Pad for a C Clamp




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

C clamps are great, but they can leave unsightly dents unless used with a piece of scrap wood to prevent those dents. But, a piece of scrap wood almost requires a third hand to keep it in place while you hold the clamp and tighten its screw.

This Instructable will show a simple way to attach a pad to a C clamp to eliminate clamp dents and also the need for a third hand.

The photo shows a piece of walnut clamped to a jig I made for cutting 22.5 degree miters to be used on some flag cases I am building for an organization that will sell them to support its ministry to homeless. 

Step 1: Cut a Circle

I used a holesaw to make a round piece from 3/4 inch plywood. The diameter is about 2 1/4 inches.

  • Holesaw
  • Electric drill
  • Twist drills
  • Angle head grinder with cutting wheel and grinding wheel
  • Dremel tool and cutting wheel
  • Screwdriver

  • 3/4 inch plywood
  • Sheet metal
  • #8 x 3/4 inch screws

Step 2: Drill a Shallow Hole

The cone on the clamp screw is 3/4 inch in diameter. I drilled a shallow hole 3/4 inch in diameter on center in the plywood disc. Later I drilled this hole a little deeper for fit, but there will be more about that later.

Step 3: Two Pieces of Sheet Metal

I cut two pieces of sheet metal 1 1/8 inch by 1 7/8 inch and clamped them together. I ground the edges on all four sides so the pieces would be identical. I marked the center and simultaneously drilled a 7/16 inch hole through both.

Step 4: Drill Holes for Screws

A mounting hole will be needed on each end of the sheet metal pieces. The screws will be #8 x 5/8 inch.

Step 5: Cut Openings to the Side

I cut openings to opposite sides as shown. These "U"-shaped openings will fit around the cone at the end of the clamp screw.

Step 6: Fasten to the Disc

Slide the sheet metal pieces around the cone on the clamp screw. If the fit is too tight, make the 3/4 inch hole a little deeper so the cone goes down into the disc a little farther.

Mark to drill for the screws. Turn the screws in tight.

Step 7: Done

I can remove this clamp pad by loosening one screw and removing the other. Or, I can make this clamp a dedicated clamp for applications that require a soft footprint that will not leave a dent in a fine wood project.



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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Looks like you reinvented the wheel.But heck I just love the idea even though.Great idea and another save. ;-)

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thumbs up and bravo !…

    What any good inst' should be : clear simple effective and immediately understandable thru the pictures posted …


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I lost the swivel pad of two of my clamps. Thanks for inspiration.


    5 years ago

    Well I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to glue that dude to my next project with the squeeze out, my problem is I never think about these matters until the glue is flowing
    Btw good idea!

    1 reply
    Phil Blongwinters

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for looking and for commenting. Rather than simple plywood, you could make the disc from a shelving or countertop material that has a thin plastic laminate on one side. The laminate will not stick to excess glue. Or, you could tape wax paper over the surface of the plywood disc. Most of the time this clamp will be "around the corner" from glue squeezing out of a joint. I would want to avoid getting glue on the surface of the disc because I would absent mindedly transfer the glue smear to the next nice piece of wood.