All Replies on Have bar clamps completely replaced C-Clamps?

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View AbeFroman's profile

Have bar clamps completely replaced C-Clamps?

by AbeFroman
posted 06-21-2011 12:15 AM

22 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#1 posted 06-21-2011 12:23 AM

C clamps are really originally for metal work I think. I have a ton
of little c clamps that come in useful once in awhile for making
curved laminations without a lot of fancy cauls.

There’s a picture in Sam Maloof’s book I think of a curved staircase rail
being glued up with dozens of clamps, many of them c clamps.

C clamps can get into small spaces bar clamps can’t, easily, and
they are not so heavy to handle if you’ve got clamps just the
right size for what you are doing.

I wouldn’t buy c clamps new, generally, but I buy them when
I see them used and cheap and I generally feel you can’t have
too many clamps.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2953 days

#2 posted 06-21-2011 01:15 AM

You can NEVER have too many clamps…

I don’t use many C clamps either anymore, but I keep a few hanging around different areas of the shop just in case I need something clamped, they do come in handy at times.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#3 posted 06-21-2011 02:05 AM

There is definitely a role for C clamps in my shop. I only own 4 in 2 different sizes and they do not get used a lot, but there are times when they are clearly the best option. They can deliver a lot of clamping force.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3403 days

#4 posted 06-21-2011 02:49 AM

I still use C-clamps on the calipers when I’m changing brake pads, but not for much else.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#5 posted 06-21-2011 03:16 AM

I still use C-clamps. I have a free source of wood, but most of it is three quarters of an inch thick. I often have to glue these panels together to make thicker stock. C-clamps work great for this purpose. Of course, I am so used to using my bar clamps that I seldom use the C-clamps until I have run out of bar clamps to use.


View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3059 days

#6 posted 06-21-2011 04:28 AM

My c-clamps are invaluable…I use ‘em for all kinds of stuff, clamping jigs to tools is the main use…but they make a handy ‘third hand as well.For jig making the are the cat’s pajamas…

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2703 days

#7 posted 06-21-2011 04:47 AM

I have 5 I think. I hardly ever use them unless I am welding. Sometimes I use some old pipe clamps for that if I can. they are just easier to manipulate than C-clamps. C-clamps mar wood and are difficult to operate. I have the one hand Irwin clamps and many bar clamps and hand screw clamps. I use those most of the time.

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2884 days

#8 posted 06-21-2011 05:02 AM

I have a number of them and still use them. Most of the time they are dedicated to a specific task and just stay there. You can pick them up fairly cheap. Two hold down the Incra-lite jig on the router table, a couple always hang on the drill press and a couple are in the tool chest with the socket wrenches. Two stay with the straight edge used for cutting down plywood sheets. The expensive Bessey’s and Jorgeson’s always go back in the rack.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 06-21-2011 05:21 AM

I have a half dozen each of 4” & 6” C-clamps and about 10 of 3” clamps. I go to them for leg glue-ups mostly and any time I need a lot of pressure. They are great for making bent laminations; and as Techredneck said, there’s always a couple hanging around the drill press.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#10 posted 06-21-2011 05:32 AM

They do have the advantage, which most bar clamps don’t, of having
both clamping ends clear of the work by a bit. This comes in handy
often when clamping machine setups. For gluing, I admit the relief
in the c clamp is usually unneeded, so it’s advantage to a woodworker
won’t be immediately obvious.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2878 days

#11 posted 06-21-2011 06:18 AM

When I think of bark lamps I think of a juniper log with some wires running up a hole in the center and a brass harp and a shade….oh no, that’s not it…

Jorgensons, that what I think of. I have two smaller Besseys that I keep just for clamping a sacrificial fence on the ol’ BeastMaster fence. Got ‘em at a garage sale and have never seen them before or since.

But I do keep lots of 3”, 2” and 1” C clamps around. They can do delicate work that even the Besseys don’t. It all depends on the project. Also they don’t project (the other pronunciation) so the lump of wood and iron can be easier to handle.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View ub52's profile


7 posts in 3011 days

#12 posted 06-21-2011 07:44 AM

Deep throat c-clamps can get into places that bar clamps can’t even think about. I couldn’t get by without them.


-- Bob, San Diego,

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4016 days

#13 posted 06-21-2011 08:29 AM

Yea, they still come in handy.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View helluvawreck's profile


31407 posts in 2894 days

#14 posted 06-21-2011 02:07 PM

I use all kinds of clamps, including c-clamps. My only problem is that I never seem to have enough clamps.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3314 days

#15 posted 06-21-2011 05:25 PM

I use every type clamp I own—including my c-clamps. I think they all have their place.


View MrRon's profile


4797 posts in 3271 days

#16 posted 06-21-2011 06:33 PM

C clamps are more compact. As Garry K’s picture (post#13) shows, bar clamps can be big and clumsy. My smallest bar clamps are 18”, so the bar sticks out too far sometimes. There will always be a situation where one type of clamp is the right one to grab. I wouldn’t use a Bessey to hold parts for welding for example. One big negative of bar clamps is the distance the handle is from the bar. Sometimes I can’t get my hand fully around the handle to grip it enough to tighten or loosen; I have to use my finger tips. There is one bar clamp that gets around this clearance problem. I think it’s Jet, in which the handle swings 90° so it can be tightened like a vise handle.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3548 days

#17 posted 06-21-2011 08:34 PM

I have several sizes, and do use them on occasion. I have an adjustable-length (4 feet or 8 feet) aluminum “fence” that can be clamped to really big pieces of wood (usually plywood sheets), and it allows me to cut a long straight line on materials like that with either of my standard, Skil-type circular saws. The best way to secure the fence solidly to the wood sheeting is with small C-clamps. There are some clamping jobs where any kind of bar clamp just gets in the way.

Howard Ferstler

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3188 days

#18 posted 06-21-2011 09:07 PM

I’m with knotscott, only for squeezing calipers. But I’m an impatient man.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2721 days

#19 posted 06-21-2011 09:08 PM

I’ll buy any clamp I can find. I use big Bessey C-clamps quite a bit. I’m also a big bar clamp fan. More clamp.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2703 days

#20 posted 06-22-2011 03:31 AM

UB52, I have some deep throat pipe clamps. HF had them on sale for $7 each once so I bought a couple. I don’t use them often either but on ocassion they fill a need. I think they will reach 7 inches deep. They weigh a ton or maybe more…..

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2863 days

#21 posted 06-22-2011 04:54 AM

Still good for brake calipers are someone else mentioned and for compressing the hydraulic tensioner for the timing belt.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2878 days

#22 posted 06-23-2011 05:26 PM

A recent task was well suited to my collection of small C-clamps. Or other way around.

Here’s those little Bessey clamps which I mistakenly identified. I don’t know the brand—”W. Germany” is cast into them. I did not realize they were longer (8”) than my hang-on-the-front-of-the-bench Jorgensons, which are 6” capacity.

The 8” ones will clamp a double 3/4” sacrificial piece on my Biesmeyer fence, and are pretty puny for anything else. Hence their days are spent suspended near the table saw.

The gray C clamps you see are Fuller brand. Many years ago they were sold in sets, 1” up to 6” as I recall. I really value the 3, 2, and 1” sizes. The three has an Acme thread, and all of them are hefty and nicely made. I buy ‘em used when I can find ‘em.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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