Hi! I’m at it again, drawing pictures, making plans etc…
Most Antique Broom presses are made from heavy hardwood planks. If you can find similar planks to work with by all means do so. Adjust your measurements to accommodate your thicknesses. if you can’t: you can make this with a 10′ “2×8” and a few other odds and ends.
FYI Common lumber standards have a 2×8 measuring 1.5″ x 7.5″ but the 10′ measure cannot be less than 10′ but it can be 10′ 1/4″ or something like that. In theory; the wood is sawn at 2″ x 8″ and then dried (where it shrinks, cups, and twists) and then run through a planer to flatten and make it all the same (and take the corners off). thus it can’t be actually be 2″ x 8″. when I was young the standard was finished at 1 3/4″ by 7 3/4″… but we are using a lot of fast grown junk trees now and the twist are worse so we get what we get now…
Many of the older broom presses are only 4′ tall or thereabouts. I drew this at 4’6 thinking it’s not too tall for most people and it will accommodate the longer handles that some people prefer.
Cross Cut a 2×8 into 2 pieces, 1 length of the height you want, the other 1/2″ shorter. you will need a 10′ one for a taller vice, or an 8′ one for a 48″ vise.
look through the scrap bins at your lumber yard and see if you can get reduces price offcuts for the 24″ clamp and it’s 18″ brace. Cut those to length.
The feet will need 2 pieces of 2×6, 31″ long and 2 pieces of 2×4, 16 1/2″ long. You may be able to find these in those scrap bins.. or cut it out of wider stock.
Drill holes for 1/2″ diameter bolts in the sides of the foot. a drill press is your friend here. Freehand if you must.
Drill holes for 1/2″ diameter bolts in the sides of the foot. a drill press is your friend here. Freehand if you must. I recommend that you use carriage bolts. If you cannot get them, then lag bolts or big screws from both sides would work.
The bolts in the stationary jaw are to hold it steady and solid, you may want to glue it as well. The ONE bolt in the moving jaw is a pivot point. Since it wants to move you will not want glue or other fasteners.
Here are the bottoms of the stationary jaw (left) and the moving jaw (right). You can see the height difference in the two jaws here. The holes are drilled centered in the thickness of the material.
A note about bolts and other options… Bolts or screws are best where things need to be tightened down and locked in place. But there is another option for the pivot points on this project. Bar stock and Cap nuts, Iron bar stock is available in a variety of sizes from most lumberyards or farm supply stores. they also have what are called “cap nuts” which press onto the ends bar stock (ok most times you need to hammer them on) they bite into the bar and are not removable. they can be use to fasten like bolts (make the bar a little shorter) or used to attach wheels to things, (make the bars a touch long so the wheels turn) and they would make better pivot points than threaded rod or bolts because the tooth threads will cut into the wood, smooth rod will not.
Hole for the position of the iron straps of the clamp lever… again centered in the material. use either a 1/4″ or 1/2″
you will want to cut a nice shape into the clamp paddle… maybe round where you grip it.
position of the pivot hole in the clamp paddle. also note the rounded over end…
Detail of the lower end of the paddle brace.
On all of the Metal! Cut it to length then file the sharp corners off! Then mark for holes and drill them. Then file those sharp edges off (or use a countersink or larger drill to get the burrs off). Clean with acetone and disposable rags, use paste wax to keep clean and rust free.
this is the iron strap that makes the clamp work, 3/4″ or 1″ wide, 1/8″ or 1/4″ thick, 12 3/4″ long. pivot hole positioning indicated in the drawing.
the jaws drawn are 1″ black angle iron, cut to match the width of the material you are using. You could use aluminum but that will probably smudge black on your broom corn. Clean with acetone and don’t wax it yet. Mark 4 or 5 holes about 1″ up from the bottom edge of the angle iron and drill to fit some #8 by 3/4″ pan head screws. you can glue these on with epoxy or Gorilla ™ glue then pilot drill the screw holes in the wood. (the holes in the iron want to let the screw slide through, the pilot holes in the wood want to grip the screw threads).
If all goes well this should work, if you have to adjust how close the jaws come together, you can either trim the paddle or file the angle iron to make it wider. or you can shim the paddle to make it clamp thinner…
go make something
Update: If you want curved jaws either:
make the contact area out of some hard wood and cut it to a curve.
Or cut lower leg of the steel every half inch or so with an abrasive cut off wheel, bend the steel, weld it together… or not, drill screw holes wherever you can and fasten it in place.
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