig like this. However, the straight edge clamp guide I recommend to everyone, experienced or the newbie. Like I mentioned earlier, I've had this particular straight edge clamp for so many years, almost 20 years, and I can't tell you how many times I've used it during that period of time. If you have any questions about any of the products that I used today, drop me a comment. I'll leave some links in the note sections as well. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you in the next video. (soft upbeat music)

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