Shop made Cam Clamps

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Project by Div posted 05-15-2010 11:06 PM 10060 views 55 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There are never enough clamps in my shop and a while ago I decided to expand my collection by making a bunch of these cam clamps. They work very well and exert more pressure than imagined. Though not in the same class as G clamps, they are useful for light duty jobs. I know they can be bought out of a Woodcraft catalogue, but we are not fortunate enough to have them here in South Africa. Making your own means you can size them to your requirements. Besides your time, they cost next to nothing. Mine were all made from off cuts. If you are short on time, switch off the TV!

The one in the picture is a baby and only measures 6” x 3”. The shaft is made from African Blackwood and the jaws are Candlewood. The jaws were made in two halves with a rebate and then glued together. Off course you can also do solid jaws and cut through mortises. Doing them in two halves is easier and quicker, epecially if you want to make a number at the same time. Lengths of 1/8” brazing rod act as rivets to hold all together and are also used for the pivot pin for the cam.

They can be made in any size and I’m sure any hardwood will do. I would say the only important thing is not to use a brittle wood for the jaws.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

24 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2203 days

#1 posted 05-15-2010 11:15 PM

good looking clamp
thank´s for sharing


View OttoH's profile


885 posts in 2098 days

#2 posted 05-16-2010 02:20 AM

I really like the cam action on this clamp. Simple yet elegant design and carried out very well in the construction.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 2972 days

#3 posted 05-16-2010 04:37 AM

View Woodwrecker's profile


3769 posts in 2663 days

#4 posted 05-16-2010 07:54 AM

Have to add those to my ever-growing list of things to make.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Eric down in sunny Florida.

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 2090 days

#5 posted 05-16-2010 02:59 PM

Not only functional, but it looks great! Not often you see blackwood used for something other than accent work. Well done. -Richard

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Cher's profile


940 posts in 2181 days

#6 posted 05-16-2010 03:57 PM

Hi Div, you just have to love LJ’s there is always something awesome here.

Those look good and they are useful.

-- When you know better you do better.

View isetegija's profile


762 posts in 2602 days

#7 posted 05-16-2010 03:57 PM

Most excellent work.
I have not seen before such a design ,certainly I will add it to my list of work to too.
Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking

View Ken90712's profile


16034 posts in 2276 days

#8 posted 05-16-2010 04:52 PM

Very cleaver and nice saving $$$$$$$$$$$

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View albachippie's profile


715 posts in 2123 days

#9 posted 05-16-2010 08:43 PM

This is a great idea, looks great

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland -

View olg28's profile


21 posts in 2043 days

#10 posted 05-16-2010 09:00 PM

Good job for nice clamps !
Clamps are ever the problem in a project, not enough or not the good size.

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2665 days

#11 posted 05-16-2010 10:27 PM

well done

-- Custom furniture

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2028 days

#12 posted 05-16-2010 10:54 PM

Hey LJ’s! Thanks for all the compliments and real happy I could inspire some guys to add the idea to their lists. That is after all the point of the exercise.
@notottoman: For fellow woodworkers my doors are always open and the coffee pot always hot!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 3173 days

#13 posted 05-16-2010 11:33 PM

I have some of these (store -bought) and love them. Planning to make a few for a more deep-reach clamp with longer jaws. The cam action works however far out you put it, so there really is no limit as long as your workpiece is elevated during clamping. A piece of square cork inside the jaws helps nicely, too. Thanks for the photos, DIV.


View Robsshop's profile


894 posts in 2063 days

#14 posted 05-17-2010 08:13 AM

Hi there Div, great looking clamps,very nice craftsmanship. I have always liked the simplistic ,yet effective, design of these style clamps. I have seen them used a lot in fine instrument construction and was always considering purchasing some,but now(with Your inspiration ) I think I just might try to put some together myself ! I do have one question about the cam design,how did You figure out the right amount of offset for the pivot pin or is it an trial and error process ? Anyway, thanks for the post and great job once again!

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1503 posts in 3213 days

#15 posted 05-17-2010 07:42 PM

Very pretty!

Any suggestions on cutting better cams? I’ve done a few for some non-cam clamp projects, but always end up with the sandpaper and something that’s not as round as I’d like…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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