|Item Weight||4.1 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||1.8 x 60 x 3.5 inches|
|Item model number||C50|
|Item Package Quantity||1|
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E. Emerson Tool Co. C50 50-Inch All-In-One Contractor Straight Edge Clamping Tool Guide
- Enter your model number to make sure this fits.
- No more C-clamping with a self-clamping straight edge to guide your power tools for truly straight cuts
- Extra wide rail for exceptional rigidity and low profile for obstruction free cuts
- Make joiner cuts on your table saw. The length of clamping area is "50.25 inches" between the jaws.
- Nylon jaws hold work piece securely and are predrilled for accessory Wide Jaws and Tall Jaws
- Recessed tracks accept Contractor series Saw Plate, Router Plate and Stop Block but will not work with A, Twin or Ultra series accessories
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|Item Dimensions||60 x 1.8 x 3.5 in||9 x 66 x 3 in||3.3 x 1.8 x 33.8 in||5.5 x 1 x 7.5 in||9 x 63 x 6 in||—|
|Item Weight||—||6 lbs||2.4 lbs||4.8 ounces||3.25 lbs||—|
The Contractor C50 50in. All-In-One Clamp is a contractor-grade straight edge clamp used primarily as a guide for making straight cuts with circular saws and routers. It is both rigid and light, making it quick to position and lock in place. The aluminum frame is lightweight for ease of use but also designed for durability. The clamping components are of resilient Zytel nylon, which includes 9% glass content. The Contractor C50 straight edge clamp is one of the most valuable and useful tools in the workshop or work truck. Common Usage: Guide for making straight cuts w/circular saws and routers, Dimensions L x W x H (in.): 60 x 2 5/8 x 1 1/4, Includes: (1) Contractor clamp, Jaw Capacity (in.): 50, Material Type: Aluminum
From the Manufacturer
A self-clamping straight edge. The Contractor Series patented design has integral tubes running the length of the wide body construction making it ultra rigid and light to handle. The extra low profile and flat top make it easier for all circular saw or router straight cuts.
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It compares nicely with my Starrett straight edge which is certified to within + / - .002" per foot. I used feeler-gauges to interrogate its straightness side-to-side with the Starrett straight-edge, and found small gaps along the length, but no more than a couple of thousandths. That is as good as most of us ever need to guide a saw or draw lines.
The clamping mechanism works well and has held up for the four years I've used it. My only complaint about the system is that the other end, where you set the rough distance, was a little sticky and rough at first. After using it a bunch and waxing the undercarriage, it now works much more smoothly.
The hole on the clamping end allows you to hang this safely away from other tools that might bang it out of kilter. That's a small feature, but appreciated.
The clamp has different positions for different clamping force. The center position does not clamp as hard. That's good when cutting thin sheet goods, since too much force bends the sheet.
Pressing the blue-lever fully down increases clamping force, which is better for thicker sheets or solid wood.
Those features are great and despite rough-frequent use, these are still working well. (I have three) But that's not why I love them so much... You can use this to make your own track saw at a fraction of the price of expensive teutonic tools!
First, I put a square-edge on one end of the guide to help square the straight-edge to the work quickly. You can skip this step and just use a framing square. I did that for the first year I used it.
Then, I modified my cheapest circular-saw's base by adding a 1/4" thick sheet of lexan. I just drilled four holes and mounted the saw to the clear lexan base. On the left side, I added a 1" thick, by three-inch wide piece of hardwood and routed two grooves to accept splines that match the profile of this guide. Voila! Instant track saw!
Now, I should point out that I actually have a Makita track saw that I like very much. It doesn't have all the features of the most expensive track saws, but it works beautifully for everything I do. I have also used all the famous brands of track saws: Maffell (the best) Festool (nearly as good) and DeWalt (also very good).
The funny thing is, except for ease in setting depth-of-cut, or the slight safety advantage of a riving knife, those expensive set ups do not cut any better than my cheap homemade track-saw rig using this guide! If you just need to cut sheet goods accurately, this is a great money saving tool!
If you are a pro and need other features like easy-set scoring, soft-start, dust-collection, cutting very near to walls, riving knife for tricky lumber, ...then you might be better off with the expensive saws. Professionals can justify the expense of fine tools because they save labor and because pros write-off depreciation. Cheap-skate hobbyists & homeowners like me balk at pro-tool prices.
With this straight-edge, I use a Ryobi circular saw (about $50), the $5 buck sheet of lexan and a few scraps of wood.
>>>It helps to use a good blade! The Diablo blades by Freud are excellent for the money! <<<
With the lexan sole-plate, I lose about 1/4 inch of cutting depth, but with a 7 & 1/4 inch blade, I can still cut deeper than most track saws that use 160mm (6.3") blades.
So, YES this is a decent straight-edge and good saw-guide as is, but for a few extra bucks (to buy lexan, wood, screws and a good blade) you can get 95% of expensive track-saw performance.
Even if you pay retail plus shipping, you can use this guide to make your own accurate and convenient track saw for less than a hundred bucks. That sure beats $550 for more for fancy track saws!
Once you see how well this works, you can also easily modify your router-bases and jigsaw bases for use with this guide.
Sure, you can make even cheaper guides with a couple pieces of plywood, but those are not as smooth and they only guide on one side of the cut. With a dedicated base, fit to these aluminum straight-edges, you get straight cuts without any user-applied skill. The grooves in the guide hold the saw in place left-to-right, so there is no chance of the tool wandering. That's especially important for routing dadoes, rabbets and grooves.
The only reason I knocked off one star is the lack of a square on the clamping-end and the initial stickiness of the moveable piece on the other end. Otherwise, this is a great bargain for a very useful tool!
I understand that Emerson now makes a squaring device you can buy separately, as well as accessory bases and guides for various tools. If you are in a hurry and don't want to make your own cheap bases or squares, those are options.
I like to include tips in my reviews: So in addition to the track-saw / jig-saw / router-guide ideas, remember this: No matter how you use this straight edge, the other end must be adjusted to size so it fits the material you cut. I have found that it is easier to mount the clamping end on the far end of a cut. This allows you to leave some overhang that helps start cuts accurately. So, put the clamping-end away from you on the other side of the sheet. Clamp it down, then start your cuts from the adjustable end with the overhang.
Another tip: Use spray wax lubricant underneath this tool. That makes the adjustable-end move much more easily. Spray wax is easier and faster to apply, plus it gets into nooks and crannies paste wax can't find. You can use any old spray wax you might already have, like Johnson's furniture wax. A quick spritz once or twice a year is all you need! That works for the top of the tool too, especially if you make your own custom tool-bases! El Suave!
So, for my fellow woodworkers on a budget, this is highly recommended! A versatile reliable tool at a fair price.
Mainly I use this to break down 4x8' sheets of plywood, which is what I expect most people are using this for. In that task it does a great job. Some issues I saw were that if your sheets are not perfectly flat it can be a pain to clamp this guide, but that is more the wood's fault than the straight edge. Also, my only criticism is that the clamping mechanism and handle feel pretty flimsy and at first I didnt have much confidence it would hold against my circular saw as I made the cut. I would prefer a more solid feeling metal clamp handle and mechanism, but since this one worked as it should, I guess its not required.
UPDATE (4/2/14): still a decent tool but having explored the market for these a bit more I would reccomendation the Bora version over these. They have much more robust clamp lever, larger rubber padded clamping feet, and the ability to clamp on angles to make odd shaped cuts even easier. They are also cheaper at the moment!!!