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Blog entry by airfieldman posted 12-21-2007 06:44 PM 1152 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, I’ve heard “you can never have too many clamps” and I’ve learned you can have too few. But, is there trully a happy medium. At this point, I don’t plan on clamping boards, just small projects. That is, I’ll be making boxes, drawers, etc. so I figure 4 clamps should do it. So, last night I bought 4 sets of Bessey 1/2” pipe clamps and 2 ea 1/2” x 36” and 48” pipes. This way I figure I can expand the sizes as needed.

So what am I missing. Why are the others, such as k bodys, so popular?


-- Measure with a micrometer, mark with a crayon, cut it with a chainsaw.

13 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4399 days

#1 posted 12-21-2007 06:55 PM

They have parallel jaws so they clamp a larger surface area and keep it flat. At least thats the design

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3853 days

#2 posted 12-21-2007 06:57 PM

The ‘K’ bodies are marketed to apply equal pressure along the entire face of the clamp
with minimum ‘slipping’ or uneven pressure. They also offer (generally) a larger surface and deeper throats.

I’m pretty happy with the 48” and 96” pipe clamps. Clamps can go smaller, they can’‘t however grow.

A happy medium? From experience, about 8-10 longer clamps can get a lot done with some
imagination and the industrious use of cawls (sp?).

-- Still learning everything

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4063 days

#3 posted 12-21-2007 06:57 PM

The parallel jaw clamps that most folks buy are great because they stay square to the beam when under load, and have a deeper throat than pipe clamps. I think Jet has the best deal these days as well as some great features, like measuring numbers on the bar, easier to turn handles, adjustable foot that holds the clamps up at the end of the clamp, and they are threaded on the head to accept a 3/4˝ dog (at my dealer you have to ask for these, they keep ‘em behind the counter and give them to me for no additional fee) so you can set up a jig on a drilled bench top. Just my 2¢.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 12-21-2007 07:12 PM

The happy medium is 4 more than you currently own.

-- Hope Never fails

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4067 days

#5 posted 12-21-2007 07:25 PM

I too wondered about the different clamps. I love my pipe clamps as they can be any length I choose and can be changed easily. The parallel clamps are in a league of their own though. They clamp a large area and close parallel. They are pricey, but are a one time purchase if taken care of. I’ve gotten some cheap pipe clamps that are tough to turn even when lubricated. They do get the job done in the end though. I have a couple pricier pipe clamps that have a more fluid thread.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4067 days

#6 posted 12-21-2007 07:30 PM

If you’re doing smaller boxes I recently picked up a couple of band clamps and I really like them. Something you might put on your list

Woodcraft band clamps

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3873 days

#7 posted 12-21-2007 08:01 PM

Not even God has enough clamps. Sometimes he borrows them from Noah. (Boatbuilders always have more clamps.)

Amazon seems to have the best deal on parallel clamps right now: $139

-- Happy woodworking!

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4236 days

#8 posted 12-21-2007 11:10 PM

Minimum 6 of every type and every size, so you need to buy more pipe, because two clamps per project isn’t enough.

View psuedopimp's profile


10 posts in 3816 days

#9 posted 12-21-2007 11:38 PM

I have 4 pipe clamps and was cursing last night becuase I needed two (probably 3) more!!!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4098 days

#10 posted 12-22-2007 12:56 AM

I have lots of clamps it seems, just never enough of the ones I need to use. I find that at a minimum buy 6 of each clamp but 8 is a better number. This is my formula for weekend woodworkers. I personally go for 16 of each size.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4085 days

#11 posted 12-22-2007 01:12 AM

The #1 thing I look for on craigslist is clamps. I always wish I had more

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4063 days

#12 posted 12-22-2007 01:37 AM

Yeah, Blake – that’s the ticket! I love the 4 24-inchers I have. Maybe some day I’ll get 4 50˝ers, probably in dribs and drabs as I can afford them.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4159 days

#13 posted 12-22-2007 01:46 AM

MsDebbieP bought herself a Christmas present today (2) 36” clamps… yippee.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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