Clamp Question

C_Clamps_0563If you’ve looked at most of my projects within the articles at 360 Woodworking (here’s an example), or heard us talk about clamps during one of our podcast, you likely know that I’m a big fan of pipe clamps. I do have, however, a few other designs in the shop. I have a couple of parallel-jaw clamps, F-style clamps and handscrews.

This past week, we met with a new author working on an upcoming article, who has a fondness for C-clamps – his woodworking requires massive amounts of them. (More on the article will be unveiled later on.) After getting back to the shop, I realized that we don’t have a garbage-can load of C-clamps in the shop. In fact, I have to search for one of the five or six we have floating around the shop. When I find it, I need to blow the dust off before putting it to use. I said we don’t use C-clamps all that much.

As I contemplate my clamp usage, I think I use handscrews where others may use C-clamps. Why handscrews? Because they’re in the shop and have been for many years. Plus, I think they are twice as fast when being put to use. And the pressure I can deliver is always enough.

My question to you is: Am I missing something? Are C-clamps a big part of your woodworking.

— Glen D. Huey

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3 thoughts on “Clamp Question

  1. I don’t think your missing anything, Glen. C clamps are slow, and I think they exert way more pressure than what I typically need to close up a joint. I prefer handscrews as well, but I do pull out a C clamp now and then, but mostly because of an odd job, and the size of the clamp becomes an issue. Having said all that, if I did a lot of laminated glue-ups, like, say Michael Fortune, I think C clamps become a necessity.

    Like a lot of things in, woodworking, the answer is: “it depends.”

  2. I find them especially useful in tightening down clamping cauls, on panel glue ups and such.
    (I keep them right by my cauls)
    They don’t take up a lot of space and I get them to within a tist or two when I’m ready to use them and provide more then enough clamping pressure.
    And you can pick them up on sale at places like HF for $1.99 for a 3″ or 4″ one.
    And that is the size that works best for me.


  3. You can exert the force of God with a C Clamp, which is overkill. I like handscrews for glue up, but I can’t get them tight enough to hold work while I plane…oh, you’re not supposed to take 1/8″ shavings with a plane? Maybe that’s my problem…good overview, Glenn!

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