Cam Clamps

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Project by bch posted 01-24-2014 03:22 AM 6498 views 6 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cam Clamps
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I made these cam clamps of hickory, purchased from a new seller in town providing wood fell in our own community. This board was labelled with the name of the community adjacent to mine. So, the local wood part is neat. The instructions I followed were in the excellent book, Tool-Making Projects for Joinery and Woodworking, by Steve A. Olesin. I highly recommend the book to other beginners. I’m having great fun following along in his footsteps and learning a lot.

Wine corks were cut and glued to the clamp faces.

I still need to soften those hard edges. I can’t decide if I should leave them “raw”, or finish them, presumably with boiled linseed oil and paste wax. I am leaning towards doing so. Your opinions and especially experience are requested. Thanks.

-- --bch

8 comments so far

View NonnoTony48's profile


85 posts in 3078 days

#1 posted 01-24-2014 10:40 AM

Beautiful Work, congratulations.

Cheers Tony,

View Gary's profile


72 posts in 3378 days

#2 posted 01-24-2014 06:01 PM

Nice! I always like broken edges. I think it makes everything more “friendly”. BLO or tung oil would turn them into works of art. No, wait. They already are.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. —Paul Anderson

-- Cheers -- g

View Boatman53's profile


1083 posts in 3312 days

#3 posted 01-25-2014 01:26 AM

Nice job on the clamps. I would not put any wax on the bars, you want the head to hold when the cam is tightened.

-- Jim, Mid coast, Maine home of the chain leg vise

View Garry's profile


103 posts in 2831 days

#4 posted 01-25-2014 10:37 AM

Very nice. But I have a question about the design. It seems the cross-section of the part with the pivot should be heavier to match the strength of the end piece. Or maybe the end piece is heavier than it needs to be.

-- Garry, North Carolina woodworker and engineer - The journey you're preparing for has already begun.

View bch's profile


304 posts in 3805 days

#5 posted 01-26-2014 09:59 PM

Boatman53: You’re right—no wax on the bars. Thanks for the warning!

Garry: I think you are saying that the fixed clamp is thicker than the moveable clamp that has the cut and the cam in it, and that part of the design seems out of whack to you. Is that right? I think I can see why you say that. I can say all the cam clamp designs I’ve seen have looked like this, however. I’m not experienced enough to comment further.

Thanks for your comments!

-- --bch

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3783 days

#6 posted 01-28-2014 11:19 PM

Who needs more clamps ,everybody .
Nice looking clamps and you did a nice job on the grain direction .

-- Kiefer

View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4205 days

#7 posted 01-29-2014 03:36 PM

I think they are beautiful.
Will be a joy to use and bring you a smile each time.
Way to go!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View bch's profile


304 posts in 3805 days

#8 posted 02-23-2016 03:51 AM

I should update: The clamps do not work. :-( I deviated from the plans by using wood for the bar rather than metal. They worked for a couple of months and as the wood ‘bar’ dried and became smoother they have ceased working. Do not do as I did an use wood for the bar. I have even tried cutting little saw kerfs every eighth inch and they still do not hold. This was a failed experiment, though they do look pretty (unfortunately that is all they do). If I redo this project I will use the metal bar as called for in the plans.

-- --bch

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