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Homemade ring clamp

I’m making a ring clamp but don’t have an example to study up close.
Could you please describe the central pivot of a commercially made
ring clamp? It appears to be either hinge or a rod–what keeps it
from falling out?


The two halves of the Clamp pivot on a 1/4" steel pin. This pin
along with the metal strips holds them together.

A hard wood Ring Clamp Wedge Type with thick leather tips sells for

A Ring Clamp with a brass wing nut also sells for $5.00

If you still want to make your own then this is the way it is made.
You will need a wood dowel, a 4"x4" leather patch. A strips of metal
5/16" x 1/16" thick x 5"long, 1/4" steel pin. a Rivet or 2 screws.

  1. Get a round wood Dowel about 1.75" to 2" (depending on your grip)
    6" long.

  2. At half way 3" groove 3/16" deep 7/16 wide around this dowel for
    the pivot pin & metal strips.

  3. Shape the wood for the front and back as you desire.

  4. Slit the dowel to make two halves of the ring clamp

  5. Groove the two halves for the leather tips and the pivot pin
    (3/32" deep)

  6. Stick the leather tips to the front and back edges.

  7. The two halves of the Clamp pivot on a 1/4" steel pin. This pin
    along with two metal strips also holds them together. The length of
    the metal band & the 1/4" pin will vary with the dia of the wood.
    The metal strips may be attached to the pin by a rivet or 2 screws.

Kenneth Singh

Kenneth, thanks for the very clear instructions. I knew that Rio
Grande had inexpensive ring clamps, but of course I didn’t want to
wait for delivery. Making one myself was a good way to use stuff
(router, table saw, leather, hardwoods, etc.) left over from
previous obsess–uh, hobbies.

Come to think of it, is there any reason I can’t use ViseGrips
(locking pliers) to hold the ring to the buffing wheel? The jaws
would be padded with leather, of course.


The reason you wouldn’t want to use Vise-Grips that way is pretty
simple. If…no, when the buffing wheel yanks the piece from your
hand, do you really want the metal Vice Grips impaled into your
buffer housing, wall, head, etc? And do you really want the weight of
the Grips added to the weight of the piece you’re buffing so that
when it flies out of your grip it truly gets destroyed rather than
probably being okay? JMHO

Talia in Kansas

Janet a tapered wood dowel slightly more tapered than a ring mandrel
will safely hold a ring while buffing, a little easier than a ring
clamp like a kagan or something of that sort. If you have access to a
wood lathe very easy or Rio sells them for abut a buck ea. Ya I know
then you have the wait. You can actually use nearly any dowel just
don’t let the ring spin. Very easy to hold and present to the buff.
Plus Cheap.

    I'm making a ring clamp but don't have an example to study up
close. Could you please describe the central pivot of a
commercially made ring clamp? 

Janet, if you do manage to get a copy of Charles’ "Cheap Thrills"
there are a couple of cheap and easy ring clamp designs on p. 39.

The outside clamp uses a stubby sofa leg split lengthwise and a
large brass curtain ring as the holder. Put your ring or workpiece in
the “jaws” at one end, the split leg goes through the large brass
ring and you shove a wedge in the other end to clamp down. Never made
one myself but I’m tempted to. It would take about 30 minutes or

The other clamp is an inside ring clamp. It’s a little more
complicated to describe but in practice not much harder to make. I
have made one of these and it worked nicely, especially since I
carved most of the thing with a pocket knife in the days before I had
real tools. I lost it in a move and I’m tempted to make another,
especially now that I’m a little better equipped to do so. If
you’ve got access to a wood lathe it would probably take you less
than an hour, start to finish. Double that if you don’t.

Bonne courage,
Trevor F.