03 September 2012

F-Clamp Rack with the KM-1 KerfMaker.

I have collected a variety of F-Clams of different sizes over the last 4 years. Most have been from garage sales so there are few that match.  I've had them stored all over the place up to now which not only is messy, but I tend to forget half of them.  They usually were clamped to a shelf wherever space was available, but this meant that I had to loosen them each time I needed to use them.
I decided not to make a fuss over this rack, as long as it could take a few hours to build, and hold all my F-Clamps in one place.  I started off by screwing some metal shelf brackets onto some Meranti scrap pieces.  The  whole assembly was then attached to the wall with Fischer plugs.
I then needed to decide how far the supporting piece was to be from the wall for clearance.  Too close and the front of the clamp would touch the wall, and too far and the clamps would get in the way (I have a small workshop).
The above photo shows two small pieces of pine resting on the shelf.  The long piece was then moved forward or back until the right distance was found.  I then marked the pieces against each other as well as "right" & "left" to prevent mistakes.  This has happened in the past.  After measuring, when I bring the individual pieces down onto the bench, I usually mix things up.  So measuring in-situ so to speak helps prevent this.

Next I had to make a quick lap joint for where the pieces intersect.  Enter the radial arm saw and the KM-1 KerfMaker from Bridge City Tools.


I cut 4 lap joints in under 5 minutes thanks to this ingenious invention.  Take into account that the two pieces being joined were a different width so it required two setups.


Above is the finished joint.  You will notice the familiar markings that help prevent mistakes-the triangle & the numbers.
Now all that was left was to attach the wood to the shelf bracket with screws and hang the clamps.


I had thoughts of using the space above the clamps by making an open box or carcase lying on its side.  The bottom side would be where the clamps would hang, and the top part would be a shelf.  Maybe next time.
Reflections.
Although I did not want to spend time on this project, I definitely made it faster and better than previous similar shop fixtures.  I have re-organised/ re-designed my workshop four times up to now.  Each time there was not only a shifting around of tools and furniture, but also discarding some and acquiring new.  And even though the above project is quick & simple, the way I approached it is profoundly different to how I would have one or two years ago:


  • The two Meranti pieces for the shelf bracket were cut to an identical size using a stop block-no rulers.  I also spent a few minutes smoothing and chamfering the visible sides with my #3 smoother. This is one of  many times where hand tools can be seen to complement power tools.
  • In order to ensure that the two brackets were positioned identical to each other, I first drew a centre line on the wood, again not using the ruler but by stopping the marking gauge against the side.  I then located the bottom screw hole of the bracket over the centre line and used a centre punch to mark the hole. I then drilled a pilot hole and put the screw in loosely.  The shelf bracket can pivot on this bottom hole for the next step:
  • To rotate the top of the bracket so that it sat centre in the Meranti piece, I used a marking gauge and butted the bracket against it.  This all sounds very obvious, but if you don't how about gauging versus measuring off a ruler, or centre punching and pilot hole drilling before you attach a screw, things will most likely not be accurate.  These valuable lessons I did not learn from books, but from watching experienced woodworkers at work in their workshops.  The era of apprentices is gone, but there are still some older guys around who learnt the correct way.  I encourage beginners and experienced woodworkers alike to spend some time with these masters. No matter how much you already know, you will learn something new from them.  And it will stay with you, unlike the stuff we read in books. Sad to face it, but these guys won't be around forever!