Clamp Advice

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Forum topic by bearcat posted 08-02-2012 04:33 AM 1490 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bearcat's profile


10 posts in 2104 days

08-02-2012 04:33 AM


I am a newbie woodworker. I would like to buy two clamps for my beginner level projects. I have an old Delta table saw, an older craftsman router. Without breaking the bank, what kind of clamps should I buy? As far as I know, there is no specialized woodwork store near my house. I can either go to the big box store or buy it from ebay.

Any advice will be appreciated.



-- Abhijeet -- Auburn,AL

11 replies so far

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3125 days

#1 posted 08-02-2012 05:31 AM

Buy the bar clamps(F clamps) from HF.
Do NOT buy the ‘quick’ clamps from HF.

And obviously you already know the #1 clamp rule…. “Never buy a single clamp.”. Always buy at least two of the same one.

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

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2800 days

#2 posted 08-02-2012 05:58 AM

rance has it right, start with some f-clamps from harbor freight, I would get at least 4 each of the 6, 18, and 30 inch. Odd sizing I know but the 6 is needed for anything small, too many glue ups are just meant to fit through a 12.5 or 13” lunch box planer and a 12” clamp will only do 11.5” easily and can be hard to get on anything slightly bigger and won’t do an actual 12”. The 30” is because many shelves and small tables are in the 24-28” range so better to skip 24” initially. Try to spend the money on 4 of each because you will find you need a minimum of 2 of any one size to do anything, typically more. They’re always on sale and all 12 should set you back only about 80.00.

You’re second clamp should be something more heavy duty like a bar clamp.

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

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2251 days

#3 posted 08-02-2012 06:31 AM

Another vote for F-clamps. When budget allows, I’d recommend some parallel clamps (like Jets).

-- John, BC, Canada

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 08-02-2012 06:33 AM

Pipe clamps are widely available both new and used –
you’ll often find one or two at a yard sale for a few bucks.

The F-style clamps mentioned above are pretty versatile- -
they can serve like c-clamps and as bar clamps for glue-ups.

Garrett Wade usually has some good quality bar clamps at
reasonable prices. Lee Valley has some innovative imported
clamps that aren’t too expensive as well.

Anytime I see a style of clamp I like that I don’t own I
usually buy a pair. I have a bunch of F-clamps but I have
several other styles as well and use them more often –
a lot of them are just lighter and quicker to work with.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


403 posts in 2986 days

#5 posted 08-02-2012 06:44 AM

I own a lot of F-clamps and really like them. But for a beginner on a budget, the best value in clamps are pipe clamps. They will allow you to do more for less money than any other style of clamp. After that, just gradually add a variety of clamps over time.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View bearcat's profile


10 posts in 2104 days

#6 posted 08-02-2012 07:01 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I have been looking for nice pipe clamps at yard sales and flea markets, but no luck till now. Someday, I would love to spend money on the nice clamps at Lee Valley, but I need to get a few projects under my belt before I buy really nice stuff.

From what I can understand, the length of the pipe clamp can be varied based on the length of the pipe whereas F clamps will cost me less but will essentially be just as useful. I will try to get a couple of pipe clamps and a few F clamps.

I was wondering if a Bessey clamp is better(worth $ 5 more) than its knockoff version at HF?

Thanks for your help.


-- Abhijeet -- Auburn,AL

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2229 days

#7 posted 08-02-2012 08:00 PM

I was wondering if a Bessey clamp is better(worth $ 5 more) than its knockoff version at HF? Get the Bessey. It’s slightly more expensive but it’s a great pipe clamp ($14). Plus, you can get them at the big blue box store.

I order mine on Amazon though. Pick up some 1/2” ones too to use on smaller jobs. The pipes are pretty heavy.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2183 days

#8 posted 08-02-2012 10:52 PM

I would also recommend the Bessey 3” spring clamps – I have 12 of those and for my current project that still is not enough. lol

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View TheBoxStoreCraftsman's profile


37 posts in 2105 days

#9 posted 08-02-2012 11:34 PM

Good points Sawdust4Blood and TorqNut
I still have my original Bessey pipe clamps I bought when I first started and they still work fine. Spring clamps are just handy for a lot of things in the shop.

-- The project is never finished until the workbench is full of tools!"

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2542 days

#10 posted 08-03-2012 02:21 AM

Harbor freight bar clamps, the gray and blue handled ones.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bearcat's profile


10 posts in 2104 days

#11 posted 08-03-2012 03:51 PM

I went ahead and bought a few (12 actually) HF bar clamps. I will start saving for the Bessey pipe clamps. Thanks for the input everybody.

-- Abhijeet -- Auburn,AL

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