The following is excerpted from “The Workshop Book,” by Scott Landis. First published in 1991, it remains the most complete book about every woodworker’s favorite place: the workshop. This edition was published in 2021 with a new foreword by Roy Underhill.
“The Workshop Book” is a richly illustrated guided tour of some of the world’s most inspiring workshops — from garage to basement shops, from mobile to purpose-built shops.
Landis traveled all over North America to discover the workshops featured in this book. The result is an intriguing and illuminating look at multiple successful approaches to shop layout.
Clamps, like other hand tools, live on the wall in many workshops. Hanging his clamps was one of the first projects Bob Allen undertook when he set up his new workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina. Allen’s open layout makes it easy to find the right clamp in a hurry, but to speed the process, he also marked each clamp with its maximum clamping distance.
Allen’s layout is attractive if you have the space, but clamps may be needed anywhere in the shop, wherever the action is. For that reason, a lot of woodworkers store their clamps on rolling carts. Many clamp carts hold one or two types of clamps well, but Ken Bishop’s rolling clamp caddy seems as comfortable with long pipe and bar clamps as with wooden handscrews and small C-clamps. Bishop’s caddy is built from standard 2×4 lumber, mounted on a plywood base and 2-in. casters. All the horizontal components, which carry the clamps, are 24 in. long. The plastic bucket contains an assortment of hardwood glue blocks.
Robert Markee, of Iowa City, designed the rotary clamp rack shown in the drawing [above] to hang from the joists of his workshop ceiling. “It’s nothing but a lazy Susan, hung from the top,” he explains. Markee has four of them in his shop, two filled with clamps (93 on each one, at last count) and the others draped with hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and various other hand tools. The rack is suspended by bolts through the top and bottom of the central conduit, and is held in place by the weight of the tools.
“Heavens,” Markee says, “I think I’ve got 50 lb. on there!”
Clamp racks don’t get much simpler than Lewis Judy’s galvanized clamp can. Judy bored concentric rings of 1-in. dia. holes in a plywood disc and jammed it inside the top of a garbage can to receive bar clamps. He spaced the holes about 3 in. apart, staggering them as they radiate out from the center. The bottom of the can is filled with sawdust to protect it from the long bars. “I don’t know how many it holds,” Judy says, “but I can’t lift it.”