Black pipe cleaning, prep, protection - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Question Black pipe cleaning, prep, protection

I'm trying to decide whether I need black pipe, galvanized pipe, or conduit pipe for my new sure foot clamps from Rockler.

I am going for 6' long pipes for creating furniture like tables and larger stuff.

I hear that galvanized pipe slips. I don't mind spending the money. I can get 6' of galvanized pipe at ACE hardware for $16. But my fear is the slipping.

I can also get two 5' black pipes from Home Depot but my fear is the reaction with the glue and the wood and having to maintain it with constant cleaning and waxing.

My thoughts for the nasty black pipes are, lacquer thinner to clean all the gunk off, followed by minwax paste wax or metal spray protection. Not sure.....

Also how do I keep the threads from rusting as well?

I sound like I know about this stuff, but I would rather leave it to the professionals to give me advice.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 02:41 AM
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I use black pipe

I don't "prep" it in any special way, just clean it off with thinner. It 's only black because it's painted black at the factory. It comes in 10 ft lengths,m so to maximize material, I use 6 ft and 4 ft lengths, and thread them my self. I have a few 8ft length, but they are rarely used. When you need longer lengths, a pipe couple will allow you to thread the ends of short one together.

If you shop is subject to high humidity, and rust forms easily on metal surfaces, then clean them a spray them with a clear lacquer or more black enamel. You can rotate the "dogs" inside the clamps by carefully removing them and reinserting them facing the opposite direction.

There is always a debate as to what size pipe to use, 1/2" or 3/4". I started with 3/4" and all mine are that size. Many good woodworkers use only 1/2" pipe, because the clamping forces are sufficient. A glue starved joint is a weaker joint, so no need to bend the pipe to get a good joint....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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All I have is lacquer thinner. Is that ok?

So no thoughts on galvanized pipes?

Thanks for the reply!
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 07:12 AM
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I use black pipe because it's heavier than galvanized pipe. I've never cleaned the pipe, I just use it as is. Wood glue really only sticks to porous materials and just flakes off of the pipe. I normally make clamps in 5' lengths. I buy pipe in 10' lengths because it's cheaper and cut it in two for two clamps.

I have had some problem with galvanized pipe slipping but that is only after years of use. I don't know if it's from being galvanized or they are just worn out.

Last edited by Steve Neul; 10-23-2017 at 07:15 AM.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for responding.
This was very helpful.
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 09:45 AM
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FWIW, I now use only black pipe, after starting with some galvanized way back in the day. Black pipe is harder than galvanized and that is meaningful to me. If you use galvanized, the clamp dogs will "dig" into the softer pipe and leave little burs behind. Later, it is annoying to try to slide the clamp dogs over those burs and you will find yourself needing to file/smooth those burs down in order to use the clamp.

Under Murphy's Law...these annoying burs are normally found during your "open" time while gluing up a big job and it is tedious and frustrating to have to stop your glue up to finagle a clamp...or two...or three. :) I vote black pipe!
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 09:58 AM
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They both will leave black stains on your work pieces if you get glue on them.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 10:54 AM
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I have both, and agree the "dogs" do dig into the galvanized more than the black, I think it is just because the zinc is soft, if they are the same schedule generally 40 the galvanized is just black pipe dipped in zinc

To stop the glue form contacting the pipe and getting the tannins in the wood wet to turn the wood black I just cover the pipes in waxed paper, kind of a PITA but easier then the clean up of the black spots
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-23-2017, 11:48 AM
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Ditto what Cat says but I use Parchment paper in the shop because it's far better than wax paper. I reuse the Parchment paper over and over and glue just pops off but it tends to soak through wax paper, although for a quickie project wax paper is fine. I have 3 pieces of Parchment paper about 24" long by the roll width and I've been using them since this time last year.

Oh, and all of mine are 3/4" black pipe. HD has the 10' lengths for about $15 and will cut and thread for pennies relative to Lowe's.

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post #10 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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OK the majority of you use black pipe but I do not have a clear picture on how to clean the pipe and preserve it from rust yet.

That was really my main question.

Appreciate the help.... =)
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post #11 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 01:38 AM
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Use lacquer thinner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Cupoli View Post
All I have is lacquer thinner. Is that ok?

So no thoughts on galvanized pipes?

Thanks for the reply!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Cupoli View Post
OK the majority of you use black pipe but I do not have a clear picture on how to clean the pipe and preserve it from rust yet.

That was really my main question.

Appreciate the help.... =)
After cleaning the oil off with lacquer thinner you can sand it with 100 grit paper and spray it with fast dry enamel, Rustoleum, Majik, Duplicolor, etc. I don't do that myself, because my shop is humidity controlled and things do not get rusty.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Is galvanized pipe that bad? In regards to the slipping, what do you think about me notching some slots with a file down the pipe for the clamp not to slip?

How much sanding are we talking here for the black pipe?

Black pipe sounds like a lot of trouble. Am I wrapping the sand paper around the pipe and by hand, or am I using the random orbit sander?

And by the time you buy sand paper, Lacquer Thinner (Which fortunately I already have), and Fast Dry Enamel, I'm already up to the price of Galvanized pipe. LOL!

This is depressing....

Last edited by Scott Cupoli; 10-24-2017 at 01:59 AM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 05:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Cupoli View Post
Is galvanized pipe that bad? In regards to the slipping, what do you think about me notching some slots with a file down the pipe for the clamp not to slip?

How much sanding are we talking here for the black pipe?

Black pipe sounds like a lot of trouble. Am I wrapping the sand paper around the pipe and by hand, or am I using the random orbit sander?

And by the time you buy sand paper, Lacquer Thinner (Which fortunately I already have), and Fast Dry Enamel, I'm already up to the price of Galvanized pipe. LOL!

This is depressing....
Buy the black iron, don't mess with it. You don't need to. It'll only stain wood where glue comes into contact with it, and that's going to get sanded anyway. Rust is a non-concern as well, remember that this is plumbing pipe. Sure, it'll get some surface rust, but enough to care about? Nah
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post #14 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 07:03 AM
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staining is an issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I don't "prep" it in any special way, just clean it off with thinner. It 's only black because it's painted black at the factory. It comes in 10 ft lengths,m so to maximize material, I use 6 ft and 4 ft lengths, and thread them my self. I have a few 8ft length, but they are rarely used. When you need longer lengths, a pipe couple will allow you to thread the ends of short one together.
.
The pipe is covered with oil and other contaminants at the factory and these can be a bugger to get out of your surfaced wood. Wipe them down with a thinner to get it off, then sand it down using a hand wrap and 100 grit to eliminate any bumps which will prevent the dogs from sliding easily. Then a nice coat of fast dry enamel and you're done with it. This is a one time only operation, so make it easier for their lifetime. They will get some gobs of glue which will pop right off if you take the time now.

Forget about galvanized coated piped which is softer than the parent metal. The clamp dogs will dig in easier but then you have small grooves on the pipe and the coating will start to flake off and get on your projects. They are not as smooth as black pipe in my experience.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #15 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I use black pipe because it's heavier than galvanized pipe. I've never cleaned the pipe, I just use it as is. Wood glue really only sticks to porous materials and just flakes off of the pipe. I normally make clamps in 5' lengths. I buy pipe in 10' lengths because it's cheaper and cut it in two for two clamps.

I have had some problem with galvanized pipe slipping but that is only after years of use. I don't know if it's from being galvanized or they are just worn out.
It's the same pipe, no difference in weight. One is painted, one is coated.

Same goes for hardness, the only difference in galvanized is the coating which likely gets scuffed easier than then black, but again, it isn't softer, it's the same base material. In fact Galvanized is typically used in higher pressure applications(water) than black(gas).

I personally use whatever I find that is cheap, I've never had an issue with either, and I never take any special precautions, initially wipe with a rag with any non-oil based solvent or brake cleaner, and use them.
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post #16 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
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It's the same pipe, no difference in weight. One is painted, one is coated.

Same goes for hardness, the only difference in galvanized is the coating which likely gets scuffed easier than then black, but again, it isn't softer, it's the same base material. In fact Galvanized is typically used in higher pressure applications(water) than black(gas).

I personally use whatever I find that is cheap, I've never had an issue with either, and I never take any special precautions, initially wipe with a rag with any non-oil based solvent or brake cleaner, and use them.
I don't believe that. I've used both and the galvanized pipe usually ends up bent where the black pipe stays straight. It's either heavier steel or harder steel. I also still have one galvanized pipe which I need to replace because it slips very badly. Black pipe lasts.
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post #17 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 12:08 PM
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I use galvanized pipe I salvaged (read "used pipe") from around the farm. Wiped the dirt & grime off, cut the straight pieces out, threaded where necessary. I've never had any issues with them. My lengths are not neat numbers - 5', 3', 2', etc. they are random according to how much good pipe I could get between kinks & dings. Works well for large projects where I need to screw a couple together for enough length.
I've had no issues with gouging the pipe.


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post #18 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 12:58 PM
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I have found that not all galvanized pipes are the same, some will have softer coatings than others, so using it depends on the source of the product. Some coatings may even have a bit of lead or aluminum added to the sink.

I have been known to drill hole to push a nail through to stop a pawl from slipping when I am desperate.

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post #19 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 04:23 PM
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clearing this up ...

Galvanizing is a "hot dip" coating of Zinc which adheres to the steel pipe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot-dip_galvanization
Black pipe is black because it's painted black. The Zinc coating is softer than the steel underneath and will "upset" from the forces of the clamp dogs making it more difficult to slide the moving end along the pipe. ... BTDT.

Like I stated, you will get glue on your pipe, and if you want them to look nice and work better, you can sand and paint them which will reduce the "staining" effect from contacting the wood. I've had some stains that really got down deep into the wood, so it's easier to prevent them than to fix them later. It's all a choice and depending on the quality of the pipe, you may find it's "required" in some cases. I've got some black pipe that was globbed up with runs and bumps of paint making it difficult to slide the adjustable end.

There are some of us who enjoys seeing a nice rack of gleaming pipe clamps ready to go .... just sayin'
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Last edited by woodnthings; 10-24-2017 at 06:20 PM.
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post #20 of 26 Old 10-24-2017, 05:34 PM
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I don't believe that. I've used both and the galvanized pipe usually ends up bent where the black pipe stays straight. It's either heavier steel or harder steel. I also still have one galvanized pipe which I need to replace because it slips very badly. Black pipe lasts.
What are you clamping that you bend 3/4" pipe?

I have some black 1/2" pipe clamps that I sprung a bit, but I was using them not as they should have been...
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