How to make long bar clamps for woodworking

How to make very simple wood bar clamps

Another post related to woodworking clamps, and it surely won’t be the last. This time I am going to make some very simple and easy to make wood bar clamps. This type of long wooden bar clamps was probably used in the old days, since to make them you only need, in addition to wood and bolts, a hand saw and a drill with a wood drill bit. Well, in old times I think they used wood dowels instead of bolts.

To make these woodworking clamps I use four wood strips that are 3×4 centimeters in section and 68 centimeters long. The first thing I’m going to do is draw a line all along the middle of the top face of the four wood strips.

Mark the spacing for drilling the holes in the clamps.

And now I have to mark on the line of one of the wooden strips the position of the holes I need to drill. I want them to be at 2.5cm from the ends and with a separation of 7cm between them. And with the square I will transfer the marks to the other three wood strips.

Drilling the pinboard holes with the drill press

With the drill press I want to drill 10 mm diameter holes in all the marks I made on the four wood strips.

Number each bar clamp's pair of strips

I pair them two by two and draw Roman numerals on one end to know which wood strip is the pair of each wood strip, and thus avoid mistakes.

Re-drill to align the holes of each pair of strips

The reason for numbering the wood strips is because it is very difficult to drill holes in one wood strip perfectly aligned with the holes in the other wood strip of each bar camp. So, I put each wood strip on its mate, join them with one bolt at one end, and go over all the holes with the 10mm drill bit to line up the holes.

These bolts are 10 millimeters in diameter and 14 centimeters long, with an unthreaded smooth shank of 7 centimeters.

Drill to enlarge end holes of wood bar clamps

I take away the bolt from the end of the wood strips and widen those holes a bit.

Cut four wedges with the handsaw

I also need to cut four 4.5×16 centimeter wedges. I will cut these wedges from a 1 cm thick slat of wood. When I put them between the bolts and the boards to be glued, they will serve as wedges to press against the bolts.

Apply glue and put on the bar clamp bottom strip

I can now place the bottom wood strip of the two bar clamps on the table, parallel to each other and with a bolt at the end of each. I put the other bolt in another hole of both bar clamps, selected depending on the width of the board I want to make. I start to glue the boards and place them in order against the bolts that I put at the end of both bar clamps, …

Put on the bar clamp's top strips and tighten the clamps.

and after gluing all the boards together I can put the top wood strips of both long bar clamps. And I have to tighten the wing nuts a slightly.

Tapping and tightening of wooden wedges

Now I fit two of the wooden wedges between the glued boards and the bolt I put towards the middle of the bar clamps. I squeeze the wedges a little with my hands and I can tap them with a hammer to tighten them harder. And if I want to tight the wedges harder, I can squeeze them with one of my cheap woodworking clamps, as seen in the pictures and video.

You can also see how to make other more complicated wooden clamps.

And my posts on woodworking clamps and vises.

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