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In response to our Your Favorite Tools post from two weeks ago, German Oliver Heinisch sent in some snaps of a cheap, clever bench-top clamp arrangement he put together from pickup materials. Ingenious!

Hi there.

I have lots of “favorite” tools. Besides a special plier I made thirty years ago (another story), this little helper is one of my most used tools for gluing and soldering. Forget about those expensive “third hand” gripper clamps. Real makers use self-made tools!

As you can see in the attached pictures, it’s a simple piece of chip board (which was originally a leftover from a shelf project, also from 30 years back) with a wooden clothespin glued on at one end. The hot-glue that covers the spring is important; if you don’t glue the spring, the top half of the clothespin tends to flip off if the work you’re gripping is too big. The red clamp is a suction-cup clamp made by “wolfcraft” (not sure if this brand is available worldwide) made of plastic. It’s attached with a screw, as the chipboard won’t hold suction from the cup.

As you can see, this tool is very worn. I’m thinking about a new one, which will be made from a brand new piece of thick plywood and a new clothespin. But that’s a future project, in case the next MAKE magazine takes too long to reach me in Germany.

Thanks for producing such a nice magazine.

Oliver Heinisch, Germany

Thanks, Oliver, for reading, writing, and sharing! Auf Wiedersehen!

Got a favorite tool of your own to share? Shoot me an e-mail at

Update: Thanks to commenter MrJohnk for identifying the clamp (or a very similar one) as Wolfcraft #3628470.  Now $1.29 $6.49 (with shipping) on Amazon.

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. MrJohnk says:

    Clamp appears to be Wolfcraft part number 3628470.

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Thanks a bunch! Updated the post.

  2. Sam Freeman says:

    I love it!

  3. Not $1.29 but $2.44 + shipping, so around $6.49.

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      Ha! Price has changed since this morning. Will fix it above.

  4. Goli Mohammadi says:

    Great post title :)) and super clever hack!

    1. Sheldon says:

      No, those are just the clamps without the suction cup base. Those are really handy for hobbies and I have a bunch of them, but they don’t have the base which allows easy mounting.

  5. Sheldon says:

    An identical clamp (other than the size – 1-1/4″ instead of 3/4″) is available for $1.99 each at most Sears and KMart stores in the US as the “Craftsman 1-1/4 in. Spring Clamp with Suction Base.” They must be very popular for something other than the technical purpose shown here because the KMart I went to had two rows of them hanging up, probably 24 of them on display total.

  6. E. Goldstein says:

    The “Craftsman 1-1/4 in. Spring Clamp with Suction Base” mounted on a small but very heavy (368g=13oz) glass photo frame/holder (Item #815399) from Hobby Lobby. All Hobby Lobby picture frames are quite often on sale for 50% off as they were today. The suction has been holding all day long so far and can pick up the glass frame: