Pipe Clamps really Worth the money??

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Blog entry by Delta356 posted 05-18-2011 06:01 PM 3987 reads 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all, hope life is going good. I propose this questions, because yesterday I went over to my local Lowes to look at tools, What else would I go there for!! Anyways I Looked at tools and I saw that Porter Cable come out with a new Miter Saw, booooooy does it look fancy, and the features WOW…...

Sorry lets talk about clamps. I have what many would call a small clamp collection, and every time I need more. like Norm’s saying, you can never have enough clamps.. I decided to look at some different pipe clamp’s and compare prices. I always thought pipe clamps were cheaper, but in the long wrong when you add up price of the clamp and pipe its about $4.00 less the Bessey K-body parallel clamps. (I like to buy 4 clamps, or a pair.) In my opinion you get more with the Bessey..

My questions to you all, are pipe clamps worth the money?
Are pipe clamps better, than Bessey K-body?

Give me your thoughts and opinions….

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR


23 comments so far

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3266 days

#1 posted 05-18-2011 06:11 PM

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3272 days

#2 posted 05-18-2011 06:15 PM

Not necessarily better . . . just different.

I have both. If there’s a situation where i really have to horse down some clamping pressure, I usually reach for a pipe clamp. If I’m doing cabinetry, I’ll typically reach for a Bessey Clamp.

One advantage of the pipe clamps though, is the ability to extend them. When I buy the pipe, I always get the pipe threaded at both ends. Then I add a coupler to protect the threads. If I need a longer clamp, I usually just take the head off another clamp and add it to the first. Bingo!

Another advantage of lesser degree is the “deep reach” pipe clamps heads. I have a couple of these. They are sometimes just the ticket in difficult situations.

Just my opinions. Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View dbhost's profile


5712 posts in 3231 days

#3 posted 05-18-2011 06:32 PM

I have LOTS of F bar clamps, and a few pipe clamps. Not better, not worse, just different. I typically use pipe clamps when I need to do LARGE glue ups that span areas larger than my bar clamps can reach. My shortest pipe section is 4’...

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View DrSteve's profile


34 posts in 2849 days

#4 posted 05-18-2011 06:48 PM

I have one word for you with reference to pipe clamps— Auctions.

Over the years I have found this is the best way to pick up pipe clamps. Last month went to an auction of a furniture builder who was consolidating their operations. Picked up 10 clamps with pipe for $60. Lots of estate auctions etc have these if they list any power tools at all.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2780 days

#5 posted 05-18-2011 06:58 PM

What they said.. I’ve got both along with antique bar clamps..they all work well for the job you need to do,
you just have to decide what’s best for the job at hand. And DrSteve’s got the best way to buy them all, with my addition..check 2nd hand stores as well. The pipe clamps can often be found stacked in a barell..cheep cheep

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3308 days

#6 posted 05-18-2011 07:13 PM

I have more clamps than should legally allowed by law and I personally prefer the K body clamps. I have 6 pipe clamps that never get used and just gather dust. The pipe clamps are very good Irwin clamps…I hust prefer the other k body ones.
The pipe clamps I have do not have as deep a throat as the K body ones and I do have several of the kbody extenders that let me connect them end to end so I can extend their length. I do not build anything that requires more than 10 ft of clamp length.

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 2691 days

#7 posted 05-18-2011 07:29 PM

I’ll chime in echoing others on this subject. Bar clamps (bessey/jorgenson) are my prefference but, then there are those longer clamp occasions that have me reaching in those dark corners for those 6-8 foot pipe clamps with the inch-deep dust piles…ahhhh chooooo!!

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2880 days

#8 posted 05-18-2011 07:33 PM

I have a couple Bessey K style clamps and although rather expensive they are very good clamps to have. Like the others have said, they both work better for different types of glue ups. Since you can never have to many clamps my advice would be to buy a set of both and see what works best for what you do.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#9 posted 05-18-2011 08:52 PM

The HF clamps do OK, but I usually buy Jorgensen “Pony” clamps; simply cause they are one of the few things I use regulary that are MADE IN THE USA.

By the way, if you go to a steel yard, welding shop, fabricator type place, and buy the pipe in full sticks (21 ft), you will save about half. They sell it by the lb. and usually will cut/thread it for you. They also might have some drops left over from a big job you can get even cheaper.

As far as which is better; pipe clamps for pressure, parallel cabinet clamps (you called Bessey) are best to keep things square and not leave a mark.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3135 days

#10 posted 05-18-2011 09:32 PM

I favor Jorgenson bar clamps. They work well in a lot of situations. Home Depot seems to offer the Jorgensen medium duty and heavy duty bar clamps at good prices, particularly the 12” and 24” heavy duty ones and those can apply a lot of pressure. Too heavy for some situations, though. Lowes seems to price their clamps kinda high. I have some HF bar clamps that work OK but are pretty light weight and prone to twisting. I don’t have any pipe clamps – like you I find that they aren’t much cheaper and also I suspect they are not as easy or versitile, although they do give you flexibility of sizing the length of pipe to the task.

-- Greg D.

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 3546 days

#11 posted 05-18-2011 11:00 PM

if you get the HF pipe clamps and a ten foot black pipe you can make a 5 ft pipe clamp for 16 bucks. last time i put together pipe clamps i bought the 10 ft black pipe which was exactly the same price as the 5 ft. i bought the jorgy’s which were 13 a piece after the pipe its about 20 for each pipe clamp. for a bessy 50 inch clamp its what 48 bucks?

I never have used parallel clamps so i dont know what they are like in comparison. I like my pipe clamps probably not the best solution but they work for me.

-- Got Wood?

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3139 days

#12 posted 05-18-2011 11:26 PM

I use these: “HF 36 Aluminum Bar Clamp

Some people try to crank their clamps as hard as they possibly can during glueups.
IMHO, I think that is too much and you will probably break these clamps.
However, if you are the type that doesn’t need that extreme amount of clamping pressure, then these clamps will do nicely. They are very light and you can often find them on sale for like 30% less than the regular price. They may not be the ‘bees knees’ like the k-body clamps, but they certainly get the job done.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10479 posts in 3428 days

#13 posted 05-19-2011 12:11 AM

I like pipe clamps and, as others have suggested, you can make them up far cheaper than 48” Bessys.
My stash is about 30 3/4” pipe clamps. All pretty old. Most Jorgys. All found at yard sales or auctions.
A few years ago, I got ambitious and made “feet” for all of them.
Got some 1/2” pipe clamps, too. Worthless for anything over 18”, IMHO.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View newTim's profile


607 posts in 3606 days

#14 posted 05-19-2011 12:23 AM

Don’t throw away those pipe clamps just yet. Here's a link.

-- tim hill

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2983 days

#15 posted 05-19-2011 01:04 AM

Pipe Clamps really Worth the money?? That depends on what your cost is for the clamps. I bought some on sale a few years ago and paid $2.00 a set for 1/2” and $3.00 a set for 3/4”. I had some pipe given to me and bought some pipe. So for myself they were reasonable at the time.

Like anything else in the shop they do have their place and use. The fact that they can be use for more than just clamps make them an asset over other clamps. I also bought some F clamps at a second hand store for a reasonable price, but don’t have quite the clamping pressure I can get with the pipe clamps. needless to say they still have a use in the shop as well.

I have been eyeing the Bessy K body clamps and with the price ranging from $40.00 to $50.00 dollars a clamp these have been put on my wish list in hopes that someday I may get 2 or 3 sets to add to my arsenal of clamps.

Will I buy more pipe clamp sets, probably not as I feel I have enough of them for my needs. There are other clamps I would like to get to meet my clamping needs such as a couple of new ratcheting band clamps and some nice corner/miter clamps as well as more C clamps.

So yes pipe clamps are worth the money depending on your use for them and how you use them.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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