As with most woodworking products, clamps offer a wide selection of options. The process of buying involves a variety of different terminologies that make it harder for buyers to find exactly what they are looking for.
Ideally, you’ll need to use dozens of clamps (probably C or F clamps) when working on projects that require glue-ups involving wood bending.
In the case of smaller tasks, like cutting boards, you can grab 4-6 24″ or 36″ pipe clamps and have everything you need. Don’t buy a bunch of clamps of the same style at once.
Before investing heavily in them, you should first pick up a couple of them and test them out. The type of project you have may be better suited to certain types.
Which Wood Clamps Do You Need?
Here is a short guide list of what to buy first if you are looking for some obvious hints:
- C Clamps – The C-clamp, also known as a G-clamp, is a type of clamp used for holding wood or metal workpieces, especially in the carpentry and welding industries.
- The trigger clamp can be used for many different purposes, from woodworking to metal fabrication and construction. It is ideal for holding a workpiece while you cut, saw, sand, glue, and nail it.
- F clamps- have an “F” shape, hence the name. Unlike a C-clamp, the F-clamp has a wider opening capacity (throat). To hold pieces together during welding or bolt, this tool is used in woodworking while screws or glue are used for more permanent attachment.
- Bar-Clamps- Compared with C-clamps, bar clamps have adjustability that makes it easier to narrow or widen the clamping arms to hold the workpiece tight, requiring fewer turns of the spindle to do so. Woodworkers use bar clamps to hold edges when gluing wood pieces.
What are the different types of Clamps?
To save you money and valuable shop space, I will help you decide what clamps you need so you don’t end up spending too much on unnecessary clamps.
What is Trigger Clamps Used for?
Most people are familiar with these clamps. Home improvement stores carry assorted brands of these products. In terms of size, these are small and lightweight – usually a range of 4″ to 12″ is ideal for these clamps.
An easy-to-use handle (or trigger) allows you to quickly tighten or loosen your grip on your workpiece. To reduce the risk of damaging the product, these clamps feature plastic pads on their jaws.
As a result of their plastic construction, these units have a small clamping force when used individually. Ideal to be used to hold down small pieces, since using it with larger clamps would not be feasible.
Prices vary according to the size, but you can expect to pay $5-10 apiece for these.
What is C Clamps Used for?
These clamps are very old-fashioned. As the name suggests, they look similar to the English alphabet C, are generally made of using standard metal and like others, they have so many variations in their sizes.
You can choose from sizes starting at 1″ up to 12″ for home use and even 40″ for industrial use.
C Clamps offer more clamping power than trigger clamps. However, their main disadvantage is the time it takes to set them versus trigger clamps.
When you use trigger clamps, all you have to do is squeeze the handle, adjust the clamp, and you’re done. Turning a handle can be laborious in adjusting the tightness of a C clamp.
C clamps should be tightened appropriately to apply them properly to woodworking projects. Screws and handles can be tightened beyond what is necessary due to design, causing them to be overtightened. They rarely come with jaw pads.
By over-tightening a clamp on a softwood, it can easily dent it. To prevent dents and marks on the wood, I recommend adding a piece of cloth or scrap wood between the jaw and the wood.
An inexpensive set of c clamps is a welcome addition to the tool cabinet for someone just getting started. It would be a good idea to buy a few clamps in assorted sizes to have around.
What is Pipe Clamps Used for?
There are probably no clamps that are as durable as pipe bar clamps, the best ones to buy for your shop. Their strength, stability, and affordability are what I appreciate about them.
In case you’ve never seen them before, you may be confused when shopping for sets.
The clamping mechanism is usually the initial part you purchase, and it appears rather small and unimpressive when viewed from the outside. Your purchase does not end with this mechanism.
To purchase steel gas pipes, you will need to go to your local hardware store after you have chosen the size you want, i.e. 12″ or 34″. You simply slide the clamps onto the pipe once you’ve got both the pipe and the clamping mechanism in place.
These clamps are interchangeable, which is a nice feature. Having the clamps allows you to purchase a variety of lengths of pipe and then remove the clamps and move them to your desired length. Only be mindful of the pipe thickness (12″ or 34″) when purchasing each.
The downgrade is their relatively short throat- which is the distance between the jaw and the clamp’s inner mount Sometimes referred to as the “grip” or “foot” that a clamp has to hold your piece into place.
Using clamps on pipe bars is the easiest way to affix cutting boards or tabletops to a table. The strength of these devices and their ease of use can’t be matched.
The residue left behind by bar clamps can also cause a problem because grease and residue on pipes make bar clamps leave a residue on a project. To ensure that your workpiece and pipes don’t rub against one another, I would recommend putting some old rags between them to prevent any damage.
What is Bar Clamps (F Clamps) Used for?
Among all the clamps these are among the most frequently used. We discussed pipe clamps earlier, but these clamps function much like them, however, are much smaller in scale.
On their side, F clamps often resemble the letter “F.” This is because they tend to look like the letter “F.”.
A bar clamp functions the same way as a pipe clamp, in that it has a level below its lower jaw that allows you to quickly move it up or down so the jaw is close to your task.
As soon as the upper jaw is closer to your project, the lower jaw will begin applying pressure. After you turn a knob, the lower jaw moves closer to your project.
When you use bar clamps, you can protect your wood from getting scratched and dented by adding padding to the jaws to help prevent overtightening.
You can use this when gluing up a large project, rather than stopping every few minutes to insert a scrap between the clamp and your project.
Sizes for these clamps are varied. The smallest ones are 6″ and up to 48”, it mostly depends on the preference and the projects for where to be used.
Normally, I will just switch my clamps over to a bigger clamp once I reach this size. The only exception is of course over 36″ if you want bar clamps.
Comparing different brands is a good way to find the one that you enjoy the most. If you are going to spend so much money on this purchase, make sure you purchase it from a brand that you trust and is of high quality.
What is Parallel Clamps Used for?
They resemble bar clamps, but with more power. With these clamps, you can use them in a variety of different ways, since they are made to be versatile.
One of the only negatives is their cost. The price of these clamps would make it difficult for someone without an unlimited budget to collect a collection.
Clamps like these have several advantages. A heavy-duty design is the first thing you notice. Despite their size, they are powerful clamps. As with a pipe bar clamp, they provide a similar level of strength.
The first time you tighten them down, you won’t have to worry whether your boards will be held in place. It will be done well by them.
Pipe clamps have one disadvantage: their small throats, which attach to your boards to hold them- that Parallel clamps fix. featuring a large throat, these clamps can hold up to three to four inches of material.
In addition, the jaws form a 90-degree angle with each other. As a result, you can always ensure your products are square when gluing up boxes or cabinets.
Additionally, these clamps can be reversed to double as spreaders and can easily be disconnected.
This feature is great. When I was first getting started on gluing up projects, I never had a spreader handy, but just finding a way to push boards apart was always a major pain.
It has been so easy with the clamps that I don’t have to think about it anymore.
Comparatively to the other clamps we’ve listed, these are a bit pricey. The size determines the price you will pay for each clamp. Generic versions are available online for less, however, they tend not to be consistently well-reviewed.
Are Bar Clamps Better than Pipe Clamps?
Bar clamps are designed using an aluminum bar, making them easy and convenient to use. They provide the much-needed stability required for the complete drying up of the glue for easy joining of wood pieces. They also have the capability of holding the wood pieces for a long period.
One of the shortcomings of bar clamps is that they are not expandable; the size you purchase is the size you will use. Additionally, they tend to be more expensive as compared to pipe clamps.
If you are seeking versatility, then you should go for a pipe clamp. You will be able to undertake a vast array of woodworking tools using a pipe clamp as they can accommodate different lengths and widths of the workpiece. You only be required to buy jaw sets that suit the specifications of your project.
Pipe clamps have the capability of offering an additional measure of strength to the grip. This is because pipes cannot torque, bend or bulge.
The choice you make will be determined by your budget. It would be best if you went for a clamp that you can afford and one which will suit your woodworking needs.
What a Trigger Clamp Entails?
A trigger clamp has been designed with a mechanism used to trigger and set the jaw’s strides.
It is used to hold your workpiece in place for sanding, cutting, nailing, screwing, or gluing. The mechanism can be carried out with just a single hand. This feature makes them convenient and easy to operate as its trigger adjusts through a quick release.
Are Used Clamps Convenient?
Conscientious woodworkers usually take very good care of their hands and power tools. In most instances, they may dispose of the old tools while still in good shape and operational.
Most of them usually tend to dispose of the old tools when they upgrade to more advanced ones. If you buy these used and old clamps, they will still give you the service you need.
However, it would be best to buy used clamps as you may end up buying faulty tools, thus wasting your money.
Armed with the above guidelines, you will be in a suitable position to decide on the type of clamp that is ideal for your project. It would be best if you went for one which helps you undertake your project with much ease and one within your budget.