Input on pipe clamps


Board of Directors, Development Director
Staff member
Corporate Member
I broke a clamp head the other night while starting to clamp up a board. It sheared off right below the handle spindle. ANyway - I am thinking of getting a new set of clamps and was leaning towards some 3/4" pipe clamps.

What I am looking for is insight or recommendations for good, sturdy clamps.

I was looking at these Shop Tools and Machinery at mostly because I like the pipe to be raised off the tabel for easier access.

I thought about these Bessey PC12-2 1/2" Pipe Clamp with 2 1/8" Throat Depth, Red - -
but they look more prone to roll over as I move the wood around when I am getting everything situated.

EDIT - Just saw these, so less prone to tipping.

Then I started to wonder if there was a jig I could also make to hold the clamps and make board glue ups easier as well. Sort of like the big clamp wheels you see for professional cutting board makers.

Anyway.... input and suggestions are appreciated.


Looking at this Bessey vs Grizzly. They look to be the same make... any chance anyone knows where Bessey is made? My guess is it could be the same manufacturer but just different color. Its $4 less a clamp.... so the price difference is nice, but not huge.

Last edited:


Corporate Member
I have the Bessey, Irwin and Dewalt ,,,,,,,,,, they all perform similarly. The Dewalt seems a little more stable though it could just be the yellow looks brighter.
One thing I did find out, I have mostly stainless steel pipe..... it was free, it will slip sometimes, regular iron steel on the compression side rarely slips


I have the last Bessey you linked to in 1/2 inch. Love them, will eventually go to 3/4 inch, as I have bent some of the 1/2 when really cranking them down.

They stand up nice and you can crank them down as tight as you can imagine. I use the silver pipe, not the black pipe, and i get no slippage, plus I dont have to worry about the black pipe leaving marks on the piece.


Senior User
3/4" pipe clamps can definitely get the job done. You'll have to figure out the economics especially if you go with black iron pipe.

I've found if I put a 1/4" spacer block between the panel and the pipe, it does a couple things: avoids leaving stains on glue lines & counteracts the tendency for pipe to bow in the middle, which also presses down on panel.

I have 52" & 32" lengths so when you're clamping up that 84" breadboard table, its a breeze!

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I've had many different 3/4" pipe clamp fixtures over the years. Unless they were all of the same make, their height off the table can vary and for a glue-up, this is a bad thing.
Back in the 1970s I took a couple of 2x4 pieces and slotted them to take the pipes. (The 2x4 was 1-5/8" thick if that's any indicator of how old the 2x4 was.) I look at that slotted strip from time to time and think of many ways I can make a more elegant one, but as of yet, I can't see how an "upgrade" will function much better. The nice thing about the slots is that they will allow the pipe clamp to be rotated slightly to get the screw pressure in line with the center line of the stock.

Crude but effective.

1 pipeclamp - 1 (1).jpg


Senior User
I second galvanized pipe, plain iron will leave stains in wood which are almost impossible to remove without destroying the pc


Corporate Member
I am not in the shop today so I can't get a picture, but, I cut out of scrap plywood some spaces about 5" overall height, cut a semi circle in the bottom and a 3/4 hole near the top. I slide these on the pipe inside the heads and they work as standoffs from the bench.


Senior User
I went with the Rocklers because I picked some up when the Rockler in Greensboro went out of business and add a few now and then when they go on sale.

I usually put a strip of the blue tape over the pipes to prevent pipe black from transferring over and to prevent glue buildup
Last edited:


Senior User
I use both 1/2 and 3/4 pipe clamps. My 1/2 inch have sawtooth locks on the sliding jaw and do not hold on silver galvanized pipe unless swatted with a dead blow or hammer. I don't think it matters on the plate style latch on my 3/4 clamps. Long clamps definite flex less with 3/4 pipe. Many of my pipes are threaded on both ends and I can put them together for really long pieces. I have pipes up to 6 feet so two of those would be really long - but flex a lot in 1/2. I do not worry about them rolling around. Once they are tightened they don't roll. I have limited storage space and it is full, I would not want ones with feet due to increased storage requirements.

I also have 8 or 9 HF aluminum clamps and I tend to use them more than my pipe clamps when possible (they are 48 and 60 inches long). They cannot exert the same pressure as the pipe clamps but usually I find that they can supply enough pressure. They are far lighter and thus easier to get out and put away. I got them on sale so they were cheap. Not terribly nice but useful.


Corporate Member
I use 3/4" pipe clamps a lot. I have black pipe in 1'. 2', 3', and 4' lengths threaded on both ends. I connect them with the galvanized nipples from the electrical section for rigid conduit (straight threaded instead of the tapered pipe thread) when I need to tailor the length to the glue up without having a lot of excess pipe sticking out. The nipples for the electrical conduits are straight and smooth on the outside, so work better if the work sets on them. I also have some 1 1/4" diameter sections of pvc that I throw on the pipe to keep the work from sitting on the steel. I have found that the clamps don't bite as well into the galvanized pipe, as the zinc is so soft it lets them slip.

The clamps with the feet on them are definitely easier to use for panel glue-ups. If gluing leather to the faces to prevent marring, make sure the leather is not dyed (it may transfer to the wood). I have found thin pine pads work about as well for harder woods. Both are easily glued on using a hot glue gun.

I have found 1/2" pipe to be too flexible when doing long glue-ups, although they do make for a lighter clamp assembly.

Our Sponsors