C clamps are great, but they can leave unsightly dents unless used with a piece of scrap wood to prevent those dents. But, a piece of scrap wood almost requires a third hand to keep it in place while you hold the clamp and tighten its screw.
This Instructable will show a simple way to attach a pad to a C clamp to eliminate clamp dents and also the need for a third hand.
The photo shows a piece of walnut clamped to a jig I made for cutting 22.5 degree miters to be used on some flag cases I am building for an organization that will sell them to support its ministry to homeless.
Step 1: Cut a Circle
- Electric drill
- Twist drills
- Angle head grinder with cutting wheel and grinding wheel
- Dremel tool and cutting wheel
- 3/4 inch plywood
- Sheet metal
- #8 x 3/4 inch screws
Step 2: Drill a Shallow Hole
The cone on the clamp screw is 3/4 inch in diameter. I drilled a shallow hole 3/4 inch in diameter on center in the plywood disc. Later I drilled this hole a little deeper for fit, but there will be more about that later.
Step 3: Two Pieces of Sheet Metal
I cut two pieces of sheet metal 1 1/8 inch by 1 7/8 inch and clamped them together. I ground the edges on all four sides so the pieces would be identical. I marked the center and simultaneously drilled a 7/16 inch hole through both.
Step 4: Drill Holes for Screws
A mounting hole will be needed on each end of the sheet metal pieces. The screws will be #8 x 5/8 inch.
Step 5: Cut Openings to the Side
I cut openings to opposite sides as shown. These "U"-shaped openings will fit around the cone at the end of the clamp screw.
Step 6: Fasten to the Disc
Slide the sheet metal pieces around the cone on the clamp screw. If the fit is too tight, make the 3/4 inch hole a little deeper so the cone goes down into the disc a little farther.
Mark to drill for the screws. Turn the screws in tight.
Step 7: Done
I can remove this clamp pad by loosening one screw and removing the other. Or, I can make this clamp a dedicated clamp for applications that require a soft footprint that will not leave a dent in a fine wood project.