A project absolutely vital to my new shop is a new clamp rack. The one I have now takes up way too much room along the wall in the old shop, and I can’t duplicate that. I have a space in my new shop next to the door that is approximately three feet wide, and would be a perfect spot.
Here is the current clamp rack, which has the clamps oriented in a single depth and a long distance across the wall.
Here is the plan for the new rack, which turns the clamps sideways, separates the clamp faces, and stacks them for saving space.
I’ll be able to store more clamps in three feet of space than I could in just under six, although they will stick out from the wall a bit more. Because of this, the construction needs to be stout.
I started by seeing if I had enough scrap to get this done. I have quite a bit of smaller pieces, but only two big pieces, one of which is being used on my wood rack. The big pieces don’t always match the construction of the little pieces, either being different grades of plywood or different ply. I wanted this project to not just be thrown together with mismatched materials if I could help it, probably being something I would have up on my wall for years to come.
I had a big piece of ply behind my band saw where the old shop is rotting, so it had some water damage, but I could get the piece I needed out of it. I used the table saw to rip it to 13″, and the MFT and Festool TS55 to cross cut it to 33″. This was the first time I had used these tools in the new shop, and made sure they were set up properly. The cuts were dead bang on both measurements, which made me very happy. I cut all the parts to size using these two tools.
With all the square parts cut, I moved on to the angled relief cuts on the ends and supports. I really just picked the middle of the parts on the render to cut the corner, so I had to give it a bit more thought in real life. I went with a six inch base for the triangle in both directions, and simply connected the points to make the hypotenuse. I set up my miter saw to 45 and made the cut on the line for all five supports and the two ends.
To give a little bit easier time inserting the clamps into the rack, I marked out a quarter circle on each of the supports and sanded to the line with the Ridgid oscillating spindle sander. With the dust extractor, I was able to capture much more dust than I have in the past. I simply set the sander up on the router table and did the task there. It was surprisingly hassle-free. I did get a little carried away and sanded a corner where I shouldn’t have, but that’s okay, and is on the far end where I won’t see it clearly.
I decided for simple screw and butt joint construction here, even though it’s going to be carrying quite a bit of weight. I used plenty of screws on all the weight-bearing loads, and nice long screws into the studs.
The old clamp racks were five feet long combined on the wall, and could hold 30 parallel clamps. This one is less than three feet long, and can handle 30-35 clamps, and fits in much better in the flow of this shop. This is a project that was crucial to the space I made available in the shop, and should serve me well. If for some reason I need to build another one, it would be a simple and cheap process. I’m very happy with this, and it was a good way to break in the new shop and test how everything is going to work.