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What Are Hold Down Clamps? How Do They Work?

A hold-down clamp is one of the most important pieces of equipment in any workshop, as it allows you to manage the workpiece. Its purpose is straightforward: to keep objects in place while you execute another action on them. Whether you work in a tiny cabinet shop or an industrial machine shop, you must constantly keep your components securely in place.

Knowing how to select holding and toggle clamps necessitates an assessment of the function you are performing, the materials you are using, and the length of time you will be using them. They should be as efficient and safe as possible. There are several manufacturers of holding and toggle clamps, making it easy to get the specific type you want, but what exactly is a hold-down clamp, and how does it work?

This article will answer these questions while diving deeper to help you understand how hold-down clamps work, their importance, what to consider when choosing a hold-down clamp, as well as five types of holding clamps and their applications. Let’s dive in!

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. What Is a Hold-Down Clamp?
    > How do hold-down clamps work?
2. 5 Types of Holding Clamps & Their Applications
    > The C-Clamp
    > The Plier Squeeze Clamp
    > Hold-Down Toggle Clamp
    > Linear Action Clamp
    > Air Operated Pneumatic Clamps

3. What to Consider When Choosing a Hold-Down Clamp
    > Size and Shape
    > Holding Capacity
    > Frequency of Operation
    > Determine the Stainless Steel Grade Required
    > Material
    > Force

4. Ready to Grab Your Hold-Down Clamp?

What Is a Hold-Down Clamp?

A hold-down or toggling clamp is a piece of equipment that is often used to hold items together or to keep them stable by exerting set pressure. It's a highly flexible piece of equipment, whether it's the common manual form or a motorized variant for heavy-duty tasks. In an industrial context, a powered clamping system, either pneumatic or hydraulic, can be installed.

Power clamps have the ability to generate more pressure. Since they can clamp components rapidly, frequently, and correctly, they are commonly used in automated production processes.

Manual clamps, on the other hand, are portable, exist in a variety of sizes and designs, and may fit into a variety of places.

How many times have you held a workpiece in one hand while advancing the drill with the other on a drill press table, only to have the drill bit caught in the workpiece? The Bench Clamp simply connects to most drill press tables and provides safe and stable clamping.

The surface clamp is ideal for shop-made jigs and fittings including table saw sleds and router table jigs. For totally adjustable clamp placement, use the optional T-Track mounting technique.

How do hold-down clamps work?

In most cases, the toggle clamp is connected to a fixed location, such as a table or jig. Moveable objects may then be placed beneath the clamp and firmly held in place. They consist of a mounting shaft with a pivot pin and flanges to which the clamp can be connected.

In a central mounting, a fixed-length lever pivots around the pin, forcing the clamping arm open or closed. On this arm, an adjustable vertical screw is typically attached, with a foot composed of rubber or another non-impacting gripping substance that engages with the workpiece, however, they are frequently changed for specific purposes.

As an example, consider a Mini Toggle T-Track Hold Down. This toggle is ideal for keeping light-duty stock in place along a fence. Simply connect it to a T-slot track, slide it into place, and secure it.

Hold-down pipe clamps are utilized in scenarios where you want to either secure the pipe in place or allow the pipe to move axially. To decrease friction between the pipe and clamp, slide plates made of PTFE, 25% glass filled, or graphite can be integrated into the design.

Pipe clamps typically function by securing the pipe and hanging it from a surface or rail system.

They simply latch around the pipe to securely clamp it in place. They are composed of iron, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy, and some of them have a rust-prevention coating.

Each hold-down clamp has a base that attaches to a work surface and a handscrew or vise-grip mechanism to assist keep workpieces in place. They can be used to secure workpieces in woodworking and metalworking operations like chiseling and routing, sanding, pocket hole joinery, and repeated welding.

The pneumatic hold-down clamp can be used to clamp workpieces from above. This clamp is powered by standard compressed air. The clamping arm's large swivel angle makes it simple to insert and remove workpieces without any obstacles, ensuring maximum accessibility to the workpiece.

5 Types of Holding Clamps and Their Applications

Great clamps and the applications for which they are utilized are critical to completing a task correctly. Reid Supply has a large selection of excellent clamps to pick from. Furthermore, our clamps are strong and long-lasting, making them suitable for usage in a variety of sectors. Starting with a c-clamp, we'll look at some of the top five clamps and their applications:

The C-Clamp

First and foremost, the c-clamp is one of the most traditional and dependable clamps on our list. The c-clamp has several applications, ranging from metalworking to handyman. C-clamps are intended to handle significantly more than plier clamps. Furthermore, the c-clamp is intended to be portable or installed. C-clamps come in a wide range of apertures and depths.

The Plier Squeeze Clamp

When you need a clamp that is portable, the plier clamp is the clamp to use. One of the most advantageous features of plier clamps is that they may be utilized with a single hand. Some of these pliers additionally include an optional unlocking lever. These clamps are very important in the welding business.

plier squeeze clamp

Hold-Down Toggle Clamp

The hold-down clamp applies downward clamping force. The handle may generally be secured in either a horizontal or vertical position. Horizontal handles have a handle that is parallel to the clamping bar and a reduced height profile for improved overhead visibility. These clamps are utilized in a variety of sectors, including automotive and aerospace.

Linear Action Clamps

Linear action clamps, in addition to the other major clamps, are employed to press or pull one item against another. These clamps are utilized in a variety of sectors, including mechanical engineering and automotive.

Air Operated Pneumatic Clamps

Air-powered pneumatic clamps are often placed on a surface and are intended to be long-life hold-down clamps. They are best suited for heavy industrial applications.

What to Consider When Choosing a Hold-Down Clamp

Choosing the best clamp for your requirements might be difficult. Clamps are used for a variety of purposes in many industries. You want to be sure that the clamp you select will do its job appropriately. Here are some pointers to assist you to select the best hand-down clamp:

Size and shape

A long-lasting toggle clamp is useless if it cannot hold the size and form of a piece of wood. Before you start looking for the best clamp on the internet, it's a good idea to know what sort of workpiece you usually use. This will allow you to finish the job ahead of schedule.

Holding capacity

A toggle clamp is a versatile tool with a high level of flexibility. However, this is dependent on the solution you select. At Reid Supply, we provide a large range of goods that can help you. Each has a varied holding capacity, allowing you to select the best woodworking tool for your needs.

Frequency of operation

Nothing is more frustrating than having to constantly repair a woodworking tool. Regardless of how often you use a toggle clamp, it may endure for a long time. It is adaptable and customized to help you avoid costly repairs or replacements. It can endure the test of time, giving you the opportunity to accumulate significant savings over time.

Determine the Stainless Steel Grade Required

Stainless steel clamps are all designed to be durable and versatile, although steel comes in a variety of grades. When selecting a clamp, it is critical to select the appropriate grade of stainless steel. You must verify that the material used in the clamp you select is up to the task.

Corrosion resistance, formability, weldability, and strength differ amongst steel grades. Some austenitic stainless steel can be hardened by cold working, which increases toughness and ductility while keeping the steel formable and weldable.


Your decision will be influenced by the materials of your workpieces as well as their purpose. Obviously, a smaller clamp is required for fine, fragile materials such as paper, glass, or plastic than for steel or wood. You must also consider if the surface is firm or soft, polished or unpolished.
Toggle clamps are made using a variety of contemporary materials and techniques. Typically, the frame will be composed of cast iron or forged steel. A cast-iron frame is extremely robust and can sustain severe workloads, whereas a forged steel frame can support large or heavy workpieces.


The amount of force considered necessary for your operation will also impact how you choose your toggle or holding clamps. In the case of manual clamps, several variables contribute to the actual force applied to the holding action. For example, a horizontal clamp has a significantly much lower holding capacity of (up to 1,300 lbf) compared to a single vertical clamp of (up to 5,060 lbf).

Ready to Grab Your Hold-Down Clamp?

When looking for a toggle clamp provider, it's tempting to go with the lowest pricing, but it’s best to select the tool that is going to provide for your needs.

Reid Supply is the place to go for all of your industrial clamps and workholding needs.

We provide a full line of cam clamps, toe clamps, wedge clamps, and a variety of set-up clamps for jig and fixture applications.

Why not reach out to us today? We’ll definitely be waiting!