The shopmade clamp's secrets revealed!!

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Project by dakremer posted 02-27-2010 07:03 PM 17651 views 87 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch I’m going to try and better explain my clamp. First of all this is my prototype, first one built – not building it to make a really nice one – just seeing if it would work….that being said – anyone with any ideas to make it better would be welcome.

The movable jaw is cut as shown in the picture. The depth of the cut needs to be half of the 1×2 (maybe a TAD more – I’m talking like a 1/32 more) so when joined together, the 1×2 shaft will fit snugly between them (without a lot of give). When I made the cuts, I didnt do a lot of measuring – I just was fooling around to see if it would work like I thought it would. I made the first cut at a 90 degree and the 2nd cut at a 45 degree. I don’t think I should have made that 2nd cut quite at 45…maybe should have been a 30, or even less. These cuts need to be the EXACT width of the shaft (1×2) – if its not really snug (mine isn’t) it will not hold as well…. When the jaw is at a 90 degree with the shaft it is cinched into place, and when pivoted to the other degree (whatever you choose) you can freely move it up and down the shaft (mind out of the gutters please!!).

When clamping with it, you must have the pressure on the ends of the jaw – if its clamped too close to the shaft – it’ll just slide on you, and you won’t get a good clamp. The knob I made out of some scrap pine. I glued a bolt through the middle of it with some epoxy. The bolt is threaded through the stationary jaw with a threaded Tee Nut. The “wooden washer” on the end of the bolt does not work well, and needs to be done differently. It needs to rotate freely on the bolt so when tightening it doesn’t “walk” on you. I was thinking about sanding the end of the bolt flat, drilling a small hole down the center. Then put a nail through the “wooden washer” to go through that hole in the bolt – then it would rotate freely. Or you could take the “cheap” way out and buy the hardware that JohnnyW posted in my last post about this clamp :) that project is here

So there it is….Let me know what you guys think. If you build one, I would like to see it – or if you have any improvements on it, I’d like to hear them too!! Thanks everyone!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

16 comments so far

View norwood's profile


303 posts in 3097 days

#1 posted 02-27-2010 07:11 PM

cool another item for the todo list

-- of all the things Ive lost in life i miss my mind the most

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 3048 days

#2 posted 02-27-2010 07:17 PM

I will build a few of these, thanks. One suggestion, put a strip of sandpaper on the inside edge of the rail to prevent slippage of the moveable end.

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

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3499 days

#3 posted 02-27-2010 07:40 PM

Clever. Ever make any of the cam-style wooden F clamps?

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3118 days

#4 posted 02-27-2010 07:56 PM

No I have not – not even sure what that is – I will have to look it up – I’m a beginner woodworker. Just getting into building jigs, tools, etc! maybe once I have all my jigs, etc made…I can actually make some real projects!! haha :)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#5 posted 02-27-2010 11:23 PM

I think this is an excellent idea and I will be making a least one (probably more) for myself. I will make one suggestion that I plan to incorporate in my version. I would like to be able to replace the shaft board with a board of another length. If I need to clamp something that needs a 12 inch clamp, a 48 inch shaft is awkward and gets in the way. I envision having inter-changeable boards at 18”, 36”, 54” and 76”.

It looks like this was made with maple. I’m pretty sure I will use maple. It’s one of the strongest woods for something like this.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#6 posted 02-27-2010 11:34 PM

Grat clamp. As spendy as clamps are, I have always wondered why more guys & gals didn’t make them.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3491 days

#7 posted 02-28-2010 01:23 AM

cam clamp project. it uses metal bar stock for the body.

View Ole's profile


67 posts in 3103 days

#8 posted 02-28-2010 01:32 AM

View MrPukaShell's profile


49 posts in 3072 days

#9 posted 02-28-2010 01:34 AM

As far as replacing the “Wooden Washer” at the end, how about a chair end? Or one of the carpet protectors. I like my local True Value hardware store. They have a section of those drawers that contain every odd size nut, bolt, fasteners, knob & washer you could ever want. Just a thought.

Have fun and I like the idea.

-- Robert, So Cal, My Turn or Yours.....

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#10 posted 02-28-2010 05:23 AM

Ole – It is interesting to note that you really don’t need to understand the language to understand what he was saying. As one who has traveled quite a bit in Asia and Europe, I have come to appreciate how easy it is to communicate when you don’t know the language. Of course, I remember an early morning in Lisbon when I was lost trying to get to the airport. I remember impersonating an airplane at a gas station so the attendant could show me, on a map, how to get to the airport.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3196 days

#11 posted 02-28-2010 04:30 PM

the wooden washer end, use roller bearings. the ID should be whatever the threaded rod size is. use two nuts to hold it at the end. drill a flat bottom hole in the wood washer to the OD dimension of the bearing and press onto bearing. roller bearings are cheap and will turn easier under pressure than a leg leveler as suggested before. the length of the threads on the leveler is limited also.

nice design on the clamp

-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View drbyte's profile


800 posts in 4089 days

#12 posted 04-01-2010 03:23 PM

Dakremer: Your clamps are beautiful. They will provide plenty of force except on the most warped or twisted lumber which you should be straightening first anyway. Most people use way too much clamping force and squeeze out all the glue. Tite-Bond recommends no more than 250 psi on even the hardest of woods. You could add a second jaw similar to your sliding jaw just in from of your clamp foot, with a counter-bored hole in it for the clamping screw/foot end. This jaw could be ‘pinned in place with a wood or metal dowel to keep it from moving around too much. It just needs to ‘swivel’ a little to follow the screw. This would solve the ‘walking’ problem and even a better benefit would be that it would become more of a parallel jaw situation for even better clamping. It would not be able to reach around an object like the screw foot/pad does but the benefits gained from the parallel jaws and better clamping force would outweigh the drawbacks in most cases. The clamping would become more solid from the bar clear out to the tip, not just where the screw foot is. Maple for the bar would be wonderful or even oak. You’re gonna’ enjoy these babies, make dozens of them and spend your $$ on something you can’t engineer or make. I’ve been at this a long time, and still never seem to have enough clamps. One thing to consider when making these is to make them long enough to clamp common size items, including any cauls you may need. I hate having to use a 4’ clamp because my 2’ are exactly 24” with no room for cauls. Make your 28” or 40” or whatever common sizes you clamp, with room for cauls and you’ll enjoy them even more. Great job.

-- Dennis, WV

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3187 days

#13 posted 10-25-2010 01:00 PM


Nice idea. How are these working? I know its kinda late but my first thought was to use a screw like in the video to stop it from slipping but I like the sandpaper idea better. In thinking about ‘why’ someone would make their own, I come up with two answers 1) cost and 2) minimize storage. Cost is minimized by using materials you can get REAL cheap, or better yet, FREE! That weeds out some of the ‘specialized hardware’ that has already been mentioned. In place of that though, the 7mm inline skate bearings and T-nuts have proven very inexpensive for some of the things I build. Actually if you take apart some of the discarded office chairs, inside are very good T-nuts that can be used. And the skate bearings can be had for about 35 cents each. They can be used for the pad on the end of the screw shaft. They are 7mm which works well with 5/16” threaded rod.

As for #2, consider building the clamp ends to fit a standard 2×4. 2×4’s are cheap, plentiful, and can be easily switched in and out.

Just some thoughts, latecomer thoughts.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3118 days

#14 posted 10-25-2010 04:09 PM

Thanks for the thoughts Rance. Yes – i am a poor grad student – so cheap is definitely on the mind! woodworking is too expensive for me right now – but i cant stay away, so have to make do with what i have/can afford. This clamp works really well. i haven’t had the time to make version II yet. It is the longest clamp i have, and i still use it when i need it. however, for ease (and again, cheapness) i have some Harbor Freight clamps now – and i use those most of the time – they kinda suck, but for me, do the job.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#15 posted 10-25-2010 05:31 PM

Thanks for the tips I’ll pass it on to my students.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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