If you can't afford clamps ...

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Project by LeTurbo posted 03-27-2014 07:49 PM 4455 views 13 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just mucking about in the workshop. I needed some long clamps and felt stomach-sick at the price. So I went and got just under US$10 of meranti (Philipine mahogany, but not the good grade) and US$3 of brass rod. It was also an opportunity to practice some long disused skills, so I made them mainly by hand with hand-cut mortise-and-tenon and other bits. OK, I cheated on the sanding machine and bandsaw…

There are two long ones, just under a metre, and three at about 600cm.

I need to add some cork to the jaws. Otherwise they work OK. They won’t get a bone-crushing bite, but so far they’ve done all they needed to. Maybe, next time, I’d cut the shoulders back further as they sometimes interfere a bit with the work – you have to clamp at an angle. But heck, about US$140 saved.

13 comments so far

View Matty272's profile


85 posts in 2698 days

#1 posted 03-27-2014 08:27 PM

Sitting here trying to work out how they clamp…...

I think the tongue is a cam lever? and the slot below it works as the part the cam pushes against?

-- It's worth every moment of effort you put in if the kids enjoy it!

View Lukas's profile


30 posts in 3327 days

#2 posted 03-27-2014 10:06 PM

I love the dragon head carvings. I always need clamps as well but now I need dragon head clamps.


View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4737 days

#3 posted 03-27-2014 10:16 PM

They look cool but I don’t understand how they work ether


View pinebox's profile


36 posts in 3128 days

#4 posted 03-27-2014 10:19 PM

Just guessing but I think if you rotate the tongue up, it pushes down on the lower jaw of the dragon.

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4737 days

#5 posted 03-27-2014 10:22 PM

I’m thinking maybe the tong is a cam that tilts the jaw so it locks ?


View Nicky's profile


711 posts in 5252 days

#6 posted 03-27-2014 11:06 PM

They are cam clamps or luthier cam clamps. The tongue applies pressure to the lower jaw as pinebox mentioned.

LeTurbo, nice job. Very creative for a practical tool. Love the designs.

-- Nicky

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 3103 days

#7 posted 03-27-2014 11:43 PM

Nice work. I like whimsical stuff. Did you work from plans?


View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1499 posts in 2794 days

#8 posted 03-28-2014 12:26 AM

Someone has way to much time on their hands…

Love the look of the clamps… that’s just sick…

-- Jeff NJ

View LeTurbo's profile


234 posts in 2745 days

#9 posted 03-28-2014 06:59 AM

Thanks all for the comments. Yes, they’re cam/luthier clamps. Slide the two faces tight together, flip up the tongue (or horn) and it pushes the animal’s jaw down. It’s an old design that’s been around since … oooh, I dunno, medieval times? No plans, BJ, I just studied some pics I found on the net. And yes, waaaaaaay too much time on my hands, bwahahaha! (Still, a lifecoach once said to me “You’re either earning or your learning”, so I put this down to honing some new skills, when I’m not honing chisels.)

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2734 days

#10 posted 03-28-2014 08:34 AM

Klemmsia make similar clamps, only difference being the bar is steel. As you say they were originally used used by Luthiers, I have used them and they are really easy and quick to use. And here’s the bonus for you, they retail at around £9 ($14) EACH. So well done.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2984 days

#11 posted 03-28-2014 11:44 AM

Very cool clamps and I like the faces carved in some of them…great job and thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4192 days

#12 posted 03-29-2014 04:48 AM

Very Nice and Well done! Thanks for Posting.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Terry O's profile

Terry O

163 posts in 2424 days

#13 posted 09-19-2018 12:09 PM


-- Terry O, Stonewall, MB, Canada

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