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My small shop is in the lower level of my house, underneath the kitchen. The ceiling is exposed joists. Currently, I've been hanging my bar clamps over my workbench with racks screwed to the joists, which you can kind of see in these pictures:

Lighting Building Ceiling Engineering Electricity


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It occurred to me that I could pack more clamps into the same amount of space if I hang my 24"+ clamps from a rack mounted high up on the joist, and bore staggered holes (or cut a long slot) below the rack to hang my collection of shorter 6"/12"/18" bar/quick-grip clamps. All in, I think I'd be looking to store somewhere between 50-60 clamps (quick-grip, F-style, parallel, and aluminum bar) on two joists.

It would take a LOT of holes removing a LOT of material before I started seeing structural problems with a floor-supporting joist, right? How many holes/hanging clamps do you think I could get away with in a single joist before it becomes dicey? Part of me thinks I'm worrying about nothing, but another part of me wants to at least be a little cautious before going hogwild on my house's structural elements.
 

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If you like your kitchen the way it is, read the section in the Uniform Building Code about the size, placement and amount of holes in joists. You might be surprised at what you should and shouldn't do. If you proceed on mounting your clamps like you are questioning, you could be doing a kitchen remodel before you thought it would be necessary. My 2 cents…......... Jerry (in Tucson)
 

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If you have open floor joists, there may be a better way to store them without making holes in your joists. Make a swing down storage rack for the clamps. When you need a clamp, swing down the enclosed storage unit. Put it back up when not in use. Then they are up and out of the way when your not using them and not banging your head on them.
 

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Cutting a long slot, definite no no. Staggered holes might work depending on the span and dimension of the joists you have. A better option might be to add something either to the joists or in between them. Even if you can safely bore holes, there will be a compromise in strength most noticed by addition bounce as you walk across that whichever joists have been modified.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you have open floor joists, there may be a better way to store them without making holes in your joists. Make a swing down storage rack for the clamps. When you need a clamp, swing down the enclosed storage unit. Put it back up when not in use. Then they are up and out of the way when your not using them and not banging your head on them.

- artsyfartsy
We have a winner! This sounds like a perfect idea, and even easier than you described because I already have all the metal clamp racks I need. I can just screw them to plywood sheets sized to fit between the joists with a swing-down/latch-up mechanism.

Thanks everyone for setting me straight. I'm very glad I posted here before doing something stupid.
 

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I wouldn't bore into the joists themselves, but you could either make a swing-down rack as DWelch suggested or just hang any type of rack off the joists, like a horizontal 2×2 suspended by vertical 1×2s (which would be similar to the long slot idea).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I wouldn t bore into the joists themselves, but you could either make a swing-down rack as DWelch suggested or just hang any type of rack off the joists, like a horizontal 2×2 suspended by vertical 1×2s (which would be similar to the long slot idea).

- Rob
Yup. Swing-down platforms will be perfect - I can bolt my clamp racks to them and store all of my clamps compactly between the joists when not in use. No more bonking my head every time I need to grab a pencil.
 

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Have you considered free wall space as an option?
Or you could pound some nails into the joist and hang clamps from them.
If you're adamant could bore holes in a 2X4, set pegs then fasten the 2X to the open joist. Anything longer than a foot will end up being a head smacker unless it's against the wall.
 

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Short answer, No. Keep in mind that it's not even a good idea to hang more weight from your joist than they were designed to carry. The more weight that is hung further from the ends of the joist the more you exacerbate the problem.

On a positive note here's a suggestion; http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/1922
It's a link to a book review I posted on the site. I've given away many copies to my friends and it's something you may find interesting too.
 

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If overloading the joists is an issue, try joist sistering. E.g. if your joists are 2×10s, joist sistering will turn them into 4×10s. Getting those boards in there will be a bit of a Physical Challenge, though.
Easier: Glue and nail a 2×4 to the bottom edge of each joist, transforming them into upside down T-joists. Great if your floor is a bit bouncy. Now you can hang up all your clamps. And other things, too.
 
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