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I need to start buying more clamps… we all know, you can never have too many! i cant afford to buy a bunch at a time… so i think i am going to start buing a clamp or 2 a month and slowly add to my collection!

The big questions is…. what size should i buy? i know i need multiples of every size but, in general what are the most common sizes you use everyday? 12"- 24"- 36"? what brands and styles do you buy? obviously, i would like to have tons of Bessey parallel clamps but they arent always the most affordable!

let me know what you think! thanks!
 

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I would say that it really depends on the work you do. if you do boxes - than 6" might be ideal, if you do furniture (as your user id suggest) it depends on what size furniture you make most. do you do lots of panels? what sizes? do you do mostly carcass construction? what sizes?

I find that I mostly use 6" for smaller parts, and 18"/24" for everything else. I find the 18"/24" most flexible as they are short enough to be light weight to handle, but still have a good reach for carcass construction most of the time. the 18" is a bit too short at times. the 24" mostly fits the bill.
 

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It really really depends on what kind of projects you're working on, personally I find I get the most use out of 6" and 12" one handed bar and F-stlye clamps, and 2" and 4" C-clamps. I stock up on Irwins when Menards has the occasional sale, also the Pittsburgh brand from Harbor Freight is a good quality and inexpensive (esp when they're on sale, tho I try to stay away from the HF Central Forge clamps - yes they're cheap in price, but they're cheap in construction too)

Unless you find a great sale, anything over 24" I'd say pick up some HF pipe clamps, thats probably the most economical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks guys!
i guess i left out what size projects i usually work on… i am kind all over the place as far a size! Everything form bookcases, desks to cabinets and smaller box type cabinets! i have been reading about the HF clamps and sounds like they are a good deal and an economical choice… the Bessey F style clamps at Lowes seem to be reasonable as well..
 

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If you use pipe clamp fixtures, you can buy multiple lengths of pipe, and switch out the fixtures on the pipe as needed. I even keep a couple of ten foot pipes to use when I need them. That way you don't have to have near as many clamps. You can always ad fixtues as you can afford them.
 

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Depends on what you are doing. BUT… For the most part, I seem to use my 6" and 12" bar clamps, and my strap clamps the most. Every now and then I use my 24" and 36" not to mention the pipe clamps, but it is infrequent…

Watch Harbor Freight for sales on their F bar clamps… I know a lot of their stuff is junk but the clamps I list below are widely considered "HF Gems"...

You will want item #s…

#96210 6" Bar Clamp. I paid $1.99 each for mine.
#96214 12" Bar Clamp. I paid $2.99 each for mine.
#96211 18" Bar Clamp. I don't have any 18", but they go for $3.99 on sale…
#96213 24" Bar Clamp. I paid $4.99 each for mine.
#96487 36" Bar Clamp. I paid $5.99 each for mine.

On top of the bar clamps I also got…

#45975 18 Piece PVC Spring Clamp Set. I think I paid $8.99 for the set.

DO NOT buy any of the clamps that are the Ratcheting Bar Clamps. Those things are utter junk and not worth the gas to go get them…

Not HF related…

I have picked up a couple of the BigHorn 19632 strap clamps. Cheapies yeah, fiber reinforced PVC construction yeah, but GREAT for the dollars they sell for. IF I were willing to spend more, I would go with the Bessey Vario clamps instead…
 

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I have several Jorgesen Handscrew clamps of various sizes they are nice being made of wood they don't dent my clamping projects. I also have some of there Bar Clamps. I also agree that you can't beat pipe clamps for the price and being able to use different length of pipes.
 

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I build cabinets and furniture and have several of the Pony pipe clamps (in 1/2" & 3/4"). Most of my pipes are galvanized and were salvaged from house repipe jobs. I keep a few threaded couplings around to make up really long clamps when needed.

I also have eight of the 12" Irwin "Quickgrip" clamps and two of their 24" clamps.

Then, there are the 6" and 3" spring clamps, as well as the four strap clamps.

There may still be some "C" clamps around, but I'm not sure where I put them. - lol
 

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I just recently bought four 24" Jorgensen Cabinet Master clamps from Lee Valley. They are insanely expensive but worth every penny. When I use then they feel more like a bench vise rather than clamps. They're so solid and force every piece square. After tax these were almost $200 which was hard but I'm pretty sure I'll have them forever.

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p=49425&cat=1,43838
 

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I have clamps in all sizes and styles. The clamps I use the most are the little 6 inch one-hander clamps (Irwin). I'm also a big fan of the old fashion wooden hand screw clamps. I probably like them because, if I need to, I can modify them. Need an extra deep throat - no problem - make new, longer 2×2s of maple and move the mechanics to your new maple.
 

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I have quite a few Jorgensen ISD clamps. I was doing the same thing, buying one hear and there. I now have 4 each - 12 inch, 18 inch, 24 inch, and 36 inch. I love them. I use them not only clamping joints, but they work great holding wood down while routing etc on the workbench. I think the 12 and 18 inch ones I use the most. I am working on buying the Bessey Revo cabinet clamps now, but thats going to take a while to build up the stash :) I also have Jorgensen pipe clamps among others but the ISD ones I use the most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks everyone for the feedback!
i have several pipe clamps that i use from time to time… i also have 3-4 jorgs clamps which i like! but i will look into HF clamps as well. they just built a HF store here about a year ago… yay (good for me! bad for my back account!)
next on the list will be a clamp rack to display my "trophies" ;)
 

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I started w/ the pipe clamps too, but now i'm using lots of HF aluminum bar clamps. When I total the price of the black pipe and the clamp, i can get 2 HF alum bar clamps of the same length for the same price. You gotta clean or cover the black pipes so they don't leave black marks on the wood. Plus they are heavy, especially when you are using 4 or more at a time. If you use galv pipe instead then they slip. Just a pain in my opinion.
 

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I was just clamp shopping on the harbor freight site, and I came across this thread. Everyone's got it covered, pretty much, but I thought I'd mention that lately, rockler.com's handscrew clamps have been on sale frequently. I got 3 10" Rockler handscrews for under $10 each-great deal, IMO.
 

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For those in the Midwest, Menard's has Jorgensen parallel bar (they don't list them as the "cabinet masters" but base on the picture they look just like them) clamps on sale- $19.99 for 24", $24.99 for 36" and $29.99 for 48". Also have 1/2" and 3/4" pipe clamps for $6.99/ $8.99. Seems like a pretty good deal. I will be picking up a couple of each.

http://www.menards.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i stopped by HF on friday and picked up some clamps that were on sale… i think i bought 2- 6", 2- 12", 2- 18" and 2- 24" for around 30 dolllars…. they arent top of the line or heavy duty but cant beat it for the price!
thanks all for you input and feedback!!
 

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All of the above! I don't think there is one correct answer to your question. As for me, everytime I see a clamp (of any kind/size) I try to picture where/how/when I could use it. Ad if there is a fair possibility that I would use it, I'd buy it. I've found about 30+ clamps of all sizes at garage sales - and cheap too! As a wdwrkr, I'm always on the lookout for clamps. I have probably over fifty clamps from 2" to 50" - some I've never used since I got them - just a lot of fun collecting them so I can use it whenever I have the need . . . maybe that's why I like Goofy!
 

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Cool. Remember all HF hand tools, clamps included have a lifetime warranty, so you really can't go wrong…

FWIW, the HF bar clamps I have are not really any less useful than the Jorgensens, which is why I started shopping HF in the first place..

Clamp racks can be simple or complex. Mine currently is simple, but have plans to get more complex soon. Just not a huge priority right now…

Like I mentioned above, here's hoping you got the F style bar clamps and not the quick release ones. The QR ones are breakage prone…
 
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