Cam Clamp – Episode 1

Cam Clamp 1

This is an episode in a free series. Want to watch it? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many other videos we think you will love.

In this episode, Paul walks us through the design, before cutting the bar to length. He then lays out the moving jaw, shapes it, and cuts the saw kerf which enable the tightening mechanism.

Posted in ,


  1. bobeaston on 26 February 2016 at 5:16 pm

    One can never have enough clamps … or … he who dies with the most clamps wins!

    Seriously, I’ve often wanted some cam clamps but found prices for new ones too dear. Yes, I recognize they require a lot of work to make; thus the prices.

    THANKS for yet another fine tool making explanation!

  2. António on 26 February 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Great one!
    Thank You WWMC team!

  3. garyprott on 26 February 2016 at 6:30 pm

    This is just in time. I was just looking to buy some of these cam clamps. This will save be some money. Thanks Paul and Crew.

  4. tammar48 on 26 February 2016 at 7:12 pm

    That is very good idea and will start doing some of them once I have seen the next episode.
    Thank you again for great ideas and the cost is minimal so please keep them coming.

  5. caerlynnfibers on 26 February 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this a long time, nice surprise!
    Thanks a lot !!!

  6. SharpPencil on 26 February 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Paul

    I looked at these to buy …..although very well made….beyond my pocket, I had in mind to make my own so your video is very handy

    I can buy aluminium bar from my local builders merchants

    Thanks John 2vices

  7. Chuck Troxel on 26 February 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Perfect timing! I have been looking at various designs of cam clamps and have been trying to figure out how to go about it with hand tools only. I’m gonna make a bunch of these.

  8. Derek Long on 26 February 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this one. I have enough scrap wood laying around to double my complement of clamps!

  9. knightlylad on 26 February 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  10. Thomas Angle on 26 February 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I always enjoy watching your videos. They are well made and your just a true craftsman. Reminds me of my grandfather when he worked.

  11. JONATHAN WARREN on 26 February 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for this: I was just trawling youtube to find out how to make them when your email arrived. I need some long ones to laminate a bulkhead for my boat coachroof, and so this will be a very handy series!

  12. Michael OBrien on 27 February 2016 at 12:50 am

    Thanks Paul. I had purchased 2 wooden cam clamps previously and needed several more. So I will make those myself while having fun and saving money. Great lesson.
    Mike O’Brien
    Valley Head, Alabama, USA

  13. José Ramos on 27 February 2016 at 1:20 am

    Hi, I live so far from you but I am always learning so much.
    Thank you very much from Brazil

  14. johnnyangel on 27 February 2016 at 10:24 am

    Thanks Paul. I’m fascinated to see how you’ll cut those ultra-narrow mortices. It’s not something I would normally think of tackling, which is why in the past I’ve been contemplating the rather ingenious glue-up technique which Steve Maskery shows on youtube. Not hand-tools though.

  15. adrian on 27 February 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Great addition to all the shop made tools that you have already provided us.
    These will come in very handy with my box making.
    Thank you Paul and camera crew.

  16. jayfroman on 27 February 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you for this project! I need many clamps and will use this to make them.

  17. Mark Ortiz on 28 February 2016 at 1:40 am

    Thank you very much Paul. I enjoyed the lesson!

  18. tmpt on 28 February 2016 at 4:22 am

    Great! Thanks for this video Paul. Now I can make clamps as fill work and have something good to show for my time!

  19. Tony Bietola on 28 February 2016 at 11:43 am

    Thanks Paul,

  20. Thom Spillane on 28 February 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you Paul for the great information to get started on some cam clamps. They will be a great addition to my shop.

  21. Keith Wilde on 28 February 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Paul Thanks for the video instruction – it’s like being on the other side of the bench from you. By the time I’ve thought of a question to ask you, you’ve been one step ahead of me and given me the answer. Great to know the knowledge – all I have to do is practice the skills.

    Preston UK

  22. rav15 on 29 February 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I Enjoy your Craftsmanship and the videos are very helpful, I have started making the cam clamps And wonder if there are other episodes to follow ? Re: Cam clamps.

    Also can’t wait for the Book

    Thank You, Robert, Catskills N.Y.

    • Philip Adams on 1 March 2016 at 10:38 am

      Hello Robert,
      Glad you’re enjoying the videos. There are three episodes and they will be released over the next few weeks.
      Best, Phil

  23. James McGuire on 3 March 2016 at 7:21 am

    So when is episode 2?

    • stevewales on 3 March 2016 at 9:29 pm

      on his blog about the clamp, Paul wrote that the videos will be released on successive Fridays — so not long to wait

  24. cobberpete on 3 March 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Paul and team, I have bought my Flat Bar and have the Blanks ready. I know it will be explained in the up and coming Video, but any chance of a drawing / template for the cam.
    Your book is ordered, now a wait of a few weeks for shipping 🙂

  25. Bob Groh on 13 March 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Love it!!! Just starting watching this little series and I see not only a batch of clamps for my own workshop but some Christmas presents family members for next year! Always a treat to see alternative ways of doing things (such as using chisel work for the relief cuts). Now on to the other 2 videos in this series. What a perfect way to cope with a rainy day in Missouri,USA!

  26. Joel Finkel on 20 March 2016 at 2:12 am

    I’m thinking that walnut may not be the best choice of wood for these clamps. I have already split two blanks (after shaping and mortising them) when I hammered home the roll pins. The pins went in fine in a test piece of pine. Perhaps I need to try coiled pins rather than slotted pins? Or am I correct that walnut is a poor choice for this application?

    • Bob Groh on 30 March 2016 at 2:06 am

      Good question, Joel. You got me thinking and my good old engineering kicked in so I did a search on the web on ‘walnut strength’ and found a good reference page from Nick Engler’s Workshop Companion web site:

      It proved to be easy to copy the table and turn it into an Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet which I will analyze some other time but, at a rough guess, Walnut is NOT a bad choice (based on bending strength and stiffness) – walnut is right up there with ash and a few others. Hickory is better (and probably the best of hardwoods) but not by an enormous amount. So I suggest walnut is ok, watch your grain and predrill a bit bigger!

    • Paul Sellers on 30 March 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Sorry guys, just to jump in here. Walnut is quite brittle and prone to split too, so my choice would generally not be walnut. Hickory is quite different to walnut even though they are both nut trees. Ash will work, beech, Maple is fine too and maple is readily available. The softwoods are generally too soft because of the unevenness of the growth ring aspects of soft next to hard with early and late growth. Osage orange would really work well, you have so many native American woods to look at there. Wow!!!

      • uumikew on 30 March 2016 at 2:42 pm

        “Sorry guys”, that is the funniest thing I have read all day. It is your blog after all. I think most of us come here for your comments most of all. Thanks, keep up the great work. 🙂

      • Joel Finkel on 3 May 2016 at 4:48 am

        Thanks, Bob, for the link. I’ll check that out. Paul, thanks for the input.

        In a previous life, so to speak,, when I was in college, I made a dulcimer. I spent many hours carving a scroll on the head, which was walnut. Just before final assembly, I dropped it and watched grimly as it hit the concrete floor and shattered. I was amazed at how brittle it seemed to be.

        I might have thought of that _before_ I dimensioned all the walnut to make 4 clamps. They’ll make beautiful fountain pens, instead. I should have used the Osage orange I have lying about. And now I will.

        Goodness, this is already 4 weeks old and I am just now replying. What have I been up to? (Which reminds me of a truly wonderful movie: “The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.”)

      • smahurin on 27 June 2016 at 6:11 am

        What would your thoughts on using poplar for these cam clamps?

        • Philip Adams on 27 June 2016 at 3:02 pm

          Hello Sean, while technically a hardwood, it would generally be too soft for making a clamp from.

          • smahurin on 28 June 2016 at 6:51 am

            Thanks Phillip for reply, I had some poplar scraps laying around. I’ll try to hit the lumberyard for a more suitable wood.


  27. Michael Nevin on 22 April 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Which I had just walked into B&Q and picked up a steel bar. looked on the net and then there are options; mild steel, stainless steel, galvanised steel, bright steel. Its not commented on in the video but I assume its mild steel? Anyone know or does it not matter.

    • Philip Adams on 27 April 2016 at 2:08 pm

      Hello Michael,
      Paul used mild steel, which is the most widely available, but any will work.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.