You Can Never Have too Many Clamps

Written By: Bill Griggs - Aug• 22•12


You Can Never Have Too Many Clamps


There is no such thing as too many clamps. Clamps are needed in almost every woodworking project. There are many types of clamps. Parallel jaw clamps, cauls, quick grip clamps. Pipe clamps, Uncle Fester (hand screw) clamps. Right angle clamps, pocket hole clamps. The list is endless.  I’ve often use quick grip clamps to hold material to the bed of my CNC router table. Using quick grip clamps to hold material to the CNC router table can get expensive if you’re not careful.  I go to great pains to determine where the clamps can safely go yet still be pout of the cutting path. The CNC router bit does not care if it is cutting wood or my clamps.  Therefore I came up with another solution.

I made some clamps out of if plywood.  With these plywood clamps it doesn’t matter if the router bit accidentally cuts them.  They’re easy to make, quick to replace and don’t cost a lot of money.  If you would like to make some plywood clamps of your own, I have provided a free plan for you.  Just follow the link at http://themakersguide/tocnc/clamps.

Pipe Clamps

I use pipe clamps when i need to glue up small boards into a larger piece for making tables, sign or desktops. There are a variety of pipe clamps around  from many different sources. Harbor Freight offers some of the cheapest priced pipe clamps but I am not a big fan of them because the handle is long enough that I strike my knuckles on the worktable when using them. However for just about a dollar more per pipe they offer a 3/4″ pipe clamp that has a built in base which raises the handle to a safe distance from the work table. The Bessey BPC-34 H Style pipe clamp is only slightly more expensive than the Harbor freight clamps but they are much smoother to use. The BPC-34 base prevents clamps from tipping over easily. Crank handle clears the work surface when opening and closing the jaw on the clamp. The Bessey BPC-34 has 4 soft jaw caps are included to prevent damaging materials being clamped.

Irwin 224134 Quick Grip 3/4″ Pipe Clamps are unique in my experience. The 224134 clamp feature an elevated base similar to the Bessey BPC-34. The Irwin 224134 clamp does not require a  threaded pipe like all the other pipe clamps mentioned.The Quick Grip also has a clutch system which allows the clamps to be quickly slid against the wood, making it one of the fastest closing and opening clamps I have tried.

Parallel Clamps

Jorgensen 8036 Cabinet Master 90 Degree Parallel steel master Barclamps are a mouthful. These clamps features the following claims. 90 degree parallel jaws, 30% larger clamping surface than the competition, Reversible head for spreader clamp feature, Built-in clamp stand for easy adjustment,10% longer screw travel than the competition.  8036 Cabinet Master

Bessey KR3.540 K Body REVO fixed jaw parallel Clamp. Parallel jaw design for, 90-degree clamping of materials, glue-ups of materials, general purpose clamping of wood, composites, plastics, light metals, and mixed materials. The KR3-540 can be attached to work surfaces using TK-6 clamps. The jaws have a 3-3/4-inch throat depth with 3 removable jaws pads. The pads are designed to protect material surfaces. from scratches. Special rail protector pads are designed to keep clamped material from contacting the rail surfaces. The rail protector pads snap off when not needed. These boast a 1,500-pound clamping force,  2 component molded soft grip handle, rapid action jaw opening and closing, ,reverse the jaws for spreading..

Bessey K Body REVO clamps sit flush on work surface for easier set up.  The 40″ fixed jaw parallel clamp features a large, flat parallel clamping surface made of impact resistant Polyamide. It comes with three replaceable pressure caps that are glue, paint and grease resistant. The internal frame helps create accurate accurate 90-degree angles even at maximum pressures. The Bessey K Body Revo clamps have large handles with soft plastic inserts. Rail protection pieces made of same glue resistant polyamide elevate the workpiece from the rail, and the removable end rail clip ensures that the clamp sits parallel to the rail and can easily be removed to reverse sliding arm for use as a spreader.

Bar Clamps

Bar clamps use a steel rails or bar to support the clamp head and jaw. They differ from parallel clamps because the jaws do not create 90 angles but may swivel to accommodate irregular shaped stock. Bar clamps also use a threaded rod through the movable jaw to press the clamp closed.

Bessey GSCC2.524 is a 2.5-Inch x 24-Inch Economy Bar with a clutch style slide. Bessey F-Style clutch bar clamps come with cast heads with powder-coated finish to resist corrosion and chipping. The rails are  zinc finished with a two piece clutch plate system for opening and closing the lower movable jaw. The Bessey clutch clamps are also provided with protective pads on both the top and bottom jaws and come with a wooden handle.

Jorgensen 3724-HD is a  Heavy-Duty 24 inch, Steel Bar Clamp. The clamp has a 24-inch opening and 3-inch reach for your heavy-duty projects. Two clamp pads protect your work from damage, and the fixed head is pressed and riveted so that it doesn’t wiggle and to to help keep your material in place. The clamp Washer is large at 1-3/16 inches in diameter give the swivel more stay-on power.  The castings have a hardened steel thrust bearing and cast iron head. The bar is made of High-carbon steel and the handles are maple. These clamps have a 1-year limited warranty.

Irwin Industrial Tools 223118 Clutch Lock is an 18-Inch Bar Clamp with a clutch lock. The clamps are also available with clutch-style locks or passive locks. I like the soft grip handles on these. The handle is large easy on the hands. The bars are shaped like an I-beam and are very rigid.

 Handscrew Clamps

Wood Handscrew Clamps are an old school tool that still work well today. These clamps offer lots of clamping power and the ability to clamp odd shapes. Wood handscrew clamps can also be used as a stand for other clamps.

Bessey HS-6  is for gluing and assembly of woodwork, furniture, cabinet work, etc. The jaws are made of Hard maple. The deep throat allows evenly distributed pressure or concentration at 1 point. The angle of jaws is adjustable to fit the work or overlap one  jaw behind the other. The HS-6 has a 6″ jaw length, 3″ maximum opening, the  HS-8 has an 8″ jaw length with 5″ maximum opening. LHS-10 clamps have a 10″ jaw length with  7″ maximum opening . Lastly the HS-12: clamp has a 12″ jaw length, and 9-1/4″ maximum opening.

Bessey LHS-10 10″ Wooden Handscrew Clamps


All in One Clamps

All in One Clamp A-50 50-Inch Grip Clamp Guide w/T-track

The All-In-One straight edge clamp also does double duty as a straight edge. It is a combination clamp and edge guide. The low profile jaws allow you to quickly clamp from edge-to-edge with easy adjustability. There is even a built in T-Track on the top side of the clamp allows you to use a variety of accessories or shop made jigs.

Clamp Cauls

Bowclamp Caul 6-pc Set

One way to increase the clamping are without using more clamps is to use a CAUL. A caul is a curved piece of wood which is squeezed between two clamps. For a caul to work properly, and evenly distribute clamping pressure, the cauls curve must be perfect.

Bowclamps are commercially available cauls.  Bowclamps are made using  CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology.  Bowclamp developed a process that creates a true curve on quarter sawn hard maple blanks to ensure even distribution of clamping pressure across a clamped surface. Bowclamps are available in 3 sizes and a full set which includes one pair each of 24″, 36″ and 48″ size Bowclamp cauls.


Just Scratching The Surface

There are so many different types of clamps we haven’t discussed yet but let face it none of us has the time. If you look around the local hardware stores and online woodworking shops I am sure you can find clamps that will fit your needs.


Please let us know what your favorite clamp is and why. Why not post a comment here or follow me on Twitter @BillGriggs. I’d love to hear about your woodworking projects.

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