DIY Band Clamps | Step by Step Woodworking Tool

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Introduction: DIY Band Clamps | Step by Step Woodworking Tool

About: The Dogfather, Chris Giffrow || Youtuber, Maker of things... mostly from wood.

If you go to any woodworking or hardware store worth it's nuts and bolts, you'll probably find some band clamps for sale. They're not particularly cheap, a pair of standard size ones come in at around $20 for a pair. Depending on size, they're a touch cheaper or more expensive. They're built well. However, what if I told you that you could make an extremely affordable option for a fraction of the cost. In fact, for the same price as two, you could make a string of nearly twenty. Well look no further. These band clamps are awesome for applying pressure from three different points: top, bottom, and outside. They're clutch for applying hardwood or standard edge banding and are also good just as a hold for jigs or when you just need the assist from your invisible friend in the shop that doesn't exist. If you do have an invisible friend in the shop that does exist, I suggest getting professional help.

Supplies

27" long x 1 1/8-1 1/4 bicycle innertube

spring clamps (any brand will do but home depot has the anvil ones for .99/clamp)

box cutter or knife

marker/chalk/colored pencil... just something that you can mark with

bucket of water with a couple squirts of dish soap or simple green

small ruler or tape measure

scrap block for straight edge cutting

rope to hang the clamps on when you're done and to make a cool necklace

Step 1: Prepping the Clamps

These spring clamps usually come with a rubberized guard on the mouth. I go ahead and take all these off. If you're into being overly clean you can give your clamps a scrub down or even hit them with a wire brush in a drill. But in my opinion, for .99 cents I'm not going to take a ton of care with these so I just rip the rubberized guards off and call it a day. They're tools at the end of the day and they are going to get beat up.

Step 2: Inner Tube Prep

The most work is going to come from preparing your band, aka the inner tube. I cut mine into 5" lengths. You can go a bit shorter if you like, probably to about 4" at the smallest. I just try and not go too long because it reduces the clamp's ability to apply the third point of pressure, from the back of the mouth, which is the whole point of using these. I start by cutting out the valve stem first and then just measuring 5" along the way and slicing across the width of the tube. These cuts don't need to be perfectly square. You just need to get in the ballpark and the scrap block I have with a relatively straight edge is a good tool for doing so.

Then I measure an inch from either end and strike a cut from the center of the inner tube outward toward the edge. There's usually a seam in the rubber at about the middle so you can really just eyeball it. I then line up my ruler and strike down that seam to cut out a rectangular patch of the rubber. This helps make the piece between the jaws a bit more malleable and stretchy and allows for this to perform more like your traditional band clamp. I imagine you could just take the 5 inch tube, uncut, and try the same, but it would be stiff and probably semi-rigid at points and bind on itself.

After, to remove the talc on the inside of the tube (a YouTube viewer let me know what the inside powder was), I just wash the insides of the tube in warm soapy water in a bucket. You can do it at the sink. It doesn't matter. Then dry it off and you're ready for assembly.

Step 3: Assembly

Assembly is pretty easy. You slip each end on to one of the jaws of the clamp, the cut side faces inward toward the mouth. You tuck in the band between the jaws and you're done. No adhesives are required to keep the band fixed. If you want to, you could use some hot glue to help fix it, but it's really unnecessary. I also like the ability to be able to remove these in the event that one of the bands gets damaged. However, just for frame of reference, I made my first batch almost two years ago and I've only had to replace one band, so unless you're overly hard on these, you shouldn't have much trouble.

Step 4: You're Finished. Rejoice.

And now you've got a full set of band clamps to work with. You're finished. Rejoice. One of the great things about these band clamps is that the rubber is pretty resilient and resistant to finishes, glue, etc. When I've done a big glue up or lamination that involves them, the squeeze out is inevitable and it peels off the rubber like nothing happened. I like to keep these on a big long looped string that hangs on a hook in the shop, and that helps me have these all in one place and keeps me from losing them. They also make a lovely necklace. Tiny shop hacks for the win. In any event, if you're going to whip some up, be sure to tag me in your attempts or unique ways that you use them. If you have any questions hit me up in the comments below!

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    22 Comments

    0
    tomatoskins
    tomatoskins

    1 year ago

    I've been meaning to make some of these for years! Great execution!

    0
    oragamiunicorn
    oragamiunicorn

    1 year ago

    those look great, i'd seen a similar idea using rubber bands, but I always thought that looked weak and fragile. These look really heavy duty and would bear weight / tension well. just out of interest, why do you remove the talc? does it make the rubber slip on the metal?

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    I've just removed it because that's the way it was shown to me but after some follow up it does apparently prevent it from slipping off during an application.

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    So candidly: I was told to remove the talc. I don't really know why I do it. However, a few folks have told me that the talc is essentially a lubricant so I would assume that the reason we remove it is as you said, to make sure it doesn't slip off. These are just friction fit on there so you want to have maximum grip from the tube portion to the clamp jaw. Hope that helps!

    0
    myamiphil
    myamiphil

    1 year ago

    The talc is used to prevent the rubber from sticking to itself.... as rubber ages and breaks down it gets gummy.... So it probably also helps keep it plyable longer.

    0
    TonyB203
    TonyB203

    Question 1 year ago on Step 1

    Why do you take the rubber off the clamps? Can't you just slip the inner tube over the rubber?

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    I reckon you'd need a tube that's just a smidge wider.

    0
    GTO3x2
    GTO3x2

    1 year ago

    These should be named Normal Clamps or Perpendicular Clamps for the normal force they can apply. A band clamp implies a compressive band, similar to a band brake.

    A handy type of clamp, nonetheless.

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    Interesting. Never thought of that. The product that I'm replicating is called a "Bandy Clamp" but perhaps they even misnomered it too.

    0
    dlebryk
    dlebryk

    1 year ago

    Excellent simple project. More importantly, the glass you have, very nice. Wondering what that beautiful brown liquid is, and is it important to building this the right way?

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    Scotch. And no it's necessary but it certainly makes it more entertaining.

    0
    UkeDog
    UkeDog

    1 year ago

    Great idea, now you got me looking at Harbor Freight spring clamps (groan)!

    I've got some old bike tubes laying around that I've already cut some off,
    to make free rubber bands. The idea of buying a new tube just to cut up
    makes me cringe though--I'm pretty sure if you went to a local bike shop
    and asked for an old tube, they'd be happy to oblige!

    Small suggestion on the tube cutting part: just use a 5" block of wood to
    start with (no measuring needed), then possibly a thin 3" long one to
    center down the center and cut around.

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah there's a guy who suggested a pretty good template idea in the comments on YouTube. it was pretty similar to that. He suggested throwing a couple kerfs in at the 2 and 4 inch mark from the side too. Quite clever.

    0
    LenSolomon
    LenSolomon

    1 year ago

    Cool idea. Imma make some. I always have a box of inner tubes of several sizes on hand, courtesy of the local bike shop that just throws them out. I use them as tiedowns; I use them for grips on tool handles; I cut sections for small rubber bands; all sorts of stuff.

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    Oh I dig that tool grip idea!

    0
    tonyi
    tonyi

    1 year ago

    Simple and neat. Well done for sharing.
    & looks like a nice wee dram off to the side to keep you warm in the process ... a man after my own heart.

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    It's oak casked glenlivet. It's delicious.

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    1 year ago

    Excellent! Hope you don't mind if I steal the idea! ;)

    0
    cowdogcraftworks
    cowdogcraftworks

    Reply 1 year ago

    Go nuts man. Someone showed it to me so I could show it to ya'll.