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Hello,

I have a very small collection of mostly plastic clamps and I'm looking to add some pipe or parallel clamps for longer clamping. Any suggestions of brands that make good quality clamps of these variety and don't break the bank?

-Mike
 

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where's my table saw?
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You will find that there is no one "perfect" clamp for all applications.
You'll need the Jorgensen adjustable angle type for weird shapes.
Long Pony pipe clamps 3/4" size for cabinet and furniture work.
Orange clamps of any style are typically good ... Irwin, Jorgensen, Pony etc.
Red pipe clamps from Harbor Freight are OK, I'm told.
I've had poor luck with squeeze clamps from Harbor Freight, because I over tighten them, ....... mostly.
Once in a great while you'll need a ratchet or strap type clamp.
Spring clamps are great for smaller, lighter glue ups.
Flat bar clamps make great circular saw and router guides!
I beam bar clamps are the strongest for really super duty applications.
C clamps are most often used in metal fabrication, but work well in woodworking.
F style clamps where the pressure is applied by turning a round handle are probably the most common woodworking clamp and are my favorite. Bessey clamps are highly recommended, but a bit pricey. I don't own any of those.
My pipe clamp storage solution:
428034


I forgot to mention "toggle clamps" which are great for making jigs and holding workpieces:
428035
 

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mike44
retired carpenter and farmer
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You will find that there is no one "perfect" clamp for all applications.
You'll need the Jorgensen adjustable angle type for weird shapes.
Long Pony pipe clamps 3/4" size for cabinet and furniture work.
Orange clamps of any style are typically good ... Irwin, Jorgensen, Pony etc.
Red pipe clamps from Harbor Freight are OK, I'm told.
I've had poor luck with squeeze clamps from Harbor Freight, because I over tighten them, ....... mostly.
Once in a great while you'll need a ratchet or strap type clamp.
Spring clamps are great for smaller, lighter glue ups.
Flat bar clamps make great circular saw and router guides!
I beam bar clamps are the strongest for really super duty applications.
C clamps are most often used in metal fabrication, but work well in woodworking.
F style clamps where the pressure is applied by turning a round handle are probably the most common woodworking clamp and are my favorite.
My pipe clamp storage solution:
View attachment 428034

I forgot to mention "toggle clamps" which are great for making jigs and holding workpieces:
View attachment 428035
I would add shop made miter clamps made from PVC pipe. Saw various width rings from pipe. Then saw two cuts so the ring looks like a almost closed letter C. Bore small holes for 4d brad nails in each end of the " C ". Two holes , then a drop of wonder glue in each hole. Insert the brad nails. When set up usually one minute or so , clip the heads off the brads and file the tips sharp. Clip the brads the same length using side cutters with blades facing up. This will give a 1/2" or so projection.
In use pull the ring open. and sink the teeth( nails) into each miter. The PVC will try to spring back and this causes the
miter to close up.
mike
 

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I have 40 year old pipe clamps. If I were buying pipe clamps today, there are two things I would wish for:
  • Tails or wings or whatever-you-call-them that let you stand the pipe clamps on their backs to support what is being clamped. Mine have round backs that flop over. (Yeah, making little stands is on my forever to-do list.)
  • More pipe clamps. I have five, but at least eight would be preferred.
One thing I did right was choosing two different pipe lengths. The shorter ones are often more convenient. Another thing I did right was have the pipes threaded on both ends. It rarely happens, but sometimes I use a coupler to combine two pipes together to make a longer clamp.
 

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My philosophy has always been never pass up a good deal on a clamp. Regardless of the style... well, for the most part.

I have bought clamps at discount stores, surplus centers, Big Lots, Church sales, Ebay, from friends. I use different styles for different things and have built up a great collection.

Don't own a parallel clamp. I am sure they are good but I could buy 2, 3 or 4 of other styles so can't justify all that money for one clamp unless I needed for a specific task.
 

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Termite
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Hello,

I have a very small collection of mostly plastic clamps and I'm looking to add some pipe or parallel clamps for longer clamping. Any suggestions of brands that make good quality clamps of these variety and don't break the bank?

-Mike

Find a project and then you'll know what you need...
 

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Hello,

I have a very small collection of mostly plastic clamps and I'm looking to add some pipe or parallel clamps for longer clamping. Any suggestions of brands that make good quality clamps of these variety and don't break the bank?

-Mike
If you are just getting started and moving into better clamps, you can't beat the Jorgensen bar clamps. They are affordable, which is key since you can never have too many clamps. They work well, not fancy, and I have been using the same clamps for over 40 years. Size your clamps to what you expect to be making. I keep a boat load of 6" , 24", and a few 36". Since I mostly do casework and furniture these days, they handle most of my needs. These are my go to. I also have bar and pipe clamps for larger glue ups, but do not use them on the regular.
 

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Slight flex, but these are my clamps that I use, and of all of them, I use the cabinet masters the most for "real projects". For shop projects, the bessey F clamps work great. For shop jigs and holding, the 4" bessey, and 6" quick clamps work great.

The bessey are sold in a 4 pack at home depot for pretty cheap, and I have about 20 total 6-12" clamps. That's been overkill mostly.

I wish I had more 36" clamps.

Also very useful is the 8" deep reach C clamps.
 

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Termite
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Slight flex, but these are my clamps that I use, and of all of them, I use the cabinet masters the most for "real projects". For shop projects, the bessey F clamps work great. For shop jigs and holding, the 4" bessey, and 6" quick clamps work great.

The bessey are sold in a 4 pack at home depot for pretty cheap, and I have about 20 total 6-12" clamps. That's been overkill mostly.

I wish I had more 36" clamps.

Also very useful is the 8" deep reach C clamps.

Problem with most clamp purchases is not uderstanding them. Heavy duty- ultra light....
 

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Termite
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It also helps to understand that clamps are generally used to hold two surfaces in contact with each other, not to force those surfaces into contact. Bearing that in mind some of the less expensive clamps are all you need.
Sometimes you have to force into Contact..
 

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Sometimes, what you need are clamps to hold the work piece so that you can attack it with power tools and NOTHING is going to jump around.
This will be a 5" x 64" story pole. Besides rounding, there was a lot of work to be done, freehand, with a RotoZip.
428057
 

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My issue with pipe clamps is weight. 7 or 8 pipe clamps on a 40 x 72” table top panel get heavy. That’s why I rarely use them & only for very long situations. Also, $25 fixtures and $4-5 per foot for pipe a 48” clamp puts you in parallel clamp range.

Brian T reminds me for you cyclists out there, don’t throw away those punctured inner tubes. You would be surmised what that can hold!

Japanese have very interesting ways to clamp by wrapping using everything from rope to bamboo strips.
 

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In range? They dont offer the same pressure..

As I've mentioned before, when many stores were selling K body clamps at 1/2 I bought into it. I bought everything Sears had. These were the first time I had bought them and tried them. I took all but 4 back. Waste of good money
 

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The deal with the bike inner tube is to use rope. All you need is a 12" piece of the inner tube in the entire length.

I love those strap clamps. Quick to pull out all the slack on set up and the ratchet mechanism will snug the thing up in no time. Quick release can be done with one hand. As you can see, that carving bench has a few eye-bolts along the sides for the strap. Those eye-bolts are exactly at knee-capping level.
 

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My issue with pipe clamps is weight. 7 or 8 pipe clamps on a 40 x 72” table top panel get heavy. That’s why I rarely use them & only for very long situations. Also, $25 fixtures and $4-5 per foot for pipe a 48” clamp puts you in parallel clamp range. [...] (Note: emphasis TA)
Good points and very true. Pipe clamps are heavy and unwieldy, especially the long ones. You must be careful when moving them around the shop or leaning them on things. Keep them away from vehicles and other breakables/scratchables/delicates that may be nearby.

I had no idea that pipe clamps cost that much. I always thought of them as very inexpensive compared with other choices. Maybe they were, 40 years ago. Wow.
 

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Good points and very true. Pipe clamps are heavy and unwieldy, especially the long ones. You must be careful when moving them around the shop or leaning them on things. Keep them away from vehicles and other breakables/scratchables/delicates that may be nearby.

I had no idea that pipe clamps cost that much. I always thought of them as very inexpensive compared with other choices. Maybe they were, 40 years ago. Wow.
Lead pipe used to be cheaper...

You can still find some around in barns and garages, but not new.
 
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