A small shop (1 of 3 garage spaces) requires some careful planning to accommodate tools and space to build. Clamp storage was at the top of my list for my new set up, and I’m quite pleased with the outcome with my Rolling Clamp Cart.
If you are familiar with the woodworking slang, you have probably heard the saying “you can never have too many clamps”…too many times, I’m sure. Well, I am going to be a wild child and say that I’m pretty sure I have enough! There. I’ve said it. Do I mean it? Not sure, but for now,
I’m set on clamps-especially due to a recent sponsorship with Pony Jorgensen. I had boxes of orange goodies flowing out of the delivery trucks for days…often times going right onto the shop floor, or leaning against the wall, I didn’t have sufficient clamp storage, not for my new clamp supply, that’s for sure!
Previously, I had used a wall organization system to store almost all the clamps-larger clamps (pipe clamps and such) were carefully propped up in the corner. Instead of having clamps all over the place, I was on a mission to find the best small space storage solution, while being convenient at the same time. Pinterest and IG searches for days…then I remembered I had a USB archive to all the greatness WOOD Magazine has ever put out and I headed that direction. Immediately I see what I instantly know is the ONE! The perfect solution for clamp storage in my small space!
There weren’t formal plans to follow, but there was a diagram that had basic measurements, and that’s all I needed to get started. Often times, I just need a picture, because MOST of the time what I would like to build is custom to a certain space and the measurements will need adjusting anyways…so I was off to buy wood and get started!
What you will need: (this tutorial is custom to the clamps I had on hand, so your materials may vary and likely your measurements will for sure!) For the rack I built, it was under $60 for everything!
- 7 2×4 boards @ 96″
- 1 24″ round
- 1/4″ ply to cut a circle for the top of the cart
- 4 swivel casters
- wood glue
- pocket jig
- tape measure
- angle finder
- jig saw
*areas of blue writing are links that lead you other places, to things, or pages that I do not get compensation for you visiting/purchasing from*almost all the clamps pictured in this build were supplied to me through the sponsorship agreement I hold with Pony Jorgensen, and at no cost to me, in trade for marketing material/social media exposure*
I cut the 6 uprights at 60″ each, and the 6 top and bottom pieces at 9″ each (making each section 12″ wide and 60″ tall)
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I mentioned making a change to the original plan that may or may not end up being detrimental…but I’m pretty sure it didn’t matter, other than visually. See how the uprights (balanced in the photo, not attached) are hanging over the round by about an inch? That’s because I needed the horizontal braces to be a certain width to accommodate holding 4 90° clamps in a row(the bulkiest of the clamps, and at most, I have 4 of one size). I figured if the little carousel racks in souvenir shops with personalized licence plates can spin on a tiny base without falling over, the overhang on this wouldn’t matter. Maybe that’s not a good comparison, but I still think it will be okay…
So with the 3 upright frames made, I used an angle finder to get them pretty equally spaced and centered on the round. This is where things get real technical-Once I was happy with the layout, I had one 11yr old child stand on 2 frames, while I attached the 3rd frame with screws. Phew! Then she only had to stand on one, then none! Now, some builds require precise measuring and figuring…this is not one of those builds, not for me at least.
With the 3 upright frames in place, I then traced the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket to get the circle that would go on top to secure them, onto a piece of scrap 1/4″ ply. I then cut it out with a jig saw, and attached it to what looked like center. See, it’s so easy when you just use your eye instead of fussing with the tape measure! I flipped the entire thing over and attached the swivel casters, forgot to take a picture of that, but I think you can guess what little wheels look like!
This was the hardest part of the build. FINDING MY 90° impact drill attachment! UGH! I looked for this thing for 3 days, no joke-we recently had our garage floors epoxied, and while clearing out the garage started out very organized, it ended similar to just putting whatever, with whatever was near it, IN whatever could hold it…not good. My husband ended up finding it day 3, in a plastic storage tub I looked in the first day…twice… Then, I needed the correct combo of drill bit length+extender to get the drill to fit in the space AND drive in the screw. WOW! See how hard that all was?! *The pocket holes were only used for the horizontal clamp holders, not on the frame itself
I attempted SketchUp prior to starting this build, and if you can’t guess, it didn’t work out so well. Hence the amazingly detailed drawing depicting the clamps that were headed to their new home. This part I liked. I made a list of all the clamps I would put on this, measured how many could fit within the 9″ span, and started organizing them by type and size. They may all look the same but the aren’t, promise! Each upright is double sided, so I had to plan accordingly to make the best use of each side. It wasn’t that tricky, honestly, but that might be because I am strangely good at doing puzzles and this might fall into that type of brain power.
Between my sketch, and the final product, only a few things changed. First of all, I “over” measured each clamp to allow for wiggle room with space. First adjustment was that the circle on the top of the rack interfered with putting 4 90° clamps on the TOP support, rather than a support I added to the middle of the frame. So, I started with those 4 clamps, just under the top support as the first part of the organization process. That’s them pictured below, top right of the photo-fitting perfectly just under the top frame support)
Ultimately, it allowed me to NOT add dowels like the drawing shows (you couldn’t tell those were dowels?) and I used the round on top for the spring clamps instead. See how things work out!
Round and round I went, holding up the next clamp in the next delegated space- I would simply mark the frame where the clamp face would sit on the support, cut the 2×4, add the pocket holes, line it up, and attach. You see below I staggered the hand clamps to make removing them easier since they are packed in like sardines!
Not much for a tutorial in the sense I told you what to do, mainly because it’s a lot of personal planning based on what YOU will be putting on the storage cart. Here is a list of the 47 clamps that made it onto the rolling cart, there are 2 band clamps I need hooks for to go on the side so they are not pictured.
- 12 90° Parallel Jaw Bar Clamps ( 18-48″)
- 14 Steel Bar Clamps (18″-36″)
- 12 EZ Hold Expandable Bar Clamps (12″-36″)
- 9 Spring Clamps