When you are working on a project as a profession or a DIY, clamps can be an important component of your toolkit. Being able to properly hold objects in place and/or together is a common task that has to be performed while woodworking, crafting or making repairs. Having the right clamps available can make the difference between success and failure. Also, a decent pair of clamps can help your project move along quickly and have a high quality result.
Things to Consider When Buying Clamps
Clamps are one of the most used tools in a craftsman toolbox. They come in different sizes, types, materials, and functionalities. However, a clamp that works best for a woodworker may not serve the same deal to an automotive mechanic. While clamps are among the must-have gear for a roadside emergency, you want to make sure about having the right model and design.
Also, knowing how to select the right clamps is a must-have ability of every craftsman. In order to make sure that you get the right clamp for your work, we’ll be discussing things to consider when buying clamps for your projects. Let’s get straight to some general factors one must consider when searching for the perfect clamps with relevant functionalities.
First of all, determine the purpose your clamps will be serving. Are they going to be used for any woodworking tasks, automotive repairs, or any of your DIY projects? If you’re looking for a versatile set of clamps, F-Clamps and C-Clamps may do the job. These clamps offer a wide range of applications and can be used for woodworking, metalworking, and all sorts of repairs. Luckily, we can usually find clamps pretty easily at hardware stores, with many options being available at an affordable price.
Concerned about the key features and functionality of C-clamps and F-clamps? Not to worry; we’ll be discussing them in more detail further on.
The material of any industrial tool strictly defines its durability, versatility, and its constructional effects. As discussed earlier, clamps are often available in different materials. If the clamp has added chrome and zinc plating, this is a sign of high durability; such clamps will probably work for a lifetime if maintained correctly. In addition, choosing clamps made of aluminum or any other corrosion-resistant material means that you won’t have to worry too much about rust setting in.
Last but not least, pricing may be the most important factor for most DIY enthusiasts as well as some professionals. The cost of any clamp strictly depends on its quality, durability, versatility, material, and some other factors. Fortunately, clamps aren’t as expensive as other woodworking tool accessories. There are many best-selling clamps available within $30. However, the more high-end brands and materials would take the price higher. Professionals and frequent DIY-ers may have no problem paying $100 and above for a high quality clamp if they need to.
Different Types of Clamps
As discussed earlier, clamps come in various sizes and types. Even a short online search will reveal several types of clamps and their various uses. It can get a bit confusing, so let’s take a look at some common types of clamps used in various manufacturing industries.
A C-Clamp, also known as G-Clamp, features a C or G shaped frame. It is one of the most used clamping tools used in various situations. C-clamps typically hold a wooden or metal workpiece together, but their uses are not just limited to welding and carpentry. You can use them in repair jobs, certain types of crafting, and many other applications.
C-Clamps come in various sizes and their pressure capacity varies from model to model. Overall, these clamps can be used for metalwork, woodwork, automotive repairs, etc.
As the name suggests, an F-Clamp makes the shape of an “F”. F-Clamps, also known as bar clamps, are similar to C-Clamps but can accommodate wider workpieces. They are mostly used for woodworking and metalworking. F-Clamps are used to clamp wooden objects until the objects are perfectly glued, screwed, or finished in any other way. When it comes to metalworking, they serve the same purpose but instead of gluing or screwing, bolting or welding is done.
An F-Clamp features a slider bar to provide an extensive opening capacity to work with larger applications.
Quick Grip Clamps
As the name suggests, quick grip clamps can be used quickly and easily in a pinch. They are usually operated single-handedly and are great for small workpieces. The jaws of quick grip clamps are able to work with smaller workpieces and in confined spaces. So if you’re working on a relatively smaller project, using a quick-grip clamp is the way to go. Different quick grip clamps can be used for woodworking and metalworking. In addition to this, F-Clamps may also have quick-grip functions that we’ll be discussing in a moment.
A bench vice typically stays fixed on the workbench to keep larger workpieces together. A bench Vice is certainly the strongest clamp of all explained above. It can be used to work with larger workpieces while maintaining maximum precision. If your work usually requires this type of clamp, you probably also need the best workbenches and worktables for your projects as well. A good quality material and design will ensure that working with your bench vice clamp won’t cause damage to the surroundings.
The pressure capacity of a bench vice clamp is a lot more than that of F-Clamps and C-Clamps. It can be used in metalworking, welding, automotive, and other larger projects.
Screw clamps work by handling a threaded rod in order to operate a moveable jaw and bringing it closer to a stationary jaw. With each turn, the jaws get a little tighter. As a result, there’s a large amount of force on the object inside the jaws, with very little effort on the part of the handler. Since the rod is threaded, it can’t spring back on its own.
Hand screw clamp
This is usually a tool with wooden jaws, which won’t leave marks when we use it on wood. Along with the jaws, there are also a couple of metal screw rods at the opposite ends. These allow more control over the clamp jaws, so we can align them as needed. The most extensive use of these clamps is probably by cabinet makers. With hand screw clamps, they can work on making and assembling quality projects much more easily.
When we need to keep a couple of pieces together while assembling something, using a spring clamp is a fast alternative option to screw clamps. These clamps act somewhat like a pair of scissors; they have padded jaws that open and shut when we squeeze or release the handles respectively. There’s an embedded spring that ensures the jaws stay shut when the handles are released.
This particular design may be easier and quicker to handle than screw clamps. However, they don’t provide the same strength and stability. It may be best to use these clamps only for lighter DIY projects.
These are also called web clamps at times, and consist of a sturdy nylon strap. A ratcheting mechanism is at one end. We operate this clamp by wrapping the strap around the object that needs fastening and putting the free end in the ratchet mechanisms. Then, we pump that mechanism until the strap is tightened to our liking.
This particular type of clamp is good for securing frames while woodworking. They can hold the pieces together until the joints are set. We can also use certain versions of these for securing items inside truck beds.
Hose clamps are usually required by tradespeople such as auto mechanics and plumbers. This is because these professions usually need something to secure plastic or metal pipes to flexible hoses. By using a hose clamp, one can keep the two different tubes together until they can be joined using a metal band.
A hose clamp usually features a sort of perforated metal band that’s bent into a circle and maintains its shape using a nut. There’s a screw running through the circle that can use the perforations to open or close this clamp as required.
This clamp also comes in a double-eared spring version. When we squeeze its ‘ears’, a metal circle widens and allows the whole clamp to loosen so that it can slide up or down the hose. When we release pressure on the ears, that metal ring will tighten so that the hose stays in place.
There are around thirty or more types of clamps, depending on where you’re looking and what you need. Certain clamps have niche uses, while others can be used for a variety of purposes. Knowing more about the varieties of clamps and how they’re used can help us out in several projects. Before starting your new project, check and see if you have the right type of clamp for the job.