After I posted an entry a while back that pictured a few different clamp styles, I received a number of questions on what clamps I use and why I like them. This entry explains many of my choices and is a good primer on clamps – at least from my point of view.
First up are spring clamps. As you can see in the photo, I have a few different varieties on hand. I can say that all the springs clamps that look such as these have never disappointed me in use. I have run across a few plastic-handled spring clamps that ended up in the “don’t use” pile rather quickly. My favorite story about spring clamps is when I was demonstrating for the Sunflower Woodworker’s Guild in Wichita. I asked for a couple of spring clamps and was brought a five-gallon bucket full. As I looked at the full bucket, I asked, being a smart-ass, if there were any more available. Les Hastings, owner of the shop and host of the two-day seminar immediately showed me two additional buckets full of clamps. That shows you how useful these clamps really are. (Or maybe Mr. Hastings like them more than I do.)
When it comes to other clamps, I am partial to F-style clamps but not in a big way. I have a few of these clamps in the shop. Mainly, these clamps hold jigs for me and occasionally I’ll clamp together a couple workpieces. I do have a favorite F-style clamp. Pictured above are two different clamps. Both are Bessey, but one has a smooth handle and the other (on the right) has a rubber grip. The rubber grip is way easier to use. I would go with that style when I need to make another purchase.
There is one additional clamp that I really like using. Also from Bessey is the Kliklamp. Technically, this is considered a lever clamp, but I use this just as I would F-style clamps. There are a few different sizes from which to choose, but the larger sizes I find a bit odd to use. Stay with the smaller sizes.
Lastly, and not because there are any less useful, are my pipe clamps. I began woodworking with these inexpensive clamps and still today find that I would use these for glue-ups over any other clamps available. To me these are blue-collar clamps that get the job done. And I can switch between pipe lengths if I need to to get the exact length needed for the job at hand. I have a wall of these clamps sitting in wait. You cannot ask more than that. Pipe clamps are easy to use and easy to store – clips used to hang brooms and garden tools, found in any hardware store, make excellent holders. I couldn’t glue up panels without them.
Those are my favorites. What clamps do you use?
Build Something Great!