Did you know there are nine types of clamps?
If not, you’re in the right place. While the trusty old C-clamp will come to mind for most people, there are eight others that are useful for home projects.
Clamps are a common tool for woodworkers, metalworkers, and other tradespeople.
In fact, there are many different types of clamps on the market, with new ones in development all the time. Some clamps are very specific to one task, while you can use others for a variety of jobs.
The 9 Different Types of Clamps
Here is a list of the different types of clamps:
C-clamps are the most basic type of clamp. They get their name from their shape, which looks like a letter C. Because they are so simple, they are also one of the cheapest types of clamps on the market.
C-clamps are perfect for clamping flat surfaces together. Workers often use this clamp to hold wood materials in place while drilling or sawing them.
The bigger the frame is, the wider the piece of wood can be—it can fit within the frame.
People also refer to this clamp as a G clamp. Yes, it is C-shaped, but when you see the long screw going through one end, you will notice it can also look like a G.
2. Bar Clamps
Bar clamps are similar to C-clamps, but they have a long arm. This makes them ideal for clamping large pieces of wood together.
Bar clamps are also great for clamping curved surfaces. It has parallel jaws on either side of a supportive metal bar.
F-clamps get their name for their shape, which looks like the letter F. These clamps are perfect for clamping boards together at right angles.
Use this type of clamp to hold pieces of wood in place while you drill or saw them.
4. Pipe Clamps
Pipe clamps are a unique type of clamp that uses a pipe as the clamping mechanism.
This makes them perfect for clamping oddly-shaped objects together. You can also adjust pipe clamps to fit a wide range of sizes.
5. Toggle Clamps
When you use these types of clamps, the clamps must be permanently mounted on a surface.
The work surface operates with a fixed jaw capacity. The beauty of toggle clamps is that they can hold a lot of weight and are easy to actuate.
6. Miter Clamps
Miter clamps are a specialized type of clamp. They get their name from the fact that they hold milters in place while they are being welded.
It can hold together pieces that have miter cuts, such as picture frames.
7. Handscrew Clamp
The handscrew clamp is a very simple type of clamp. It is essentially two wooden boards with a screw in the middle.
This clamp is perfect for clamping small pieces of wood together.
The jaws are very adjustable, and you can get an extended reach with them. You can loosen one screw but tighten the other one to clamp certain objects.
8. Spring Clamp
Spring clamps are small, lightweight clamps that use a spring to apply pressure. They are as small as battery clips.
This type of clamp is perfect for clamping small pieces of wood or jewelry together.
9. Flooring Clamp
Flooring clamps are a specialized type of pipe clamp that helps hold the flooring in place during installation.
You can hold as many as ten floorboards together with this clamp.
How Do I Know What Type of Clamps to Use?
The best way to determine which type of clamp you need is to understand the project you are working on.
Each clamp has a specific use case, so it’s important to know what you’re trying to do.
In general, professionals use clamps to hold two pieces of wood, metal, or other material together while they are being glued, screwed, or welded.
One way to think about clamps is by their shape: C-clamps, bar clamps, F-clamps, and pipe clamps.
How to Use a Clamp
Now that you know about the different types of clamps, let’s take a look at how to use them. When you begin using any clamp, it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Each clamp is different, and you need to understand how to use it safely and effectively. In general, there are a few things you need to do when clamping two pieces of material together:
- First, make sure the surfaces are clean and dry. Glue, paint, or other materials can prevent the pieces from adhering to each other.
- Second, line up the two pieces of material as you want them to be. Aligning the two pieces correctly is crucial for a good clamping job.
- Third, attach the clamp to one of the pieces of material. Make sure the clamp is tight against the material.
- Fourth, use a hand tool or power tool to tighten the clamp. This will apply pressure to the other piece of material and hold it in place.
Be careful not to over-tighten the clamp. You don’t want to damage the material you are clamping. If you use a C-clamp, G-clamp, bar clamp, or F-clamp, you will need a drill or saw to secure the material.
These clamps aren’t designed to be hand-tightened. When using a pipe clamp, make sure the pipe is the right size for the object.
If the pipe is too small, it won’t provide enough pressure to hold the object in place.
If you are using a spring clamp, make sure there is enough pressure on the clamp to hold the material in place. A weak spring can cause the clamp to release.
Things to Consider
In addition to understanding the different types of clamps, there are a few other noteworthy things about these tools. The more you know, the less likely you are to buy the incorrect one.
- Always use the correct clamp for the job. If you use the wrong one, you could damage your project or even cause an injury.
- Make sure to use enough clamps. If you don’t have enough clamps, your project will be hard to assemble and could end up looking sloppy.
- Always tighten the clamps properly. If you don’t tighten the clamps enough, the project will be unstable and fall apart. Conversely, if you make the clamps too tight, you could damage the project or even cause an injury.
- Clamps come in a variety of sizes. Make sure to choose the right size clamp for the project.
- Some clamps are adjustable. So you can change the size of the clamp to fit the project.
- Most clamps have a rubber or wooden handle. This material allows you to apply more or less pressure to the clamp, depending on the project.
- Some clamps have a built-in vise. It allows you to clamp the material in place without using a workbench.
- Manufacturers make clamps from several materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. Choose the material that best suits your project.
- Clamps can be expensive. Make sure to choose the right type of clamp for the job, or you may end up spending more money than necessary.
- Injuries can occur if you aren’t careful when using clamps. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s safety instructions before using a clamp.
Terminology You Should Know About Clamps
- Jaws: the two arms of a clamp.
- Clamping pressure is the amount of force you apply to the material you are clamping together.
- Screw: The mechanism used to tighten or loosen the clamp.
Top Brands of Clamps
- Bessey: This company makes nine clamp models that range from 5 lbs to 15 lbs.
- Irwin: This company produces heavy-duty one-handed bar clamps. They make various clamp models that receive praise for their ruggedness.
- Stanley: This company produces an extensive line of clamps, including bar clamps, C-clamps, and F-clamps. They are also one of the few companies to make pipe clamps.
- TEKTON: This company offers a wide variety of affordable clamps, including bar clamps, C-clamps, and F-clamps.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference Between a C-Clamp and an F-Clamp?
C-clamps are smaller than F-clamps and are typically used to clamp smaller pieces of material. Due to size, F-clamps can hold larger pieces of material.
What Is the Difference Between Power Clamps and Screw Clamps?
Power clamps are adjustable. You can quickly tighten or loosen it with the press of a button.
Screw clamps require manual tightening and loosening.
Can I Use a C-clamp to Clamp a Pipe?
While you use a C-clamp for metal or wood, you should get a pipe clamp for a pipe.
A pipe clamp works similarly to an F-clamp. However, it has a padded clamping surface that won’t damage the pipe.
Can I Use a Clamp to Hold a Board Against a Wall?
You can use a clamp to hold a board against a wall. In this situation, you would use a bar clamp.
Place the bar clamp around the board and the wall, then tighten the screw to apply pressure.
Do Different Types of Clamps Have a Rating?
No, different types of clamps don’t have a rating. However, the maximum clamping pressure for each type of clamp varies.
For example, bar clamps can have a clamping pressure of up to 600 pounds, while F-clamps can have clamping pressure of up to 1,000 pounds.
Do Different Types of Clamps Require Maintenance?
No, different types of clamps don’t require maintenance. However, it’s a good idea to clean them off every once in a while to prevent them from rusting.
How Long Do Clamps Last?
The life cycle depends on the type of clamp. C-clamps usually last for around ten years. Pipe clamps may last for up to 20 years.
Many types of clamps come in various sizes. It’s important to know which type of clamp is best for the job you are trying to accomplish.
With the correct clamp, your project will operate more efficiently.
It will also look neater. Always use the proper number of clamps, tighten them properly, and read the safety instructions.
A clamp will ensure you avoid damaging your material and make the job a lot easier.