Are Pipe Clamps Good For Woodworking?

Hello, fellow woodworking enthusiasts! It’s Thomas here, and today I want to delve into an essential tool for our craft: pipe clamps. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned woodworker, you’ll find these clamps incredibly useful for a variety of projects.

The Ultimate Guide to Pipe Clamps

Why Pipe Clamps Are a Game-Changer

Pipe clamps are invaluable for tasks like gluing tabletops or any flat surface, thanks to their length, high clamping pressure, and ability to maintain flatness by alternating clamping sides. These clamps are not only versatile and come in many sizes, but they are also cost-effective and adjustable. For substantial woodworking tasks, pipe clamps are a must-have.

The Versatility of Pipe Clamps

Need a solution for clamping large frames or wide slabs? Pipe clamps are your go-to! They’re not just for woodworking; they’re useful in metalwork and plumbing too. Their small footprint and versatility make them ideal for gluing large boards. While various clamps like C-clamps, F-clamps, and bench clamps have their place, they also have limitations, especially regarding the size of workpieces they can handle. Here, pipe clamps shine, filling a critical role in your workshop.

Setting Up Pipe Clamps

Using pipe clamps is straightforward. Remember to buy the necessary pipe lengths, as they usually come with just the end pieces. There are two different ends: one secures to the pipe, and the other slides along it. After attaching these to your pipe, place them on a solid surface, align them, and you’re ready to clamp. You may need multiple clamps for larger pieces. An excellent feature of pipe clamps is the elevation they provide, allowing you to catch any glue drips easily.

Avoiding Bowing and Choosing the Right Pipe

Be mindful of bowing when gluing boards. You can prevent this by initially tightening the clamps just enough to hold the piece, then placing a heavy weight in the middle before fully tightening. When choosing pipes for your clamps, consider galvanized or black steel pipes, but remember that galvanized pipes are unsuitable for heat-involved tasks. The length of the pipes should match the size of your typical projects and storage capacity. Half-inch and three-quarter-inch are common sizes, with the latter being sturdier.

Extending Pipe Clamps and Alternatives

Limited storage? Opt for shorter pipes and use couplings to extend them when needed. As for alternatives, bar clamps offer a similar grip but tend to be more expensive and less versatile in length. Pipe clamps, on the other hand, provide more flexibility and are budget-friendly.

Important Table Summary

Aspect Details
Usefulness Great for large and small projects, versatile
Setup Simple, requires buying pipes
Preventing Bowing Use weights in the middle during clamping
Pipe Choices Galvanized or black steel, length based on need
Storage Solution Use shorter pipes with couplings to save space
Alternatives Bar clamps, less versatile and more expensive

Are Pipe Clamps Good For Woodworking?

Complement the information with the following instructional video: