Pipe Clamps

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Forum topic by PhilLight posted 02-15-2018 04:40 PM 1015 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1026 days

02-15-2018 04:40 PM

Hi, very new here. Hopefully I haven’t picked the wrong section of the forum. I have a very basic question. I recently purchased some 3/4” pipe clamps. Through all the information I can gather it looks like most people assemble these with black pipe. Is there a reason to use black pipe over galvanized pipe? They seem to be the same in most aspects but galvanized pipe seems like it would be cleaner to work with, and I would assume it would be less prone to rust. Thoughts?

18 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2422 posts in 932 days

#1 posted 02-15-2018 04:51 PM

for me, it is all about the price.
black iron is cheaper than galvanized, and in my opinion, both perform the same.
and once you start “collecting” clamps – you will soon find you never have enough.
I purchase 10ft lengths and cut them in half for two 5 footers, the same with smaller pipe,
6ft = 2 3 footers, 4ft = 2 2 footers…... you can buy the threaded conduit couplings to make
clamps that are two city blocks long – limited only to your imagination and space.
with any metal clamp configuration, a strip of masking tape between the metal and wood
will prevent glue stains from the metal seeping into the wood .

jus my Dos Centavos


-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View johnstoneb's profile


3144 posts in 2942 days

#2 posted 02-15-2018 04:55 PM

black pipe is cheaper.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Andybb's profile


2762 posts in 1373 days

#3 posted 02-15-2018 05:07 PM

Wouldn’t worry about the rust. You can wipe down the black pipe with acetone or some other solvent if it has residue on it. No need to spend the extra $ on galvanized IMO.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5289 posts in 4730 days

#4 posted 02-15-2018 05:11 PM

The black pipe will allow the clamp mechanism to grip the pipe better unless the clamps have the “clutch” feature.

-- [email protected]

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3284 days

#5 posted 02-15-2018 05:17 PM

Agree with Bill.
The zinc on the galvanized can actually allow the clutch plates to “slip” a bit over time, so you might clamp something up and come back an hour later to find that the clamp is not very well clamped.
I have not bought galvanized pipe in decades.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12174 posts in 4198 days

#6 posted 02-15-2018 05:18 PM

My pony clamps seem to grip black pipe better.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Robert's profile


3738 posts in 2250 days

#7 posted 02-15-2018 05:25 PM

I’ve been using galv for many years and yes the galv pipe can become galled over time and slip.

But to me the biggest drawback is they can also leave a nasty black stain on a glue line that is very hard to get out..

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Mike_D_S's profile


605 posts in 2984 days

#8 posted 02-15-2018 05:42 PM

I don’t use a lot of pipe clamps, but my neighbor cleans up his and sprays a coat of rattle can lacquer on the pipe for his clamps once in a while. He says it helps keep them from rusting and prevents staining of the piece.

I don’t know if this is common, but he claims it works great.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View CaptainSkully's profile


1613 posts in 4328 days

#9 posted 02-15-2018 06:00 PM

Make sure you bring a pair of gloves when you go to buy your black pipe. My hands got so oily from carrying them up to the checkout that I had to go wash my hands before I could pay.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1669 days

#10 posted 02-15-2018 07:07 PM

My galv pipes are now junk. Too much slippage. There all gouged up.
Easy way to keep black pipe from leaving marks, don’t let them touch the wood.
I usually put 1/4” blocks to raise them up a little.
This also lets you get a rag under them to wipe glue, (if your a wiper)

View PhilLight's profile


12 posts in 1026 days

#11 posted 02-15-2018 07:21 PM

Thank you all! I greatly appreciate the help. Where I was looking the price was the same but if galvanized pipe allows the clamp to slip that’s a deal breaker.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1669 days

#12 posted 02-15-2018 07:29 PM

Thank you all! I greatly appreciate the help. Where I was looking the price was the same but if galvanized pipe allows the clamp to slip that’s a deal breaker.

- PhilLight

The galvanized will work ok for a while, but as they get older and used, they start to fail.
I still have a few that I use, sometimes they slip, sometimes they don’t, just depends on where they catch on the pipe. (pipe gets pretty beat up over the years)
Bummer is, they slip when I don’t want them to, and in the middle of a glue up is not the time to have to change one out.

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3579 days

#13 posted 02-15-2018 10:09 PM

I have approx 40 3/4 inch pipe clamps (pony by jorganson)

Only …maybe 5 or 6 are black pipe….the rest are galvanized

I have no problems,,,,

If you do get a little slippage,,,,,just rough em up a bit with a used 80 grit belt (slice belt and wrap by hand)

Every ten years or so you may nead to reverse the cam plates in the clamp body on a few of them to enable them to get a new bite

View Kazooman's profile


1489 posts in 2722 days

#14 posted 02-15-2018 11:04 PM

Add me to the chorus singing out against galvanized. I tried it once, thinking I would pay a small premium in price to avoid all of the grunge issues with black pipe. In my case the clamps never held. They (good Pony clamps) could never get a grip on the galvanized pipe. I guess it might depend on the thickness of the galvanizing.

Disclaimer: I have to point out that I posted in another thread that I really dislike pipe clamps for anything less than about four feet. Reasons? Heavy, therefore awkward to use. Usually pretty short jaws. Non-parallel jaws. The issues of contact of the clamp reacting with glue on the piece (yes, you can add shims or plastic wrap, but that is another bother when in the middle of a glue-up). One can never have enough clamps, but the clamps one has should be good ones. MHO. YRMV

View woodworm1962's profile


145 posts in 870 days

#15 posted 02-15-2018 11:20 PM

Speaking of black pipe. You are going ot have to take the JAPAN BLACK off of most of it or it will get on everything you use them on…

The best way I know how is Coarse steel wool, heavy stripping gloves and lacquer thinner.


-- No one likes the truth...

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