How to Make Wood Clamps From Scratch

Written by benjamin kibbey
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How to Make Wood Clamps From Scratch
Though traditional wood clamps may require great skill and precision to create, a simple, effective wood clamp can be created by even a novice woodworker. (A Wooden Wood Working Clamp. image by daseaford from

While most clamps used in woodworking are not terribly expensive, finding one that fits a specific need is not always easy. Additionally, some projects, such as "bending" plywood, may require more clamps than anyone would normally have on hand. A basic form of clamp that can be easily improvised from scrap wood and scaled to fit a specific need can be created easily from items many amateur woodworkers may already have on hand in their workshops.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • 2 7-inch carriage bolts
  • 2 wing nuts
  • 2 hex (regular) nuts
  • Hex wrench
  • 6 washers
  • 2 pieces of wood, 3/4 inches by 1 1/2 inches by 6 inches

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  1. 1

    Make a mark in the centre of the 1 1/2-inch wide side of each piece of wood (3 inches in from the end and 3/4 inch from the side).

  2. 2

    Drill a hole at the mark with a bit that is just slightly wider than the carriage bolts.

  3. 3

    Measure in 1 inch from either end and 3/4 inch from the side on each piece of wood and make another mark.

  4. 4

    Drill another hole at the new mark with the same bit.

  5. 5

    Put a washer on each carriage bolt and slide it to the head of the bolt.

  6. 6

    Insert the bolts into the holes in one of the pieces of wood.

  7. 7

    Place another washer onto each bolt, as well as a hex nut. Spin the nuts down the bolts and tighten with the hex wrench.

  8. 8

    Place a wing nut on the bolt in the second hole you drilled, with the "wings" pointing toward the board, and spin it a few inches down the bolt. Place a washer on the bolt with the nut.

  9. 9

    Put the other board onto the bolts so that it lines up with the first board.

  10. 10

    Take your remaining washer and place it on the bolt without a wing nut, then spin the other wing nut "wings" pointing away from the board, down onto the bolt.

  11. 11

    Use the wing nut between the boards to adjust the size of your clamp outward. To tighten down the clamp, use the wing nut on the outside of the clamp.

Tips and warnings

  • A piece of softer material, such as cork, can be glued to the contact points on the clamp to prevent marking the material you are working with.

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