How many clamps do you REALLY need? Woodworking basics.

Sure we all know the expression you can
never have enough clamps I've said it myself but over the years I've begun to
realize that I'm mostly saying that ironically at this point I think you
really can't have enough clamps honestly you can get by fine with just nine I
want to break down the types of clamps I own into two categories essential clamps
and overrated clamps and I want to point out that all of this is based on my
individual experience over the past 40 years of woodworking every woodworker
will have their own favorite go-to clamps and I have no doubt that there
are clamps that would probably be totally life-changing and transformative
to me but I have no real need to upgrade when these have served me quite well for
years I mean seriously clamps can be super
expensive and I'm a cheapskate hey just a quick reminder if you're just starting
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at my tool pipe clamps are probably the cheapest clamps you can own
you buy these jaws separately then you buy whatever length of pipe you want
those are sold in either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch black pipes that you could buy at
most home centers lumber yards or hardware stores with threads already on
both in some places we'll cut these to link whatever you want and then they'll
cut the threads on there for you the jaws screw onto the threads then this
other piece slides up and down the pipe for a quick adjustments mine are three
quarter inch diameter pipes but I recommend saving the money and just
getting 1/2 inch pipe there's no reason why you really need the extra strength
of 3/4 inch when clamping things together I find these 36
inch pipes the most versatile especially for gluing up panels and they're not too
bulky if you need to use them for smaller projects I recommend having four
along with four sets of Jaws that way you can edge join boards together with
two on each side I also have four forty-eight inch long pipes for bigger
glue ups table tops and such and I've got a couple of these short sixteen inch
pipes that sometimes come in handy I have the jaws for all of these but
really you can get by with just four sets of jaws and just swap them out as
you need them if you need to glue up something really long just clamp two of
these clamps together oh and if you need to cover a little bit more surface area
make some clamping blocks to slide onto the pipes they'll also help a little bit
to protect the surface of your projects from the metal jaws bar clamps are
easily my most used clamps these six Bessey style clamps account for probably
90% of all of my clamping they're simply that useful I've had these for many many
years and there's hardly a project that they haven't been used in I have three
different sizes about six inches 12 inches in 24 inches at least that's
about the effective working distance of the jaws the handle broke off of this
one a long time ago but it's still useful I use bar clamps for everything
from gluing just about anything to holding stop blocks on to my fences to
just providing a third hand this might seem an unusual pick but I consider a
strap clamp essential anytime I need to glue up something with four sides say a
box or a picture frame a strap clamp is the best way to square everything up and
considering how many projects are based on the simple box I'm always amazed at
how handy this clamp is and how often I use it those are my recommendations for
essential clamps if you're a beginning woodworker these will serve you fine for
years bottom line four bar clamps four pipe clamps
and a strap clamp you actually may not ever really need anymore but of course
if you're like most of us woodworkers you'll probably accumulate more clamps
than the essentials there's zillions of different types of clamps from specialty
clamps to some really gimmicky clamps and it can be pretty fun and kind of
enticing to imagine them in your shop but as with all tools stop and consider
if it's really solving a problem that you have or if it's just something you
think it might be kind of handy if you're itching to spend money maybe
consider buying some extra bar clamps instead I want to talk about three types
of clamps that I've acquired over the years that I hardly ever use I'm sure
there are wood workers who will strongly disagree with this but remember this is
just based on my experience hand tool woodworkers seem to be drawn to these
wooden hand screw clamps and I think I've used this on a few occasions mostly
is a third hand to hold something in place but overall never really had a
specific need for it that I can't accomplish with other clamps
plus it's it's kind of mind-boggling to figure out exactly how to use this and
was there expensive I just maybe I was just in a kind of a quaint mood when I
plot this but not very useful in my workshop the spring clamps are mostly
used for holding things temporarily in place photographers like to use them for
holding up the backdrops and stuff and sometimes I used in there like hanging
sheets over the window if there's some harsh sunlight that's interfering with a
particular shot that I want to get on video but for woodworking they're really
not that practical one problem is that the way these clamping heads pivot it
can cause glued up boards to slip unlike bar clamps and pipe clamps that provide
straight horizontal pressure along an axis and this would be really
frustrating the second the larger the spring clamps
are the more grip streak you need to operate them on one
candid and that might not be enough pressure for glue-ups
anyway finally c-clamps yes the classic c-clamp I've tried to love you but I
just can't and really it's not you it's me
no actually it is you look I know plenty of woodworkers who just love using
c-clamps and that's perfectly fine but honestly I've never seen the point to
them there are very few times when a c-clamp has provided the only solution
to a clamping situation and give me that extra wide mouth came in handy once or
twice for having to reach over or beyond something but mostly they're just
time-consuming because of all of the threads again a bar clamp it's just more
efficient hey let me know in the comments of what are your essential
clamps and what claims do you think are just plain overrated thanks for watching

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