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I've decided that I need pipe clamps for Christmas. My largest clamps so far have been 3' although I've made a dresser chest that was 5' and a china cabinet that was 4' by jury rigging multiple clamps together.
My question is "is it acceptable to connect 2 or more pieces of 3/4 pipe with a coupling to get a longer clamp?" What problems will this create if any? I plan on placing shims under the pipe that are the thickens of the coupling so that they will lay flat on the wood that is being clamped.
My plan is to purchase multiple 10' lengths and have them cut at 6.5' and threaded at both ends. This will give me usable 6' and 3' lengths.
 

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I've decided that I need pipe clamps for Christmas. My largest clamps so far have been 3' although I've made a dresser chest that was 5' and a china cabinet that was 4' by jury rigging multiple clamps together.
My question is "is it acceptable to connect 2 or more pieces of 3/4 pipe with a coupling to get a longer clamp?"
What problems will this create if any? I plan on placing shims under the pipe that are the thickens of the coupling so that they will lay flat on the wood that is being clamped.
My plan is to purchase multiple 10' lengths and have them cut at 6.5' and threaded at both ends. This will give me usable 6' and 3' lengths.
certainly is...
none...
good plan too...
 
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The thing to remember, Richard, is that the most expensive part of the pipe clamp is the clamp assembly itself.
You can buy black iron pipe pretty cheaply from a plumbing wholesale. I think stock lengths are 22' (?) it's been a long time since I bought it.
If you buy it from a plumbing heating contractor, he'll cut it to the lengths you want, and thread either one end of each piece, or both ends. He may even have offcuts which he'd give you a decent discount on.
As I started to say, if you've got longer lengths, say 6' or 7' pieces, you don't necessarily have to put the clamp fixtures permanently on every one; if you're short of long clamps just take the clamps off some short ones temporarily.
By the way, there's a fair amount of controversy amongst the members as to which type of pipe is best. Galvanized vs black Iron bnasically. I've got both and neither have caused me any grief...just my personal opinion.
 

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If you get black pipe -- wipe it down with mineral spirits or lacquer thinner to get that sticky coating off. Handles real nice after that.
 

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Whichever pipe you get, do put some wax paper or other barrier between the pipe and any glued joint. The conduit connector hint is really good. There are several brands and types of pipe clamp hardware, be sure to get one that has a flat side so the clamp is steady when sitting on a bench. Some of the cheaper brands are rounded and will rock annoyingly while setting them up.
 

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I think Home Depot & Lowas will thread pipe for you if you buy a stick of pipe.

When clamping a lot of things together don't clamp to tight. Clamping to tight makes panels buckle and also you can squeeze all the glue out.
 

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I've had no issues either with coupling pipes together. I've had mine out to 12' before so that I could clamp wooden caps on either end of a counter top.

I have maybe 3 different brands maybe. One set is harder than hell to slide on the pipe so don't get the really cheap ones which is probably what these are. Bessey makes some that are just a few dollars extra that have legs on the back side of the clamp so that you can sit them down on your bench and do a lay up on top of them and they will stay facing up. This is important because when you are clamping wood together to make panels. You should have half the clamps on one side and half on the other to help keep the panel flat. The Besseys make that easy to do.
 
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Pipe clamps are great. I have used connectors to make lengths up to 10'. They may flex a little at those lengths, just don't over tighten them. The only issue with the pipes, is that the metal will react with the tannins in the wood, and cause stains that are really hard to remove. Don't let the pipe rest on the wood, and use wax paper or some other barrier to protect the wood.
 

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Before investing time and money check out the Harbor Freight clamps. With the 20% off and when they are on sale it will probably cost more to buy the black pipe. They sell the pipe clamps but also have the aluminum ones 5 feet long.
 

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Fellow woodworkers,

I have some pipe clamps that I bought a few years ago and have a problem with them. The clamp slips on the pipe when tightened. The pipes have a coating that appears to be varnish or similar. If I grind some lines or grooves around them will this help or will it make them difficult to use ? Any advice will be appreciated.

Dan
 

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Rub that sticky coating off with lacquer thinner. They will hold and be easier to handle, with no mess.
 

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Fellow woodworkers,

I have some pipe clamps that I bought a few years ago and have a problem with them. The clamp slips on the pipe when tightened. The pipes have a coating that appears to be varnish or similar. If I grind some lines or grooves around them will this help or will it make them difficult to use ? Any advice will be appreciated.

Dan
I would think they should bite through that Dan. Try the lacquer thinner on a short section or a wire brush on an angle grinder. If that doesn't work then the teeth on the clamp may be too dull. The pawl is probably only held in by a roll pin which you could knock out if you wanted to inspect the teeth to see if they aren't right.
 
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Fellow woodworkers,

I have some pipe clamps that I bought a few years ago and have a problem with them. The clamp slips on the pipe when tightened. The pipes have a coating that appears to be varnish or similar. If I grind some lines or grooves around them will this help or will it make them difficult to use ? Any advice will be appreciated.

Dan
I don't think you will see slips with new Bessey clamps. I have 8 or 10 and none of them slip.

I remember in the old days some of the knock offs had problems with slipping. I had a pair 30 or 40 years ago which had problems.
 

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I agree with Charles regarding the teeth. But check the lever that engages the rear clamp - it might not be engaging. Try holding the lever down while tightening the clamp and see if it grabs.
 

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Pipe clamps are much cheaper than the large parallel clamps(Bessey K style) . They are also better when putting more pressure to clamping. The longer your pipe the better chance of the pipe will bow. I do use a joints occasionally when I need to extend the clamp.They best pipe clamp is the "Jorgensen " brand. When using your pipe clamp( black pipe) be sure to use wax paper where glue joints will touch the black pipe. The pipe has a tendency to stain when the water base glue comes in contact with it. Another thing, pipe clams tend to be heavier than other clamps. They can really hurt your right big toe. Other wise pipe clamps are good to have . All woodworkers will tell you " You can never have enough clamps". Steve.
 
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