This small rack rolls easily to anywhere you need it.
There is an old saying in woodworking that you can’t have too many clamps. While this is true, it is entirely possible to have too many clamps in the wrong place at the wrong time. The last thing I want to do in the midst of a complicated glue-up is to set off to the far reaches of the shop in search of a needed clamp.
A rolling cart is an obvious solution, and we have had one for years. The problem with it is that it holds only parallel-jaw clamps, and is so big that there is only one place in the shop that it fits. And if we could find another place for it, it would be difficult to move. It’s always reminded me of a retail store display. It looks nice, but it may as well be fixed to the wall.
I decided to make a smaller rack, one that would hold wood handscrews and F-style clamps in addition to big cabinet assembly clamps. I wanted it to be mobile and functional with a small footprint.
I sacrificed a bit of organization to gain usable space. The cabinet clamps are contained in a three-sided corral mounted on a simple cart. F-style clamps hang on the outer top rails, and wooden handscrews fit over two upright pieces at the back. Now I can have the clamps I use most often right where I’m working, and when I don’t need them, I can roll them out of the way.
The lower part of the cart is a piece of 3⁄4“-thick plywood, fastened to the top of a hardwood frame. On each corner at the bottom of the frame is a 2-1⁄2“-diameter swivel caster. The frame is made from 1”-thick x 3-1⁄4“-wide poplar. The three frames that form the upper part are made of the same material. Any hardwood would work though.
The cart holds a lot of weight, so it should be made of solid, sturdy material with solid construction. I held the frames together with mortise-and-tenon joints, but there are any number of other joints that would be suitable. I used mortises and tenons because I had a new mortiser and shoulder plane I wanted to try.
The two outer frames are glued to the long edge of the central frame. After assembling the three frames, I attached the plywood to the bottom edges with glue and #8 x 1-3⁄4” screws. Then I attached the bottom frame with glue on the top face and screws down through the plywood. The wheels were attached with #10 x 3⁄4” pan head sheet-metal screws.
The two racks for F-style clamps are 1″ x 3-1⁄4” x 13-1⁄4” poplar, with a series of 5⁄8“-diameter dowels. The dowels are 3” long. I made the holes at the drill press with a Forstner bit. The holes are 1⁄2” deep on 1-3⁄8” centers. After gluing the dowels in place, these assembled pieces were glued and screwed on to the top rails of the frames.
The two holders for hand screws are 1″ square and 30″ long. They are glued and screwed on to each side of the back with 18″ exposed above the top of the frame. I used a 1⁄4“-diameter roundover bit to break the edges of the frame. This prevents splintering on the edges and makes the cart more user-friendly.
Mobile Clamp Cart Cut List
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