Wooden C-Clamp(s)

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 07-15-2016 08:48 PM 1586 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last year I threw together a wooden C-clamp [link] to see if I could do it and to see if it would be of any use. Last May I half jokingly used it to hold two model railroad modules together. The modules are essentially tables. We align them in a big square, clamp them together end to end , with corner modules, hook up the track and run model trains on them. We typically use classic metal C-clamps, but I used my wooden one and it did just fine. I was strong enough.

With that success under my belt, I built another one and took pictures. Here’s how I did it:

[Above] Using some scraps of 1×2 (which typically measure 1-1/2×3/4 inches) I cut two lengths of 8 inches and one of 6 inches. I formed half lap joints on these with the table saw. I also cut 3/16 inch slats of those same lengths. These will cover the lap joints for strength.

I cut a 1×1x4 inch handle grip from scrap as well. I also got an 8 inch long threaded rod, two nuts and washer for same. The washer should be under 7/8 inch and does not need to fit the rod. A short length of 1 inch dowel and 1/4 inch dowel are also needed.

[Above] I cut two pieces from the 1 inch dowel, one is 1/2 inch, the other is 3/16.

[Above] At the drill press, in one of the 8 inch lengths I drilled a 5/8 inch hole to accept one nut. Then down the center of that, I drilled a 3/8 inch through hole for the threaded rod.

[Above] While I was at the drill press, I drilled a 3/8 in hole in the thin piece of dowel and a 3/4 inch hole in the thicker piece, deep enough the generously hold the washer and the nut.

[Above] I also drilled a 3 inch deep hole in the grip piece. Then I took the corners off of the grip with a little block plane. Sand paper or rasps would also work.

[Above] With that done, I glue the threaded rod into the grip and the nut into the hole in the one arm. Usually I’d use epoxy for this, but this time I used some construction adhesive. The biggest disadvantage is the longer dry time.

[Above] After sanding the flats of the joints I glue the clamp together, making sure the nut is on the inside face of that arm. Then I glued the slat pieces on to overlap the joints.

[Above] Now it’s just a matter of the pad. I screwed the threaded rod into the nut a ways and put the thin piece of dowel on it. Then I glued the nut onto the end of the rod with 5 minute epoxy. Finally I put the washer in the thick piece of dowel and glue it onto the thinner piece. This traps the nut withn the pad and keeps it from drilling through the pressure end.

[Above] To add strength to the joint I drilled two diagonal holes in each elbow and glued in pieces of 1/4 inch dowel. I then cut them a little proud and sanded them flush. I finished it with boiled linseed oil.

This build yielded a clamp with a capacity of 2 inches and a throat capacity of 5 inches.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

5 comments so far

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1778 posts in 2668 days

#1 posted 07-16-2016 11:37 AM

Made the DT3 at 1:05 AM! Cool!

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Oldtool's profile


2786 posts in 2670 days

#2 posted 07-16-2016 01:01 PM

Nice work, there’s something about making a functional tool that appeals to woodworkers. Congrats on the Top 3.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Ivan's profile


14918 posts in 3347 days

#3 posted 07-17-2016 09:21 AM

Nice clamp. Sure I will use this post to make one. There were several occasions when I needed one and not having it.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View CFrye's profile


10739 posts in 2319 days

#4 posted 07-18-2016 10:09 AM

Congratulations on DT3, Dave! You can never have too many clamps :-)

-- God bless, Candy

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4192 days

#5 posted 08-05-2016 04:06 AM

A niceb clear description on how to do this, thank you.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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