Clamps, you can never have enough!
But unfortunately, these cost a lot of money if you want to buy them.
So why not make them yourself?
Besides being cheaper to make them yourself, making your own clamps is also a fun project!
That is what I did with this new type of clamp for my woodworking workshop. I made a wooden clamp with a clamping system based on a spring.
Just to be clear, this is not a clamp with which you can clamp materials together under high pressure, but rather a clamp for temporarily securing materials.
The principle of this clamp is very simple.
Like any other clamp, there are two jaws.
One is stuck at the end of the clamp ant the other jaw can slide along the bars.
Between the two bars there is a spring that connects the two jaws to each other.
Thanks to the spring you can stretch it to the size of the materials you want to clamp in a very easy way. That’s why I called this clamp “the stretchy clamp”.
This is a clamp that is very easy to build yourself, even if you do not have much time.
Thanks to the free plans in this blog, all you need to do to make this clamp yourself, is cut the parts to size and assemble the clamp following the step-by-step instructions below.
With the clamp you can make thanks to this blog, it is as simple as that.
Simply stretch the clamp open and place it over the material to be clamped, and the spring does the rest.
In this way, you can quickly and temporarily secure material if, for example, you want to mark or cut different pieces of wood to the same length with a circular saw.
Make this clamp as a kind of third hand that will help you in your woodworking workshop.
You will see in the video and the step-by-step explanation below that this clamp is easy to make.
All you need to find is a good spring. Sometimes you can find them in unexpected ways, just like I found my springs in an old fitness device.
The more powerful the spring you use for this, the harder the materials are held.
Watch the video here
Before we start building
To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! protect yourself!
Materials I used for this clamp
(power)Tools I used for this clamp
- Makita MLT100 table saw Watch my Unboxing video and my review video if you want to see more about this tool.
- Makita 3709 router
- Makita AF505N Brad nailer. Watch my Unboxing video if you want to know more about this tool.
- Brad nails 25mm
- Brad nails 50mm
- Air compressor
- Drill press
- Hilti cordless drill SF144-A
- Angle grinder
- Festool sander
- Kreg KMA multi mark and measuring tool
- Pica pencil to mark all the pieces.
Building this clamp step by step
Step 1 | Preparation
To make this clamp I used 18 mm birch plywood.
I started by cutting 3 strips of plywood 4 cm wide. These strips must be at least 100 cm long.
Since the plywood I use is 244 cm by 122 cm, I cut 3 strips from the width of the plywood sheet
Then I cut these strips to length on the cross-cut sled.
If you want to make the exact same clamp is I did, you will need 2 pieces of 100 cm to form the base of the clamp (the bars), and for the claws, you will need 6 pieces of 16 cm, 4 pieces of 8 cm, and 4 pieces of 4 cm.
To make sure the jaws slide smoothly over the 2 base pieces, I rounded the corners of these pieces with a 45-degree chamfer bit on my router.
To find the perfect router that fits your needs, check out my blog – Compare & find the perfect palm router | top 5 buying guide – This blog will help you for sure!
If you need inspiration to know what router bits you should have in your workshop, visit my blog – 5 most important must-have router bits for DIYers | Best buy guide.
Step 2 | Making the jaws
Once I got all parts cut to size and sanded smooth, I made the claws by joining the parts together with wood glue and brad nails.
Using the brad nails saves me a ton of time by not have to wait until the wood glue is dried.
Do you want to know more about wood glue? Check out this blog!
The claw that will be in the middle of the clamp must be fitted with a screw hook. Later, the spring can be attached to that screw hook.
I provided the claw that will be at the end of the clamp with a hole that is slightly larger than the diameter of the spring. In my case, it was 16 mm. Later, the spring can be inserted through this hole.
That way it will be possible to adjust the length of the clamp.
Because on this jaw the spring goes through the hole, I had to find a solution to secure this spring and hold it in place.
I did that with a metal plate that I can push between the rings of the spring.
To attach that metal plate to the clamp I made 2 small blocks with a slot in which the metal plate fit. This allows me to slide the metal plate up and make the spring longer or shorter.
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I made the metal plate from a thin piece of scrap metal.
After cutting the metal to size and bending the top edge of about 1 cm to 45 degrees, I painted the metal white.
The color was of little importance, but I wanted to protect the metal from rusting.
I installed the two small blocks for holding the metal plate in place with wood glue and brad nails.
Only the claw, with the large hole in the middle through which the spring goes, needs to be provided with this system.
If you consider buying a nail gun, be sure to watch my blog How to choose the right nail gun for your projects. A complete nail gun guide.
I have used my nail gun for almost every project since I bought it, so I can highly recommend buying one.
Step 3 | Assembling
To protect the wood, but also to allow the parts to slide smoothly over each other, I treated all parts with bee wax.
Now it was time to assemble all parts.
The sliding jaw was placed over the bars first.
After that, I could install the jaw in front of the clamp, the one that needs to be fixed in place.
After drilling a pilot hole, I secured the claw, through which the spring goes, to the base with two screws.
I deliberately didn’t use glue here, so I can open the clamp at any time if needed.
All I had to do now was attaching the spring to the screw hook and determine the length of the spring with the metal plate.
The clamp was now ready, and if you have followed these steps correctly, you can start using your clamp too.
I made this clamp as a prototype. If you have shorter or longer springs, you can, with this principle as a basis, make a clamp with the size you need for your workshop.
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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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