Things I Used For This Project:
- ISOtunes Bluetooth Hearing Protection
- Hercules Dolly
- Ultimiate Workbench Plans
- Triton Track Saw
- Right Angle Clamps
- Titebond Original Wood Glue
- Brad Nailer
- Bessey K Body Clamps
- Rockler Surefoot Clamps
- Bessey KlikClamps
- Bessey DuoClamps
- Bessey F Style Clamps
- Bessey Miter Clamps
- Infinity Table Saw Blade
- Infinity Insert Plate
- Rockler Cross Lap Jig
- Titebond Glue Pump
- Rolling Lumber Rack Plans
Plans for this project are available here!
This week I’m tackling a problem that I’m thankful to have, and that’s having so many clamps! Noticed I didn’t say too many, as there is no such thing. Recently a local cabinet marker retired and sold me his entire stock of Bessey clamps. And instead of adding to my wall mounted system I’ll be building this mobile rack so I can wheel all of my clamps over to a work surface instead of carrying them a few at a time. Lets jump into how I did it.
When doing a basic search for mobile clamp racks I ran across this Infinity Tools video and loved the simple but effective design using plywood so I started off by replicating the body.
I started by setting the boards on my workbench and drawing those two unique side shapes on a sheet of plywood then using my track saw to cut them out. These look like an Erlenmeyer Flask where it’s wider on the bottom and narrower on the top and I can tell you now that I’ve built it, that the rack doesn’t feel at all top heavy, even when fully weighted down.
The rack does take two sheets of plywood to complete the build and you’ll notice that I’m using a new assistant in my shop. It’s a new panel carrier to hit the market called Hercules Dolly. Instead of woman-handling full sheets over to my workbench, I’m now able to set the front end of my sheet on the Hercules Dolly then very easily maneuver the sheet over with no effort at all. You can place the dolly at the front if you need to drive it around items, or more near the center of the sheet to take more of the load or to give you a good balance point should you want to also use the dolly to help lift the sheet of plywood.
If you’re interested my friends at Hercules Dolly have given me a 10% off coupon code for y’all. For the next two weeks, if you use April at checkout then you’ll get 10% off your Hercules Dolly.
After getting both sides and the bottom cut I started joining things together, using the help of these right angle clamps.
Next I moved the entire thing to the ground to make attaching that center board of plywood easier. I laid it on it’s side and marked off where the board needed to be place then laid down Titebond Original wood glue. I stood the unit up to attach it with screws and even though I had that pencil mark on where the board needed to land I found it easier to cut a spacer, clamp it in place, and just butt the board up to it then screw it down. After getting done with one side, I repeated on the other side.
Next was more glue then attaching the front lip to create a bottom shelf. These I screwed in from the sides but then I also flipped the unit over to attach it from the bottom. Here I took the chance to also secure the center board in a few places from the bottom as well.
I wanted to make the unit mobile so next I added some heavy duty casters and I do recommend investing in some good casters for projects like this. I first beefed up the area they would be mounted to the rack because it will be hauling around a good bit of weight when it’s fully loaded down. I chose to mount these pads on the inside of my unit to avoid adding height to the rack but if 3/4” doesn’t make a difference to you, these can also be mounted to the bottom so they aren’t seen.
My friend and fellow content creator Maker Gray was hanging out with me so I recruited her to help me test out the rack. I better get out of there before we decide to start throwing knives or something. haha.
Alright now to move on to customizing this unit to really be functional. This is where things might vary for you since everybody’s clamp collection is different. I recommend pulling out every clamp you own, pull a few dimensions, then dictate the number and placement of the holders that will make the most of the space for you.
All of my holders are extremely simple, put together with wood glue and brad nails then attached to the rack using pocket holes. I didn’t use any glue when attaching the holders because as my clamp collection changes I want to have the ability to move things around and reorganize.
Since I have so many Bessey K Body style clamps, I’m dedicating an entire side of the rack to them. I sped up the process by batching out the holders by tapping the plywood cuts together then running them through the bandsaw all at the same time. This creates the triangle support piece on the bottom side of the shelf. After drilling a few pocket holes in each shelf I attached things with glue and brad nails.
To save on space, I’ll be storing all my really long clamps vertically but all the medium sized clamps horizontally and it’s extraordinary how many clamps I was able to jam in doing it this way. 42 if you’re wondering!
Just a tip when you’re placing these shelves, set one screw but be sure to throw a level on it before setting the second. This will make things look really tight and sharp in the end. Once I placed enough shelves to mount all my clamps of this style I attached a small lip to the front of each holder to keep the clamps from being able to slide off while moving the entire rack around. Oh another tip for you: I discovered that a shelf would hold four clamps if I placed them all facing the same direction, but if I alternated the heads then I could fit in six clamps on each shelf. So if I need more room in the future I could consolidate and free up more space along the bottom.
Alright, now onto the other side. I had a few more extra long K Body style clamps so I first included a similar shelf on this side to house those. But then I started making shelves suited to hold the Rockler Surefoot bar clamps, which since I’ve never owned K Bodys before, have been my main go to clamps for glue ups.
These clamps are aluminum and very light weight so I kept their hanging brackets much simpler and left it as two shallow triangles with a few pocket holes in them to attach to the back. Now I had something unique planned for this side of the rack so I made sure all these hangers along the top would keep the clamps on this side inside the side walls of the rack itself. I’ll get to my reasoning later on, but note that if you don’t want to do any add ons like me, then you can make these brackets protrude past the side walls and hold more clamps to fit your collection in.
I started off by switching my blade to a dado stack that matched the thickness of the clamp’s neck. BTW another new thing in my shop I’m loving are these insert plates from Infinity Tools. Instead of cutting a slot in a new plate, they make a permanent plate with a slot for a removable insert. Once I cut into a new one, I write directly on the insert what cutting size it’s for so I can easily grab for it in the future.
I had to share that because I think it’s way too cool. Anyways, for cutting the slots equally you can of course measure across your board and mark off where to cut then manually move your board along, but I ended up using a really neat new jig put out by Rockler that makes this task a cinch.
The jig works so that you can set a metal gauge on the sacrificial fence to match the width of your dado cut. This way after you cut one slot, you can place that cut on this gauge then it will space all your other cuts equally for you. You’ll see that I went ahead and stacked two boards together while making these cuts because I wanted two boards for the top of the clamps as well as the bottom. Or at least that’s the case for the larger sizes.
To attach these holder I stuck with a few pocket holes along the bottom and secured them directly to that center board.
Now another thing to consider if you tackle this project is to place your clamps according to what you use most. My most reached for clamps are the bar clamps so I placed those in the prime position on my rack, then the F style clamps along the bottom. But if you use these more often, then place them higher an other clamps lower.
Oops – I skipped over the miter clamps. This was an easy shelf with some holes punched in it to match the diameter of the threads on these clamps. I added some triangle support wings then used pocket holes to attach it.
Then finally the last style of clamp I wanted to hang were these wooden hand screw clamps. These were the easiest as it was just a stub out scrap piece with some pocket holes to attach it. You can see I made two different sizes for the three sizes of clamps I have.
I’ll have to play around and see what I end up using this bottom shelf mostly for but in the mean time I used it for accessories to gluing such as my gallon bottle storage, these tiny clamps that I placed in a bin, and these right angle clamp it jigs I so often reach for.
Keep in mind you could stop there on the rack but I had a few more ideas for add ons to take the unit another step further.
First thing was a glue refilling station. If you keep your small glue bottles close to full then you don’t have to squeeze as hard while applying. However, going from the gallon jug to the smaller one is always a challenge but Titebond has got our backs with a new pump to simplify the task. By adding in a shelf for my gallon jug to sit on, I’m thinking I’ll not put off filling up my smaller bottles as long as I normally do. Then on the same thought process, I went ahead and made another shelf for my small glue bottles to be housed in.
Ok this next add on is something I was very excited to try but understand that it’s an experiment so I might need to make some adjustments in the future.
What I’m aiming for is to have a glue up rack on my clamp rack. This will eliminate taking up workbench space for any small glue ups, which for me covers about 90% of my glue ups.
I wanted this attachment to be removable so I came up with a design that incorporates a French cleat. I started by making these cleats over at the bandsaw then attaching them to the rack on either end. This set up could end up supporting a good bit of weight so I went ahead and used wood glue on these.
Next I cut a board to length with a corresponding 45 degree angle cut on the bottom to fit into these cleats.
Then I made some dog ears, or some stand offs that I would cut and then attach to this board. These are so I could not only push out a metal rod from the board, but also provide the rod some support across it’s length.
With that looking like it would work I next started figuring out how to modify these Rockler Surefoot clamps so that I could hang them from this metal rod. These clamps already come with two holes punched near the end. I enlarged the last hole to match the size of my rod then took it to my bandsaw and cut away some material in order to create a hook. I cut in this hook on all my 24” and 36” long clamps.
Now you can see what I’m going for….. the glue up rack is removable so I can have it out of the way if needed but then quickly set into place when needed. Then I can hang my clamps with this hook and I can place the clamps anywhere along this rod. If I have a short boards for glue up then I can place two really close or four close, but then if I have a long board glue up then I can go up to 4’ wide with my clamp spacing.
There was still more to figure out though. Instead of having the clamps hang vertically I wanted to have them angled out some to make feeding in boards easier and to also push the glue up away from the rack for dripping glue to miss it. To achieve that, I first cut off the 45 angle in between the two cleats. This is so I could extend this board down further so I could attach another board to push out the clamps, but a little bit further than where it would currently land.
I took the rack off to make attaching this board easier but I didn’t use glue as again this is an experiment and I know I might need to make adjustments in the future. In the mean time I left it at predrilling then using screws.
And Volia…..that does exactly what I need it to do. I’m so excited to play around with this in my next few glue ups. Keep in mind that you could easily build this rack by itself and place it anywhere in your shop that you place a mating cleat. I went ahead and placed a cleat on my lumber rack so if I don’t want it on my clamp rack for some reason I have another option for it other than my workbench surface.
Ok last attachment for this Swiss army clamp rack….adding in a roll of brown construction paper and a roll of wax paper. It’s very handy having a roll of each in the shop to protect surfaces from getting gunked up due to painting, finishing or glue up. I placed a few dog ears along the top surface then threaded another length of metal rod through. These stand offs are attached by pocket holes, facing out, so if either roll needs to be replaced in the future it’s an easy task.
Now I’m sure a lot of you will suggest to add a bandsaw blade to the rack to make tearing off this paper easier, but I did this for my other roll over on my out feed table and I can tell you that moving a pocket knife across the paper is far easier than moving the 4’ wide paper across a stationary blade. But to each there own of course.
Aw man, I lied. One more attachment. I glue station takes up one side of the rack, but the other is still blank so I added on a cleat so that when I’m not using the glue up rack, I can store it on the clamp rack itself. This keeps it assessable for use but also keeps it from just lending up against a wall somewhere, taking up space.
Ok, and I’m not lying this time. That really does do it for this clamp rack. I haven’t quite figured out where I want to keep it yet, but for now I’ll place it in a corner.
I think I’ll have to come back and add on a handle on each side to make grabbing and pulling this thing around, easier. Click this link if you would like a set of plans for this one.
I hope you enjoyed it because I loved this project. I like things having a home and being easy to find. I hope this inspires you to make a clamp rack of your own.