The Best Woodworking Clamps For 2017: A Complete Buyer’s Guide
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Clamps are quintessential tools that you require for any woodworking project you will undertake. I have never come across a woodworker who complained of having a variety of clamps. However, this article will help you to decide on the best woodworking clamps to purchase.
It’s evident that owning one doesn't guarantee honed skill when using them. Therefore, I’ll share some tips on how to make the most out of any clamp you have. To get the clamp that will get your task done, you will have to consider a number of factors such as clamping pressure and the size of the workpiece.
Types Of Clamps
- Bar clamps:
- C- Clamp:
- Parallel- jaw clamp:
- Pipe clamp:
- Corner Clamp:
- Strap/Band Clamp:
- Wood screw clamp:
- Spring clamp:
Arguably, they are the most used clamps. They are available in a range of sizes and provide an admirable amount of torque. These clamps are versatile and are designed for tackling large woodworking projects. It’s therefore not surprising that these clamps may complete about 90% of your projects.
They are one of the most common clamps in the market. They work efficiently in narrow wood pieces where a lot of pressure needs to be applied. One such example could be gluing curved laminations on a template or a project. These clamps are however limited to their specific use due to their size. Their C- shape offer limited space for maneuver.
This clamp is available in varying lengths. Its jaws remain at 90 degrees to the bar. They are parallel to one another to ensure perfect assemblies. It can provide up to 1000 pound pressure.
This model enables you to work on projects that require large glue- ups. For instance, you can use this clamp when gluing doors. You need to purchase the jaws then pair the jaws with the ¾ inches black pipe of any length you desire. However, some jaws work with ½’’ pipes. It’s important to bear in mind that, pipes with smaller diameter bend relatively easier. This clamp also integrates a feature that enables to be longer by joining it to other pipes. Besides the mentioned features, this clamp offers you a desirable amount of torque.
These clamps are appropriate when clamping mitered pieces like picture frames. The jaws are set at 90 degrees and ensure square corners.
Similar to the clamp mentioned above, this clamp is effective for mitered pieces. However, it provides less pressure than the corner clamp. Its application isn’t limited to square or rectangular wood pieces, but you can use it on odd- shaped workpieces: they could be round. They are effective for clamping wood pieces with large areas.
They have been used over centuries as they provide distinct advantages. The clamp enables you to twist its threaded screws individually for you to angle the jaws for non- parallel surfaces. Moreover, you can apply more pressure at the tips of the jaws. Its wood jaws ensure that wood surfaces aren’t marred.
They are mostly used on surfaces where light pressure is required.
Consider The Following Specifications When Choosing A Woodworking Clamp
It shouldn’t be hard for you to decide what the best woodworking clamps you need for your project. Remember the following as you shop for one:
- The type of job: This should be the critical item to outline as you look for one. For instance, if you need to clamp three 6’’ boards, you should get a bar clamp instead of a screw clamp. The right clamp will always get the work done easily and efficiently.
- Materials: you should always bear in mind the importance of the material used to make the clamp. Clamps made of plastic are durable. However, hard and brittle plastic is prone to cracking thus use flexible and soft plastic. Similarly, clamps with metal sections aren’t easily damaged from the consistent pounding.
- Handle: Clamp handles made from plastic, metal or wood have longevity.
Want To Get The Most Out Of Your Clamp? Here's How
- Ensure you work on flat surfaces: Assembly tables that aren’t flat are capable of throwing your clamp out of its square. This will inherently lead to racking or twisting. You should, therefore, use flat or as recommended by many woodworkers, a cast- iron top table.
- Spread the glue properly: Before you begin clamping, ensure that the glue is well spread across the joint or the lamination surface. You could do this using a glue roller or a small brush. You shouldn’t use your finger to apply the glue as you risk causing a stained finish on the wood.
- Avoid dents and stains by using low-cost barriers: When clamping without plastic pads integrated on the clamp’s design, you can improvise. You can place waxed paper between the clamp and the piece of wood. This prevents glue from sticking on the clamp and therefore avoiding wood stains that can occur on the metal jaw. Moreover, if marring or denting can occur, position scraps of softwood between the wood and the jaws to protect the surfaces.
- Alternate placement of the clamps: You should alternate the clamps over the top and the bottom surface of the glue- up when you are edge- gluing boards for a large panel. This helps to counter the tendency of laminated boards twisting.
- Apply the correct pressure: To hold the workpieces in tight contact with the joint surface apply adequate pressure.
The Top 5 Woodworking Clamps
TEKTON 6-Inch Malleable Iron C-Clamp, 6-Inch Jaw
This model belongs to the C-clamp family. This clamp comes in dimensions of 11’’ x 5 ‘’x 1.2’’. It’s a versatile model capable of securing sections that require assembling, gluing, fastening and welding. The model’s design integrates a malleable iron frame and an I- beam approach. These two attributes give it sufficient strength.
Moreover, the model has acme- threaded screws that glide easily without binding or sticking on the wood’s surface. It also encompasses a swivel jaw pad in its functionality. The swivel jaw pad floats in a ball and socket joint that gives it a low resistance which consequently makes it easy to apply pressure evenly. Besides this, the model’s sliding handlebars provide multiple hand positions for the maximum leverage.
- It’s affordable.
- The model is available in different sizes and designs.
- The TEKTON 6 is relatively easy to use and hold the wood tightly in position.
- Due to its size, it limits its functionality on some woodworking projects.
- This model is prone to losing its torque over time.
- It’s limited to clamping only flat and uneven wood surfaces.
Irwin Quick-Grip Clamp Set, 8 Piece, 4935502
This model consists of 6 one handed mini bar clamps and two handi- clamps appropriate for undertaking relatively small projects. The one handed clamps are designed to assimilate a pistol- grip which provides sufficient comfort when working. Moreover, it has non- marring pads that give good grip. The one handed clamps exert pressures of up to 150 pounds.
The handi- clamps consist of quick- release triggers, ratcheting mechanism that adjust the clamp pressure and consequently decrease the hand force required to generate pressure. Subsequently, the clamps are comfortable to use. Similarly, they are convenient in areas with confined spaces.
- This model is durable.
- The clamps are sturdy and relatively easy to clamp.
- This model is easy to use for both beginners and professionals.
- Despite its pros, the clamp has a distinct con. It doesn’t clamp with sufficient pressure.
Bessey BPC-H34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp
The Bessey BPC-H34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp assumes an H- shaped foot. This subsequently gives it its stability two dimensions. Moreover, the model’s high base provides it with a considerable clearance from the working surface. Besides these attributes, it also consists of cast jaws that give the clamp its admirable life span. Its durability is further amplified by the application of a durable powder coat.
The model also integrates two soft jaws in its design that prevent the eventual damage of the materials being clamped. Additionally, the design embraces a zinc plated approach of the components and a coating of black oxide on the threaded spindle. Its crank handle clears the workspace when the jaw is either opened or closed. The model also has smooth spindles that ensure smooth functionality.
- The model is manufactured using cast iron and consequently is durable.
- Due to its base design, it’s highly stable.
- Its design has a rough finish.
Bessey GSCC2.524 2.5-Inch x 24-Inch Economy Clutch Style Bar Clamp
This F- Style clutch bar clamp comes with casted heads coated with powder finish that enables it to resist chipping and corrosion. The clamp’s rail comes with a zinc finish and a two piece clutch plate system that opens and closes the lower jaw. The clutch clamps similarly have pads on both the bottom and top jaws. In addition to this, they have a wooden handle which provides comfortable handling.
- They are easy to release and return them to the position.
- The installed plastic doesn’t easily come out.
- This model is available in various stores, and therefore you can get them at an affordable price.
- Its threads feel a little rough when turning them.
- Beside the above point, this clamp can’t be used for clamping heavy materials as they may slightly bend.
Bessey BGPKIT General Purpose Clamp Kit
There’s definitely nothing as exciting to technical fanatics as a tool that can be used for various purposes. This model catches the eye of many as it’s a general purpose clamp kit. The clamps are made out of nickel plated steel, cast- iron jaws, non- marring surfaces and cold drawn- steel rails. It consists of the following clamps:
- Two 2’’ spring clamps: They are used for clamping devices that require light pressure. Additionally, they are used when you require a speedy application and subsequent removal.
- Two 4’’ bar clamps: They have a clamping force of about 330 pounds. It has a serrated rail to give you a tight grip and a large acme thread for efficient operation. This clamp also has non- marring caps made from plastic on the pressure pads.
- Two 6’’ bar clamps: The bar clamp is malleable, and its design integrates an anti- slip that prevents it from moving. Besides these, the clamps have easily replaceable pressure plates.
- Two 8’’ bar clamps: Its features are identical to the bar as mentioned above the clamp.
- ¾ ‘’ pipe clamps: They are usually 2 in the kit. The clamp has an admirable longevity as it has cast jaws.
- It’s versatile therefore it can be used for various purposes.
- This model is expensive to purchase.
The listed clamps are all contenders to be at the top of your list. With the exciting features that are interesting on paper, it’s important that you have open- mind on all the options that you have at your disposable. However, you should consider the purchase of TEKTON 6-Inch Malleable Iron C-Clamp, 6-Inch Jaw. It’s quite affordable and easy to use. This model meets your requirements. Additionally, I would recommend that you keep away from using aluminum clamps since they are light and flex easily. Moreover, they warp under pressure. The TEKTON 6 should be the standard gauge even as you seek other available clamps.
Clamps are important elements you as the buyer should be careful when purchasing. Consider the reviews given on that particular model that you want. Moreover, you can seek for other suggestions from professionals: for instance carpenters and store keepers. I hope the article has been of much help. Share your thoughts by commenting in the space provided below. I wish you luck as you buy your clamp!