Simple Clamp Racks, Old And New

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  • LarryG
    The Full Monte
    • May 2004
    • 6693
    • Off The Back
    • Powermatic PM2000, BT3100-1

    Simple Clamp Racks, Old And New

    My current clamp racks are simple L-shaped assemblies consisting of a vertical 1x4 and a horizontal 2x4 (see Photo 1). They're crude, and they're unlovely; but they took only minutes to build, and have been functional enough over the last three years.

    The only real problem with these is that the cantilevered 2x4 tends to roll downward under the weight of the clamps. This is especially true on the longer racks that are supporting heavy Bessey K-Bodies. No clamp has ever slid off onto the floor, but when moving past the racks it has become all too easy to knock the clamps askew.

    Another problem, unrelated to the racks themselves, was that my both my old and new shop spaces did not offer enough handy places to put stuff down when working at my assembly table, near which my clamp racks are located. Things like glue bottles and hand tools tended to end up on the assembly table itself, cluttering up the works and always getting in the way.

    Photo 2 shows the rough prototype for some new clamp racks which will address both problems. The new design will break the long, continuous, cantilevered racks down into sections about 24" long, with triangular end plates to support the clamp shelf.

    Above the clamp shelf is a 7" wide upper shelf to hold the items I need while working at the assembly table (see Photo 3). A curb around the three open sides keeps everything corralled.

    I have the prototype temporarily mounted on the wall and loaded with my 25" K-Bodies (see Photo 4). I'll leave it there for the next few weeks. The object is to determine whether the 3/4" thick clamp shelf will need a face frame on its front edge to keep it from sagging excessively. Most likely, it will not; although the prototype is constructed of MDF, I plan to make the final versions out of hardwood or Baltic birch plywood, either of which will be more rigid that the somewhat soft MDF.

    This is a work in progress, so I'll post additional pictures as needed. Thanks for looking!
  • radhak
    Veteran Member
    • Apr 2006
    • 3055
    • Miramar, FL
    • Right Tilt 3HP Unisaw


    I have need for such a rack, though for lesser number of clamps. I shall await updates from you on the sagging and then shall faithfully copy your design.

    Thanks for posting.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
    - Aristotle


    • jackellis
      Veteran Member
      • Nov 2003
      • 2638
      • Tahoe City, CA, USA.
      • BT3100


      I have no wall space for clamps so I hang some of the lighter ones from either 2x4s like your originals that are hung from rafters so that the ends of the bars are above (my) head height, and others in one of several U-shaped contraptions that hang from another rafter . I put the K-bodies in a rack that sits on the floor, head down, because they're way too heavy to hang. A lot less pretty than either of yours but it works well for me because just about my entire shop has to sit on the floor.

      If I had wall space available (hopefully soon), I'd copy your idea shamelessly.

      I'll see if I can post some pics later.


      • cgallery
        Veteran Member
        • Sep 2004
        • 4503
        • Milwaukee, WI
        • BT3K

        Originally posted by LarryG
        The only real problem with these is that the cantilevered 2x4 tends to roll downward under the weight of the clamps.
        Love the new design. Now what about this:

        At each location where the clamp meets the "shelf," install a small rare-earth magnet to "catch" the bar. I know these magnets can be expensive, but you can probably find a good source on the Internet.


        • lcm1947
          Veteran Member
          • Sep 2004
          • 1490
          • Austin, Texas
          • BT 3100-1

          Thank you for this post. I was just fixin to build something and those ideas are perfect for me. Excellent timing and nice ideas too.
          May you die and go to heaven before the Devil knows you're dead. My Best, Mac


          • JimD
            Veteran Member
            • Feb 2003
            • 4187
            • Lexington, SC.

            My "rack" is simplier than either of your designs - which are nice. I just screwed a 2x4 scrap flat to the wall. The 1 1/2 inch projection is enough for me to hang my clamps on.



            • jackellis
              Veteran Member
              • Nov 2003
              • 2638
              • Tahoe City, CA, USA.
              • BT3100

              I took some extra care to build "racks" that provide limited protection in case the earth moves. The San Andreas Fault's about 10 miles away and I really don't want some of my bar clamps hitting me in the head.


              • Jeffrey Schronce
                Veteran Member
                • Nov 2005
                • 3822
                • York, PA, USA.
                • 22124

                I like it. Seems like your new design could only be better than the original as far as sagging. Pretty sure I'll steal that design. I like the storage on top. Very good idea.