Articles - Clamp Wall Rack
11/18/2003
I don't have a lot of bar clamps, but they sure are a pain to store on a shelf, though. The one you want is always underneath the 50lbs of other clamps. The July/August 2003 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine has an article of three woodworkers' solutions to their clamp storage issue. I decided to follow one of those; the Wall Rack" article by John West. He used left-over wood to build his bar clamp wall rack. I followed his design, with only one minor enhancement (discussed further down). I used left-over Oak plywood to build the wall rack. The whole unit is a full 8 feet long, and 7" tall. This allows for up to 51 clamps to hang down from the unit. More than I need now and plenty of room to grow. The wall rack was designed so that I can take it down and take it with me when I move (which has happened since I originally wrote this article, and I was able to quickly install it in the new house).

It took about 3 hours to build (including glue drying time). I started off with a 7" x 8', 3/4" Oak plywood board. I screwed it to the wall studs with two 2-1/2 drywall screws per stud location. Half of this board hangs over my workbench area (for the shorter clamps), and the rest hangs over an open area (for the longer clamps).
Clamp Wall Rack
Next I took a 5-3/4 Oak plywood board and ripped it almost down the middle with the saw blade set at 45 degrees. The objective is to build a French cleat. The width of the board was determined by what I had for left-over wood. Ideally this should have been the same size as the hanger board shown above.
Clamp Wall Rack
I attached the bottom piece to the hanger board, using just some 1-5/8 drywall screws spaced about a foot apart. Its location was such that the top half of the cleat matches the top of the hanger board. By using just screws I can take the whole rack down. This was because the screws that attached the back board are now covered by this hanger board.
Clamp Wall Rack
Here I placed the top half of the French cleat in place so that you can see how it works. The beauty of this system is that the more weight is hung from the top part of the cleat, the tighter it fits.
Clamp Wall Rack
The next step is to make the blocks upon which the clamps will hang. Since I didn't have any 2"x2" boards, I decided to rip about 50 feet of 2" wide Oak plywood, and then glue pairs together to form the blocks. Next, they were cut to 5-3/4" length to match the total width of the boards that make up the French cleat. For my 8-foot rack I need 52 of them (shown here).
Clamp Wall Rack
In this photo the spacer blocks are being attached to the top part of the cleat. I cut a 3/8 wide spacer piece, and using the speed square, glue, and two screws for each, all the blocks were attached.
Clamp Wall Rack
All the blocks have been attached and, while I was waiting for the glue to dry, I pondered how I was going to hang those squeezable clamps. They are a bit bulkier than the bar clamps. Just hanging them off the rack, I could see bumping them and having them come down on me.
Clamp Wall Rack
The solution was to rip a 1/4 gap in the top of the blocks. Each of these clamps have a cylindrical protrusion at the end of the bar to keep the moving part of the clamp from falling off of the clamp. The clamp will then hang from the top of the rack, albeit upside down. This idea came from adapting a similar concept described in the second part of the above-mentioned magazine article. The next photo shows one of these clamps hanging from the rack.
Clamp Wall Rack
With the glue dry, I installed the top part of the cleat. At this point this board is quite heavy so it took a bit of effort getting it up there.
Clamp Wall Rack
And here is my entire collection of clamps. The four corner clamps and the spring-loaded clamps were just placed on top of the rack. This is temporary until I create a rack specifically for those types of clamps. With a bit of effort, I was able to get all these clamps off of a shelf and hang them where they are easy to reach. This was a fun project to build and definitely worth it. As mentioned above, the choice of materials was purely from left-over wood. Any wood type would be fine.
Clamp Wall Rack