How do you use pipe clamps woodworking?

Pipe Clamp Woodworking: How To Use Pipe Clamps For Woodworking?

You have probably seen the various types of pipe clamps available in your local hardware store. You may even own one or two yourself.

But did you ever wonder how they are used for woodworking? What kind of tasks does it perform well? And what kind of jobs does it not perform so well? Let’s take a look at some of these questions.

What are they used for?

Probably the most common use for the pipe clamp is in gluing up panels. These could be anything from small boxes to guitar backs and sides.

What Is A Pipe Clamp?

Pipe clamps are some of the most basic types of clamps available on the market today. The clamp itself is very cheap to make and easy to mass produce.

The pipe clamp is also used in a lot of other types of joinery, such as tabletops and even entire cabinets. You will also use these in patterns, housing, and a plethora of other woodworking projects.

The clamp consists of two threaded rods with a spindle in the middle. The two rods are connected to each other by a pivot that allows them to move closer and farther away from each other.

How Do They Work?

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking -

A pipe clamp is quite simple to use. You will need to firstly drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the pipe itself.

The threaded ends of the two rods are capped with rubber pads to prevent damage to your work piece and to ensure that your work piece stays still while you are tightening down the clamp. This hole will be at the center of where you want to place your clamp. When doing this, it is a good idea to mark the ends of the boards.

Once the clamp is in place and the pads are in contact with the work piece, simply turn the spindle to draw the pads together. Don’t over tighten it though.

Why Use Them?

The main reason why you would want to use a pipe clamp is because of its affordable price. A decent quality pipe clamp will usually only set you back by a few dollars.

That’s certainly cheaper than the price of a better screw clamp. A pipe clamp can also hold just as much, if not more, than a screw clamp. It also doesn’t require you to drill holes in your work piece.

There are a few reasons why you wouldn’t want to use pipe clamps. The first reason is quite simple: some woodworkers simply don’t like the aesthetics of having these clamps peeking out from their projects.

If you are one of those people, then screw clamps might be a better alternative. Another reason why you wouldn’t want to use pipe clamps is because you are facing a heavy duty project.For most average sized clamping jobs, a pipe clamp should do the trick. However, some larger projects will definitely require the use of screw clamps or even a combination of both.

Another concern with pipe clamps is the spindle. Turning the spindle can sometimes be a bit difficult and they can be prone to slipping, especially on a piece of hard wood.

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking - Image

If this happens, you may find yourself having to start all over again.

Where To Use Them?

Pipe clamps can be used on just about any type of woodworking project. You will mainly want to avoid extremely soft and fragile woods with these types of clamps.

That isn’t to say that you can’t use them on such woods, but care must be taken not to damage the wood.

Most of the time, you can use pipe clamps on a wide range of wooden objects. This includes, but isn’t limited to: small boxes, face frames, table legs, and much more.

How To Use Them?

Using pipe clamps is quite easy. You just follow the steps mentioned above and you should be fine.

Most pipe clamps have a 5:1 ratio. This means that for every one full turn of the spindle, the two rods will draw together by five inches. However, always double check the specifications provided to you with your pipe clamp package.

Pipe clamps are used by placing them on either side of the wood that needs to be held together. Then, turn the clamp so that the pads are pressed against the wood.

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking on

Next, tighten the clamp by turning the spindle. When tightening, make sure that the two pieces of wood do not slip out of position.

You may need multiple pipe clamps for larger projects. Always place a clamp on either side of the wood.

Also, make sure that the wood pieces are touching and that there are no gaps. Gaps will cause the wood to split when pressure is applied.

Once your pipe clamps are tightly secured, your wooden pieces should be firmly held in place. If done correctly, you should have no problem with your project moving or shifting.

Pipe clamps can also be used in conjunction with other types of clamps. For example, you can use a pipe clamp in combination with a hand screw clamp.

This is especially useful when clamping oddly shaped items. You can also use them in combination with a bar clamp.

However, you don’t want to over-clamp your project. This can lead to weakened and broken pieces.

It can also cause your wood to be stripped of its natural moisture and oils. This will lead to an improper and weak bond.

But, if you coordinate the use of your clamps properly, you can have strong joints and good grain retention and glue penetration with your projects.

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking -

How To Buy Them?

Buying pipe clamps can be easy or difficult, depending on what you want.

Pipe clamps can either be bought online or at your local hardware store. There are also different types of clamps that can be found at either place.

Let’s start with the easy one first, online buying. Simply go to your favorite search engine and type in “pipe clamps” and see what comes up.

This will provide you with a plethora of results and most likely, some of the results will be retailers that sell pipe clamps.

But, before you buy, compare products and prices. You want to make sure that you get the best deal.

Also, make sure that you are buying from a reputable company. You don’t want your credit card information falling into the hands of criminals.

The next way of buying would be to go to your local hardware store. This method may be a little less convenient, but will still get the job done.

Just remember, pipe clamps are very common and any hardware store should have them in stock. If not, they will most likely be able to order them for you.

Either way, make sure you get the size and amount that you need.

You should also check the hardware store’s return policy. If you buy online, you can always return your clamps if need be.

This is a very important step because clamps can be very expensive and you want to make sure you’re getting the proper size and amount.

Are There Any Other Types Of Clamps?

There are many types of clamps that can be used for woodworking and other general workshop purposes. However, for the beginner, we are only concerning ourselves with two kinds and these are bar clamps and pipe clamps.

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking on

All other types of clamps are more specialized and aren’t necessary for the beginning woodworker. However, as you grow and develop your craft, you may find a need for other types of clamps.

If you’re curious about these clamps just do a search for them online or at your local hardware store. The names and types of clamps are too numerous to list here, but just about all of them will be labeled.

You can also check with your local woodworking supply store, as they will have a wide selection of clamps for sale.

What Are The Different Types Of Woodworking Clamps?

There are many different types of woodworking clamps out there and it can get very confusing as to which clamps you really need for your projects.

We won’t be going into detail about all the types of clamps available. There are just too many types.

However, we can cover the types of clamps that are used the most often by furniture makers and other woodworkers. These types of clamps are:

Spring Clamps – These are the traditional type of clamp that you see in your grandfather’s workshop. They’re usually about a foot long or so and made of steel or wood.

One end is rigid while the other has a curved jaw that can be opened and closed via a screw mechanism.

They’re great for clamping shorter pieces of wood, but aren’t as practical for longer boards. For that you’ll need…

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking |

Long Spring Clamps – Same idea as the regular spring clamp, but much longer. Some of these clamps can reach up to five feet in length.

These are great for clamping longer boards as you don’t have to screw down the clamp nearly as much.

These clamps usually come with an extra set of hooks on the ends, which gives you the option to position them at various points along the length of the board. This way, you can place them close to the area that you’re working on and reduce the amount of overhang.

C-Clamps – These clamps are sometimes referred to as shipwrights’ clamps. They’re not as clumsy as they look and can be a real workhorse in the workshop.

The flat steel clamp is joined by two U-shaped yokes. These yokes have a screw mechanism that allows you to clamp the clamps to your work piece.

These clamps are most often used in wood-joining and basic furniture construction.

Rolling Clamps – These clamps are either cylinder or bar shaped. They have a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to tighten the clamp without straining your wrist or hand.

These clamps are often used in conjunction with pipe clamps. They allow you to reach high and low with ease.

These clamps are also called Combine Clamps in some woodworking circles.

Pipe Clamps – These clamps are nothing more than a long steel pipe with a sliding clamping mechanism. They are extremely versatile and can be used in many different ways.

You can use pipe clamps in a vertical or horizontal position. They are most often used in the vertical position to secure your work piece.

You simply place the pipe over your work piece and then tighten the sliding mechanism.

You can also use the pipe clamps in a horizontal position to clamp across your work piece. You simply turn the pipe on its side and then slide the clamp into position.

how do you use pipe clamps woodworking - Image

Pipe clamps can also be used in conjunction with other specialty clamps such as the combination square clamp or even the “C” clamp.

Combination Square Clamp – This is a specialty clamp that’s used in fine woodworking to clamp the blade of a combination square into position when scribing. The clamp is essentially a sliding jaw that’s attached to a flat steel stock.

These clamps can be found at any woodworking supply shop. You can use other objects in place of the dedicated clamp.

A small C-clamp or even a small spring clamp will do the trick.

The key is to clamp the blade of your combination square into your work piece. This will allow you to scribe straight lines.

“C” Clamps – These clamps are traditional in every sense of the word. They consist of a flat steel stock that’s hinged on one side.

A screw on the other end allows the clamp to be tightened and secured.

These clamps are most often used in woodworking for gluing up panels or assembling basic furniture.

Spring Clamps – These clamps are most often used by hobbyists and craftspeople. They consist of a flat bar with a spring-loaded clamping mechanism.

They are extremely handy for quick clamping jobs.

The bar has a sharp point at one end and a hole at the other. You can either nail or screw the sharp end to your work piece.

The clamp can then be inserted into the hole. The spring will then clamp your work piece instantly.

Sources & references used in this article: