Hand screw clamps been with carpenters for a very long time. They are versatile, give strong clamping pressure and can be easily made or bought relatively cheap. Although there is a learning curve before you can use them correctly. The hand screw clamps are usually made from hardwoods (the jaws), threaded rod and handles. In my case I wanted to do something else, I went for the looks rather that pure usability of the clamp.
The first step in building my clamps was to make a resin casting. I have used stabilised piece of burl and resin from ResinPro (by the way you can get 10% off your order at Resin Pro, just add code “casualdiy” at checkout) For the whole process of wood stabilisation and resin casting in a pressure pot just follow the links below.
As we got the blocks of resin and wood sorted it’s time to cut them to the right size and shape.
Size of the jaws depend on your needs. In my case I was limited by the size of my casting. The next and most important part of this build are the holes we need to drill through the blocks. They need to be very accurate and I will be making them on my pillar drill.
We need to mark the blocks correctly and the marks must be exactly the same on both blocks. In this build I will be using dowel barrel nuts (mine are 16mm x 10mm and a 6mm threaded rod) and depending on the size of them the holes drilled must be the same size to accommodate them.
We need to drill two holes in each block from the sides, in my case 10mm drill bit to take the 10mm dowel barrel nut. And then we need to drill 10mm holes from top to bottom of both blocks. The holes need to meet in the middle of the blocks. The horizontal holes will take the barrel nuts and the vertical holes will take the threaded rods. As you see we need to be very accurate in drilling so the threaded rods can go through the barrel nuts.
And now it’s time for the next step. The holes that will be housing threaded rods need to be slightly enlarged to allow some wiggle room for the rods. I will be using the 10mm drill bit as before but the table of my pillar drill will have a sacrificial base that will be under a slight angle. Now we will add the final shape on the bandsaw.
From the casting off cuts I will make the handles. As I don’t have a lathe I had to improvise. I just cut two blocks that would accommodate the size of my hand. I have added the final shape of a handle on my oscillating belt sander.
The next step is sanding and a lot of it. Going from grit 180 right up to 5000 that took a very long time. After all that sanding fun it was time to buff the jaws and the handles for a nice shiny finish.
I'm using a 5 minute epoxy to glue in the handles and threaded rod together for a stable and strong connection.
Now it’s time to put all the pieces together. Threaded rods will go through the barrel nuts with handles on opposite sides. The nuts that will secure the whole construction will be glued with CA glue in place.
And it's finished, check out the end result.
You can also watch my YouTube video of the whole process.