Shop cart for clamps and tools #1: The original design

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Blog entry by derosa posted 04-06-2012 05:29 AM 1996 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop cart for clamps and tools series Part 2: A new beginning on the cart; bottom and sides. »

In an effort to try and clean and organize my shop I decided I needed a way to store my clamps and make them easily move around the shop. Although I’m certain there are many designs for this out there I decided I need to design something myself.

Step 1
Get a coupon from harbor freight for a mover’s dolly that will supposedly hold 1000lbs and is on sale for 7.00.

Step 2
Build a case from what is lying around. The dolly was 18×12” and for whatever reason I decided that I wouldn’t think outside that dimension. In the back closet I found this sheet of particle board. I peeled off the old tape, was able to slice out 2 17-1/4×48” pieces, 2 12×48” and a 12×18” bottom. I glued the two larger sheets together, glued the sides on and then glued the bottom. As these were all 3/8” thick I didn’t have a nail or screw small enough for attachment. The result is this

Step 3
Attach to the base and watch the middle section which is only glued into place fall out

Step 4
No pic, missed this step.
Take a 3×3 piece of wood, cut it into 17-1/4” lengths. Set the blade to 2-1/4” height, a dado would be better but I was to lazy to install mine. Using the fence as a stop run the boards over the blade using the mitre slide to create 1/4” dadoes every 3/4”. Once done slice lengthwise into 7/8” thick boards. Glue these into the case spaced about 10” apart. Once glued in, screw in and add your clamps to the results.

Step 5
Test it by moving it all around the shop and discover that you need to discard half these directions when it tips over damaging the holders that were made from too cheap a wood.

Lessons learned.
Correct- 1/4” dadoes are spot on. Even holds my 1880s EC Stearns clamps. Make sure the dadoes do line up, this allows the longer clamps to fit into the dadoes all the way down. It is necessary to have the end of the clamps longer then 4” rest in a holder below to keep it from tipping forward and falling out. The wheels are a great idea. The spacing of the dadoes is fine though I might go to 1” between.

Wrong- Use thicker wood. Glue and screw the holders to the back boards first, this will then offer more glue areas for the sides to attach to and will allow them to immediately be screwed on as well, this will also speed up the process to avoid waiting for glue to dry. Sticking with the original size of the dolly when all I need is the wheels. Will try 18×24” next. Originally I only made the dadoes 1” deep which the top bracket still is in the photo, this is too shallow and the clamps easily pitch forward and fall out.

Improvements. A small bar across the bottom to hold glue. Holes in the top bracket to hold screwdrivers and allen wrenches that are needed around the shop. One side will be used to hold my turning tools, maybe mallets and the like on the other side.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

5 comments so far

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2500 days

#1 posted 04-06-2012 06:08 AM

As Schwartz said in his workbench book sometimes it is better not to re invent the wheel. I would have gone with the tried and true norm Abram plan a solid no tip a frame. I know there are lots of threads on that design it is a shop essential .your design looks well executed but will be prone to tipping IMHO. I think I have the drawings of Norms Plan here some wear. if you want a copy I can scan it

-- Please check out my new stores and

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2295 days

#2 posted 04-06-2012 10:42 AM

Your Idea to just use the casters from the dolly is a solid start.
When designing your clamp cart think more along the lines of the shape of your step ladder and you will not have the problem of it being tipsey. A larger base will offset the center of gravity.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2500 days

#3 posted 04-07-2012 06:57 AM

I think i said the same thing len you were more diplomatic than I

-- Please check out my new stores and

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2669 days

#4 posted 04-08-2012 10:31 AM

I like the rack.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Dunstan's profile


1 post in 1646 days

#5 posted 12-16-2013 01:36 AM

Hi Russ,

Today I bought three E C Stearns bar clamps at the flea market, and although it’s a little hard to tell from the photos, I think that you might own some of the same kind. I can’t find much about them on the internet. Would you know anything about their background? You said they’re from the 1880s, where did you learn that?

These are the ones I got today

Thanks for any info you can offer, and sorry to be posting here, I can’t send you a private message because I just joined.


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