Making a Rebar Clamp Clamps & Vises

Another homemade bar clamp. This one uses reinforcing steel for the bar, taking advantage of the ribs that are formed on the rod to lock the moving jaw in place.

First thing to do was to bend the rod into a candy cane shape:

I used two pipe clamps to do the bending. The bend radius was just a guess, but looks right for this size clamp. To get it, I made two marks on the rod – the first at 2″ and the second at 8″. I them lined those up in my ‘bender’, making sure the ribs on the bar were facing inwards.
After the rod was bent, I cut 1″ off to shorten the hook. I figured I’d need at least 2″ of rod inside the pipe to bend it.
The rod I used is 10mm thick and 24″ long. It is epoxy coated, but regular rebar would work as well:

A wooden pad is added to the hook. I made this from solid maple and it’s just jammed on.

Next, the moving jaw is cut to size and two holes are drilled through, one in each end. The 5/8″ hole is drilled on an angle for the rod to pass through. The purpose of the angle is to help keep the moving jaw perpendicular to the rod. I just propped it up on a pencil to make the angle:

The other end is for the lead screw and a 1/2″ hole is drilled. A 3/8″ t-nut is then screwed in place.

Back to the 5/8″ hole, where a washer is added to jam against the rebar. After the washer is screwed in, the fit is fine tuned using a file:

The end of the lead screw has two nuts tightened against each other to stop them from coming undone.

They fit in another maple pad that was drilled out with a 3/4″ counterbore deep enough for the two nuts plus a washer. The washer is the wear surface for the end of the lead screw:

The pad and is capped by a piece of 1/4″ plywood.

The handle is glued onto the lead screw with polyurethane construction adhesive:

The finished clamp:

Probably the cheapest, easiest to make clamp to date.
Originally, I was going to make this clamp entirely from metal and use a 15mm bar. I’ll still do that, but made this smaller version thinking it would be a fairly handy ‘extra’ clamp to have around when you’ve used all of your regular ones.
Twenty of these could be made in an afternoon for less than the cost of one good quality bar clamp, and be ready to use the next day.

I made a short video covering the build in detail: