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shop: clamps
Q: When do you have enough clamps?
A: When there is no space for new tools.

A clamp is one of the simplest tools in the shop. And yet, there are nearly endless variations. I hate spending good money on such simple devices - even if they work well. really well.  $40 for a 40" bar clamp?  You've got to be kidding! I've got some dirt cheap bar clamps that I bought at Big Lots for $4/ea many years ago. They are poorly made, yet they work great. That has convinced me that I can make my own clamps...and save a lot of $$$ in the process.

My first set came about when I needed to clamp two 48" pieces together to make a 1.5"x1.5" bar.  I only have a few C-clamps, so I grabbed some scrap 3/4" plywood and cut them into C shapes. With the help of some wedges, they did the job:

Corner clamps
The C-clamps work great in conjunction with some more scraps to make effective 90deg corner clamps. These corner clamping jigs were made from some scrap MDF.  I chose MDF since it will not move unevenly when the humidity changes. Dimensions are easily adjustable based on your needs...the only critical factor is that they make a perfect 90deg angle.  I made a dozen.

Bar clamps    (plans here)

Here are the bar-clamps I made from some scrap oak...but you'll need to accumulate a pile of long scraps...depending on the length of clamps you need ;)

The inspiration for these bar clamps came from Woodsmith #108. However, my design is significantly different.