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post #1 of 40 Old 01-29-2017, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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opinion on clamps

Getting ready to do my table top and I need clamps. I've narrowed it down the the Bessey H style pipe clamps, 1/2" or the Harbor Freight 48" bar clamp.

I know, the HF bar is aluminum not steel, whatever. I have some of their 36" ratcheting clamps as well as some irwin and dewalt hand clamps. But I need larger for a 40" table. Cost wise, the Bessey's a bit more just because of pipe. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 40 Old 01-29-2017, 11:57 PM
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I like Pony pipe clamps.
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post #3 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 05:37 AM
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Not mentioned, but I like the HF pipe clamps. I like pipe clamps over bar clamps for any sort of length because if I ever need larger clamps, I just need a longer piece of pipe. The HF ones are something like $8 for the 1/2, throw in another $10 for a 10ft section of black iron pipe and you're at $26 for 2 5 foot clamps.

As far as the bar clamps being aluminium, personally I have a hard time trusting them, but given that pretty much ever company uses aluminium bars for the longer clamps I can't imagine they work too bad. If memory serves grades like 7075 are pretty close to mild steel in terms of strength anyway

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post #4 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 07:47 AM
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I use Harbor Freight (HF) bar clamps and like them. The fact that they are aluminum vs steel is a plus in my opinion. It makes them lighter to handle.

You DO NOT need to over tighten to the point that steel is required.

George
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post #5 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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I had read somewhere that sometimes the HF pipe clamps lose the grip on the sliding end. Could be a quality control issue. I figure if I'm saving $$ on pipes, I'd spend more for the better brands. Turns out I only need a couple. My friend has 3 or 4 I could borrow so I only need to make a couple now. The tabletop will be 10" wide and 49" long so I thought I'd clamp one every 8" or so. If possible I'll elevate the top on boards and alternate clamp directions too since pipe clamps don't have much of a throat depth. Unsure if I'll need cauls or not, we'll see.
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post #6 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 04:55 PM
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I just noticed a new product at Lowe's that lets you join two Irwin one-handed bar clamps to make a longer clamp. https://www.lowes.com/pd/IRWIN-QUICK...ler/1000129703

Might be handy if you already have some Irwins.
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post #7 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 05:49 PM
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The Harbor Freight bar clamps can be stiffened up with a long square chunk of wood pinned into it.
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Measure 6 times, cut 3. Plane it down wrong and go buy a second board.
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post #8 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodrat View Post
The Harbor Freight bar clamps can be stiffened up with a long square chunk of wood pinned into it.
Why? If you have to stiffen then you are over tightening.

George
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post #9 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 08:02 PM
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I settled on Pony pipe clamps with black iron pipes. The locking plates on the moveable part can be reversed if they wear. Actually after a couple of decades of use, I'm seeing the pipes getting divots in them from the plates, so the plates are wearing just fine. Due to limited space in my small shop, the pipes are 24 inches long. I have 14 of them. I also have 12 additional 24 inch pipes with unions permanently attached and seven 10 inch long ones also with permanently attached unions. With this set up, I can make up clamps of any length to use on any situation. All of this stores in a roll around cart that slides under the work bench when not in use. The cart also holds 6 inch and 18 inch Quick Grip clamps as well as a strap clamp, some "C" clamps, and four corner framing clamps. I made the cart from plywood scraps and some cast off casters.

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post #10 of 40 Old 01-30-2017, 10:37 PM
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A pipe clamp is far superior over man bar clamps when serious clamping is needed like for a table top.
There are light duty and heavy duty bar clamps for sale but the pipe clamps are more economical vs the heavy duty bar clamp and more dependable than the light duty bar clamps on lengths over 40". A good pipe clamp or heavy duty bar clamp will last for a lifetime. Not so with the lighter duty bar clamps.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #11 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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smart to do shorter lengths with other rods attached to couplings. i'll do that then. most people tend to agree that 1/2" is fine. The woodworking websites say it's not and 3/4" should be the minimum, but again it's clamping pressure not "squishing the crap out of it" pressure.
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post #12 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
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Why? If you have to stiffen then you are over tightening.

George
The bar clamps from HF twist I've learned. It's not to keep them from bending, it's to keep them from twisting sideways which they do just by touching them. No tightening required.

Making them more ridged insures the clamping surfaces stay parallel.

Measure 6 times, cut 3. Plane it down wrong and go buy a second board.
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post #13 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mendozer View Post
smart to do shorter lengths with other rods attached to couplings. i'll do that then. most people tend to agree that 1/2" is fine. The woodworking websites say it's not and 3/4" should be the minimum, but again it's clamping pressure not "squishing the crap out of it" pressure.
3/4" pipe will flex less in the longer lengths making the pads less likely to slip off of the wood surface. Also, use black iron pipe, not galvanized. Black iron won't mark, or stain, the raw wood. I also wrap the pipe unions with two layers of PVC electrical tape to provide a bit of a grip when assembling.

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post #14 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 11:38 AM
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I have 4 of these Irwin 1/2" pipe clamps and they're inexpensive.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/332091355812 or you can buy from the Cripes distributing site.
Anyways...you don't have to use threaded pipe which is good, just plain straight 1/2" pipe. They probably make 3/4" versions, but the 1/2" work just fine.
Edit: They do have 3/4 inch versions, but as far as I can tell Cripes doesn't carry the 3/4..just the 1/2s.

Also use plenty of the HF clamps. What I DON'T care for are the HF plastic 'quick' clamps.. I'm not going to say they're junk, but until junk comes along they'll do as junk.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 01-31-2017 at 11:44 AM.
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post #15 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 12:36 PM
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Besides being lighter aluminum doesn't turn woods black from the tannin in them when using wood based glue

But I don't own any aluminum ones yet, still have about 50 Pony's I have collected over the years, and just put waxed paper on the pipes to stop the staining
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post #16 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 01:19 PM
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I guess you can see I have all of the clamps mentioned.

Recently I did stiffen up several of the HF alum bar clamps. 3/4 plywood was a perfect fit. Look up Paul Sellers on You Tube. He explains it.

I had a pair of the HF pipe clamps...didn't like them. I think I threw them in the trash. They kept slipping.

BTW, if you use pipe clamps, you can always cut shorter pieces and then couple them for wider glue ups. Just remember to get electrical conduit couplings. They are thinner and work well.

Good luck.
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post #17 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the tip on conduit couplings. I have black iron 1/2" already, about 20 feet leftover from a project. I have a bite on some Pony's from the early 90s on Craigslist for roughly the same price as new Besseys so I might do that. They're 3/4" but I can use an adapter at the pony clamp end.


Also, No one has mentioned this, but I always scrub down black iron pipe with paint thinner to remove the black staining on the pipes. Cleans up really nice and no more rubbing that stuff off. Never made these clamps before, but I clean the BIP anyways so I don't get dirty using it. I guess you could paint it after if you didn't want raw steel exposed.
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post #18 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 06:10 PM
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Here are a few pics of the HF bar clamps with the plywood inserts.
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post #19 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 06:45 PM
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I mostly use the Jorgenson Pony pipe clamps. Mostly 3/4", but I have a few 1/2" that come in handy, mostly on lengths under 3'. Some of my most used clamps are the Jorgenson 12" bar clamps, which I use to hold things down a lot, or clamp short distances where a pipe clamp won't get into. Stay clear of any plastic clamps, they won't last.

As regards staining, the black pipe clamps will defintely stain the wood if there is contact to the wood with even a little bit of glue squeeze out in that spot. Wax paper is a good barrier.

Regarding clamping pressure, that really depends. If you are glueing up a butcher block style counter, for instance, and it's 25" wide and composed of 24 seperate boards, you actually need to put quite a bit of pressure on the clamps in order to transfer enough pressure to the inner joints.
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post #20 of 40 Old 01-31-2017, 07:37 PM
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Thought I'd throw in pictures of my clamp cart.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/membe...ong-x-32-high/

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/membe...art-back-view/

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