A-Frame Mobile Clamp Rack

Comments (0)

This article is from Issue 27 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Put a shop-full of assembly tools and supplies in this packhorse organizer.

Designer: Ben Svec
Builder: Tim Birkeland

Overall dimensions: 31 1/2"w ×37 1/2"d ×70"h

Keeping your wide assortment of clamps in one place and near your assembly table or workbench is like herding cats. You may find your spring clamps in one corner of the shop, hand screws in another, your strap clamps in a drawer, and your bar clamps scattered all over. But with this mobile A-frame rack, you can stop the madness and keep everything within arm’s reach. The sides, made up of multiple rails, offer ample space to hang bar clamps up to 4' in length. Four drawers provide homes for smaller clamps, and two fixed trays, at top and bottom, make room for assembly supplies that could include a compressor, nail guns, glues, and more. Better still, you can make the project with low-cost kiln-dried dimensional lumber from your local home center. 

Start with the A-frame sides

1 Plane seven 2×4s to 11/4" thick to square the edges. Rip five of the 2×4s to 3" wide, and the remaining two to 31/4" wide. From the 3"-wide stock, cut four A-frame uprights (A) to length, angle-cutting the ends at 7º as shown in Figure 1. Measure and mark the locations of the dadoes and 11/2" dowel holes, noting that two uprights are mirror images of the other two. Chuck a Forstner bit in your drill press and bore the holes.

2 Install a dado set in your table saw, attach a 4'-long auxiliary fence and stop to your miter gauge to ensure identical cuts, and dado-cut the A-frame uprights as shown in Photo A.

Raise the dado set 1/2" above the table and cut the 11/4" wide dadoes in two passes.

3 Crosscut two top rails (B) to length from the 3"-wide stock. (See the Cut List.) Starting with 31/4" wide stock, rip a 7º bevel along the inside edges of the four lower rails (C), then cut to length. Finally, gather up six 11/2" -diameter × 36"-long dowel rods (D) for the side assembly. Dry-assemble the sides together. You may need to sand the dowel ends to fit.

4 Apply glue to the dadoes in two mirroring uprights. Then fit the rails (B, C) and dowels (D) in place, making sure the rails are flush to the outside edges of the uprights only. The lower rails (C) should protrude 1/4" beyond the inside upright edges to provide drawer clearance. Now, tap the parts snugly in place with a mallet, starting at one end, as shown in Photo B. Referring to Figure 4, drill countersunk pilot holes and then drive 21/2" screws through the uprights (A) and into the rails (B, C). Secure the dowels with screws driven through the edges of the uprights (A).

Tap the side assembly parts together and secure with screws.

Make the base and top trays and build the A-frame

Note: The base tray includes the inset frame for the casters.

Screw the bottom and top trays to the side assemblies.

1 Cut the base tray bottom (E) to size from 3/4" birch plywood. Now, from 3/4" stock, cut the side cleats (F), end cleats (G), sides (H), and ends (I) to the dimensions in the Cut List.

2 Butt-joint the side and end cleats (F, G) together, and glue and screw them with 11/4" flathead screws to the bottom face of bottom (E), flushing the outside edges as shown in Figures 2 and 4. Next, clad the edges of the cleats and bottom assembly with the base tray sides (H) and ends (I), flushing the bottom edges with the assembly. Secure with finishing nails and glue.

3 Cut the top tray parts which include the plywood bottom (J), pine sides (K), and ends (L) to the dimensions in the Cut List. Assemble the top tray as shown in Figure 2, using glue and finishing nails.

4 Fill the nail holes on the base and top trays; sand to 220 grit.

5 Fit the side assemblies into the base tray, snugging the angled uprights into the corners. Now screw the two assemblies together as shown in Photo C. Complete the A-frame structure by screwing on the top tray where shown in Figure 2.

Add the drawers and casters

1 Plane enough stock to 1/2" thick for the drawer sides and ends. Now, cut the sides (M), ends (N), and 1/4" hardboard bottoms (O) for two large drawers, using the dimensions in the Cut List. Cut the sides (P), ends (Q), and bottoms (R) for the two small drawers to size as well. Cut extra drawer stock for test pieces. And note the spacing between the rails (C) in Figure 4.

2 Chuck a locking drawer joint bit in your table-mounted router. Add an auxiliary fence to your router-table’s fence. Now make test cuts in two joining pieces. Cut one piece representing the drawer sides (M, P) holding it vertically against the fence and using a sacrificial pushblock as shown in Photo D. Cut the mating end pieces (N, Q) by laying it inside face down on the table and moving it through the cutter as shown in Photo E. Adjust the bit height and fence location until the test parts fit like those in the Locking Drawer Joint Detail in Figure 3.

3 Rout the ends and sides for both large and small drawers as discussed in Step 2.

4 Switch to a 1/4" straight bit and cut 3/16"-deep grooves in the sides and ends for the drawer bottoms where shown in Figure 3.

Rout the ends of the drawer sides by placing the parts vertically against the fence and moving them across the cutter (left); place the mating end pieces inside face down on the table and rout them as shown. 

In each case, use sacrificial pushblocks for safety and control.

5 Dry-assemble the parts for the large and small drawers. Adjust if needed, then glue and clamp the parts together. Later, sand the drawers smooth to 220 grit. Sand and finish the A-frame clamp rack and drawers. (We sprayed on a durable polyurethane finish.)

6 Fasten the drawer SLIDE hardware to the inside top edges of the lower rails (C) as shown in Photo F and where shown in Figure 4, ensuring the hardware is flush with the rail top edges and ends. Center and attach the glides to the drawers and slide the drawers in place.

7 Lay the clamp rack on its side and add the two fixed and two swiveling casters with carriage bolts. Stand the rack up, and load it with your collection of clamps.

Hold the drawer hanging hardware flush to the top end of the rail before driving the screws.


Write Comment

Write Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In

Top of Page