When using pipe clamps for woodworking:

  • Alternate the clamps on the top and bottom of the work to even out clamping pressure and prevent bowing.
  • You can use either galvanized or black pipe with pipe clamps, but black pipe is less expensive.
  • To extend the length of pipe clamps, buy additional sections of pipe and thread them together using pipe coupling.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: In woodworking projects around your house, you can never have too many clamps.

Joe Truini: That’s right, Danny. In this case we’re using pipe clamps to join together three boards to make a wide panel. Now you’ll notice what I’ve done here is to put two clamps underneath the panel and one on top. That’s to distribute the pressure evenly and prevent it from bowing the panel.

Danny Lipford: Now that works fine on a small project like this. What about a big door, how can you handle that?

Joe Truini: Well, I’ll show you. Give me a hand moving this out of the way. The great thing about pipe clamps is that it’s really easy to extend the capacity. All you have to do is slide off the tail stock, and then thread on a coupling—in this case we have a three-quarter-inch coupling—then you just buy an extra section of pipe, and you just put the pipe right in there.

Danny Lipford: OK. Let me help you out with that. Well, really with this method you could continue extending this just as long as you want to.

Joe Truini: Just keep adding pipe sections. And just slide that back on, and there you have it. In just a few minutes we’ve doubled the capacity of the clamp.

Danny Lipford: Now what about the galvanized? Why galvanized? Most of my pipe clamps are all black iron.

Joe Truini: Yeah, you’re right, I prefer black iron myself. But this was galvanized, and that’s all they had at the hardware store so I picked it up. You usually spend about a dollar for the coupling, and a 30-inch section of galvanized pipe cost about four or five dollars, and black iron would only be about two bucks.

Danny Lipford: Now this three-quarter-inch pipe is good for the heavy duty projects, but it’s also available in half-inch. But either way you’ve doubled the capacity of your pipe clamps.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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