A Wooden C Clamp

Today the family and I went out to check out an antique mall we’d heard about down south.  Very little in the way of tools, but I did pick up this one item for $20 because it intrigued me.  I’d seen a wood C clamp in an old painting a while back, and was curious as to what kind of joint could be used for that.  Well, now I know what one joint might be used.

I have no idea how old this is, there wasn’t anything I could to date it.  The only marking is “HERRBURGER SCHWANDER” stamped in a couple places on the side.  Probably an owners stamp.  I would guess in the last 50-100 years for this.

Any help in identifying it?

Wooden C Clamp side view

Wooden C Clamp close up on Joint

Wooden C Clamp joints

Wooden C Clamp close up

Here is a picture of the old painting depicting a wooden C clamp in use:

Kaspar Memberger the Elder - Noah's Ark Cycle: 1. Building of the Ark 1588


  1. Gary Roberts December 30, 2010

    Very European in look. As late as 1920, clamps like these appeared in German, Scandinavian and Belgium catalogs. Possibly Noah used this one?


  2. Badger December 30, 2010

    He must have ordered from the same catalogs then. 🙂

    With a name like “HERRBURGER SCHWANDER” he certainly *sounds* German.

    Thanks for the heads up on the catalog reference.


  3. Derek Olson December 31, 2010

    Hmmm… I was intrigued by the “C” clamp when you first posted about the painting not so long ago. Off and on I have thought about what joinery I would use to make one myself but I haven’t been able to make up my mind. I don’t know if I would have come up with the solution used here, (what would you call that…a triple lap joint? Now that sounds kind of cool)

    Good find man! Looking at it I just may have to make one for sure now! Thanks.


  4. Badger December 31, 2010

    I agree, I’ve been totally intrigued by this clamp since I saw it. I don’t think my sawing skills are to the level cutting this joint, but I might cut a single or double as an experiment. Let me know if you want some measurements or close up shots, and I’ll send them your way.


  5. Richard Taylor September 22, 2011

    “HERRBURGER – BROOKS” and “SCHWANDER” are companies which make (or did make) piano actions. Look ’em up, could be a clue!!

  6. Badger September 22, 2011

    Ooh, that might be a good place to start. Thanks.

  7. Graham Williams July 27, 2014

    They were definately used in piano manufacturing. I have 3 of them. I am in the process of closing my business which has supplied piano parts to the trade since 1883. while clearing out the acumulated detritus I found 3 of these under an old work bench. Herrburger-Brooks were bought out by the chinese many years ago but Schwander still produce piano actions. I think these clamps were used in the veneering process.

  8. Cait Dibler July 14, 2015

    I was looking to buy one of these. Would you be willing to sell this one or do you make them? Thanks

  9. Badger July 20, 2015

    I don’t make them or sell them, sorry. I found this at an antique store.

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