Clamps are Clamps, or are they. Before I got into doing Woodworking I never realized all the types of clamps that exist. Especially when things got hard to glue up.
Recently I had an experience where I didn’t have long enough clamps so I made some 10 foot pipe clamps, and called it a day. Then I decided maybe it is time to research better clamping.
In this episode we cover 10 clamps you might use in your DIY work, or woodworking. Several are pretty cool, and can make life a lot easier.
Next I need to learn clamping strategies.
If you prefer to watch
Hello, and welcome to the 30th episode of the Buddy podcast. I’m your host Buddy Lindsey. And today we’re going to talk about clamps, and we’ll go over 10 different types of clamps that you probably use in your DIY projects and in woodworking to be a little more specific, but many of these will work outside of just woodworking. But before that if you visit the firstname.lastname@example.org, you can get the latest episode and other types of posts as well especially if you sign up for the email newsletter. Please feel free to hit up Facebook and Instagram. Give me a like and a share over there. And finally, if you want to find me on YouTube, you can subscribe over there. Feel free to hit that notification bell so that you know when new episodes are open. Finally, if you want to listen to this in podcast format, we are available in most major podcasting platforms.
So on that, let’s jump into the first segment and that is what’s going on around here. Well, first thing I wanted to start with a non kind of DIY thing. I had a lot of fun this weekend. I was actually over at a family reunion for my wife. It’s kind of unreal … I was kind of bored, didn’t really have a lot to do. So I played around with some new tech called AWS CDK, which is a cloud development kit. It was really cool because I’m working on a nice, working on what I think is going to be a neat website for woodworkers and DIYers. And I will let you know more information about that, but one of the fun things is it’s going to be kind of a distributed cloud thing, kind of as the backend, some fun stuff in that. And it was something I got to learn about and play with for a few hours.
Anyway, if you’re a software developer, check out the cloud development kit by AWS. You might have a lot of fun with it, I really did considering dev ops is kind of part of one of the things that I enjoy doing. So with that, let’s go into more of the DIY stuff. So this week I was kind of curious, I’m planning a bunk bed for my girls. And one of the things I wanted to do is I wanted to do steps. One of the features that I wanted in there is I wanted to do stairs that light up and kind of glow. Specifically I wanted to do purple and pink since it’s my girl’s favorite colors. So one of the things I wanted to do is I was wanting to do a resin pour of some sort, I don’t know yet, and then put some LEDs in there, and then they can kind of turn on and off based on when they want them to come on and off or based on a timer or something.
So I was kind of like, “Hey, I need to figure out how to do resin and epoxy pours, to do that. Plus it’d be super durable.” Anyway, there’s a lot to it that I’m still trying to figure out, but one thing I’ve found is TotalBoat, a company called TotalBoat, if you haven’t heard of them. They have a contact us, and you can actually send them information about the project you’re working on and what your wanting to do and be like, “Hey, here’s my goal. What do I need to buy in order to accomplish that?” And they’ll tell you what you need to know. So really cool shout out to TotalBoat for that. I recommend if you’re wanting to get into resin and epoxy and other things like that, give that a shot. So that was something that’s kind of neat.
And then let’s go into the main DIY wood working project that I did this week that I got the starter back on. And this is actually going to be a mix of this first part, my failure, which leads me into the main segment of clamps. And that is I continue to work on the seven foot bookshelf that I’ve been working for the weekend woodworker course. The weekend woodworker course actually has a three foot high, three and a half foot high area. But I was like, “You know what, I really need a taller one.” So I decided to go up to about 80 inches, and that presented some extra challenges in clamping everything together because in the videos he uses a giant strap clamp, which I’ll get into later, as it clamped everything together.
Well, my strap clamp isn’t that big, and I doubt his as well to be able to do an 80 inch bookcase. So I had to come up with something different because I didn’t have anything long enough to clamp anything down. So I was kind of having to scramble at the last minute. And finally, I just was like, “I can’t get this to work. I’ve got to go basically buy some new clamps slash make some new clamps,” and ended up going to Lowe’s, buying some Irwin bar clamps, and buying some 10 foot black metal and black piping and putting the bar clamps on there. And boom, I have 10 foot clamps now. And then I put did an extra one of the 10 foot, so I can cut them down to five footers so I can have a couple of five foot bar clamps as well, so I can do some cross sections on there.
Yeah, I just, I was like, “I’m tired of not having big enough clamps, so we’re going to have some 10 foot clamps if we need to.” I’ll probably go buy some more black piping and then just kind of put them in the corner at different sizes for different ones that I need, maybe. We’ll see, because after the research I did into clamps and what are the available options, kind of no telling what I’ll buy and what I’ll need into the future. That was kind of my failure is not having big enough clamps. My resolution is I went and made some basically getting the bar clamps. The second resolution is doing a bunch of research into types of clamps and how I want to approach that to know what to get into the future. So I wanted to share the fruits of my research and to give you a little bit of a summary of the different types of clamps that are available for your DIY and woodworking projects.
I want to start off that I actually found a site that listed, like 46 different types of clamps that are available for all wide range of projects. And most of them, not most of them, a lot of them were very project specific into things that I will never do and most DIYers will probably never do. Some of them were not the clamps I was after, kind of like a strap clamps for doing, not strap clamps, but kind of that you would put over a hose end or things like that. I’m not going to go over those because to me that’s a different type of an application of clamp. I’m after more clamps to hold your work steady while you’re doing work on it. Those are the clamps that I am going to discuss today. And I’m going to go over 10 different types of clamps.
So on that, let’s jump into the first clamp, and we’re going to go with the pipe clamp because that’s what I used this week. And basically what you do is you get a pipe that is either a half inch or three quarter inch in diameter, and usually just black piping that you would do for all kinds of different things from running pipe and running stuff throughout your project. The nice thing about pipe clamps is you just buy these two little units that’s an end cap and an adjustable piece, and you just put it on any size pipe that you want length wise, and boom you now have that big of a clamp. The downside is the holding throat capacity, which is how high up the piece that the clamp will go is only a few inches. So it’s not like maybe two, three inches, so you can’t get really high up into a piece. Let’s say it’s a 12 foot tall thing that you’re trying to clamp you can’t go up 12 inches into the middle of it. So you’re going to have to do say one on the bottom and one on the top of the thing.
So that is a drawback. However, you’re able to get a bunch of bar clamps for a lot cheaper than some of the other clamps I’m going to go over here in a minute and be able to get started in the projects that you want to do, especially when you get to bigger projects. And then as you start replacing some of these they’re good for backups when you just run out of clamps because eventually you’ll probably run out of clamps unless you buy like 10 grand worth of clamp. And even then you might be like, “Hey, I can work on all these other projects while these projects are drying.” So you might still run out.
So the next clamp are C clamps or G clamps for some people. To me, whenever I think clamps to clamp something these are the ones that I think of. They are literally in the shape of a C, and you kind of twist this threaded end, and it goes up through the bottom of it and clamps something and holds it together. To me these are the most common clamps that are used that you see, but in actuality in woodworking I don’t see them used all that much because it’s done in favor of a bunch of other clamps. But these are cheap, they’re readily available. If you need a clamp and you need it in a hurry and you don’t have anything else available, these will work great. Plus, you can get some big ones and thick ones. Whereas other types of clamps would be more expensive you can get these and kind of get you by and have a lot of a clamping pressure available to you to really hold onto a piece.
The next type are more specific to woodworking projects, and they’re hand screw clamps. These kind of are weird clamps. My dad has a couple, and I’ve always enjoyed playing with them when I was a kid, never actually saw him use any, but I have seen people on YouTube use them. Basically, they’re the clamps that have two wooden pieces to it. And on the front side there is a little twist piece that has threaded rod. And then on the back is a threaded rod. And when you move it back and forth it shakes a little. It has a narrow point to the end. If you Google a hand screw clamp, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I never saw my dad use them, but he had a couple. And so I was like, “What do you use these for?” Well, they’re great for woodworking because they’re not going to mar your work. And one of the great uses that I’ve seen is to help you clamp onto something to give it a little bit of a base in order to hold a piece of vertical or in order to hold something vertical where you wouldn’t be able to do that before. However, there’s lots of things that you can do with them, but I just wanted to kind of call out they’re hand screw clamps.
The next one I want to get to is probably the clamps that is one of two clamps that I see used the absolute most. These clamps are the cheaper clamps compared to the ones I’m going to follow up with and are great for starting and is great for in a lot of different cases. These are called bar clamps, and bar clamps are there is a bar that is thinner than it is wide, or I guess taller than it … Anyway, it’s a flat bar that’s really long depending on how long you want your clamp. There’s two pieces that go up, one that’s fixed at the end of the bar, and one that adjusts back and forth. Commonly one of them looks like an F, so they call it an F clamp. You just push this little lever thing and slide it up and down until you get it to the position that you want. And then you turn a little screw piece, and it tightens it down the rest of the way.
These are usually fairly cheap and easy to get ahold of a bunch of them. So that’s where a lot of people start out and getting clamps to go beyond the kind of C clamps. But they are just like the C clamp. They work the exact same way except they’re adjustable in the size of whatever it is that you want to clamp. You can get them from six inches to 24 inches. I think I’ve seen 36 inches, maybe even longer, but those are called bar clamps. Inside of bar clamps there’s several different types. There are F clamps, quick clamps, ratchet clamps, trigger clamps, and Bessie has some rapid action clamps. These are all different bar clamps, but the different ones have different mechanisms for tightening down the work that you need.
The F clamps are your traditional. You have this little metal trigger thing on the side next to the bar. It’s kind of funky to mess with, and you slide it up and down and then tighten it down with a screw. Quick clamps are generally have some kind of trigger system in there or things that you grip with your hand, and it moves it up and down into the system and into where you need it and tightens it down that way. And you don’t necessarily need to twist it with some kind of threaded thing, but it’s still again on a bar. A trigger is kind of like that quick clamp except there’s a little trigger thing there to quickly release it. It gives you a couple of other mechanisms in there.
And then there’s the Bessie rapid action clamp, which is kind of interesting. It’s just like the F clamp, except when you turn the little threaded handle piece it doesn’t turn the entire thread of the thing and twist the actual piece that’s being locked down. It twists an inside mechanism and you have a stationary piece that moves on to the work item so it doesn’t move the thing that you’re trying to glue down as you’re trying to glue it down. It’s a pretty cool little thing. Probably will buy one eventually because some of the demos I’ve seen were pretty awesome. So yeah, bar clamps are numerous in their styles and their size and their configuration and their throat depth. You can go four inch throat or a 12 inch throat, all kinds of things so that you can get deeper into the piece that you’re trying to clamp down.
Probably one of the clamps that you’re going to own a lot of are bar clamps. I know I have a bunch, and they’re great, and they’re great for beginners, but I’m going to move on to some other types of clamps. And that is parallel clamps. Parallel clamps are interesting because they are very similar to the F clamps except they have a couple of different features that I find interesting and compelling for doing woodwork. One of those is the head and the base are thicker and bigger so they can have more contact with the workpiece. F clamps and bar clamps they have these two little knobs in a sense that kind of touch the workpiece, whereas parallel clamps are made to sit and support the entire thing of what you’re working on and how you have multiple of them in parallel. And they have more contact surface on the actual work that you give. There’s all different sizes, but it can give you more stability in what it is that you’re clamping up.
And different companies have different features on them. They’re heavier. They give you more clamping pressure generally than some of the others, and totally liking what I see in parallel clamps. Plus I’ve seen some interesting glue ups that people have done with them to have better stabilization when they have really big pieces or really wonky things that they’re dealing with.
The next clamp that I want to talk about are spring clamps. These are actually kind of a lot of fun to play with on my kids. I’ll kind of grab them because they’re basically like a piece of metal or a piece of plastic or a piece of wood in one case, some really old ones. They’re similar to clothesline clips that you would have, and you just kind of squeeze them. There’s a spring in the middle to open them, and they automatically close, and I’ll chase my daughters a little bit when we’re having fun and act like they’re alligators trying to get them. They just have a lot of fun with that.
But anyway, so they’re spring clamps, and they’re great for just kind of quickly getting something clamped onto a work item so that you can do something more with it here in a little bit. It’s one of those that I use it where I just need to get it attached and holding because I need a third hand, and I don’t have a third hand. I kind of use it as a third hand. An extension on the spring clamps that are actually really, really cool is something made by Rockler, and it’s called a bandy clamp. These are really great for clamping on edges to work pieces because they have a band that goes between the two mouth ends so that you can open up the clamp, push it over a piece of wood that has an edge on it that you’re trying to glue on. And that band will add a lot of extra pressure to that edge piece that you’re trying to glue to the work piece that you’re doing.
Totally check out bandy clamps, and then go check out some YouTube videos on how to fashion some of your own if you don’t want to pay the price for the bandy clamps. But those are really, really cool, and I’m going to do something because I have some stuff coming up where I’m going to be doing edging. So now we’re coming down to our last three clamps, and we’re going to move on to locking clamps. I don’t know if you’ve ever messed with vice grips. Basically, they’re pliers that have a piece in the end that you screw and unscrew to open and close the face. And then whenever you clinch vice grips down onto something, it locks in place and locks the grip onto it.
Well, they have some that are basically just like that four clamps, and these come in all kinds of different ways. Generally see them for welding and they have these big, huge arcs on them. They’re up and down so that you can clamp two pieces of metal together so that you can weld them. They also have them where they have some flat pads at the end of them so that you can get some extra coverage and space. I know Kreg Jig has a locking clamp that has that flat pad on one side, and they have a point on the other so that you can put it inside of a pocket hole so that you can get a good grip on a piece to be able to attach pocket holes to the work that you’re doing. There are a ton of different type of locking clamps that are available for a bunch of different uses. I totally recommend checking some of those out to see if they would help with some of the work that you’re doing.
Next, there are miter clamps, and these are clamps that are meant to go on the corner of wood to hold miters together so that you can either they’re being either glued up or you’re just kind of holding it there temporarily to do something else, all kinds of different things that you might want to do. And then finally our set of clamps that you probably won’t use a lot unless you have a particular type of work bench, but I wanted to mention it because surprisingly, some people have this work brunch but don’t really know what it’s for. Basically, if you have a work bench that has a whole bunch of holes in it, those are called, I think bench dogs is what they’re called. And you can have a clamp that goes down into those holes and clamps down the piece of whatever you’re trying to work on. And all you have to do is you just push it down in there and it cinches down sideways a little bit, and you just take a little mallet and knock it, and it loosens it up and you can pull it out.
These types of clamps, there’s all kinds of things that use these bench dogs that you can do on clamping. I’ve seen some that you get it in there, and then you can tighten it down. You can also have extensions to do other things, clamp multiple different directions. Super useful if you have that kind of a work bench. I don’t know if I’m going to get one like that, but I wanted to mention it so that you were aware that they exist.
So with that we have hit our 10 different types of clamps. I’ll just review them real quick. There’s pipe clamp, C clamp, hand clamp, bar clamp, spring clamp, strap clamp, parallel clamp, locking clamp, miter clamp, and bench dog clamps. So lots of different choices available, each for their different specific uses. Totally recommend you Google a few and see if they’re going to help you with your DIY projects, because if you get the right clamp for the job that you’re doing it’s going to make your life a whole heck of a lot easier.
So with that, we reached the end of the episode, did the failure right before we did the main segment since it led into the main topic of today. So on that note, I want to thank you for your time. I want to thank you for your patience. What do you use clamp wise? What’s your favorite type of clamp, or do you have some other type of clamp that you would recommend that people check out? Go ahead and leave that in comments on the website or on the YouTube video, and I’ll check them out. Thank you for your time. Have a great day.