Life as an Amateur Woodworker #39: Bar Clamps

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by PhilBello posted 02-23-2015 02:34 AM 1823 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 38: Table saw Accessories Part 39 of Life as an Amateur Woodworker series Part 40: Current project put on hold... for today! »

They say that you can never have too many clamps, in my case I have a distinct shortage, so decided to do something about it this week.

I only have one clamp of any length, and that is a pipe clamp I made some time ago, I decided to make some wooden bar clamps, but storage is at a premium, so some of the sturdier, heavier clamps were out before I started.

I reviewed a number of YouTube videos on the subject, and ended up taking ideas from two or three of them.

One alteration from the norm, was to use 1/2” threaded rod for two reasons, the first it is stronger, and secondly less turning to move it due to the increased size.

The bars are 48” long, made of two laminated 3/4” ply strips, which are not 3/4” as with all things Colombian, I bought them as that, but they are between 16.5-17mm instead of 18mm, no problem I adjusted a couple of my measurements to allow for this, the bars therefore are approximately 1 1/4” square. I used this instead of hardwood to keep the weight down.

I cut recesses on either side using the table saw to fit the headstock, and then using the pillar drill, drilled holes for the bottom jaw pin (I am not using dowel, but 1/4” carriage bolts cut into 2” lengths, not using the threaded part) the holes are 1 1/2” apart.

I had a little help from my friends!

The headstock, the top and bottom jaws are mahogany.

I had a problem when it came to the headstock, because I have been informed that Colombia does not stock 1/2” Tee Nuts for some unknown reason, so I had to recess nuts into the headstock and stick them with epoxy.

The top jaw is a mahogany block, which I cut and then made a recessed spaced for a 1/2” nut allowing enough space that it could swivel inside, this was epoxied to the threaded bar, and then the other part of the jaw glued back in place, and clamped until dry. (no photo, as my hands were covered in glue!)

The bottom jaw has the metal pin, which is offset on both axis to allow for minute adjustment

Once I had fabricated all the parts, I varnished them, and then came the glue up, the headstock was fixed with wood glue, but the handles I epoxied on.

They looked great, and I was really chuffed!

They sat on my bench overnight, and the following day I came to hang them on the wall, and realised my mistake, I wont repeat my language, but I had put the headstocks on the wrong way around, with the nut facing the handle, so any great pressure would probably push the nuts out.

I was not a happy bunny, I was tempted to smash the handles off, take out the rod, cut off the headstock recut it and the bar and start again, I had enough length, as there was 40.5” clamping length, I would have lost about three inches. However someone else came up with the idea to cut some metal to straddle the rod and stop the nut coming out. I had some metal straps which were ideal for the job, not pretty but still functional.

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

2 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3442 days

#1 posted 02-23-2015 03:06 AM

GRRRRRRRRREEEEEEAAAAT save! Love your shop assistants! Post about their function after use?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View PhilBello's profile


411 posts in 2567 days

#2 posted 02-23-2015 11:33 AM

Ha! Ha! Thanks Tom, I was always taught, ‘Do it right, or don’t do it at all’. so this work around, was not ideal, but it works. I make these things and then it can be weeks before using them, but I will update as to their practical use, once…used!! lol!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics