Clamps are hand tools designed to bind or press two or more objects together to keep them firmly in place. This is useful when holding or glueing materials together, for example, wood, paper, plastic, or certain metals.
They generally feature a movable jaw affixed to an adjustable screw, while some designs have two screws. Most types are designed to be used temporarily, however, there are permanent models available.
Types of Clamps and When to Use Them
Who would have guessed that holding two pieces of material together could get so complicated? With countless variations of clamps, it can get hard to keep track of which one to use for your job. There are clamps for metal working, wood working, lifting, and special occasions.
The Dimide Clamp is a heavy-duty metalworking & welding clamp that specializes in combining speed and power through impact wrench compatibility. Designed for the high torque loads applied by an impact wrench, the Dimide Clamp is a reliable clamp that is perfect for squeezing parts together, preventing part-slippage, removing the clamp bottleneck from a production line and more. The Dimide Clamp also has both a removable T-handle and a hex head.
This allows the clamp to be easily adjustable while fitting in tighter gaps and for using a large variety of drivers including ratchets, impact wrenches, torque wrenches, breaker bars and more. The clamp also comes with a copper plated screws and feet and zinc plated plates. This preserves the clamp by preventing weld spatter build up and rusting.
C-Clamp (Aka G-Clamps)
The popular C-Clamp is the standard go-to clamp for many occasions. Its simplicity and availability are unmatched. Every clamp collection starts with a few sizes of C-Clamps. Due to the popularity of the C-Clamp, various designs are available for different occasions.
F-Clamps (aka Bar Clamps)
The f-clamp (check our best f clamp reviews here) is designed for a wide opening capacity. The f-clamp has a slider bar that allows the opening capacity to be easily adjusted to satisfy a wide range of applications. This has made the f-clamp another very popular clamp and is used when a C-Clamp’s opening capacity is too small.
Also similar to the f-clamp, the parallel clamps (Check out best parallel clamps review here) allow for large opening capacities. Ideal for woodworking, the clamp jaws remain parallel under increased loads to give a large distribution area and prevent leaving dimples in the wood.
How To Use A Clamp For Woodworking
Before you begin, you should select the bar clamp that’s best suited for the job. Choosing one which is ideal for the task in hand will make the process easier. The wooden workpiece should be able to fit inside the open jaws without feeling as though it is being forced.
Step 1 – Set clamp: The first step is to set the clamp on a suitable work surface, such as a bench top or table.
Step 2 – Open jaws: Open the jaws of the clamp as wide as is necessary. Do this by rotating the screw to the left in order to move the head jaw backwards, and sliding the back jaw all the way to the end of bar.
Step 3 – Protect workpiece: To avoid the risk of the metal bar leaving any residue on the wood, it may be an idea to protect your workpiece before clamping. Do this by either placing a sheet of wax paper in between the wood and bar, or spraying the bar with penetrating oil and wiping it away. This will prevent any marks from being left on the wood.
Step 4 – Position workpiece: Insert the workpiece into the open jaws of the clamp.
Step 5 – Close jaws: To close the jaws, start by sliding the back jaw along the bar until it is aligned with the edge of the wood. Depening on which model you are using, either place a pin in the nearest hole, or let go of the quick-release lever to lock the jaw in place.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Woodworking Clamp
Clamps can serve a variety of purposes. It is important to consider the purpose of your clamps to get the correct clamps for your needs and preferences. See the chart below for more information about clamp types and uses.
Based on the purpose of your clamp, make sure that the clamp has enough clamping power. You want your clamp to be able to hold items for an extended amount of time so that you can complete your tasks in a timely and efficient manner.
Also related to the clamp purpose, you need to consider the size of your clamp. Make sure that your clamp is large enough for most of your intended or future projects. At the same time, you don’t want your clamp to be too large. If the clamp is too large, it will be more difficult to maneuver and use for smaller projects.
Clamps go through a lot of wear, tear, and pressure. To ensure that your clamp will last many years, be sure to select an option made with durable materials. For metal clamps, look for options with cast iron, carbon steel, and anodized aluminum. If you are considering a wooden clamp, make sure that it is made from solid hardwood. Your materials will have a lot to do with the clamping power, as well as the size of your clamp.
Some projects will require you to work from odd angles or move around your clamp. As a result, you want your clamp to be maneuverable enough for most intended projects. Unfortunately, increased maneuverability results in decreased durability and power. Try to find a balance between power and maneuverability so that way you can maximize the advantages and uses of your clamp.
Woodworkers need clamps for an endless variety of tasks: securing project parts to the bench as they work on them, serving as a third hand, coaxing reluctant parts together, holding assemblies in place during a dry-fit and while glue dries…well, again, the list is endless.
That’s why you find such a large variety of clamp styles and sizes available. Don’t fret; you don’t need them all (yet). Start with our recommendations for building up an initial clamp collection. You’ll discover which ones you use most often, and which types you wish you had, so you can expand your selections accordingly.