Do you have a good storage solution for your large parallel, bar and pipe clamps? I didn’t…well at lest not until I built this Space Saving Parallel Clamp Rack. I used to store my Jet and Bessey parallel clamps on the floor in a corner between two workbenches. It was messy and a huge pain to haul them in and out. With the new clamp rack I have all my long clamps in one easily accessible place. Instead of storing the clamps side by side in a long line down the wall, the clamps are stacked front to back 6 deep. With this design you can store 24 parallel clamps and 14 bar clamps in just under 39″ of wall space! Using the side by side hanging method you would need 48″ of wall space just for the bar clamps alone.
I got the idea for this design when I saw a picture on Instagram by Dyami Plotke, who runs Penultimate Workshop. I modified his design to fit my space and to make it a stand alone rack that could be moved around on the wall. I also made a cap shelf on top to take advantage of my high ceilings and add some extra shelving space. The clamp rack is made from just a half sheet of 3/4″ ply and goes together very quickly. So if you want a great space saving solution to store your clamps then keep reading!
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Cutting Parts for the Clamp Rack
The parallel clamp rack is made from a 48″x48″ piece of 3/4″ plywood. I used PureBond plywood for this project. It’s available exclusively from Home Depot and one of the things I like about it is that it’s a US plywood made in North America from domestic trees. And the bonding agents are soy-based, so no nasty chemicals. I met with PureBond last year at Haven and learned about their product and look forward to using it in many other projects.
My plan is sized to hold 2 rows of bar clamps (8 deep) and 4 rows of parallel clamps (6 deep). If you want more or less of either of these you can adjust the dimensions accordingly. Begin by cutting the sheet into 4 strips to make all the parts. The strips should be 14″, 12-3/4″, 12″ and 8″ wide and all 4′ long.
The 14″ piece will be used for the back of the rack and the 12-3/4″ piece will be used for the top. Cut each of these to size at 38-3/4″ and set aside for later.
The 12″ strip will be used to make the sides and the clamp support arms. Cut a 21″ long piece from the strip. This will turn be used to make the two sides. Mark a point 14″ down one of the long edges and 6-3/4″ down the opposite long edge. Connect the marks using a straight edge and a pencil.
Cut along the line with a circular saw or on the tablesaw. To find the right angle to cut on the tablesaw, use a t-bevel and set the base flush with the long edge and line the sliding arm up with the line you just drew.
Use the t-bevel as a reference and set the angle between the miter gauge and the blade to the exact angle you drew on the board.
After making the angled cut, you will have one piece that is just a bit longer. Cut the longer piece to 14″ long to match the other side.
Cut the interior support arms from the remaining ~27″ long 12″ wide strip. You can get (3) 5-1/2″ pieces and (2) 3″ pieces from the 12″ strip. Use the off cut from the 12-3/4″ top piece to cut (1) 4-1/4″ and (1) 1-1/2″ side support and (2) 1″ cleats, all 12″ long.
Use the 8″ wide strip to cut the final parts, the support triangles. Cut (3) 10-1/2″ long pieces. Layout a mark 10″ down the long side of each piece and draw a diagonal line between the opposite corner and your mark.
Using a similar method as before, cut along the line with your circular saw or tablesaw. Trim the longer pieces to length to get 5 triangles with 8″ and 10″ straight edges.
Assembling the Clamp Supports
The side supports on each end of the rack are attached to the sides with the 1″ cleats cut earlier. Glue and screw a 1″ cleat underneath and on the left side of the 1-1/2″ support arm to form a L-bracket as shown below. Note, the support is actually turned around in the is picture.
Repeat this for the 4-1/4″ support arm, but attach the cleat to the right side.
For the interior clamp supports, the support arms and triangles are joined together. Each assembly is attached to the back of the clamp rack with (4) 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.
Before assembling, drill 2 pocket holes in the top side of the support arms and 2 pocket holes on the 8″ side of the triangles with a pocket hole jig.
After the pocket holes are drilled, attach the support arms and triangles together with glue and screws. The 10″ side of the triangles should be centered on the support arms. Use brad nails to tack the pieces in place and then follow up with 2 countersunk 1-5/8″ screws driven through the support arms into the triangles.
After all the support assemblies are complete, round the front corners to make pulling clamps in and out a little easier.
Assembling the Parallel Clamp Rack
Begin assembly by securing the support arm and cleat brackets to each side with 1-1/4″ screws. The top of the supports should be 5″ down from the top of the sides.
Attach the sides to the back using 1-5/8″ screws. Use clamps and a right angle to make sure everything is square. You’ll notice in this pic below the left side support (right side of pic since rack is upside down) is not 4-1/4″ wide. I changed it to the wider version after this pic was taken.
Secure the top to the rack with 1-5/8″ wood screws and then cut a straight piece of wood to 36″ (I used a scrap of 3/4″ MDF). Flip the assembly on it’s back and lay the straight edge on the top of the 2 supports on either side. Reference the interior supports against the edge to keep a straight line without measuring.
Start on the left side and attach the 3″ interior supports with 1-1/4″ pocket holes screws. A 1-1/2″ opening between the supports worked well for both the bar clamps and the parallel clamps. Cut a scrap to 1-1/2″ to use as a spacer. If you have pipe clamps you’ll need a different spacing and will have to reconfigure the support arm widths to make this work out right.
Next attach the 5-1/2″ interior supports for the parallel clamps using the same 1-1/2″ spacer.
Test fit your clamps and make sure everything lines up properly. Make any adjustments as needed.
I chose to put my clamp rack next to my tablesaw and over some french cleats. If you want to know more about french cleats then check out my french cleat tool storage post.
Once loaded up I have access to my clamps and left a good portion of the french cleats open for other clamp storage!
If you liked this Space Saving Parallel Clamp Rack and want to see more shop project builds then go checkout my Shop Projects page.