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Pipe clamps vs bar clamps?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 1338 days ago 8935 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2306 days


1338 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question clamp

I am planning on replaceing my cheap bar clamps with pipe clamps or these Universal Bar Clamps from tools for woodworking. I know pipe clamps are cheap and the pipe is easy to get. But I have alway used bar clamps.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker


33 replies so far

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

163 posts in 2387 days


#1 posted 1338 days ago

I have used pipe clamps all my woodworking life and never had a problem at all. I am sure the bar clamps are nicer as everyone prefers them but it is one of those if I don’t know any better it won’t matter that much to me.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#2 posted 1338 days ago

It’s really a matter of preference.

Bar clamps come in all shapes and sizes – some cheap and worthless, some really good.

Mind you – pipe clamps don’t have as deep a reach as bar clamps although they can be jigged up to have better reach – like I said, it all boils down to preference and requirements.

Also, for shorter lengths – pipe clamps are NOT cheaper than good quality bar clamps (for example, Rockler carries sales once in a while for 5-7 $ for a good heavy duty 24” bar clamp. at 24” just the pipe clamp head would cost more not including the pipes). but for longer clamps they are cheaper THAN parallel bar clamps.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Uncle_Salty's profile

Uncle_Salty

182 posts in 1706 days


#3 posted 1338 days ago

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! I use ALL my clamps at various times! I still have the cheapie Cummins Tool Sale pipe clamp kits and I use ‘em. I use the cheapie F-clamps that I bought at the BORG. I use the Joregensen II bar clamps because they are AWESOME. But my personal prize clamps at home are the Peachtree “Bessey” knock offs. They are indeed hard to beat, with one possible exception.

At the school shop (my job and my background hobby!:)) Ihave access to the full on assault Joregensen I-beam clamps, which, IMHO, are the VERY BEST.

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1821 posts in 2305 days


#4 posted 1338 days ago

I like when Jet puts their clamp sets on sale, then I buy them!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Gofor's profile

Gofor

470 posts in 2420 days


#5 posted 1338 days ago

I use pipe clamps for longer glue ups, and also to supplement my bar clamps for shorter things like panels. Some things to consider with pipe clamps:

3/4” diameter pipe is more rigid, so works well at long lengths. However, it is also much heavier.

1/2” pipe is pretty flexible, so you get a lot of bow, especially if you extend the jaws with wood, etc. Not good for a bookcase, etc.

Black pipe allows the clamp to grab and not slip. Galvanized coating is soft, so clamps may slip as it peels off the soft zinc. However, zinc doesn’t stain, where any bare metal where the paint is scraped off the black pipe will put iron stains on the work. I use galvanized couplers and shorter lengths of pipe (which keeps the work surface away from the black iron), and also some short pvc sleeves which accomplish the same thing.

I also have 6”, 12”, 24” and 48” lengths of pipe. That allows me to join them together to so I do not have a lot of unused length causing weight and unwieldiness.

If you have a store near you called “Big Lots”, check there first for clamps. They often have quality clamps for much less than the box stores.

HTHs

Go

-- Go http://ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=730

View jack1's profile

jack1

1918 posts in 2660 days


#6 posted 1338 days ago

They are both good. Keep what you have a get some good bar clamps too. Jorgensen at HD are good as are Bessey. Get the BEST you can afford even if you only get a pair at a time… You’ll be glad you did.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2306 days


#7 posted 1338 days ago

I have Jorgensen HD but they dont seem to pull the joints tight.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View jack1's profile

jack1

1918 posts in 2660 days


#8 posted 1338 days ago

Are they the parallel “cabinet” clamps with the big steel beams? Those work real well usually but get pricey as they get bigger. I’ve had no prob with mine.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2306 days


#9 posted 1338 days ago

They are not parallel, they are them bar clamps you get from the borg.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View lew's profile

lew

10002 posts in 2388 days


#10 posted 1338 days ago

As “Norm” was fond of saying, “You can never have too many clamps”. Keep the ones you have and just add more, CJ.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View jack1's profile

jack1

1918 posts in 2660 days


#11 posted 1338 days ago

THe ones I’m talking about have steel “beams” that are about 1/2” thick and 1 3/4” wide. Real beefy with big wide jaws that are parallel to each other. They come in 2’, 3’, 4’ and I think 50” lengths. These are mongo clamps…

;0) jack

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#12 posted 1338 days ago

Charles – from my experience joints that are not ‘pulled tight’ by the clamps usually means that the joint may not be clean enough or cut at the right angles. the clamps are just there to keep it together while the glue sets, not to force it into position. I use jorgensen type clamps ALL THE TIME and although they flex quite a bit when tighten hard – they do a fair job. I would not throw those out just yet.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 2407 days


#13 posted 1338 days ago

I have 10 – Bessey bar clamps and 14- Jet bar clamps and 12 – 3/4” Jorganson pipe clamps in different lenghts. Up till two years ago, I had always used 3/4” pipe clamps for over 35 years. I use them all but see nothing wrong with just using pipe clamps. I was gluing up a doweled frame the other night and could not pull the joints tight with the bar clamps. The pipe clamps had no problem pulling them together. If I buy some more clamps some day they will be pipe clamps. You can buy 3 pipe clamps and pipe for what it costs for one bar clamp. If you can buy Bessey and Jet bar clamps on sale, it might not hurt to have some.

Tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1796 posts in 1824 days


#14 posted 1338 days ago

You’ll need lots and lots of clamps….Always buy more clamps!!!!!!

Good luck on your shopping, maybe you’ll find a good sale.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2306 days


#15 posted 1338 days ago

I think pipe clamps is a better choice for me. Since I am on a budget!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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