Make your own - shop aids, tools, jigs #3: Pipe clamps, aluminum pipe?

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Blog entry by curliejones posted 01-26-2018 01:18 PM 602 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Drill press table for Wen 4210 Part 3 of Make your own - shop aids, tools, jigs series Part 4: New 10" bandsaw »

I recently bought a 3/4” pipe clamp at a thrift store that seemed very light considering it was 5 ft long and had Pony cast iron fittings. The pipe intrigued me and I found it to be non-magnetic with an i.d. of 0.87” , an o.d. of 1.04”. I concluded the pipe was Schedule 40 Aluminum. I researched and found almost no info, no one using Aluminum pipe for clamps??? The pipe seemed rigid enough for shop use, but I know it will not equal resistance to flex like iron pipe. – Let me start by saying I won’t be throwing out my iron pipe clamps that I need occasionally. Most of mine are the toothed-pawl type with a Craftsman label. These just seem like over-kill for shop work, particularly frame and panel construction. I have bought a few of the lightweight aluminum bar clamps and inserted a stick of wood in the central void of the rectangular tubing. In comparison to those, these inexpensive aluminum pipe clamps have less “slop”, a larger and smoother screw, and a comparable weight.
- I bought a couple of Big Chinese Box store clutch-style fittings for 3/4” pipe (these were well finished) and bought some 42” long aluminum pipe from a local jobber. In comparison, these new-to-me aluminum pipe clamps seem to have less flex and certainly less slop than the aluminum bar clamps. I know the clutch bites into the pipe a little under pressure but these are for lightweight work where heavy clamps and heavy clamping pressure are not desired. I believe these will work well for frame and panel work and many applications where the joinery is accurate. The lighter weight is certainly a pleasure to work with. Besides, at $16 each, it perhaps gives a new genre of clamps to invest in. LOL..

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

1 comment so far

View htl's profile


4872 posts in 1765 days

#1 posted 01-26-2018 06:09 PM

Great idea,
Be sure to thread both ends add a Coupling to one of the ends and you can then double them up for the long stuff.

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