Tool review: Tablesaw Tenoning Jigs
Workpiece clamping: Make it speedy and secure
Ideally, you want to center the threaded clamp rod--and the force--on the workpiece, so that means adjusting the arm fore and aft, and locking it in place. We like locks that require no tools to secure. Some models need a hexhead wrench (one more thing to keep track of) to operate the arm lock.
As for adjusting the clamp itself in and out to accommodate different workpiece widths, look for a clamp with a quick-release [photo] to speed adjustment. Instead, you might also consider one of the models with a speedy steel crank, because they keep one hand free for holding the workpiece.
All but two of the tested tenoning jigs use sleeve-type microadjust systems for moving the sliding base left and right to adjust the tenon size: The microadjuster threads into a sleeve that moves freely in the sliding base when the microadjust lock is loosened. That's your coarse adjustment. Securing the lock fixes the sleeve in the sliding base so that turning the microadjuster moves the base in a slow but controlled fashion. Overall, this style of lateral adjustment works fine, but requires locking and unlocking two closely spaced ratcheting lock levers (the sliding-base lock and microadjust lock).
So we prefer the models with more intuitive adjustments [photo]: You push and hold the quick release, slide the base, let go of the quick release, and dial in the precise alignment. One knob locks it down.
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