Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Sash Cramp Racks

For too long, I’ve been in need of a decent system for storing my sash cramps. Although I forgot to photograph this, these clamps were previously stashed upright against the wall, behind the left-hand end of my workbench. Getting one cramp out was bad enough – and the ones I needed were typically always buried behind the others!

Just before Christmas, I bought Fine Woodworking’s 201 Tips for Woodworkers from WHSmiths. It wasn’t the cheapest magazine on the shelf at almost £5 and it was also the first issue of FWW I had every bought. But, I’d say it is worth every penny for the  range of ideas and solutions that their readers have come up with over the years (that’s not to say I’ll be taking out a subscription or anything, though!!). One of the sash clamp storage solutions featured was a unique rack that unfolds to reveal three-‘layers’ of clamp storage – it might be featured in this article though, membership is required to access the .pdf file. (…Actually, you can just see the rack on the cover of the magazine advert on the same page!)

I felt this design would be a little too ‘bulky’ for my ‘shop and may protrude over the workbench from the rear wall. Still, I borrowed a couple of ideas from this design and here are the results:

These were actually finished a fortnight ago but, for several reasons, I haven’t been able to go out there and fit them in place until now (I actually did this earlier this morning – the SDS drill is one of my favourite power tools!!)

I started with two scraps of 18mm which were, oddly enough, the perfect length for this job! A bit of work on the bandsaw and in the bench vice with a coping saw and the slots were roughed out. I cut each one about 1mm wider than the clamp bars, so they don’t get stuck (one error I made with my previous softwood rack was that I cut the slots too tight). With the router table left out after finishing another job, I added a small chamfer on all edges, which increase the ease of removing/fitting  Each one was glued and screwed to a scrap of 3x2in. pine which would later be fixed directly to the wall.

Currently, I have two sets of sash cramps […excluding the wooden ones!] and, while the cheaper aluminium ones are lightweight, I felt the ‘Expert’ clamps from Toolstation might too heavy for the ply alone so, I added a series of MDF ‘triangles’ to reinforce the joint between the pine and ply and generally increase the overall rigidity of each rack. This did mean a lot of tedious work on the disc sander but, for the results, it was definitely worth it. No screws; only glue and, I’ve put a big dent in my stack of 18mm MDF offcuts!

You can see below how much this has made a difference to the area surrounding my workbench – everything looks more organised and there’s still room for future wall-additions on the right-hand side. If only I had more cramps to fill them!

I should mention that the left-hand rack [below] is only in a temporary position until I get a chance to remove the large shelving unit next to it. Those Bessey Clamps you can see will also have a new home in future, along with my G-cramps [not shown]. I’m also delighted with the addition of the magnetic tool bar I mentioned in a previous post – it really is a superb way to store chisels and other steel tools. Those of you with a keen eye will also notice I’ve fixed a sheet or chipboard to the wall, which will gradually develop in to my ‘Tool Wall‘; essentially for holding tools for measuring and marking out. Plus, any others with a low-profile so my ‘bench remains clear.

Yes, I do need to organise a space for my wooden bars and clamp heads – I have a solution in mind; it requires me to add some more ceiling joists, first. I did take the liberty of oiling these wooden bars recently – this should help prevent excess glue from sticking the wooden bars to any boards I glue up. I also added a coat of wax to the upper edge that contacts the surface of the timber. That radio is fast-becoming the most essential piece of kit in my workshop!!

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve found this useful.

If you have any alternative solutions to clamp/cramp storage, please, feel free to share.

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