Tip: No-Twist Clamp Pads
This is so simple, I wonder why I didn’t think of it before. I have a number of fairly good steel bar clamps that I use often, and they used to have a plastic cover on the clamp pad to keep them from marking the wood as you tighten it:
Of course over time these came off and were lost, which is a very common outcome. And while it is always possible to put a scrap of wood in place before tightening the clamp to stop it from denting the wood, it’s also inconvenient. So I set out to make new wooden clamp pads for these, but also thought it would be neat if they could somehow lock the pad in place and keep it from twisting as the clamp is tightened.
My first idea was to make it “L” shaped so that it would slot around the arm of the moving jaw of the clamp. But then I realized that it could just be made straight and slot onto the bar of the clamp instead. Not only would that be easier to do, it would also work better.
I got to work on making a few by cutting some maple strips to 3/4″ wide by 3/8″ thick:
Then I used my mini table saw sled to cut these to cut them to 4″ long:
I could then cut the slot on one end that fits loosely around the bar of the clamp:
And then drill the counterbore for the metal clamp pad about 3/16″ deep:
To fasten it to the metal pad, I used double sided tape:
And that makes so that I can easily remove these if I need to replace them.
Here’s the finished clamp in action:
I made a short video going through the build from beginning to end:
UPDATE: I’ve had a few months to try these out and I can say that they are a very worthy upgrade. They work great, better than I originally thought they would.