Need to start my pipe clamp collection. Good sources?

wwian

Ian Worthington
Corporate Member
Hello Y'all!

I am a beginner woodworker. I have inherited a table saw, drill press, router & router table, vacuum system and a bunch of air power tools. I've always wanted to be a woodworker and now I am excited to begin. I just built my wife a dropleaf gateleg table for her sewing, as my first project!

As I continually put together my list of projects I want to build, I'm realizing that I need to start amassing clamps. I've seen that I can buy Bessey pipe clamp fixtures and attach them to pipes. But, I'm not sure the best place to get the actual pipe.

I've seen I can get 3/4" black steel pipe at HD & Lowes. I saw on some older posts from 6 years ago that zoro.com [https://go.shr.lc/2SulNnt] was a good place to get pipe. But, is there a better place (online or N.C. area) to buy the pipe?

Thanks for any wisdoms!
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I've always just bought pipe from the local big box store. But I built up my collection 2-4 at a time when I needed them for a project.

Some money can be saved on the clamp part. I don't think name brand fittings work significantly better than cheap ones. HF work fine, for instance.

Black pipe works better than plated. I made the mistake of buying some plated pipe and I have to swat the pawl on the stationary jaw with a deadblow.

3 foot works in 1/2 pipe but longer than that 3/4 works better. Threaded both ends will let you join pipes. The resulting long ones are not terribly rigid and can't put a lot of pressure on but they are sure better than nothing.

HF's aluminum bar clamps are pretty light duty but they are also not so heavy to handle. I have some 4 foot and if they put the 5 foot on sale I'll get 4 of them.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I prefer the Bessey K-Body REVOlution clamps for general use. The throat depth is about 3.75" and the I-beam construction will not deflect under clamping pressure. The jaws are also reversible so that they can be used as a spreader clamp too.

https://www.rockler.com/bessey-k-body-revolution-parallel-bar-clamps

https://www.homedepot.com/p/BESSEY-24-in-K-Body-REVOlution-KRE-Parallel-Clamp-with-Composite-Plastic-Handle-and-3-3-4-in-Throat-Depth-KRE3524/303953017

See the video for the benefits of these clamps.
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
Black iron is better than galvanized, but I use pieces of galvanized that was hanging in my basement unused when I converted to copper water service years ago. I have been known to go saw out a length when I needed a bigger clamp.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
One thing to remember with pipe clamps is a 4' piece of pipe only yields about 3.5' of clamping capacity. Dillion in Raleigh sells pipe in 21' sticks, but you would need to cut and thread it. You would want "black iron, non pressure tested pipe" as it's cheaper.
 

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
When using black pipe on your pipe clamps, just be sure that any glue squeeze out doesnt come into contact with the pipe and the wood. Tannin in the wood will leave black stains on your workpiece....BTDT. it can be a real chore sanding it out! Instead use this trick in the following video....

http://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=wXVjXM_TD5KWsAXGh6jgDg&q=black+pipe+clamps+leaving+black+mark+on+wood&oq=black+pipe+clamps+leaving+black+mark+on+wood&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-hp.3..33i299l2.2613.30334..31414...0.0..0.308.5135.21j19j3j1......0....1.......5..41j0j46i131i275j46j46i131j0i131j46i275j46i131i10j46i131i10i275j0i22i30j33i22i29i30j33i160.wR2BQObbYvY#kpvalbx=1

An alternative is to lay a sheet of waxed paper or freezer paper between the wood surface and the pipe clamps.

Wayne
 
Last edited:

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
When using black pipe on your pipe clamps, just be sure that any glue squeeze out doesnt come into contact with the pipe and the wood. Tannin in the wood will leave black stains on your workpiece....BTDT. it can be a real chore sanding it out! Instead use this trick in the following video....

http://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=wXVjXM_TD5KWsAXGh6jgDg&q=black+pipe+clamps+leaving+black+mark+on+wood&oq=black+pipe+clamps+leaving+black+mark+on+wood&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-hp.3..33i299l2.2613.30334..31414...0.0..0.308.5135.21j19j3j1......0....1.......5..41j0j46i131i275j46j46i131j0i131j46i275j46i131i10j46i131i10i275j0i22i30j33i22i29i30j33i160.wR2BQObbYvY#kpvalbx=1

An alternative is to lay a sheet of waxed paper or freezer paper between the wood surface and the pipe clamps.

Wayne
Yup, BTDT too :) I've put some painters tape on my black pipes now to avoid this issue.
 

wwian

Ian Worthington
Corporate Member
Thank you! I'd heard about that but hadn't seen it. That video was a good one!
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Ian,

About two weeks ago I was looking pretty hard at getting some of the Bessey 3/4” H style pipe clamps. I found some excellent information in the reviews on the Home Depot web page for those clamps.

There were some good suggestions/ideas mentioned in some of the reviews. One specific idea was buying 10’ black pipe and having HD cut it for you at 4 1/2 foot and 5 1/2 foot. The reviewers explanation made a lot of sense and stood out as a pretty good idea.

I don’t have the Bessey pipe clamps (I do have quite a few of the Bessey K-Body clamps) or the HF pipe clamps but I do have quite a few of the HF wooden clamps. I will respectfully disagree that the HF are comparable. I believe there was also a comparison of these clamps by a HD reviewer and the price difference between the Bessey and HF isn’t that significant. My HF clamps seem to use a thread configuration that seizes under pressure versus something more like an acme thread. I have noticed that across all of my various HF clamps!

Might be worthwhile to buy and compare a Bessey versus the HF before investing in a bunch.

BTW, I have always used the Jorgensen/Pony “I-Beam style” of clamps over a pipe clamp. There’s absolutely no comparison. The I-Beam style clamps will do 6k or 7k pounds of force with zero flex or bow. The Jorgensen clamp is no longer available but Bessey is now offering a comparable version of the I-Beam clamps.

These are actual heavy steel I-Beams and not the style Jeff is referencing. Those clamps offer a much lower clamping pressure than the true I-Beam versions. I just recently found the Bessey I-Beams offered on the HD web page.
 

Stuart Kent

Stuart
Senior User
pony/jorgensen seems to be back in business. I no longer have a connection with the company since the shutdown, but will say their clamps were the best out there for 100 years. I would think the cost to retool would be prohibitive to starting this company back up, so they are likely still top quality. I'd look to them first for pipe clamps. Here is an Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Jorgensen-55-4-Inch-Clamp-Fixture/dp/B00C1YXCUS?ref_=bl_dp_s_web_18078962011

You can't go wrong with Bessey either.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Stuart, those Pony clamps are Chinese now. How do you think they’ll compare with the old Chicago version?

The price for the Chinese Pony appears to be substantially more than the Bessey.



I sure miss the original Jorgensen/Pony products.
 

Stuart Kent

Stuart
Senior User
I wish I could tell you. We had a great relationship through the school with them up to the bankruptcy. It looks like they are using the same molds to produce new stock, so I might try a couple just to test the new quality - my guess is that the whole company was bought and the new company is just producing the same products overseas.

that said, 'orange' clamps were the best around for a long time, and were always worth the extra price....
 

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