Introduction: Better Clamp Handles
You know those clamps with the skinny handles that every time you use them you wonder WHY are these handles so darn hard to get a good grip of to apply some good pressure? Well . . . in an afternoon (not counting glue drying time) you can beef up those handles and have some clamps you actually enjoy using.
Clamps - those ones you never want to use because the handle is too skinny
6/4 wood (I used Popular) or a 2 x 4
Tape Measurer/Steel Ruler/Caliper
Miter Saw or Hand Saw
Drill Press or Hand Drill
Forstner Bits (I used 13/16" and 7/8" for two different sized handles)
Router Bits - 1/4" roundover and 1/2" roundover
Sandpaper - 60 grit and 220 grit
Step 1: Rip Wood to Size
Rip wood to 1 1/4" x 1 1/4"
Step 2: Cut Wood to Length
On a mitre saw (or with a handsaw) cut your wood to 4" long. Setting a stop block makes for fast, accurate pieces.
Step 3: Measure and Size Handle
Measure your handle diameter. Drill sample sizes in scrap wood to determine size of Forstner bit to be used. A 7/8" hole was going to be too big, but 13/16" was a little too tight. With 60 grit sandpaper sand down the handle until it fits in the hole with a little bit of play. Measure the length of your handle.
Step 4: Drill Holes for Handle
Find the center of your new handle, position in drill press (or drill with a hand drill). Set up stop blocks, make sure your stop block in the back is high enough for stability. My red handled clamps are 3" long, but the spindle on my desktop drill press can not drill the entire 3" depth without adjusting my work piece. I set the first plunge to go in 1 1/2", put a 3/4" block of wood under the handle (drill press off) this allowed me to drill 2 1/4" deep, added another 3/4" block and finished drilling to my desired 3" deep hole. Note: I recommend a Forstner bit over a spade bit, a spade bit wanted to wander and I couldn't get a good centered hole.
Step 5: Shape Handles
With a 1/4" roundover bit in your router table, round over the ends of your new handles (I used a sled because of the small size of the pieces for safety). Round over the sides of your pieces. With a stop set up on the router fence, use the 1/2" roundover bit, round over the top edge 5/8" down. Sand handles with 220 sandpaper.
Step 6: Glue on New Handles
Apply wood glue to handle and inside your new handle. Push your new handle onto clamp. Clamp your clamps to the end of a bench/table and let dry overnight.
Step 7: Ta Da!
Before and after! Now you have new handles you can hold on to and enjoy using.
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