One valuable clamp you should have in your clamp arsenal is the pipe clamp. You can use the pipe clamps in a variety of woodworking projects. They come in handy as an alternative to bar clamps. You can also use them in projects that spring clamps can’t handle easily. Besides, they are tighter and more cost-effective alternatives to the traditional T-bar clamps. Woodworking pipe clamps also got taller feet and cast crank handle, with head and foot wrought in ductile cast iron.
As a woodworker, you can never get enough clamps, for there are many clamps in the market today, and styles and designs are continuously diversifying. So, if you are a serious woodworker, you might develop that habit of collecting different types of clamps. Of course, you might prefer one kind of clamp over another. Yet, having a few workable clamps would never be enough for a serious woodworker when it comes to clamping collection.
Table of Contents
- Most Recommended Woodworking Pipe Clamps for Woodworking
- Factors to Consider When Buying Pipe Clamps
- How Do Pipe Clamps Work?
- Common Issues You Should Avoid When Using a Pipe Clamp
Most Recommended Woodworking Pipe Clamps for Woodworking
As mentioned above, pipe clamps come in myriads of brands and models, making the choosing process confusing. So, if you’re a newbie, it will be helpful to know the following most recommended pipe clamps in the market today:
1) Bessey BPC-H34
You can recognize the Bessey BPC-H34 quickly by its H-shaped foot assembly. This foot assembly allows for more stability, providing better and more reliable stability. Moreover, you’ll get ample clearance using this pipe clamp from the material’s surface. It is also very durable with its cast jaw design. Besides, it comes with two jaw caps that are soft enough for preventing damage to your materials.
The Bessey BPC-H34 comes with clutch components that are zinc plated and a threaded spindle coated with black oxide. The clamp won’t tip off because of its H-style base. So, this H-style base is the best aspect of these pipe clamps. You can clear your workplace as you close and open the clamp’s jaw with its crank handles.
- Offers excellent holding power
- Allows for better stability
- Comes at an affordable price
- Easy to use and operate
- It might lose its holding strength over time
2) IRWIN 224134
Another excellent option is the IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Pipe Clamp. It is a favorite of many woodworkers and is a good choice for the money. It features a clutch system that is advanced in design. This clutch system does away with the threaded pipe because the clutch grabs the material without the threaded pipe.
IRWIN QUICK-GRIP features an ergonomic handle for reduced hand fatigue while using this clamp. Besides, it comes with large feet for better stability. The throat depth of this clamp is 1-7/8″ and utilizes a 3/4″ pipe.
It also comes with quick-release huge clutch plates for better dependability and speed. You might not be used to working with a pipe clamp like this, and it requires a learning curve or adjustment period for its use, especially if you are accustomed to using a threaded pipe.
- Features an innovative design
- Comes with large feet
- Offers an ergonomic handle and large clutch plates
- Requires a bit of a learning curve for its use
3) IRWIN 224212
The IRWIN 224134 comes with a clutch system that is innovative likewise. Its design attracts beginners in woodworking because it comes with a straightforward design. It features a built-in steel handle that could easily handle much pressure.
IRWIN 224134 has a diameter of 1.5″ and a length of .5″. You can depend on this pipe clamp. Besides, it comes with a handle that reduces hand fatigue as you go for tensioning. It is also pretty much durable. It also has quick-release large plates and large feet for better stability.
- Comes with an ergonomic design
- Features large feet
- Offers sterling durability
- Might be prone to corrosion
4) PONY 55 Pro Pipe Clamp
Another high-profile clamp is the PONY 55 Pro Pipe Clamp. It is easy to use and lets you clamp down sans bumping onto your materials or project. It features a 3/4″ pipe wrought in cast iron. It also features a multiple-disc clutch that grips the pipe well and secures it in place.
This pipe clamp gets manufactured in China. One downside of this pipe clamp is its plastic feet that seem to buckle under intense pressure. Besides, its paint seems to flake easily.
- Features a high-profile pipe clamp
- Comes with cast-iron materials
- Equipped with multiple disc clutch
- Plastic feet seem not durable
- Paint flakes quickly
5) Y&Y Decor Wood Gluing Pipe Clamp Set
If you want something with wider jaws and tall height, you should check out the. It features a clamp stand built into it. It also comes with a clamp hanger and a longer screw. Moreover, you can use this clamp for metalworking and woodworking. You can mount it on any material’s length, and you can get it threaded on both ends.
Y&Y Decor Pipe Clamp is made of cast iron. It also comes with many disc clutches to ensure that you get even clamping pressure. Besides, it exerts sufficient pressure and offers a strong hold. You can mount it quickly, and it will stay clamped. One downside, however, of its use is its sliding steel bar. This steel bar slides and slips more often.
- Features a taller and wider stance
- Easy to use and operate
- Made of durable materials
- Perfect for basic wood clamping
- Not ideal for use in heavy clamping
Factors to Consider When Buying Pipe Clamps
You inch closer to finding the ideal pipe clamps for your woodworking needs after knowing the most recommended pipe clamps for woodworking. Yet, you can further narrow down your options by familiarizing yourself with the following essential factors to consider when buying a pipe clamp:
One crucial factor you should consider when choosing a pipe pump is the diameter of the pipe. The diameter of most pipes used for pipe clamps ranges between 1/2″ to 3/4″ pipes. Your choice between these two diameter sizes will depend on your preference.
The 3/4″ pipe is stronger. Besides, you will find more pipe clamps with a 3/4″ diameter. Moreover, the 3/4″ clamps are the favored pipe clamps by professionals.
The good thing about pipe clamps is that you can use pipes of different lengths in your various projects. You should, however, choose the pipe clamp with the appropriate measurement for your projects to ensure the best result for your project.
Pipe clamps come with a clutch consisting of metal plate series. These metal plates hold the pipe and the clamp in place as you apply pressure on the material. Additionally, you will also find a built-in spring to enable the release of the clamps while applying pressure. The more plates the clutch has, the better the clamp could grip.
The parts of the clamp that come in contact with the materials are the jaws. The clamping force gets spread over a more extensive area because of large jaws. This lessens the chance of marking the surface.
Furthermore, you need to consider the materials that make up the jaws. The most common materials used for jaws are steel and iron. It will also help if you also look for jaws with soft caps to assuage the impact of the jaws on the surface of the materials.
You will soon find pipe clamps with short screws as you search for the best pipe clamps. Short screws can be disadvantageous because they might cause you to bump onto your material when tightening down the clamps.
This issue could be very frustrating to you as this will slow you down. It could also shove and misalign your project. So, it will be best to opt for high-base models, something with a high profile, to ensure that you got enough clamping room.
The screw handle is a crucial aspect of the pipe clamp because you will hold this part of the clamp when you position the clamp. Thus, the handle should allow you to exert and apply sufficient force to your project. It should not bend likewise.
The threads of your pipe clamps must have 14 TPI. You can have these threads made at the local hardware stores. Yet, you don’t necessarily need many threads at the pipe’s ends.
However, it will be advantageous to have longer threads. Besides, you can have the pipe cut at your desired length. Plus, you can also find pre-threaded and pre-cut pipes.
As you inspect the components of the pipe clamp, you will see the main screw. The screw handle gets attached to this screw. So, you must choose a pipe clamp with an excellent main screw. You might get hoodwinked into buying a pipe clamp with poorly cast main screws, especially if you are buying online.
However, it will help if you relent from buying such a pipe clamp. Go for something with an excellently cast main screw, for the main screw is the heart of the pipe clamp.
Black Pipe vs. Galvanized Pipes
Pipes come in two acceptable types: Galvanized and black steel pipes. Each pipe type will work fine. Yet, you will find the black pipe cheaper in price.
Besides, many woodworkers prefer this pipe type. Nevertheless, the black pipe might leave stains on the material’s surface.
How Do Pipe Clamps Work?
If it is your first time seeing a pipe clamp, you might wonder how it works. The pipe clamp features a two-piece clamp with a metal pipe threaded on one end. Another clamp component gets screwed onto the pipe’s threaded end, referred to as the fixed end.
The other part of the clamp glides over the part that is not threaded to lock the material into place. The other piece gets referred to as the movable end.
This movable end lets you clamp your project tightly. Besides, the pipe clamp is less expensive than other clamp types. Plus, they are more durable and mostly wrought in cast iron.
Common Issues You Should Avoid When Using a Pipe Clamp
You can never downplay the versatility and cost-effectiveness of using the pipe clamp. Yet, the use of the pipe clamp is not without its downsides. For example, when using pipe clamps, the pipes might tend to bend under too much pressure, especially when the pipe is over four feet. You can reduce such risk by forgoing the 1/2″ pipe and opting for the 3/4″ pipes. You can also use multiple clamps to distribute pressure over the surface area.
Another issue lies in the use of a black pipe. If you use black pipe, it may stain the material’s surface. You can avoid such a problem if you leave some space between the boards and the pipe. In this way, the board and the pipe will not touch each other. Nevertheless, it might cause bowing.
Another way is to position a wood scrap between the pipe and the boards. Make sure you use a wood scrap made of the same species as the material you are clamping. Yet, you should avoid gluing the scrap board to the project.
The last option would be to slide a PVC pipe with a one-inch diameter on the black pipe. PVC, of course, will not bond well with wood glues.
Another drawback of using a pipe clamp is applying too much pressure on the material, especially when gluing up many boards. Such too much pressure might cause the deflection of the panels, causing them to bow.
To avoid such an issue, you can clamp alternately on both sides of your workpiece to allow the pressure to spread out. Then, utilize only enough pressure when tightening the joint. Besides, it will help if you tighten the clamps equally.
The best pipe clamps can come in handy in your most essential woodworking tasks, for they are capable of holding tools and materials when engaged in woodworking tasks. Yet, finding the best pipe clamps can be a considerable challenge, given the myriads of options at hand. So, you need to equip yourself with the knowledge of the most recommended pipe clamps in the market today to narrow down your options to the best options quickly.
It will also help to know the critical factors to consider when choosing a pipe clamp. By knowing these essential factors, you can intelligently weigh each option based on these critical factors to consider. Eventually, you can zero in on the ideal pipe clamps for your needs and would not regret your pipe clamp purchase.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.