Wood clamps are a MUST for every woodworker, in fact, I have heard it said many times "you can never have too many wood clamps" and I know there are many times this is true, and for me, they often seem to be just out of my reach when I need them most.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/5mW-FSzR96w

I recently decided to upgrade some of my very old and original pipe clamps with some new bar clamps from Bessy ... and try them out. So far I have three different kinds and I do like them, the problem now is that they don't really fit in the rack that I build many, many years ago, so time to re-vamp the workshop one - more - time ... 

I guess I shouldn't complain, I am the first one to say every workshop is a work in progress. Woodworkers are always changing and updating things in their workshops, for many of us it's a home away from home ... or even a home within a home, so we need to make it work best.

What I really needed was a new clamp rack for all my pipe and bar clamps. I found some lovely quartersawn fir that was dry, straight and flat, and not exactly cheap, but it was what I needed for the job, and so not to "overbuild" as I can so frequently do, I decided to cut some of the 4 inch wide boards in half to make the rack a bit lighter and 4 inch was way thicker than needed for something like this.  

Mobile Clamp Rack for Wood Clamp Storage

One of the first things I noticed about the new clamps was that they seemed to take up a LOT of space on my old rack and if I decided to add to the quantity of them, I would soon run out of room. After pondering this problem for a while, I noticed that if I turned half of the clamp upside-down, I could save a ton of room on the rack, but this would mean building a new rack for them ... ah darn ... another woodworking project. And this time I would make the rack mobile so I could store it and use it anywhere. I could also design it for all the different clamps I have and make it big enough to expand my "clamp collection".

Bar Clamp Rack

You can see in the picture below just how little space is required to store these Bessy clamps when every other one is upside down. Notice the 2 bar bottoms between the right side up versions. I could probably even have squeezed them in a bit more but I wanted to be able to show how they look, you could see how much room they saved in the video clip on the same topic. 

Wood Clamp Storage

The one thing I did notice is the new clamps are somewhat heavy. This means that the storage rack would need to be quite sturdy, and most of all I would want to make sure it won't "Rack" ... that is moving back and forth due to poor joinery of the joints. There are a few options I could have used but I opted to use dowels (dowelmax.com for those who are new to the website) because they are very strong, possibly the strongest joint, and they are quick and easy to use compared with most other forms of joinery.  

Dowel Joints

For dry fit with dowels, I have some slightly undersized dowels that I use which are colored blue or red for different lengths of dowel. The reason I use the undersized dowels is that when I use the finished dowels the fit is so tight it is very difficult to get the wood apart again to apply glue and re-seat so I use the undersized versions to check hole alignment and spacings. 

The final touch after all mobile rack has been assembled is to install some anti-skid material. The main purpose of the anti-skid was to keep the clamps in place as I move the cart around and particularly the lower ones that sit upside down, they tended to slide a bit in testing, but with the anti-skid material they seem to be quite firm and it saves me from having to install little cleats to help keep the bars from moving. 

Bar Clamps

 

I do NOT have plans for this but have the dimensions that you can work from and adjust if you need.

Base Plywood - 3/4" x 30" x 34"
Back Uprights - 3/4" x 52" x 1-3/4"
Front Uprights - 3/4" x 52-1/2" - 1-3/4"  Note the angle is 98 degrees or change to what suits 
Cross Pieces, 7 needed - 3/4 x 3-1/2 x 26-1/2"  this is inside measurement between uprights
Cross Pieces for sides - 6 needed, measure these for bottom middle and top
Spacing for cross pieces - 4 along the bottom and top (Front, back and sides) 
for the clamp holders I set one on front and back so top of support is 31" from the base to top of cross piece
and another that is 11" from base to top of cross piece.

This was one of those shop upgrades that really made a big difference for me, not every upgrade does that but this one gave me more room, more mobility, and more options for changes in the future while giving me a sturdy place to store clamps now and in the future.

Copyright Colin Knecht
woodworkweb

       

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