Have bar clamps completely replaced C-Clamps?

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Forum topic by AbeFroman posted 06-21-2011 12:15 AM 5100 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2442 days

06-21-2011 12:15 AM

What can C-clamps do that bar clamps can’t do? Is there any real need for C-clamps if you have enough size variation of bar clamps?

Project examples where C-clamps work better are encouraged.

22 replies so far

View Loren's profile


9941 posts in 3552 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 2830 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 2978 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


7871 posts in 3279 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 2746 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 2935 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 2579 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


767 posts in 2761 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


4029 posts in 2875 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


9941 posts in 3552 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 2754 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 2888 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 3892 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


30112 posts in 2770 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.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3190 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.


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