Pinch Rods for the shop

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Project by JerrySats posted 04-16-2013 03:35 AM 8873 views 14 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ve been wanting to make a set of these for a while and after reading about the set Schwarz made . His blog post on them .

I looked around the shop and found some scrap stainless tubing , bought some 1/4×20 thumbs screws ,tapped the tubing then ripped up some straight grain reclaimed heart pine I had laying around and before you know it, Bob’s your Uncle . It was a quick project that is long over due .

11 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4068 days

#1 posted 04-16-2013 04:36 AM

A very handy tool and nicely made.
Until recently mine were held together with elastic bands
It worked. :)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Belg1960's profile


1151 posts in 4277 days

#2 posted 04-16-2013 10:50 AM

Jerry, Love the idea and the execution. I started to read the blog and wonder how accurate they would be? As doesn’t it have to assume that your spacing on a shelf or partition is accurate? What happens if your shelf is slightly off from left to right and then you square to this? NOT trying to be a pain/smart a$$ but just don’t know if I’m seeing the true squareness these will create.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View doubleDD's profile


10633 posts in 3255 days

#3 posted 04-16-2013 12:59 PM

Jerry,like your simple assembly. To do list for sure.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View RichCMD's profile


430 posts in 3153 days

#4 posted 04-16-2013 02:56 PM

I’m thinking it works like this. First you check to see that the top, bottom, and sides are square. Then you start by checking the first shelf or parttion is square with one side and the top or bottom. You can then use the first shelf or parttion to check the second, and so on. That’s just a guess tough as I haven’t tried it.

-- Ride the bevel!

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 4181 days

#5 posted 04-16-2013 05:29 PM

A very useful measuring aid to have and they look good. With the pointed ends though, does it make measuring with a tape difficult? Are the lengths random or a specific measurement?
If you made one 24” long closed, you can simply measure the extended piece and add 2’. I have one specifically for measuring ceiling heights which is 2000mm long so it’s only a case of measuring the pulled out portion and adding 2m.
Above comments not directed at you but might be of interest to anyone adding a pinch rod to ‘to do’ list.

View jlar310's profile


5 posts in 3124 days

#6 posted 04-16-2013 06:15 PM

I have always wanted to make a set of these too, but I didn’t know what to use for the clamps. The square tubing is so obvious, yet it completely escaped me.

They are used by setting them to the distance of one diagonal of your box, cabinet, or whatever. Then turn them to the other diagonal for comparison. If the 2 diagonals of your box are the same length, it’s square. That’s it. No measuring. No numbers. The ends are pointed so you can get them all the way into the corner.

-- Jeff, Saint Paul

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4806 days

#7 posted 04-16-2013 06:45 PM

Mann you learn something new every time you look at this site. This is such a cool idea, can’t believe I’ve never heard of them before. I’ll be making me a set of these very soon.

Thanks for the post..

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View JerrySats's profile


237 posts in 4822 days

#8 posted 04-17-2013 01:56 AM

Thanks everyone for the kind words , I can’t take credit for the idea , just like everyone else here when I saw the blog post it was one of those “why didn’t I think of that ” moments . Jeff pretty much covered how you use them , I’m sure there’s other why’s but I don’t know of them . If anyone knows of another way please post and let us all know .

As for the lengths , that’s really up to your needs . I made one set using two 30” pieces and the other 12” , that covers most of my case work and drawers .

View FWF's profile


5 posts in 3637 days

#9 posted 04-23-2013 02:11 PM

Your pinch rod holders are great. I use “pinch rods’ or “bar gauges” or “measuring sticks” all the time. What I use are two “binder” clips (of medium size) – sometimes three OR a sping clamp.

The “binder clips” are readily available from any store and cheap. They allow you to use standard 3/4” wood to make your measuring sticks. They also allow you to “slide” the wooden sticks to take the measurement but yet hold the sticks together to take your reading. If your concerned about movement of the measuring sticks you can use an additional spring clamp to make certain they won’t move when you remove to take your measurement.

I find that I use the measuring sticks most often to make sure something is “square” or to take the inside reading of a dado – like a drawer dado to make certain of the drawer bottom size – when I can’t use a tape measure.

View Doug's profile


1247 posts in 3973 days

#10 posted 09-28-2013 06:08 PM

At first I had no idea what pinch rods were. Thanks for the post. I’ll have to make some soon.

-- Doug

View FWF's profile


5 posts in 3637 days

#11 posted 09-28-2013 06:19 PM

Once you realize how nice they are to use for particular measuring – you’ll find that you want to and do use them alot.

They can be very simple to make with “binder clips”.

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