Design Contest: The Ideal Clamp Rack

SWF in search of the perfect clamp rack. Willing and easily able to relocate a plus. Must be robust but have a svelte figure. Should be able to handle a lot of baggage, but be as simple as my eighth-grade boyfriend.

OK , I don’t think I can carry this conceit any further; I’m just too out of practice with the personal ads. Here’s our problem: We have a lot of clamps. Some might say we have too many clamps. But with four editors regularly building in our shop, we can’t afford to get rid of any of them. So, we need to build an additional clamp rack that can handle the heavy load.

Senior Editor Robert W. Lang designed a mobile clamp rack for the October 2007 issue that’s perfect for a one- or two-person shop, but it’s overburdened. When we load it up, I can’t move the dang thing without a clamp or three falling onto my toes. (This hurts a lot more in the summer. Why can’t I find any steel-toed sandals?)

A cursory count reveals 82 clamps hiding in corners around the shop, and precariously hanging on our poor overburdened mobile rack , and that’s not counting the nine F-styles Editor Christopher Schwarz has hanging around the rim of his trash can, or the various and sundry quick-release clamps, and the score of spring clamps attached to the mullions. In parallel-jaw clamps, we have lengths ranging from 50″ to 12″ (most are in between). We have F-styles ranging from 18″ to 8″, and handscrews with massive 18″ chops down to wee 8″ chops.

So we’re asking you to design the Ideal Clamp Rack , which doesn’t have to hold our whole collection (we’d be mighty pleased if it could securely hold at least 20 parallel jaws of varying lengths, a passel of F-styles and a collection of handscrews). The rack has to be strong; it doesn’t have to be handsome. It has to be simple to build, and preferably easy to move without things falling off. And personally, I’d really like it in lavender…¦but that may hurt your chances with the three other editors.

Submit your best SketchUp design (or CAD, or hand drawing) by e-mail to letters@fwmedia.com by midnight on May 15, 2009. The winner(s) of the best design(s) will have the satisfaction of knowing he or she has made a major contribution to the well-being and the toe health of our editors, and get a free copy of the latest book from Woodworking Magazine: the hardcover edition of issues 8-12.

– Megan Fitzpatrick

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