C-Clamps are so expensive! Did you see that price tag last time you were at the store?
I don't have a very big budget for projects, So I make most of my tools. That's why I'm going to show you how to make a perfect woodworking C-Clamp, Using only hand tools! What's better than making an extremely useful hand tool with only hand tools? :)
Let's get started!
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Step 1: What You'll Need:
A Bolt (Use a long bolt for making a big C-Clamp, And a short bolt for a small C-Clamp)
2 Identical Hex-Nuts (That fit on the bolt)
Several "Flat-Headed" Wood Screws (I used 2 for the small clamp, And 3 for the big clamp)
A 3.5 x 3 x 3.5cm Piece of Hardwood (I don't know the name of what I used)
2 Pieces of 1.8 x 3 x 7.5cm of Hardwood (Same... I don't know the name of what I used)
1.5cm Dowel (optional)
Wood Glue (Optional)
Varnish (Or Lacquer)
CG-90 (Or Grease)
3mm Metal Rod (Salvaged from a printer)
A Countersink Bit (Optional)
A Back-Saw (A Miter-Saw would have been great...)
A Pencil or Pen
Epoxy Mixing Stick
Sandpaper (Grits I used: 66, 180, & 600)
Paintbrush (If you use Varnish)
Drill-Bits: 2, 3, & 6mm
1 or 2 Clamps (Optional, But they help a lot)
Why: Make your own wooden C-Clamp! They're so expensive to buy...
Protection Gear Needed: Respirator & Ventilated Environment
Cost (for me): FREE!
Needed Skills: Drilling, Chiseling,
Approximate Time: 2 Hours (It really depends on what tools you have...)
Step 2: Cutting the Wood to Size
To make a wooden C-Clamp, You obviously need wood...
I used some really hard wood that I had laying around, Which I unfortunately don't know what kind it is
I clamped the wood in my vise, And cut it to size with a backsaw, As shown in the picture. The dimensions are:
One piece of 3.5 x 3 x 3.5cm & Two Pieces of 1.8 x 3 x 7.5cm
Step 3: Drill a Hole in the Wood
I drilled a hole in one of the 1.8 x 3 x 7.5cm pieces of wood. While the size of the drill-bit doesn't really matter (You'll see soon why), I do recommend keeping around a centimeter or two from the edge (~0.4" to 0.8 Inches)
Step 4: Mark, Chisel the Hole, & Add Epoxy
First, Start by marking the outline of one of the Hex-Nuts (Because they're both identical) around the hole. Make sure that the Hex-Nut is centered exactly over the hole
After that, I used a 5mm Chisel and My Homemade Plywood Mallet to chisel out the shape of the Nut in the wood. The depth of the hole should be chiseled to the exact height of both of the Hex-Nuts when they're stacked on top of each other
Lastly, I mixed up some 2-Part Epoxy, Made sure that all of the insides of the hole were covered, And placed the Hex-Nuts inside.
Step 5: Drill a Hole in the Bolt
While letting the Epoxy dry, I clamped the bolt in my vise, And drilled a hole with a 3mm drill-bit into the bolt. This looks like an incredible task without a Drill-Press, But I did it! (Hint hint: It isn't)
If you use a bolt with a bigger head, It would probably be best to drill into the head.
Step 6: Making the Clamp's Body- Part 1: Drilling
It's a bit hard to explain this, But I put the wood together in a "C" way, And drilled Pilot Holes for the screws that I wanted to put in. I positioned a screw on each side, Making it possible to have a screw head on each side. I drilled two pilot holes, Because I wanted to put in two screws
Although I didn't do it in this clamp, I did Countersink the the holes in my second C-Clamp. Learn from your mistakes! On the second clamp, I also put three screws, Just to make sure they it was strong enough
Step 7: Making the Clamp's Body- Part 2: Glue & Screw
"Glue & Screw" The English language sure has weird rhymes...
I added wood glue between the connections, But that is optional. Before screwing in the screws, I clamped up the wood tightly in some clamps, And then screwed them in. This helps reduce the risk of having the wood pop and crack
Step 8: Making the Handle
I made a different handle for each clamp:
For the first clamp, I cut a small piece of dowel, Drilled a hole in the middle, Slid a 3mm metal rod through the hole, And attached the dowels to each end. They hold tightly enough without glue
For the second clamp, I took another 3mm metal rod, And bent it in my bench-vise. Both of the designs are pretty easy to use
I also added some CG-90 grease spray to the screw and the nut, Which makes it easier to use: "like butter"
Step 9: Sanding & Adding Varnish (Or Lacquer)
After planing the edges a bit with a rasp planer (To get a "routered look") I started sanding the clamp with 60 Grit sandpaper, And several minutes later, I moved on to 180 Grit.
I applied the first coat of varnish, Waited 2 hours*, Sanded a bit with 600 Grit Sandpaper, And applied the second coat. The sandpaper helps smooth it out and the Varnish adds protection
*I did this according to the instructions
Warning:Although the Varnish I used didn't have a strong smell (when compared to others), Always apply finishes in a ventilated area. While sanding, It is also recommended to use a dust mask or a respirator
Step 10: DONE: in Use & Storage!
As you can see in the pictures, Not only are they awesome, But were also FREE, Meaning that... Well... They're Awesome!
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While you're at it, Why not make another one?
Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016
Participated in the
Hack Your Day Contest
Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016