In woodworking, it is important to keep stocks and boards steady as you cut, glue, or nail them and this is where clamps come in.
They help to secure these workpieces for accurate cutting or joining.
Other than that, clamps are versatile enough to be used in holding different materials such as metal in construction, welding, and other metalworking projects.
However, since it is not possible to use a single clamp type for all these applications, there are different types of clamps in the market and these include the following.
Different Types of Clamps
Let’s take a look at the most types of clamps:
Also called a G clamp, this type is named after its shape, in which it has a C-shaped frame and a long screw that passes through one end of the frame, creating a G-like design.
This long screw adjusts the jaw by pushing it towards or away from the other jaw on the other end of the frame, which then expands or contracts space in between.
As such, the clamp is used to clamp workpieces together such as when gluing wood blocks together, or when holding a workpiece to the table.
Ultimately, the size of the opening (which is determined by the size of the frame) determines the workpiece thickness that can fit inside. Therefore, the larger, the better.
2. Pipe Clamp
A pipe clamp is not meant for cutting pipes. It gets its name from its cylindrical frame, which holds all the other parts together (stands, long screw, and jaws).
As compared to a C clamp, a pipe clamp stretches over a wider width and this provides clamping pressure on wider workpieces or multiple workpieces that have a long width.
That said, the capacity of the clamp is determined by the length of the pipe and it is mostly used to glue wooden pieces together.
3. Sash Clamp
This clamp is very similar to a pipe clamp but has a flat bar instead of a round bar. The heavy-duty bar has a fixed jaw holder on one end and its jaw is adjustable by twisting the long screw while being guided on the bar rail.
On the other end is a sliding jaw, which can be moved along the rail and fixed at any point along the bar’s length.
Just like with the pipe clamp, the length of the flat bar determines its capacity, and the tool is used for gluing wooden boards/blocks together.
4. One-Handed Clamp
Also called a quick-release clamp, a one-handed clamp lives up to its name because it is designed to be used by a single hand.
The tool has one jaw fixed on one end of the bar and a movable jaw with a trigger and a quick-release mechanism on the other end.
Pressing the trigger moves the jaw towards the fixed jaw and this tightens the space between them while the quick release mechanism makes it possible to loosen the grip by moving back the jaw easily.
The tool is mainly used in wood and metalworking.
5. Locking Clamp
A locking clamp is very similar to the C-clamp in terms of shape and deep-reaching but operates very differently. Instead of having a long screw to adjust the jaw, it has a handle for locking the jaws and it snaps into place when pressed in.
When pulled apart, the handle acts as a quick release mechanism to release the clamping pressure.
The tool’s jaws have a wide opening and are ideal for clamping wide or uneven workpieces such as tapered stock.
6. Miter Clamp
This is a specialty tool that is specifically designed to hold wood pieces with angled miter cuts. Using regular bar clamps to hold stock with miter joints exerts pressure in such a way they slide away from each other.
However, miter clamps push them towards each other, eliminating the chances of sliding. Therefore, this allows you to nail the pieces accurately or allow the glue to set evenly.
There is also a more specialized type of miter clamp that is meant for assembling picture frames. It consists of 4 miter clamps and some have a central screw for making centralized adjustments.
7. Deep Throat Bar Clamp
A deep throat bar clamp combines the long width clamping capabilities of a bar clamp and the deep reach of a C-clamp.
That said, it is a better alternative to bar and pipe clamps as it offers better performance in terms of deep-reaching.
8. Spring Clamp
Spring clamps are used mostly for precision work because they are small size. They are the size of cloth hanging pins or battery clips and have a similar shape.
The word spring is derived from their spring mechanism that pushes the jaws together with extreme force.
They are ideal for holding jewelry, beads, or small wooden pieces, and contain PVC or rubber covers on the handles and jaws to prevent you from injuring your skin and the surface you are working on respectively.
9. Handscrew Clamp
Handscrew clamps have a traditional design that consists of wooden jaws and two adjustments screws with wooden handles.
These handles are placed on opposite sides of the jaws, which allows them to be rotated like bicycle pedals to open the jaws.
Though considered traditional, hand screw clamps are still very practical because they have deep throats for extended reach.
Additionally, because the adjustment screws are placed on different slots along the length of the jaws, they allow you to clamp uneven objects by loosening one screw and tightening the other.
They are ideal for holding glued wooden pieces or holding panels during assembly and can be used as parts holders when drilling.
10. Toggle Clamp
Toggle clamps are unique because they must be permanently mounted on a worktop. For this, they have slots on their frames for screw/bolt installation, and once set up, they utilize the worktop as the fixed jaw.
That said, they are equipped with one clamping plate and this is operated by its handle to apply pressure on a workpiece placed on its worktop.
They are very versatile tools because they are ideal for woodworking, drilling, and metalworking.
11. Flooring Clamp
As the name suggests, flooring clamps are specifically designed for floor installation. More specifically, they are used to attaching wooden panels or laminate floorboards that have interlocking joints such as tongue and groove.
Ideally, this clamp can hold about 10 boards together and most of them contain straps that pull two plates together.
These plates have curved edges that hook onto the ends of the boards and one has a ratchet that allows you to adjust the tension of the strap to pull the plates together. Consequently, this action pulls the boards tightly together so that you can nail or fit them in place.
As you can see, clamps are one of the most important woodworking tools and there are different types for different tasks.
Some are for general purpose use while others are special-purpose tools designed for a particular task. All in all, ensure you get the right clamp for the project you are working on.