Works for me #4: Horizontal Pipe Clamp Rack

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Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 02-21-2010 10:53 PM 9015 reads 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Mounting Pegboard Part 4 of Works for me series Part 5: Adjustable Bandsaw Sled »

When you need pipe clamps, they’re great, and they need to be handy – but when you need them only occasionally, they can really get in the way! Hanging them vertically works well provided you have a vertical space available. Unfortunately, I didn’t, so yesterday’s project was a horizontal rack hung near the ceiling.

The rack’s not elegant, and it’s certainly not pretty – but then neither are pipe clamps. The main thing is – it works! As you see, I used short lengths of heavy duty steel wall standards and 12” brackets from H.D. The 1-1/4” holes were drilled before I cut the boards in half and grooved the bottoms to fit snugly on the brackets as shown below. Right now, only friction holds the wood in place, and I don’t think it will need anything else. If it does, I’ll add a screw through the hole in the bracket.

While I was taking the photos of the rack, I decided to include this last photo that shows loosely-fitted blocks I made from some scraps. I keep these on my pipe clamps, and I find them especially useful to keep the clamps from tipping when I’m clamping a narrow glue-up using a longer clamp.

-- Dave O.

14 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3332 days

#1 posted 02-21-2010 11:09 PM

very good idea….it looks good to me…very organized and functional…maybe you should submit it to a magazine..i saw one that said they paid a 100 bucks if they use your idea… was handyman magazine…near the back ..just a thought…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3144 days

#2 posted 02-21-2010 11:18 PM

great idea
thank´s for sharing
but it looks a little
dangerus to have
those things over
head level

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3337 days

#3 posted 02-21-2010 11:20 PM

You said …”The rack’s not elegant, and it’s certainly not pretty – but then neither are pipe clamps”...
Well, I have to disagree.. I always think all woodworkers tools and things in our shops are works of art…at least in my eyes.
Innovative and practical. Good idea…

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3726 days

#4 posted 02-21-2010 11:52 PM

Great job but very heavy load on small brackets.

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#5 posted 02-21-2010 11:57 PM

Good Job Dave O

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3137 days

#6 posted 02-22-2010 12:01 AM

Neat idea, you get +1 cookies

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View branch's profile


1142 posts in 3183 days

#7 posted 02-22-2010 12:22 AM

hi nice and tidy the rack dose it job very well what a lot of clamps did you ever have to use all the clamps on the one project if not maybe i could borrow some of them

branch ok

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3103 days

#8 posted 02-22-2010 12:35 AM

Thanks for the nice comments – and special thanks to those concerned about my continued health. Actually, pipe clamps feel a lot heavier than they are. These three-foot clamps (as near as I can tell) weigh somewhere around six to seven pounds each. At seven pounds, the four on a pair of brackets would weigh 28 pounds – say 30 pounds including the brackets. Each bracket would then only be supporting about 15 pounds. That’s a very light load for these heavy duty double brackets. If the rack were fully loaded with all three foot clamps, the total clamp on each standard would still be well under fifty pounds each – still very light. In my case, there is continuous solid wood behind each standard their entire length, and each is anchored with two 3” long #12 screws. I hope that eases your mind some – but if someday you read in my obit that I got hit in the head by pipe clamps – feel free to say “I told you so!”

By the way, if you’ll look at the 2nd and 6th photos of my workshop, you’ll see the same type standards and brackets that I installed to hold up some seldom used tools on 16” brackets. Notice the scroll saw. I’m not sure what that darn thing weighs – but it’s really heavy. Before putting that up, I did quite a bit of research and load testing. No sign of stress in either standards or brackets.

Now – with that said – I hope no one reading this blog will rush out and put a lot of weight on who knows what kind of brackets and standards without first being darn sure it’s safe – especially over your head – without making absolutely sure it’s safe.

-- Dave O.

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 3050 days

#9 posted 02-22-2010 12:42 AM

Good job.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3103 days

#10 posted 02-22-2010 01:33 AM

Too many clamps, branch? Nonsense! – never too many. Here’s why I have as many as I do. I started with four 60” clamps. I needed that length for the base of my workbench. Then that length began to really be awkward to use – so I cut each one into a 36” and a 24”. Hence the shorter pipe on top. Then as I got into gluing the top of my seven-foot long bench I needed more – so I got another four. With four clamps below and three above – that leaves me one I can lend you. Drop by anytime.

-- Dave O.

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3317 days

#11 posted 02-22-2010 01:37 AM

good work

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View williams's profile


53 posts in 3046 days

#12 posted 02-22-2010 04:45 AM

Who makes those pipe clamps and do you like them. Do the faces stay at 90 under pressure or deflect? Can you crank them when on the table without hitting bench? tia

-- William, Brighton, MI

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 3449 days

#13 posted 02-22-2010 02:18 PM

Nice job Dave and thank you very much for making my similar pipe clamp rack look like crap! LOL. I used a similar idea for my bar clamps as well, cut a quick dado to fit the bars. Mine are the single slot variety standards & brackets and have shown no sign of deflection from the wall or brackets although I may just change to the double for added safety. I like the “scrap” blocks you added to keep the clamps from tipping during use as well! Also the tips you’ve put on the pipes. Are those plastic plumbing parts or cane tips? Those would have saved me a lot of grief. I bumped a clamp against a project once and caused a problem, I think these would have saved me. Great idea!

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3103 days

#14 posted 02-22-2010 03:56 PM

Thanks once again, all. Here are a couple of answers to above questions.

William – the clamps I have are from Rockler. I like them because they do have a better and taller base that allows them the handles to turn free of the table. They have optional black protective pads I use, and they also have a built-in ‘lip’ for hanging that would have eliminated the need for the rack if I’d had a vertical space available. As far as deflection is concerned, that would be more of a function of the strength of the pipe and the amount of pressure applied. My clamps are for 3/4” pipe, and I’ve had no problem in that regard.

cbMerlin – As long as your rack suits your purposes, that’s the main thing. The tip blocks work great, and were born of frustration. I’m not sure which pipe ‘tips’ you noticed. If black – they are crutch tips, and I like them the best. They do a good job, and are softer and easier to remove when necessary than the white ones I got earlier. Those are are threaded PVC pipe caps.

-- Dave O.

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