Clamp Rack




Introduction: Clamp Rack

About: I'm cheap and like to use what I have on hand and I really enjoy taking things apart to salvage parts. Rather than be a precise engineering type of person, I'm more of an enthusiastic tinkerer. Making things...

I've been wanting to find a better way to store my clamps. Until this project they have been in a plastic bag in a caibnet and not easily accessable. This project was inspired by two things:

1) An episode of the New Yankee Workshop where Norm made a huge rolling clamp storage system with angled dowels for storing smaller clamps; and

2) Zanshin's use of hose clamps in his Wood Slab Instructable

I combined the angled dowels from Norm's storage system and mounted it using hose clamps to my workshop shelf. I'd just like to note that I'm dissatisfied with the quality of my execution on this project. However, it still functions and I thought it might serve as an inspiration to someone who is more skilled than I. So here it is.

Step 1: Materials

The materials I used are:

  • A scrap board
  • A 7/16" dowel rod
  • 2 hose clamps
  • 2 screws with wide and flat heads

Step 2: Tools

Not all of the tools I used are pictured in this step. As tends to happen once I got into the project more tools were needed to overcome obstacles as they arose. Honestly I didn't remember to go back and stage another tool shot. Here's what I used:

  • A drill press with movable deck
  • A hand drill
  • Drill bit sizer
  • Drill bits and drill bit stop
  • A Dremel w/ cutting wheel
  • A cicular saw
  • A jig saw
  • A screw driver
  • Clamps
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Mallet/Hammer

Step 3: Sizing the Rack

In order to know how big you need your clamp holder to be measure the width of the shelving unit.

Clamp your board down and transfer the measurement to the board.

Cut with your circular saw. Now make sure you transfer the line the whole width of the board. Don't say to yourself "With the neat laser site I should be able to maintain the line". And then when the line disappears at the halfway point don't say to yourself "I can hold it steady for a measly 3 inches". You'll end up with a not so straight edge. Trust me.

Step 4: Determine and Mark Dowel Positions

Next we'll need to determine how far apart to place the dowels that the clamps will hang from.

Figure out how far up the board you to mount the dowels. I'm sure someone could develop a formula for maximum strength and weight distribution of the clamps. I just made an arbitrary choice. Use a straight edge and pencil to mark a straight line down the length of the board.

I determined the spacing between dowels by laying my two largest clamps next to each other. They are about 6" wide at their widest point. I marked the point where I wanted the dowel to pass through the clamp on the board. My board is only 16.5" long so a third dowel 6" away is out of the question. I just eyeballed the final dowel placement. I plan on using this dowel for small clamps. This way the clamps won't stick out past the edge of the shelf unit.

Step 5: Dowel Holes Part 1 - the Ends

Now that we've marked the position of the dowels it's time to drill the holes that will receive them. Determine the diameter of your dowel. Put a bit of the same diameter in your drill press. (Not pictured).

Determine the thickness of your board. Then set the depth gauge of the drill press to slightly less than this depth.

Adjust the deck of your drill press so it is tilted at a slight angle. I chose 10 degrees. Then clamp your board in place with bit directly over the first dowel hole. Drill out the hole.

You need to repeat this process for the dowel hole on the opposite end of the board. However, you will have to change the angle of the deck so that both dowels are angled in the same direction. If you just flip the board around the dowels will point in opposite directions. For instance since I drilled the first end on a 10 degree slope to the left I drilled the other end on a 10 degree slope to the right.

Step 6: Dowels Holes Part 2 - the Middle

I couldn't get to the middle point I wanted to drill using my drill press b/c the support column was in the way. So I removed the bit from the drill press, set it in the dowel hole and set a drill bit stop in place. Then I put the bit in my hand drill and clamped the board back on the angled drill press deck and attempted to drill the middle hole by holding the holding the hand drill as close to straight up and down as I could.

If you attempt this stop when you meet the slightest resistance. Don't think to yourself "I couldn't have gotten to the stop already!" and push harder. This is the blunder that nearly caused me not publish.

Step 7: Dowels

Now we need to prepare the dowels. I chose a length of 6.5" b/c I wanted the dowels to project about 6". I marked off the dowel and secured it in my bench vise. (Note my Bench Vise Work Protector to keep the dowels from being marred [which I just realized are obscured by the saw]) Then I cut the dowel with my jig saw.

Step 8: Hose Clamp Attachement

Now to install the hose clamps that will hold the clamp rack to the shelves.

Hold your board up to your shelving unit as it will sit. Use a pencil to mark the sides of the shelf supports the hose clamps will fit around.

Once you've marked the columns, find the half way point between the marks, and drill a pilot hole. BEFORE YOU DRILL the pilot hole make sure you aren't going to drill into the dowel holes on the other side. If the two conflict adjust the hose clamp mounting point up or down.

With the pilot hole drilled hold the hose clamp in position over the hole in the orientation you want to mount the clamp in. Use a marker to mark this spot. Then use a Dremel with a cut off wheel to cut out the marked portion of the hose clamp.

With the hose clamp modified attach it to the board using a screw with a wide flat head. Repeat for the other hose clamp.

Step 9: Mount and Insert Dowels

With the hose clamps attached it is now time to mount the rack and install the dowels.

Work the ends of your hose clamps around the support columns. Thread the clamps back together and then tighten with a screw driver. Repeat for the other clamp.

Now that the base of the rack is mounted twist the dowels into the holes and pound into place with your mallet. Once the dowels are in place hang your clamps for easy access

Be the First to Share


    • Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge

      Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge
    • Super-Size Speed Challenge

      Super-Size Speed Challenge
    • Metalworking Contest

      Metalworking Contest

    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Soooo simple yet i never thought of it !~1!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks -gonna make me TWO tomarrow !!!!!!!!!!
    really realy need this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. I might recommend substituting 1/2 or 3/4 metal conduit for the dowels as a cost saving measure. Dowels are usually $0.30-$0.50 a foot whereas the conduit usually runs about $0.20 a foot or less. Also, using the metal conserves hardwoods to some minor extent.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    why not just clamp them to the underside of the shelf? you'd block off less of the shelf.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    They don't block off the shelf as they stick out from the side of the unit. The shelves are positioned in such a way that I don't pull stuff from the sides. As for clamping to the bottom of the shelf I like to leave the area clear in case I want to store something tall. Plus being tall it is hard for me to see stuff there, and I like to be able to see stuff easily. And I'd probably hit my hands on the handles that were hanging down, which would make me cranky. Also my one bar clamp would be difficult to store this way.