stevenbunn Fri, 07/01/2022 - 16:57

Shop Made Cam-clamps

When the latest Woodcraft catalog arrived, I sat in my chair and paged through it. There were a multitude of modern remakes of traditional tools, some nice, others ridiculous, but nothing that filled a real need and was worth the price. With one exception. Woodcraft is offering cam-clamps in three sizes. A very neat tool, but not one that really said "buy me." The smallest cost $26.00. Cam-clamps are the kind of tool which if you need one, you need a large number. Buying 20 or more of these clamps requires a serious out lay of cash. I have always been put off by prices for wood clamps (well tools in general), and have been making many of my own clamps for years. The cam-clamp looked simple to make, so I decided to make a few for the hell of it. I found a number of plans for making cam-clamps on line. But all cost money to down load. I remembered seeing something about cam-clamps in Fine Woodworking. Searching their archive of articles, I found two. Ads on ebay listed both, but it turned out only one was still available. I love ebay, but hate high shipping charges. So I held off ordering the copy available. On a whim, I decided to check my local library, because the latest of the two articles was only two years old. And, to my surprise, the library still had a copy of the Winter 2019 Tools & Shops issue 272. Even more amazing, the librarian gave me the issue so she wouldn't have to throw it out.

I made wooden jaws from european beech left over from an earlier project. Any dense hardwood would work equally well. Making the jaws ended up being relatively simple. I spent more time making a jig to safely hold the jaw stock so I could cut a slot in the jaw end grain for the aluminum bar, than it took to mill the slots on all the pieces. Cost per clamp comes to a little over $5.25. McMaster-Carr sells one foot lengths of 1/4 inch x 1 inch aluminum for about $4.95. Roll pins, 1/8 inch dia x 3/4 inch length, are sold in packages of 250. But each roll pin only costs about 5 and a half cents, and you only need five pins per clamp. I made six this past weekend and am currently milling out stock for another batch of clamps. Being cheap, I am still mulling making a few of these clamps with wooden bars so I can see how well the wooden bar stands up to the clamping force applied by the roll pins when the clamp is tightened.

Thanks for stopping by. STB

Thank you to Nathan Murphy for his article Shopmade Cam Clamps, Handy, light-duty clamps are quick to make, in Fine Woodworking Magazine 2019 Winter Issue 272

stevenbunn Sun, 06/12/2022 - 11:01

Carving a seat saddle for a miniature Windsor chair

I built a rotating jig that allows me to more effeciently carve a quarter scale seat blank using a gouge, and a palm plane. I am currently working on a batch of ten miniatures for a customer. One of my woodworking nieghbors, Mark Donovan, made the palm plane shown in the photograph, which I use which to carve out the seat. Thank you Mark!

Thanks for stopping by STB




stevenbunn Tue, 04/26/2022 - 17:16

What's going on in the shop this week