Parallel clamps versus pipe clamps versus squeeze clamps

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Forum topic by Jimintomahawak posted 04-17-2018 02:02 AM 3924 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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73 posts in 1248 days

04-17-2018 02:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: clamps clamp joining

Are parallel clamps worth the investment. Most of my work so far is cabinets including drawer boxes and doors. The squeeze clamps and pipe clamps want to pull parts out of flat. Pipes are better than squeeze but still tricky. Sometimes I think I need an I-Beam for a caul. .. seems like I never have have enough clamps when Murphy shows up during glue up.

-- Laziness drives creative thinking...

7 replies so far

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2571 posts in 2180 days

#1 posted 04-17-2018 02:12 AM

Unless I’m misunderstanding, which is entirely possible! I think your clamps pulling out of flat may just be the part racking when short (or shallow?) jaws squeeze on one side. You could remedy this with double the pipe clamps, on each side.
Parallel clamps are very nice for some things, especially panel glue ups and I think you’d be happy with them, remember you can always buy more later to grow the collection!

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13389 posts in 3152 days

#2 posted 04-17-2018 03:51 AM

I resisted buying parallel clamps for years but gave in last year and bought a bunch. They are really nice to use and stand up straight on edge so you can set the panel anywhere out of the way without leaning it on something or leaving it flat. I would say if you can afford them, buy a few when they go on sale. Keep an eye on the hot deals thread, someone will post when they go on sale.

-- Rick M,

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1644 posts in 3622 days

#3 posted 04-17-2018 11:46 AM

They’re really nice to have, pricey and there are sales out there, I bought a lot when Lowes clearanced them a few years ago. Saw these clamps recently on the hot deals thread, and they look to be a clone at a reasonable price per inch.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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5788 posts in 3123 days

#4 posted 04-17-2018 12:57 PM

I love them, after using parallel jaw clamps for a while I got rid of my pipe clamps because I never used them.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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3742 posts in 2253 days

#5 posted 04-17-2018 04:12 PM

I use pipe clamps for large glue ups like tabletops. You can couple different lengths together to make longer clamps.

I prefer parallel clamps for cope and stick door glue ups.

I wasn’t going to believe it, but I picked up a couple aluminum bar clamps Harbor Freight sells. The looked like the ones Paul Sellers uses, so I modified them like he does. And you know what? They work pretty well for low-clamp pressure situations.

IMO Bessey is the best parallel clamp out there. I like the screw much better than Jet.

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

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10477 posts in 4420 days

#6 posted 04-17-2018 04:13 PM

I haven’t used them so I don’t know how close
they get in performance to parallel jaw clamps,
but Harbor Fright sells some aluminum bar clamps
that imitate the form of the old sash clamps that
parallel clamps have replaced in many shops.

Parallel clamps are terrific. I have some Uniklamps
by Bessey too, which is a lighter weight version
of the K-body. Internally it’s not the same so I
don’t think it’s really a parallel jaw clamp but they
work pretty similar, just for lighter tasks.

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705 posts in 2504 days

#7 posted 04-17-2018 07:56 PM

I have all three types of clamps. I like the parallel jaw clamps the best—but they are expensive. I find that the 3-4 foot size is what I use most often. I would suggest always buying them in an even quantity (e.g. 2, 4, 6, ...)—because they seem to vary slightly from one brand to the next (e.g. on one brand the bar may sit a little lower than others). I like the Jorgensen Cabinet Master (wood handle) the best, but Jet also makes a really nice parallel clamp.

I think squeeze clamps are very useful around the shop, just not so much for gluing up projects. I use them alot, but I tend to use them more for temporary holding duties than for project glue-up.

I think pipe clamps are good for project glue ups and they generate alot of pressure. They are less expensive (I think), you can get several lengths of pipe and swap the clamping parts if needed (e.g. I have 3 pieces of black pipe that are are about 9’ long that I can use as clamps for loooong projects). The jaws are smaller and they don’t stand up as well on the workbench as parallel clamps but they still have a place in my shop.

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