Thursday, April 14, 2016

DIY Clamp Rack - Wall Mounted Swing Out Design

How to build a wall hanging swing out clamp rack

A DIY clamp rack that mounts to the wall and swings out so that you can store clamps on both sides.  Yep, that's simple and easy.

Clamp storage problems?  Yeah I had that.

Out of desperation I decided to take over one of my peg board cabinets to fulfill the dirty job of organizing my vast array (cough, cough) of clamps.

clamp storage

Having limited space in my woodworking workshop meant that a lot of the floor model designs were out of the question.  So I turned my thoughts to a wall hanging design.

However, I also have limited wall space available and didn't want to take up any more of that than I needed too.  Why not store them on both sides I said to myself.

Ok, good idea, I thought.

Wait, something that sticks out a foot or more from the wall is a big nuisance and potentially hazardous.  

What if I could not only mount my new clamp rack to the wall but be able to fold it away when not needed.

Clamp Rack


 DIY Clamp Rack - Swing Out and Wall Mounted



2 - 1x4s

1 Length of Dowel Rod 1" Diameter (usually sold in 24" or 36" lengths)

Wood Glue

36" Clamps

90 degree clamps


Cut List

1 Vertical Wall Mount Piece @ 3.5" x 16.5"
1 Vertical Wall Mount Filler Piece @ 3.5" x 16"
2 Horizontal Wall Mount Pieces @ 3.5" x 6".

2 Horizontal Clamp Rack Top and Bottom Pieces @ 3.5" x 24"
1 Vertical Side Piece @ 3.5" x 16"
1 Vertical Interior Piece @ 3.5" x 15"
4 Clamp Rack Cross Members @ 1.5" x 20.75"
1 Dowel Rod @ 1" x 17"

Step 1

Lets begin with the fixed wall base.  Four pieces come together to establish our solid wall mounted foundation of our project.  The short top and bottom pieces get a dado each.  Measure 3/4" from one end of each piece and route a dado the width of the board.  

The only difference between the two pieces has to do with the hole for the dowel.  The top board of our clamp rack base gets the hole drilled all the way through it.  

The bottom piece only gets a recessed hole.  I drilled about a quarter inch down.  It's important not to punch all the way through the bottom.  

To make sure the hole in the two pieces line up exactly I first flushed the two boards.  Then, using my drill press, I bore a hole through to the bottom board.  Just far enough to mark the corresponding spot with the forstner bit.  

Then I removed the top piece and continued to drill to my desired depth.  The position of the hole isn't something that needs to be exact measurement. 

I just eyeballed my position.

Just make sure it is fairly centered on the boards and far enough back from the end so as to not compromise the integrity of the board.  About an inch or so.

Step 2

Now attach one of the backer boards by securing them into there dadoes. You are going to want to make sure this glue up dries right at ninety degrees. I used a pair of ninety degree clamps to make it easy on myself.

Step 3

Once step 2 is dry, remove the assembly from the clamps and glue a second backer board into the space behind it.  This will help beef up the wall assembly to the clamp rack providing some additional structural strength.

Step 4

Now lets turn our attention to the main swing out clamp assembly.

The top and bottom boards get some dadoes and corresponding holes to match the ones drilled for the wall base.  

This time go all the way through the two pieces instead of stopping short on the second.

Step 5

The far vertical end piece gets a pair of rabbets to seat the top and bottom pieces.  Then just glue it up and clamp it up.

Step 6

Once step 5 is all dry take it out of the clamps and attach the front and back ledge pieces.

I did not use glue to attach these boards to the main frame assembly.  I merely predrilled one hole for each end and slowly drove self tapping screws.  This is just in case I want to change something later.

Step 7

Slide the swing out section between the fixed wall section top and bottom pieces.  Insert the dowel, sliding it from the top of the clamp rack to the seat in the bottom piece of the fixed base assembly.  

Be sure to securely attach the DIY wall mounted swing out clamp rack to the wall and load her up.

Final Thoughts

I used the dowel to place some small hand clamps around for storage.  I also placed some spring clamps along the bottom piece.  

I have plans to add a few smaller diameter dowels to the very end so that I can store some C clamps as well.  I don't have many of those as I don't use them often but it will be nice to have all my woodworking clamps in one easily accessible spot from now on.

After building this project I was able to get a real life view of the stress points and thus potential failure spots. 

I wouldn't recommend going much longer than 24" as I have done.  If you have heavier duty clamps than what I have you may want to think about shortening this design up to about 18".  Some types of clamps can be pretty heavy.

If you have a lot you want to hang, I would recommend building more than one and placing them facing each other on the wall so that they open out and close towards each other.  Sort of like cabinet doors.

Using a hardwood species of lumber would also increase its strength and weight bearing capabilities.

If you're like me and only have a limited number of clamps in your shop then this space saving swing out design is perfect for the small shop.

What About Pocket Holes Instead of Dadoes and Rabbets? 


There is much debate around the strength of pocket hole joinery with some weighing in on both sides of the issue.  I however take a more pragmatic approach to the subject.

The strength of this type of joinery will be dependent on how they are used in a specific project along with the individual characteristics of the species of wood being used.

In other words there is no short "sound bite" answer that will fit every occasion.  

However, we are not talking about every occasion.  We are only talking about this occasion with the project featured here on this page.

My official stance at this time concerning pocket hole joinery for this project and this project only is no, don't use them for the wall mounted section.  However, I don't see a problem using them for the rack section

Why?  Without getting overly complicated, the joints for the wall mounted section are what I call "stand alone" joints.  

They are joints that must absorb and withstand the stresses placed on them all by themselves.  Their is no place for the stress to be transferred to like in the swing out rack section.  

The swing portion has the strength and support of four joints working together.  If stress is placed on one joint, it is reinforced by one or more of the others because they are all connected.  

It may be fine to use pocket hole joinery for the section mounted to the wall.  I will say this.  If you do it, please report back in 2 years after you have swung that thing out, fully loaded a thousand or more times and let us know how it is holding up.

Happy DIY'ing 


  1. I like this design.
    But as I will be using pallet wood and recycled Shipping crates (All oak), I won't be needing the Rabbits. I prefer to use Pocket Hole screws and glue for all the joints. The only wood I will be buying is the Dowel.
    As I do not have a workshop per-say, I am working on plans to build a shop when the ground dries out and Temps are a little higher. I will be using the same Pallet and Crate wood for that build too! I do not want to have to get a building permit for this job, So the walls need to be less then 12 FT long. So the length of the shop will be 11 FT. 6 Inches on all 4 sides.

    1. I have taken the liberty of addressing the use of pocket holes for this project above in the post. Not specifically for you but for anyone else who may be curious.


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