Pipe clamps VS parallel clamps

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Forum topic by Gilley23 posted 05-16-2017 06:28 PM 4902 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 989 days

05-16-2017 06:28 PM

Parallel clamps are expensive @$50/ea. Do pipe clamps work equally or nearly as equally as well to serve the same purpose? I’m thinking about making a solid tabletop. Thoughts?

12 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4254 days

#1 posted 05-16-2017 06:30 PM

Parallel clamps save time over pipe clamps
but in the end, used properly the results
are the same. I have enough parallel clamps
for smaller projects and I have a lot of pipe
clamps I use when I need more or longer

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5242 posts in 4567 days

#2 posted 05-16-2017 06:32 PM

Got ‘em both, use ‘em both.
It is the application that matters.
I’m prone to usin’ wedges and cauls to keep wide glue-ups flat if that might help.
My shop is not for production, so that might make a diff.

-- [email protected]

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 989 days

#3 posted 05-16-2017 07:02 PM

So what do you guys think: are parallel clamps really worth the money? I’m a hobbyist, and either variety would only be used on occasion.

View Firewood's profile


1057 posts in 2241 days

#4 posted 05-16-2017 07:17 PM

I used pipe clamps for all my projects before investing in a set of parallel clamps. They are nice to use but not mandi tory for a successful glue up. Either one will provide sufficient pressure. For only an occasional project, the pipe clamps will work fine. Just be sure to follow good practices to eliminate potential bowing.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5928 posts in 3100 days

#5 posted 05-16-2017 07:18 PM

Pipe clamps have been sued a long time to do a lot of really nice projects. You will do just fine with them.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 989 days

#6 posted 05-16-2017 07:22 PM

Awesome, thanks guys. Pipe clamps it is

View Ripper70's profile


1371 posts in 1515 days

#7 posted 05-16-2017 07:31 PM

Pipe clamps have the added benefit of being adjustable. That is, if both ends of the pipe are threaded, couplings can be used to make an endless variety of clamp lengths. I use black iron pipe cut into 12”, 24”, 36”, 60” and 84” lengths and threaded at both ends allowing for many different configurations.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View brtech's profile


1066 posts in 3529 days

#8 posted 05-16-2017 07:32 PM

If you are gluing up a panel, both work well. A bit easier with parallel clamps, but no functional difference.

If you are gluing up something larger, like say, a drawer or a box, then the parallel clamp’s advantages are very large compared to a pipe clamp. The jaw is much longer, and it remains parallel to the opposite jaw, which is just what you want. The pipe clamp has a very small jaw so it can’t hold the alignment as well. You can do it with pipe clamps, but once you do a chest full of drawers, or something like it, you will understand why many of us have invested in parallel clamps.

View waho6o9's profile


8812 posts in 3183 days

#9 posted 05-16-2017 07:45 PM

View CharlesA's profile


3394 posts in 2404 days

#10 posted 05-16-2017 08:41 PM

to directly answer your question:

for panel glue ups, which I assume is your primary context pipe and parallel will both work. Parallel clamps, in my experience, are kinder to the stock with the long jaws. You can mar the edge with pipe clamps tightened up. The wide clamps also make me more confident with a smaller number of clamps. I have black pipe in my clamps, and they can also mess with the color of the wood if they touch (unless you do something that mitigates it).

Bottom line. I use pipe clamps for larger needs since they have a low cost/length ratio. I feel more confident on glue-ups with parallel clamps and use them as a first choice. Either will work.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6046 posts in 3015 days

#11 posted 05-17-2017 03:40 AM

I agree with Charles. My fix for the marring of stock was to make wider wooden inserts with a hole drilled through them to slide on the pipe then put screws through the clamp to the boards. Has worked well for many years.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1198 days

#12 posted 05-17-2017 05:20 AM

Parallel clamps are much stronger than pipe clamps. Pipe clamps can be of any length.

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