A Modern Handscrew Clamp

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Project by Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB posted 02-11-2014 07:19 PM 5560 views 13 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last week, I posted a super simple handscrew clamp made from hardware store parts. It is fully functional and performs its job perfectly, though it is difficult to clamp things when the jaws are not closely parallel. I put some play in the shafts to allow for it to clamp when slightly out of parallel, but modern handscrew clamps added a pivoting barrel nut to allow for greater tolerances. So woodworkers are more used to that style of clamp. Still wanting to make my own clamps, here is the modern design.

I am demonstrating in this video only those aspects which are different from the previous build. If you want schematics for the jaws and handle, you can click here.

And click here to watch the video.

Additional materials needed:
2 – 1/2” round rod (12” in length)
4 – 3/4” round rod (1-1/2” in length)

Tap and Die (1/2”-13 both right and left handed)

-- Fr. Thomas,

8 comments so far

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2394 days

#1 posted 02-12-2014 01:52 AM

Really well done. It looks difficult to get the rods on the jaws initially. I wonder if it wouldn’t spin more freely if you waxed the rods in order to transfer wax to the wooden threads.

View Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB's profile

Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB

79 posts in 2454 days

#2 posted 02-12-2014 02:14 AM

LJackson: The wax would probably help, but there is no difficulty twisting the screws once the handles are connected.

-- Fr. Thomas,

View waterbear's profile


5 posts in 2505 days

#3 posted 02-12-2014 03:37 PM

Have you noticed any loosening with the wood nuts? Do you think that metal would be Better? I am wondering I think I may try and make a set this weekend.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3093 days

#4 posted 02-12-2014 05:00 PM

Nicely done. I too am curious as to how the wood nuts work out in the long run. Also, where did you find a reverse thread tap and die?

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB's profile

Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB

79 posts in 2454 days

#5 posted 02-12-2014 05:28 PM

Waterbear: I have heard that over time the metal will strip the wood, but I also heard that adding BLO or Danish Oil will aid in the strength of the screws. Nevertheless, I was able to secure some 3/4” round rod and do plan to replace them when I have chance.

HillbillyShooter: I purchased the reverse tap and die from Victor Machinery in New York. I can say that they have very good customer service.

-- Fr. Thomas,

View waterbear's profile


5 posts in 2505 days

#6 posted 02-12-2014 07:38 PM

Fr. Thomas. Thanks for the reply. I think I might go with wood to start with it seems that it will be quicker to do.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24924 posts in 3906 days

#7 posted 02-17-2014 01:02 AM

Nice handy clamps!! Good job on them…....................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3476 days

#8 posted 02-17-2014 01:48 AM

I made some of these about 30 years ago. The plan I used called for 3/8 threaded rods (all thread). I could buy the left hand threads on a rod. I cut them and welded them back together with left on one end and right hand on the other end. I used file handles as the plan called for. The rods had 3/8-16 NC. They aren’t as fast to change as the acme threads we buy. MSC had the threaded rods and the left hand tap. I made 26 of these. Would I do it again? Well with the prices as low as they are today, probably not. I think I paid about $50 for the materials. Used oak pallets (free) for the wood parts. Scrap cold roll bars (free) for the 1-1/2” parts. Lots of work for a few dollars. I have bought some pretty cheap clamps lately.

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