One thing is for sure…the longer you’re a woodworker, the more and more clamps you’ll accumulate. They come as gifts, they tempt you on the shelves in stores, you see Norm using them on TV…and then somebody online shares a link to a sale or a once-in-a-lifetime coupon for so much off that it would be financially irresponsible for you to not buy them!
I had amassed quite a little collection, and believe it or not, I actually found myself coming up short on a few glue-ups over the years…especially once I started pressing some veneered panels.
It’s not that we don’t have a lot of clamps. It’s that we usually don’t have a lot of any particular clamp when we really “need” them. Due to a massive sale many years ago I was able to acquire quite a pile of Bessey K-Body Parallel clamps…and I do mean massive…think 75% off the normal price. Like I said, I didn’t want to be financially irresponsible...so I may have bought a dozen...or so.
Fast forward a few more years…a few birthdays and Christmases later…then layer on another stack of clamps that I brought home from Dad’s old shop a couple months ago, and you just might be thinking, “If anyone has enough clamps now, it’s that knucklehead Pete!”
I won’t even try to argue with you…well, not until that next project comes along that finds me scrambling for just the right clamps to execute a “precision” glue-up!
Yesterday I finally got tired of moving stacks of clamps around the shop from place to place when I needed to work, or kicking over those that were leaning up against the bench or cabinets. Free wall space is starting to become a rare commodity in the shop, but I was able to tuck another rack in for some of the shorter K-Bodies and UniKlamps.
This freed up a little space on the existing wall rack to be a bit more organized with the various sizes of clamps that seem to be multiplying in my shop.
Previously, I had been keeping the long K-Bodies (40 and 50 inch) on rolling clamp racks. These were great in the big, garage shop back up in Minnesota, but down here in the basement shop floor space is becoming almost as precious as that rare, open wall space. Again, I found myself frustrated with having to move these rolling racks around the shop to work…sometimes even to get from one side of the shop to the other. No, that still doesn’t mean I have enough clamps!
At my wit’s end, I looked to the heavens and cried out in desperation…OK, maybe I was crying because I nailed my shin on that dang clamp cart again! There it was, the answer to my prayer…
A few quick stretchers placed across the ceiling joists, and voila! Not only are those big, heavy clamps out of the way, but they’re perched quite handily right above the work table where they’re most likely to be used.
That means that these shin-busting, toe-cracking, knee-biting...uh...I mean wonderfully, useful rolling clamp racks will be finding their way onto Craig's List, to bless the shop of another sucker...er, woodworker!
Side note: I wrapped up all this clamp organization and starting writing this entry last night. As I finish it up today I see that our good buddy, Tom Iovino, over at www.tomsworkbench.com has just posted his weekly poll entry on…you guessed it…clamps! Head on over and share your clamp situation in the poll.
Have a look at the options. I bet you can guess how I voted!