Multi Directional Ratchet Bar Clamp System




About: I enjoy everything

Most of the time I work alone, so clamps are my imaginary helper.

Sometimes my rachet clamps break. Not being a person to throw things away, I keep them in a scrap box.
Well I was in the need of clamping some oddly shaped items and I remembered my box full of broken clamps.

Well, I came up with a simple solution. I bent some S-hooks onto a welded ring and mated them with the broken ratchet clamps.

This will allow me to clamp in many directions; for the oddly shape item.
In this instructable configuration; I am using three clamps, but I could add more if I wanted to.

In the past I have made several holding fixtures and most of them take up valuable space when not in use.
This assembly allows me to break it down for easy storage and create other configurations.

Step 1: Components and Tools Used

2-inch diameter welded steel ring- ¼-inch diameter wall

S-hooks 1 ¾-inch length 1/8-inch diameter wall (used three) – not all s hooks are made equally. I purchased a few sets and in the bending process, they broke. Therefore, I went with s hooks from rubber tie-down straps.

Ratchet bar clamp (used 2) 6-inch ---- (used 1) 24-inch – I used broken clamps and removed the damaged/broken finger end.
 Note: clamps that can take the one finger off - can work.

5-inch bench vise – really almost any vise will work

15-inch adjustable wrench

Large channel lock pliers

Step 2: Get Started by Bending S-Hooks

I placed half of the S-hook into the vise. Using the 15-inch adjustable wrench, I put a 90-degree bend into it - by pulling the wrench towards me. I did this for all three S-hooks.

I then put the same part of the S-hook that was in the vice onto the welded ring. Using my large channel lock pliers I closed the end-permanently to the ring. I did this for all three S-hooks.

I choose to keep them mounted all in the same manner or direction.

Step 3: Assemble

I choose to make a three clamp Multi directional ratchet bar clamp system. (wow that is a mouthful)

Since I made this to take apart, assembly is a loose term.

The clamps have holes in the end of the bars; the bent S-hooks are mounted into these holes.

S-hooks on the ring are all facing in the same direction, so all the clamps are position correctly to close around an oddly shaped item.

Side note: If I permanently squeezed the S-hooks to the ratchet clamps, set up for clamping might be easier- not sure, since I did not try this.I do know that if they were kept permanently all together, it would collapse nicely to hang on the wall.

Step 4: Some Clamping Options

Keeping in mind that these ratchet clamps were in the scrap box.
I am pleased to have a new use for them.

Step 5: More Clamp Options

Different lengths of bars and different size clamps; along with different rubber pads can be use for specific applications.

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    46 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great project!

    I have a few of those exact clamps in my shop and want to use this idea to make a more "removable" version of this, so I can easily switch between multi-clamping and the standard configuration of the clamps.

    It's funny, one of my clamps have also snapped at the same trigger mechanism and drilled a hole through for a bolt exactly as yours and that clamps tighter than any of the other clamps... I am waiting for the day those break as well so I can also "upgrade" them.

    1 reply

    I am glad you like the idea. I have a box of broken tools, mostly from garage sales, just waiting for an idea. I like the way you think, I have my eye on a few of my unbroken tools for upgrades.
    Contact me, when you finish your clamping system.
    Thanks for the comment and viewing my instructables.

    horseman woodshop

    5 years ago

    Great idea! always looking for innovative ideas like this to help weird clamping situations. wish I would have seen this before I repaired an oak poker table the other day. Will remember this next time!

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    A few years ago, Lie Valley, as an April fools thing put this together. As I understand, that got so many requests they took it off their website.

    1 reply
    Fikjast Scotttwoherbs

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I took a look at lee valley thingabob. But it is not like mine. It has a large foot print, which I was trying to avoid. I like the idea that so many people made requests. Thank you for looking at my instructable and expressing concepts of other clamping solutions.


    5 years ago

    You should/could patent this! This has to be one of the smartest things I have seen in a long time. What an excellent Instructable!

    1 reply
    Fikjast Scottno1speshal

    Reply 5 years ago

    I have been creating things for so many years and never had such a large audience as instructables. Truth be told, I really do not know where to go from here. I have to start learning. Thank you for your nice comment.


    while the keychains would give added flexibility to the clamping system, be careful how you use the clamps with those included in the configuration.

    For light pressure clamping I am sure they will be fine, but the ultimate tensile strength of the keychains will be far less than half that of the S hooks since they are made of plated copper and not steel.


    Thank you for the feedback. I thought of a split key ring or a large binder ring at first; but I did not want to trust their strength. Those rings would have eliminated the S-hooks. My second thought was to assemble a cut steel ring and then weld; but I ended up using off the shelf items so most people could make it. I have not tested this exact ring for total strength, but I always want people to use caution. I really wanted to find a steel ring with a threaded closure. I was taught when doing glue ups, you what to use just enough clamp pressure to just close up the gap. Too much pressure can press out most of the glue and create a poor joint. I also, tend to drill and use screws. Therefore, if this fixture can hold things together long enough to complete my task, I am happy. When I was a kid, my dad used me as a human clamp. This is why I like instructables.