Shopmade Cam Clamps

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Project by Douglas Bordner posted 04-23-2012 03:52 AM 8330 views 40 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Shopmade cam clamps made from scrap 3/4 inch stock after a Fine Woodworking article, and several YouTube videos. The maple bodies are pinned to 1 inch by 1/8th inch aluminum bar from the hardware store on the fixed ends with 3/16th x 3/4 roll pins. Some designs do not fill the bottom slot but rely solely on roll pins to bear against the bar on the movable jaw, but I had a hard time placing the pins to tight tolerance and decided to infill the mortise. I added the decorative hardwood scales in walnut, jatoba, striped mahogany and lacewood to dress them up a bit. Jaw faces are just chunks of cork craft tile as used for bulletin boards etc. The movable jaw is retained with a Pop Rivet.
Finish is BLO/MS/Alykd varnish wiping oil.

I was able to make four sets; two long and two shorts from the 4 foot aluminum bar and a handful of roll pins, total outlay of about $15.00. They are light duty, but handy and quick to set.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

29 comments so far

View SteveKorz's profile


2133 posts in 2716 days

#1 posted 04-23-2012 03:57 AM

Like’em a lot! I’m gonna borrow your design… :-)

Great work…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Karson's profile


34977 posts in 3403 days

#2 posted 04-23-2012 04:49 AM

Great Douglas. Some fantastic wood.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 1500 days

#3 posted 04-23-2012 11:18 AM

I’ve made a bunch of these and they’re great, but yours are much nicer with the scales. All tools should be decorated!
Tip: don’t try to apply too much pressure as the handle will break at the pivot.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View jeepturner's profile


936 posts in 1795 days

#4 posted 04-23-2012 11:26 AM

Those are nice looking clamps. I must say that I have made similar, just not as nice.
I wonder how much clamping pressure you gain using aluminum for bar stock over wood?
The other thing I noticed is your cam lock if over centered will release pressure it moved too far. On mine the cam is more teardrop shaped and will continue applying pressure until the lever hits the clamp.

-- Mel,

View Roger's profile


17489 posts in 1807 days

#5 posted 04-23-2012 11:33 AM

Very nicely done. Sure is better that the outrageous amount of money they want for clamps.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Don W's profile

Don W

16492 posts in 1570 days

#6 posted 04-23-2012 11:52 AM

sweet, my to-do list just got bigger!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6787 posts in 2982 days

#7 posted 04-23-2012 11:57 AM

Very nice Douglas.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2877 days

#8 posted 04-23-2012 12:14 PM

Those are great, Doug! Clamps like this have been on my to-do list for awhile, but just haven’t risen to the top of the list yet.

-- -- --

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 1763 days

#9 posted 04-23-2012 01:18 PM

How timely, I was just thinking the other how I would like to make some of these. Very nicely done.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View WoodsmithJr's profile


4 posts in 1227 days

#10 posted 04-23-2012 01:26 PM

Nice work. Very economical.

View hunter71's profile


2390 posts in 2189 days

#11 posted 04-23-2012 01:45 PM

Since most of my clamping is light duty, these would be a great addition to my shop.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3979 posts in 3066 days

#12 posted 04-23-2012 01:47 PM

Mel, I followed the plan from the March/April 1996 Fine Wodworking for most of this and I totally agree. If the bug me enough, I may swage out the pin and replace the cams.
That article mentioned the tendency to crack at the bottom if at least 3/4 inches of stock was beyond the bottom of the bar, but nothing about the pivot point and I have noticed a crack on one of them there. Fortunately I am drowning in little bits of stock, so I may tinker with a wooden bar and cams…

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 2289 days

#13 posted 04-23-2012 05:47 PM

Douglas, I have been meaning to make some of these fior a while. Thanks for the inspiration.
I love the way you dressed them up too. I usually end up doing the same thing to my shop projects.
I can’t leave anything plain!

Thanks for sharing
Great job

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16230 posts in 2678 days

#14 posted 04-23-2012 06:47 PM

Nice work! With the cost of good clamps, I wonder why more of these aren’t shop made?

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

View fernandoindia's profile


1079 posts in 1946 days

#15 posted 04-23-2012 08:19 PM

Nice job Douglas.

Clamps that money can´t buy

-- Back home. Fernando

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