Wall-Mounted Clamp Racks

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This article is from Issue 43 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Wall-Mounted Clamp Rack

Strong, compact storage for pipe clamps and bar clamps

Designers: Paul Anthony and Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Overall dimensions: 34"w × 109⁄16"d × 10"h

Pipe clamps and bar clamps can be a real pain to store in a shop. They’re heavy, unwieldy, and space-hungry, especially if hung single file on a wall. Of all the clamp racks I’ve encountered over the past few decades, this one brightly outshines the rest, allowing you to stack clamps a half dozen or so deep, saving serious wall space. The rack is both strong and simple to make, consisting of gusset-shaped brackets glued and screwed to a backboard that’s either mounted on French cleats, as shown here, or screwed directly to wall studs.

This 34"-long rack handles up to 25 pipe clamps or 30 parallel jaw clamps. If you need more storage, simply extend the length of the rack.

Note in Figure 1 that the spacing between the bracket pairs shown in the drawing accommodates standard 3⁄4" pipe clamps and parallel jaw clamps with a 11⁄8"-wide bar. If your clamps differ, measure the outside pipe diameter or bar width, and add 1⁄8" to that to determine the spacing between the pair of brackets.

You can cut the brackets with a portable circular saw guided by a triangle square, working on a sheet of rigid insulation.

Make the rack

1 Rip enough 10"-wide strips from 3⁄4"-thick hardwood plywood to yield the parts you need. If you’re making the 34"-long rack shown, two 8-foot long strips will do the job. Then crosscut the backboard (A) to length.

2 Referring to Figure 2, make a bracket template from stiff cardboard or 1⁄4" hardboard.

3 Trace a bracket (B) onto your plywood and cut it out. If your mitersaw can’t make the 14"-long angled cut, you can use a triangular carpenter’s square and a portable circular saw outfitted with a plywood cutting blade (Photo A). Set the square’s lipped edge against the plywood, and guide the foot of the saw against the angled edge. Saw the rest of the brackets in the same manner.

4 Make the Dado Layout and Routing Jig as shown in Figure 3 on the next page, building it around your rack parts for accuracy. First, saw the jig’s three fences and two rails to the sizes shown. Place the rails against opposite edges of your backboard, and nail or screw one of the fences to them, squarely spanning the backboard. Locate and attach the two remaining fences, using scraps of 3⁄4"-thick plywood (or brackets) in between as spacers.

Clamp the routing jig to the backboard, and rout the dadoes using a mortising bit with a top-mounted bearing.

5 Lay out the dadoes on the backboard. If you plan to screw the rack directly to the wall, first mark out any wall stud locations to work around. Use the dado spacing in Figure 1 as a guide, but adjust it if necessary to suit your particular clamps.

6 Chuck a 1⁄2"-diameter mortising bit with a top-mounted bearing into a handheld router, adjusting the bit depth to make a 3⁄16"-deep cut. Clamp the jig to the backboard (A) and rout the dadoes (Photo B). 

7 Dry-clamp each bracket (B) in turn in its dado, and drill countersunk pilot holes for three #8 screws where shown in Figure 1. If your screws are threaded within 1⁄2" of the head, drill clearance holes through the backboard to allow the parts to pull together completely.

8 Fasten the brackets into their dadoes using glue and #8 × 2" screws. Allow the glue to cure fully.

Mount the rack

Note: The rack can be screwed directly to the wall, but using beveled (French) cleats eases the initial mounting and possible relocation later in an evolving shop. If you forgo the cleats, make sure to terminate the backboard ends over wall studs to prevent the ends from pulling away from the wall under clamp weight.

1 Cut the cleats (C, D) and the spacer (E) to the sizes listed in the Cut List, and then bevel one edge of each cleat. Attach the upper cleat and the spacer to the backboard using screws and glue.

2 Locate your wall studs, and attach the lower cleat (D) to all available studs using 3" screws. (It’s best to fasten this particular 34"-long unit to three studs.) Also attach the spacer.

3 Hang the rack on the cleat. Properly installed, it should easily support the load, but for added insurance, drive 3" screws through the backboard (A) and spacer (E) and into the studs.  

Small Clamp Corral

Simple storage for F-style, pistol grip, and spring clamps

By Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Overall dimensions: 24"w × 7"d × 291⁄2"h

F-style bar clamps and pistol grip clamps are among the handiest assembly tools in any woodshop. But because of their deep jaws and protruding handles, they need organized storage to prevent becoming entangled like a jumble of coat hangers. This rack suits the job perfectly, accommodating everything from 6"-capacity clamps on up. The secret is in the angle of the rack and the size and spacing of its rails. The angle ensures that F-style clamp bars rest solidly against the rack instead of dangling loosely. The 4"-wide rail by itself provides enough bearing for 6" clamps, while longer clamps are hung from the narrow upper rail with their bars supported against the lower rail. The rack bottom serves as a perfect ledge for one-handed pistol grip-style clamps, and a 3⁄4"-thick strip screwed to the underside holds spring clamps.

Make the rack any width you like to suit your particular clamp collection. If you plan to mount it on a wall, it’s best if the rack is at least 20" wide so it can span two wall studs. The 1⁄2"-thick back eliminates the need for screw cleats, making mounting a snap.

Make the parts and cut the joints

1 From 3⁄4"-thick hardwood plywood, cut the sides (A), to the size listed in the Cut List, sawing the angle with a jigsaw or bandsaw. Alternatively, you can use the tablesaw with a straightedge board pinned to the stock to register against the rip fence. (See “Simple Tapering at the Tablesaw,” page 21.) Cut the bottom (B), and top (C) to length, but leave them about an inch wider for now.

2 From any 3⁄4"-thick solid wood, make the upper and lower rails (D, E) to size.

3 From 1⁄2"-thick hardwood plywood, cut the back (F) to size. (If you decide to alter the rack dimensions, note that the length of the back is equal to the length of the sides and that its width is the same as the length of the top and bottom.)

4 Saw or rout a rabbet on the ends of the sides (A) and the rear edges, where shown in Figure 1.

5 Position the upper and lower rails (D, E) where shown in Figure 1, and then trace along their edges to lay out their notches in the sides. Saw the notches using a dado head on the tablesaw, supporting the stock on edge against the miter gauge.

6 Dry-assemble the rack, and then mark the projecting front edges of the bottom and top (B, C). Disassemble the pieces, adjust the bevel angle on your tablesaw, and rip both front edges.

Assemble the rack

1 Dry-clamp the upper rail (D) into its notches, and then glue and nail the sides to the ends of the bottom (B) and top (C), using 6d finish nails.

2 Screw the upper rail in its notches, making sure that the rack sides are parallel along their length.

3 Glue and nail the back (F) into its rabbets, ensuring that the unit is square.

4 Screw the lower rail (E) into its notches.

5 Make the spring clamp block (G), and attach it with glue and 11⁄2"-long screws.

6 Make and attach the ledge strip (H) where shown, using glue.

7 Sand off any sharp edges, and let the glue cure fully before mounting the rack and loading it up with your clamp collection.  


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