pipe clamp suggestions

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Blog entry by Randy posted 12-18-2009 05:35 PM 4704 reads 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We all know that you can never have too many clamps and acquiring a sufficient collection of clamps takes alot of money and usually alot of time.

A while back I purchased two bessey 3/4 pipe clamps for $13.00 each and two 2ft threaded pipe nipples for about $8.00 each. This came out to around $22.00 per clamp.

Recently i was at harbour freight. I will first say that i have a love hate relationship with this store. Their blades and bits are not worth a crap. However, i have bought several bar clamps and c-clamps and have no complaints. Anyways, the other day i purchased a couple of their 3/4 in. pipe clamps. I can find no difference when i compare these to my bessey clamps other than they dont come with the little rubber thingy that slips over the pressure plates.(my own terminology) These clamps are on sale for $3.99.

I went to a local steel supplier and bought a joint of 3/4 in black pipe(21ft.) for $25.01. With a chop saw, i cut this down to 3 two footers, 2 three footers, and 2 four footers. This gave me 7 pipes of various lengths, all for $25.00. Fortunatly i was able to borrow a pipe threader.

My point here is that this can be done for around $55 or $60. I got seven pipe clamps out of this and it comes out to around $8.00 per clamp. And once again i can see no advantage to the more expensive clamps.

I hope this helps some of you guys who are trying to figure out an economical way to fill your shop wth more clamps.

P.S. Be safe through the hectic holiday season, and i hope you all have a merry Christmas.


-- RKWoods

21 comments so far

View leroy49's profile


19 posts in 4883 days

#1 posted 12-18-2009 05:46 PM

I bought some of the Harbor Freight aluminum bar clamps and they work just fine. I’ve seen the pipe clamps there and they seem to be decent quality.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5475 days

#2 posted 12-18-2009 05:50 PM

The newer designs from off shore don’t require threading anymore and many have built in feet to keep them level on the bench.
I bought a couple up here but have not tried them as yet.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Clarence's profile


125 posts in 4560 days

#3 posted 12-18-2009 05:52 PM

I too have had good luck with the CTS clamps. I prefer 1/2 inch pipe for my short and intermediate length pipe clamps because of the weight difference.

-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

View russv's profile


262 posts in 4623 days

#4 posted 12-18-2009 06:22 PM

I also bought several pipe clamps (from Rockler) and bought lots of varied sizes of pipe. I started with as many of each length of 1’, 2-1/2’, and 5’ pipes as I have pipe clamps. I switch the clamps around to what ever length I need. I also have couplers so I can make odd lengths or super long clamps if needed. So if I have 10 pipe clamps, and 10 each of every length of pipe, it’s like having 10 1’ clamps or 10 2-1/2’ clamps and so rather than buying lots of every length clamp there is. If I need more clamps, I buy more pipe clamps and later add more pipe as needed. It works well in my shop. I think right now I have 15 clamps and thirty pipes. I do have other clamps, but this is a good basic system especially if you are just starting out.

The other thing about pipe clamps is you can make your own clamping protector thingy’s (my terminology) of varied sizes and depth for pipe clamps and move them around for different set ups.

one more thing Randy, Harbor Freight has an excellent price on a tap and die for threading your own pipe. Handy to have your own if you want to expand this kind of system.


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View Randy's profile


397 posts in 4901 days

#5 posted 12-18-2009 06:32 PM

Thanks russv, i plan on picking up a couple of collars for the rare case of needing a 6 or 8 ft. clamp. It is nice that you can change out the clamps and put them on different lenghts of pipe, but for 3.99 a clamp, i just assume have them all ready to go. I also run into situations, especially with face frames, where i use every single clamp i own and im still thinking i hope thats enuff clamps.

-- RKWoods

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4918 days

#6 posted 12-18-2009 06:43 PM

i have had medium luck (in HF proportions!) with the HF bar and pipe clamps. on both, the part at the end of the threaded rod that attaches to the inside of the moving clamp jaw has broken without much force being applied. they’re otherwise ok, and still work with that part broken, but become slightly more frustrating to use.

that said, i made a bench vise out of two of those pipe clamps and it works like a charm.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4912 days

#7 posted 12-18-2009 07:23 PM

I’ve had the castings break on some of HF’s clamps, but they have a warranty, so I took them back and get another one for free.

-- San Diego, CA

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4649 days

#8 posted 12-18-2009 07:44 PM

RKW, harbor frieght pipe clamps are on sale? Do you have the link? When I just browse to their clamps it shows the normal $6.99 price

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7228 posts in 4648 days

#9 posted 12-18-2009 08:04 PM

Greetings Randy: You did good on the clamps, money-wise. I have several in various sizes, but don’t use them much except for real long glue-ups (mostly over 6 For me personally, they have too much flex after about 6+ ft., especially using couplings or extentions. But that is just my experience. Keep making sawdust. Try to stay out of the dirtstorms in Levelland…... I don’t miss them at all….......... lol.

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 4802 days

#10 posted 12-18-2009 08:04 PM

FYI, instead of black pipe use galvanized pipe and you will avoid the staining that can happen with black pipe.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5347 days

#11 posted 12-18-2009 08:11 PM

I head to the auctions…...........way better bang for the buck

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View David Murray's profile

David Murray

187 posts in 4568 days

#12 posted 12-18-2009 10:53 PM

I to have bought bar and pipe clamps from harbor freight and am happy with them. It’s always a good idea to have a few K body clamps on hand though. What about these pipe clamps that need no threading. More info please.

-- Dave from "The Sawdust Shed"

View Randy's profile


397 posts in 4901 days

#13 posted 12-19-2009 02:19 AM

jlsmith, i have never used galvanized pipe with these clamps, but i have been told that the clamps will not bite the pipe very well. David, i havnt seen any of the clamps that bob mentioned. Might be something to look into.

-- RKWoods

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5031 days

#14 posted 12-19-2009 02:36 AM

I have bought HF 3/4 ” pipe clamps for years and order a bunch when there on sale $2.99 .Many time 16 out of 20 work pretty well with a little vaseline on the threads . when 5 pipe clamps for the price of one why not.
I always recommend black pipe to my students because in time the galvanizing wears off and the clamp won’t hold any more, any pipe clamps can leave stains so try to have them up high enough that the pipe does not make contact with your work. I have a good number of other clamps and all of them have there best use but the best bang for your buck are HF 3/4” pipe clamps. I buy very few tools from HF but the clamps work for me.


View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4742 days

#15 posted 12-19-2009 03:08 AM

me myself i went with HF too nce i found out they sold the pipe clamps i bought about 12 six 3/4” and the rest 1/2” but i have yet to get the pipe i also bought some pony clamps from HD and i got some pretty expensive pipe from a plumbing shop that i worked across the street from the only clamp i see anyone and everyone should own if u have the dough is the bessy k-body and the like those are pretty good clamps but real expensive so u know i only have pipe clamps and some bar clamps from HF the others are to much $$$ for me right now but if anyone has a deal on the k-bodys after x-mas and new years i’ll try t get some. im sorry if someone already said what i said but this is what i had to say about this post. :-)

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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