24" or 31" Parallel Clamps?

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Forum topic by tkeenan posted 11-22-2019 02:02 PM 495 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tkeenan's profile


7 posts in 1063 days

11-22-2019 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: clamp parallel clamp question

Hey all. I’m trying to decide which size of parallel clamps would be more beneficial out of the 24” or 31”. I’ve got my eye on some 12” and 40”, but can’t decide what I should do about the middle size. For those of you who have both sizes, do you find you use one of the sizes more than the other? If you don’t have both sizes, do you wish you had both, or would have gotten a different size?

17 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5838 posts in 3056 days

#1 posted 11-22-2019 02:10 PM

I have some of both, I’m not sure which ones I use the most but I have a lot more 24” clamps than the 31” ones.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


5570 posts in 2914 days

#2 posted 11-22-2019 02:39 PM

I use the 24” more than any others, but when you are clamping something wider you need a bigger clamp. Sure you can clamp an 18” panel with the 31” clamps but it is more awkward. Look at what your average panel size is and decide from there. It is not a life or death decision and acquiring clamps is best not accomplished all at once, get the ones you think will get the most use now and down the road you can look at getting some others.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Blindhog's profile


138 posts in 1611 days

#3 posted 11-22-2019 03:17 PM

If you get the 31 you’ll have the extra capacity to clamp beyond 24 without the extra length of say a 48. The difference is small so I’d go with the 31.
Good luck in you decision.

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View pottz's profile


7056 posts in 1547 days

#4 posted 11-22-2019 03:28 PM

id say i use 24” clamps more than the 36” i have,so if you gonna get some 40” id go with the 24’s now.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Andre's profile


2887 posts in 2369 days

#5 posted 11-22-2019 03:29 PM

Simple answer, both, start with 2 of each then more as $ allows! nothing more frustrating than a clamp thats 1/2” too short.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View JayT's profile


6325 posts in 2774 days

#6 posted 11-22-2019 03:31 PM

24’s are my most used clamp, as well. I agree with pottz that if you are going to get some 40” ones, then I’d stock up on 24 and use the the longer ones on the few occasions you need something bigger.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View jmartel's profile


8633 posts in 2713 days

#7 posted 11-22-2019 03:37 PM

Personally, I think I would skip the 12” ones. Split your budget between the 24” and 40” ones. That should get you what you need. You don’t need every size they offer. I have 50” clamps, personally. No smaller parallel ones for now.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Davevand's profile


137 posts in 1399 days

#8 posted 11-22-2019 04:51 PM

What projects do you use the clamps for? Large or small? I have all sizes of clamps and I use the 12 and 18 inch clamps the most and 24” every so often. One of the first things I built was a blanket chest using some old beat up pipe clamps and wedge clamps so I bought some large clamps thinking I would use them for what ever I wanted to build. I gave up trying to use a 48” clamp on a 12 ” box.

View WoodenDreams's profile


830 posts in 474 days

#9 posted 11-23-2019 05:02 PM

As mentioned this depends what you plan on building. The bar clamps I use most is the 24” (even on the smaller panel glue-ups). Only occasionally use 36” or 48”. In the last two years I’ve needed some 72” bar clamps only once.
The only disadvantage to a longer clamp is the excess overhang of clamping bar or pipe if it gets in the way.

The only clamps I have less then 24” are the F-clamps and Quick-Grips. The F-clamps I use most are 6” and 12” vs. the 24” and 36” I have. With the Irwin Quick-Grips I use most are 6” and 12” vs. the 24” and 36” I have.

View JackDuren's profile


544 posts in 1522 days

#10 posted 11-23-2019 09:53 PM

You’ll never know what you’ll need . You kind of have to buy as you go…
I bought many and returned many because of the price or didn’t see the need…

View RDan's profile


127 posts in 2887 days

#11 posted 11-25-2019 01:34 AM

I really like my Jet 31”, I find the extra weight and capacity are not an issue. If you find them at a good price I would buy the 31”. If you want, they can always be shorten, but cannot be lengthen. My shorter clamps I use are more the F-Style clamps and my Quick Clamps. Dan

View Phil32's profile


723 posts in 466 days

#12 posted 11-25-2019 01:50 AM

Buy whatever you decide, but always check whether you have what you need before applying the glue.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit! Likewise with woodworkers.

View Pezking7p's profile


3269 posts in 2214 days

#13 posted 11-25-2019 02:22 AM

If you’ve got to choose, buy the bigger clamps. 24 to 31 inches isn’t enough to be annoying when you’re using oversized clamps…but they do offer 7 extra inches of clamp.

-- -Dan

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3065 posts in 4000 days

#14 posted 11-25-2019 03:09 AM

If you’ve got to choose, buy the bigger clamps. 24 to 31 inches isn’t enough to be annoying when you’re using oversized clamps…but they do offer 7 extra inches of clamp.

- Pezking7p

I agree here. I’ve got these sizes and much longer ones. The 31 inch will come in handy sometime and for smaller sized glueups they will work fine and aren’t that much difference in ‘awkwardness’ compared to the 24’s.
Nothing is more frustrating when you need to clamp something and the clamp needs just another inch more to open up to use it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View DrDirt's profile


4600 posts in 4305 days

#15 posted 11-26-2019 03:19 PM

I would go for the 31….
You will find you have a 24 inch project… (and want/need to have a caul) – - and run out of space/travel

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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