The Right Type of Clamp Can Be a Woodworkers Best Friend

Are you the type of person who is always tinkering with different projects in your woodworking shop? Then you know the importance of having the best woodworking clamps available to help make your projects go more smoothly.

Having the right clamp when you are woodworking can make such tasks as gluing, drilling, holding and stabilizing pieces of wood go much faster and get accomplished more easily. Woodworking is so popular you have a wide clamp selection available for you to buy but unfortunately not all of the products are good ones.

That is why we have taken the time to write this article. In it we will review some of the best woodworking clamps that are available in the tool marketplace. We will also give you some helpful insight on what to look for in a clamp so you will be able to select the right clamp for the type of woodworking task you need to do.

A Quick Overview of the Top Model Woodworking Clamps

Here are some great woodworking clamps that we will do in-depth reviews on a little later in this article

Picture
Best Pick
IRWINQUICK-GRIPOne-Handed Mini Bar Clamp, 12", 1964744
Can-Do Clamp
Bessey BPC-H34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp
Yost 15036 36 Inch 330 lbs. Bar Clamp
Emart 6-Pack Set Adjustable Heavy Duty Spring Clamps 4.5 Inch for...
Type
Bar Clamp
90 degree Clamp
Pipe Clamp
Bar Clamp
Spring Clamps
Key Features
Can clamp wood using just one hand; Firm gripping/non marring pads; Hardened steel bar; Reinforced resin body
Makes for creating 90 degree or ‘T’ corners; Clamps securely in place; Used for framing, doweling and drilling; Made from sturdy aluminum
Lifts your wood up and holds it firmly in place; Soft, rubber coated jaw pads; Metal cast jaw and supports; Zinc plated tightening screw
Easy to work pistol grip design; Heavy duty plastic construction; 330 pounds of clamping force; Speed release latch
Very budget friendly; Rubber coated tips and handles; Lightweight steel construction; Sturdy/strong springs
Rating Out of 5
4.8
4.7
4.5
4.5
4.4
Best Pick
Picture
IRWINQUICK-GRIPOne-Handed Mini Bar Clamp, 12", 1964744
Type
Bar Clamp
Key Features
Can clamp wood using just one hand; Firm gripping/non marring pads; Hardened steel bar; Reinforced resin body
Rating Out of 5
4.8
Picture
Can-Do Clamp
Type
90 degree Clamp
Key Features
Makes for creating 90 degree or ‘T’ corners; Clamps securely in place; Used for framing, doweling and drilling; Made from sturdy aluminum
Rating Out of 5
4.7
Picture
Bessey BPC-H34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp
Type
Pipe Clamp
Key Features
Lifts your wood up and holds it firmly in place; Soft, rubber coated jaw pads; Metal cast jaw and supports; Zinc plated tightening screw
Rating Out of 5
4.5
Picture
Yost 15036 36 Inch 330 lbs. Bar Clamp
Type
Bar Clamp
Key Features
Easy to work pistol grip design; Heavy duty plastic construction; 330 pounds of clamping force; Speed release latch
Rating Out of 5
4.5
Picture
Emart 6-Pack Set Adjustable Heavy Duty Spring Clamps 4.5 Inch for...
Type
Spring Clamps
Key Features
Very budget friendly; Rubber coated tips and handles; Lightweight steel construction; Sturdy/strong springs
Rating Out of 5
4.4

Last update on 2018-05-24 at 18:58 PST - Details

How to Select the Right Type of Clamp to Help You Do a Woodworking Task More Efficiently

Here are the key characteristics of woodworking clamps to consider when you go to purchase one:

Clamp purpose

One of the most important factors when selecting any clamp for woodworking is identifying what type of woodworking task you want to accomplish with it. Certain types of woodworking clamps are better at doing specific jobs than others. Here is a quick overview of the major types of woodworking clamps and what they are best used for.

Bar clamp

These types of clamps are great for a quick means to hold some wood together while glue is setting up or for other quick wood clamping tasks. They work by activating the trigger on a pistol grip handle and then sliding it along a bar; the clamp locks in place when the trigger is released. The big advantage of these types of clamps is they can often be operated by using just one hand.

Spring clamp

No woodworking shop is ever complete unless you have a few spring clamps available for you to use. These are clamps that are used for clamping pieces of wood very quickly when not much clamping pressure is necessary. They can be used for a large variety of different woodworking tasks.

Pipe clamp

This type of clamp is used to both lift your wood off the surface of the workbench or table and hold it in place tightly at the same time. They work great if you need to access all surfaces of a piece of wood while working with it or for drilling multiple holes through a piece of wood.

Corner clamp/Right angle clamp/90 degree clamp

These types of clamps are great when you are gluing or screwing two pieces of wood together in order to connect them at a right angle. An example of this would be holding two pieces of wood in place while building a drawer for a dresser.

Table/Workbench/General purpose clamp

This type of clamp is used for holding a piece of wood tightly against a workbench surface or table top. It works by attaching to the bottom of the workbench surface and the top of the piece of wood being clamped down. It has a variety of uses when you need to hold a piece of wood in place on a tabletop for a short or extended period of time.

Adjustable wooden clamp

Serious woodworkers choose these types of clamps when they are working with delicate pieces of wood that need to be glued together or held in place. They work great when you don’t want to damage the surface of such decorative wood finishes as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. Adjustable wooden clamps are very flat and wide so they apply pressure evenly to help avoid marking up the wood they are holding.

Clamp tightening method

Here are the main ways to tighten a clamp and what woodworking tasks these tightening methods work best for:

Spring

These clamps are popular because they activate so easily. That makes them great for quick wood holding jobs that don’t require much pressure. They are definitely not the clamp of choice when you need a piece of would to be held firmly in place while you exert high pressure on it.

You can see the spring in the clamp in this photo:

Screw

These are the toughest type of clamps to put into place and they require the use of two hands to work them. They are used when a piece of wood needs to be kept firmly in place for short or long periods of time. There is no type of woodworking clamp that will hold a piece of wood in place better than ones that use a screw mechanism to tighten them.

Sliding pistol grip

This is a clamp that is a middle of the road type clamp. It is easier to work than a screw style clamp but not as easy to work as a simple spring clamp. It also clamps a piece of wood much tighter than a spring clamp but not nearly as tight as a screw on type clamp. These can also be worked by using just one hand which makes them very convenient to use.

You can clearly see the pistol grip in the photo below that activates and locks this type of clamp:

Padding

Sometimes you need to put a clamp on very tightly in order to hold a piece of wood in place. When you do that you risk putting marks in the surface of the piece of wood you are working on. That is why it is nice to have a clamp model that comes with padded ends. These make it so you do not have to use a separate piece of wood or other material to protect the surface of the piece of wood you are working on to keep it from being damaged when you are clamping it.

Notice in the photo below that this clamp has rubberized ends so it won’t harm the surface of the wood pieces that you clamp with it:

A Video Introduction on the Different Types of Woodworking Clamps

Here is a great video on how different woodworking clamps are used:

Reviews of the Top Model Woodworking Clamps

Here is what we feel are the very best woodworking clamps you can buy in the tool marketplace:

Irwin is a company that is known for making quality tools that last and this model clamp from them is no exception. You will find few quality woodworking shops that don’t have one of these easy to use all-purpose bar clamps from Irwin in them. It has a variety of helpful woodworking uses.

It can easily be used to clamp any woodworking task that requires a distance of 6 to 8 inches. This sturdy clamp only weighs 12 ounces and it can simply be put in place using only one hand thanks to its pistol grip design. It can do any clamping job where 140 pounds or less pressure is required to do it.

This bar clamp will hold up well over a long period of time too. It features a hardened steel bar surrounded by virtually unbreakable reinforced polymer resin. It clamping ends are ribbed to grip firmly and are nicely padded to help protect any wood you apply it to also.

We like

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    Can clamp wood using just one hand
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    Firm gripping/non marring pads
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    Hardened steel bar
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    Reinforced resin body
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    6”-12” clamp capacity
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    Weighs only 12 ounces but clamps strong

We do not like

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    Not a clamp that works great when supper pressure is required
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    Can’t be used for jobs requiring over 12 inches of area to be clamped together

Here is a very special duty clamp from MLCS. It is perfect for holding two pieces so you can drill through them, fasten them together or align them in place while you do other woodworking tasks on them.

These clamps can hold pieces of wood that are up to 2 ¼ inches thick. They are great if you are building wood picture frames, table tops or anything else that needs to be put together with square corners or in a ‘T’ configuration.

They are made of sturdy all aluminum alloy metal. A solid metal screw is used to tighten this clamp’s moveable jaws against the pieces of wood that it will hold firmly in place. This clamp works best if you fasten it down to your workbench or wood table top using its predrilled holes in its base.

We like

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    Makes creating 90 or ‘T’ degree corners with two pieces of wood easy
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    Clamps securely in place
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    Used for framing, doweling and drilling
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    Made from sturdy aluminum
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    Moveable jaws

We do not like

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    Only good for clamping so you can join two pieces of wood
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    Has only a 2 ¾ inch width frame capacity
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    Needs to be fastened down to a work bench for most uses

Bessey has designed a neat clamp with this model. These are great for lifting up flat, square pieces of wood. When you do that it makes it convenient to drill holes through the wood or be able to work on multiple sides of it.

This is a solidly built clamp that stays firmly in place as you use it. It features a zinc coated tightening screw and cast metal jaws and supports. The jaw ends are coated with rubber to protect the wood you clamp with it also.

The big drawback with these style clamps is that you need to buy 3/4'” PVC pipe to insert into them to make them work. That does allow you to cut the PVC to the exact size you need to make these clamps work perfect.

We like

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    Lifts your wood up and holds it firmly in place
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    Soft, rubber coated jaw pads
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    Metal cast jaw and supports
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    Zinc plated tightening screw
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    Wide base prevents tip over
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    Limited lifetime warranty

We do not like

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    Clamps do not function individually – work best in sets of 2 to hold flat wood
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    Need to purchase PVC pipe to mount it on

Yost has designed a really nice bar clamp with this model. It is bigger than the 12 inch bar clamp that we reviewed in item one at 36 inches but it still has very good clamping power.

It has an easy to use pistol grip design that means you can clamp it on using just one hand. There is a built in release latch to help enable you to take this clamp off with one hand too.

The jaws of this clamp are nicely padded and it can be locked in place for long periods of time if you so desire. It is made out of heavy duty plastic so it should last you a long time even under tough woodworking conditions.

We like

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    Easy to work pistol grip design
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    Heavy duty plastic construction
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    330 pounds of clamping force
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    Speed release latch
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    Reverses for spreading use

We do not like

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    Not good for clamping less than 6 inches of wood
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    Jaws do not line up perfectly parallel
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    Release mechanism is just adequate

There is no way if you own a woodworking shop that you should find yourself without a few handy spring tension clamps and you will not find better ones than these ones by Online Best Service. They are the perfect clamping solution when it comes to clamping jobs that need to be done quickly and don’t require a large amount of clamping power.

This set of 8 clamps is both affordable and easy to use. In just a few seconds you can have one or more pieces of wood clamped lightly so you can work with them. These clamps feature strong springs and they can clamp on anything that requires a 3 inch or less opening.

They are also built surprisingly sturdy. Lightweight steel is used throughout the body to give them durability. The tips and handle are nicely coated with rubber to make them easy to grip and help protect the wood surfaces they will attach to.

We like

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    Very budget friendly
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    Rubber coated tips and handles
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    Lightweight steel construction
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    Sturdy/strong springs
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    3 inch max opening
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    Eight to a package

We do not like

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    Only used for light pressure clamping tasks
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    Will not work when over 3 inches of clamping width is required
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    Rubber coating slides off the handles and tips if you are not careful when using them

What Clamp Impressed Us The Most?

Make no mistake about it, all of these clamps work great and that is why they made our list of the best woodworking clamps. We did however feel that one clamp in particular stood out among them. That was the IRWIN QUICK-GRIP One-Handed Mini Bar Clamp, 12".

This clamp had a lot going for it. It is lightweight and easy to use with just one hand for one. It can handle any woodworking clamping job up to 12 inches in width. This model Irwin clamp is built out of tough reinforced resin plastic and even the jaws on it are nicely padded.

Without a doubt it’s a clamp that you want available to use if you are into doing woodworking projects. We recommend you consider adding one or more of these to your woodworking tool inventory.

Thomas Roberge
 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

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