Pipe Clamps - beginner's question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question Pipe Clamps - beginner's question

I plan to but a couple of the Bessey "H" bar clamps. The site says they fit on black pipe you can find at your local hardware store. I'd rather not look or sound like the beginner I am, so .... what's the NAME of the type of pipe I need? In other words, when I walk in the store, what do I tell them I need?

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post #2 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 02:13 PM
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You answered yourself. It's black pipe. Most Likely 3/4.

When it's rustic......it's rustic
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post #3 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 02:19 PM
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Bar clamps normally are sold with the bar.

Pipe clamps are normally sold without the pipe.

There are two kinds of generic pipe used in pipe clamps, black pipe, which is painted black and zinc coated pipe.

The pipe is specified by diameter and wall thickness, called "Shedule".

You will be looking for 1/2in diameter or 3/4in diameter Schedule 40 black pipe.

I recommend getting the 3/4in diameter. The 1/2in diameter pipe is easy to bend.

You need one end to be threaded. So either buy a length of pipe and have one end threaded, or buy a fixed length which will be threaded at both ends. These are called pipe nipples, even though they can be rather long.

I recommend buying a pipe nipple, and the associated pipe coupler fitting for the "free" end. This will prevent the clamp end from falling off and will allow joining two clamps together if you need an extra long clamp for a one-off project.

I recommend these pads which will protect the wood and also lift the clamp off the table when used underneath the items being clamped.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...9&site=ROCKLER
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post #4 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

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post #5 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 02:27 PM
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I seem to remember hearing that black pipe has a tendency to leave marks on workpieces and that the galvanized pipe is preferable.

True?

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #6 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharris2 View Post
I seem to remember hearing that black pipe has a tendency to leave marks on workpieces and that the galvanized pipe is preferable.

True?
I have not experienced black or galvanized pipe marking the wood with normal contact. Not like the soft aluminium surfaces can do.

I think that if black pipe was in contact with the glue and wood it could leave a mark due to rust.

I always try to cover my pipe clamps with tape at any glue joint to prevent any marking or sticking issues.
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post #7 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 03:11 PM
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Thanks Dave, I usually use waxed paper between the workpiece and the clamps but I'll be using masking tape instead.

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #8 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharris2
I seem to remember hearing that black pipe has a tendency to leave marks on workpieces and that the galvanized pipe is preferable.

True?
I can't say I have ever seen anyone use black pipe in Australia. As 3/4 was extremely common as water pipe, that is all I have seen used.

I have a pipe threaded so can thread my own, but, as Dave says - threaded both ends has advantage for the stated reason.

Masking tape is a good idea, I'd never thought of it.

Dave The Turning Cowboy

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Last edited by DaveTTC; 01-04-2013 at 09:00 PM.
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post #9 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 08:57 PM
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i used black pipe to make mine and when i bought it the one end was already threaded
so all you need is one end threaded and whatever length pipe you want
i have 2 3' 2 4' and 2 6' bessey pipe clamps
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post #10 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 09:51 PM
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For the folks who like the masking tape suggestion, I use wide tape and only stick this on the top of the pipe. I like to have the wide edges be more like wings so that any excess glue will drip off the edge of the tape and not onto the pipe. This also makes it easier to remove the tape.
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post #11 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 09:57 PM
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I use black pipe as well. I only get black marks when the pipe is touching glue. I also lucked out and got 2-6', 2-4' 3-3' and 4-2' pipes all threaded. My father in law owns a welding shop and got me all this for $70.00.
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post #12 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 10:01 PM
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Great idea with the masking tape. If black pipe, wood glue and oak all come in contact together, the iron in the pipe combined with the moisture from the wood glue and the tannin in the oak will make black stains on the oak. There's less risk of this with galvanized pipe, but the galvanizing coating can make it difficult to slide the clamp up and down the length of pipe. The masking tape is a great idea.
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post #13 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 10:27 PM
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I use sch40 3/4'' black pipe I have 4 each length 2' 4' and 6' all threaded both ends so I can and have made longer ones by using couplings that I keep one on the pipes, yes they do stain wood when glue and wood touches, galvanized pipe seems too soft and the zinc seems to clog up in the cams
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post #14 of 27 Old 01-04-2013, 11:20 PM
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I would like to add one thing and that is be careful when you tighten the clamps. They can exert a lot of pressure.
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post #15 of 27 Old 01-05-2013, 12:24 AM
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I would like to add one thing and that is be careful when you tighten the clamps. They can exert a lot of pressure.
A clamp should be nothing more than a holding tool. You should not have to use a clamp to pull the work peices together. If you do then your joinery needs work. A pipe clamp can be extremely stong and put more pressure on the workpeice than you realize in a hurry. For that reason I find that a 1/2 pipe clamp is sufficent unless it is a long span say more than 60 inches or so. I buy galvanized 1/2 pipe and clamps.
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post #16 of 27 Old 01-05-2013, 12:43 AM
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I've used both black and galvanized. I find that the soft zinc coating on the galvanized sometimes interferes with the grip of the toothed paul on the moving jaw. This is probably why the makers recommend black pipe.

Someone else mentioned this, but it's true that moisture (from glue), iron, and tannin in the wood (oaks, mainly) can combine to form a black stain.

For just a little more, you can do it yourself.
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post #17 of 27 Old 01-05-2013, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike68847 View Post
I plan to but a couple of the Bessey "H" bar clamps. The site says they fit on black pipe you can find at your local hardware store. I'd rather not look or sound like the beginner I am, so .... what's the NAME of the type of pipe I need? In other words, when I walk in the store, what do I tell them I need?
At Lowe's, this would be called gas pipe (as in natural gas for your home). It comes in painted black or plain galvanized finishes. It's in the plumbing section. There are lots of different lengths available. Sometimes this stuff feels greasy to the touch in the store. I think it's to prevent rust before being sold. You might want to clean it up before using on any wood you don't want stained by the pipe.

Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-05-2013 at 02:06 AM.
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post #18 of 27 Old 01-05-2013, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike68847 View Post
I plan to but a couple of the Bessey "H" bar clamps. The site says they fit on black pipe you can find at your local hardware store. I'd rather not look or sound like the beginner I am, so .... what's the NAME of the type of pipe I need? In other words, when I walk in the store, what do I tell them I need?
Plain, ordinary galvanized pipe works just as well.

The size pipe ( 1/2" or 3/4") you use will depend upon the size of clamp you buy. I have never found a need for 3/4" pipe.

George

Last edited by GeorgeC; 01-05-2013 at 09:13 AM.
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post #19 of 27 Old 01-05-2013, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike68847 View Post
I plan to but a couple of the Bessey "H" bar clamps. The site says they fit on black pipe you can find at your local hardware store. I'd rather not look or sound like the beginner I am, so .... what's the NAME of the type of pipe I need? In other words, when I walk in the store, what do I tell them I need?
Black pipe is similar to galvanized water pipe only its made for natural gas and is stronger and heavier and its actually black in color. You can use galvanized water pipe but it bends easier. I normally buy a piece of 10' black pipe and just cut it half in two to make two clamps. I never use the retaining rings so I only need one end threaded anyway.
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post #20 of 27 Old 01-05-2013, 03:38 PM
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Don't use galvanized pipe. The clamp surface won't grip. I know.
Bill
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