Pipe clamps are used for woodworking projects to glue multiple pieces of wood together. You’re looking for pipe clamps for your woodworking projects and the measurements are confusing.
So which one should you go for, ½ inch or ¾ inch pipe clamp?
Between ½ inch or ¾ inch pipe clamps, ¾ inch is capable of carrying a heavier load. ½-inch pipe clamps are 2 lbs lighter than ¾ ones. ½ pipe clamps tend to flex while gluing up heavy boards that ¾ inches don’t do. There’s a $7 price difference between ½-inch and ¾-inch pipe clamps.
Along with the individual features, you’ll need some more details to decide which one is for you.
In this article, we’ll talk about the differences, pluses, and minuses of the two pipe clamps.
Let’s dive in!
Comparison Chart for ½ inch or ¾ inch Pipe Clamp
Take a look at the table to see how ½ inch differentiates from ¾ inch pipe clamp –
|Aspects||½ inch Pipe Clamp||¾ inch Pipe Clamp|
|Weight||2 lbs lighter||2lbs heavier than ½”|
|Flexibility||Flexes while on work||Doesn’t flex|
|Handle||Moving, easy to use||Clunky, hard to use|
|Price||~$15, ~$21 for the pipe||~$17, ~$26 for the pipe|
As it shows, there are slight differences in the pipe clamps in each factor. Let’s talk about it in detail
Diving Into the Details
Let’s see how each size of pipe clamps is different for a woodworker. There are pluses and minuses in both of them.
The ½-inch pipe clamps are about two pounds lighter. Which is very favorable for woodworkers who do woodwork as a hobby. Or light woodworking projects.
The ¾-inch pipe clamps on the other hand are 2 pounds heavier than the ½-inch ones. This means they are more suitable for heavy-duty clamp jobs.
½-inch pipe clamps are at a disadvantage here. Because these have a tendency to flex when you’re gluing up boards.
¾-inch pipe clamps are durable and less flexible. You can really squeeze the boards together with these pipe clamps. This is why you will see these pipe clamps in most woodworking shops.
The handle of ½ inch Pony clamp is interesting. The handle moves from left to right. So when you set the clamps on the bench, The extra moving room helps you turn the handle easily.
For the ¾-inch clamps, when you set them upright, the handles are quite bulky. So the handle drags your knuckle on the bench which can be hurtful.
Besides the features, price is also a factor. So let’s take a look at the price.
On online platforms, the ½-inch Pony pipe clamps sell at $15. On the other hand, the ¾ inch Pony clamps sell at $17. So there’s a rough $2 price difference.
You’ll have to buy the pipes separately. A 4-foot pipe is a good length for ¾-inch pipe clamps to start with. One 4-foot pipe costs roughly $26. Which is a bit pricey.
And the pipe for ½ pipe clamps cost about $21. So both of them are expensive.
If you’re interested in cutting the cost, you can buy a 10-foot pipe. The thing with those 4-foot pipes is there are threads on both sides. Which is why the price is high. However, with clamps, you only need threads on one side.
Buying a 10-foot pipe and cutting it in half will be cheaper. The pipe will cost about $10 each now. Which is a price reduction of about $10 to $15.
How to Assemble Pipe Clamps
For beginners, how to assemble pipe clamps can be a mystery until they see it.
Here’s how you can assemble pipe clamps –
You’ll need a piece of pipe. Depending on your pipe clamps, select either ½-inch or ¾-inch diameter steel pipe. Choose black pipes because they’re the cheapest among the options. And galvanized pipes can’t provide good grip.
Typically the length is about 4 feet but you can choose the length according to your need. Make sure the pipe is threaded on one side.
Between the two pieces of the clamp, take a clamp that is without the handle. Slide the pipe through the hole. Make sure the clamp’s side is facing towards the thread. Depress the bars, and slide the clamps through the pipe, about halfway.
Take the other clamp, and loop the threaded end through the hole into the backside. The back side is threaded. And then turn the pipe until it’s tightened. One clamp slides left and right. The threaded end will exert extra pressure when you turn the handle.
Few Tricks for Using Pipe Clamps
Take a look at these woodworking tips and tricks for using pipe clamps. They might come in handy.
Use V Blocks
Take 2 pieces of wood and cut V shapes into them. Now you can place your pipe clamps onto these v shape blocks. And place the blocks on your workstation.
This gives some elevation and your clamps won’t move when you use these for smaller wood pieces. Your bars will be upright.
Use Pieces of Cylinder Shaped Foam
Take a cylinder-shaped foam pipe. Cut them into small pieces and cut the pieces open vertically. Now put them on the pipes of your pipe clamps.
What it will do is protect your wood pieces from touching the bars. The glue and bar create a reaction. Which leaves black marks on your wood.
So the foam will protect your wood. It’s also really easy to peel the glue from the foam that’s stuck on the foam.
Use Angles Iron Bar
Oftentimes when you line the woods up glue them together on the pipe clamps. The middle part lines up but the ends stay unleveled. This happens when you elevate the wood pieces with the help of something underneath.
Take 2 pieces of angled bars and put them on the ends of your wood pieces. It will help them stay level while they’re being glued together.
This will be useful when you build things like a computer desk with wood.
Bar Clamps for Gluing Plywood
Sometimes, you need to glue small strips of plywood on the edge of a wood piece. Now pipe clamps aren’t handy in such cases. You can use bar clamps there.
The idea is to put glue in between the wood piece and the plywood. Then use a bar clamp to put it on. Make a little gap between the bar and the plywood. Then stick small pieces of wedges in there.
This puts extra weight and glues the pieces together really well.
Use Eye Beams
Eye Beams come in handy when you need to glue wood pieces at a 90-degree angle.
These beams create a gap between the surface and provide a plane for the wood piece. Then you can put pipe clamps over there. And wood pieces will securely be glued together.
This trick is especially useful when you are making cabinets.
So, which one is better? 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch pipe clamp?
The answer really depends on the type of work you’re doing. If you’re a light woodworker, in the sense that you don’t work with heavy wood pieces. ½ inch pipe clamps will be enough for daily work.
And if you’re a woodworker who works with heavy wood pieces and big projects. Sticking to the ¾-inch pipe clamps will be better for you. Because ¾ inch pipe clamps are heavy and can handle quite a lot. For glue work, it will compensate for muscle strength.
In general, though, it’s best to have both types of pipe clamps in your workshop. Trust me, it won’t be a waste of money. Rather you’ll thank yourself in the future.
Be Careful with choosing wood pieces. And protect your logs from splitting.
What Size Parallel Clamps Should I Get?
24” parallel clamps should work well if you plan to glue largely small products. Such as a cutting board or picture frame. These clamps are compact, lightweight, and simple to move around a tiny workspace. However, 30” or even 48” clamps could be required for larger items like cabinets and doors.
Are Pipe Clamps Better Than Bar Clamps?
Pipe clamps enable far higher gripping pressure than bar clamps and are also significantly less expensive. This Fine Woodworking article claims that a standard parallel clamp can exert 370 pounds of pressure. beam style bar clamps can hold 1,350 pounds. And 3/4″ pipe clamps can hold 1,050 pounds.
What Type of Pipe Is Used For Pipe Clamps?
There are two permissible types of pipe that you can use with pipe clamps. Galvanized pipe and black steel pipe, which is the same kind typically used for gas lines. Both will function perfectly, but because the black pipe is less expensive. Woodworkers on a tight budget tend to choose it.
That concludes our discussion on a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch pipe clamp. The size of the pipe clamps isn’t really specific to the type of woodwork. So you can buy them according to your wish.
Which one do you think is suitable for you? Let us know why.
Best of luck with your woodwork!
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