Do you remember making popsicle stick houses in school? How the Elmer’s glue would sort of ooze through all the cracks, and the popsicle sticks would start sliding around and eventually become a heaping mess on the table?
Luckily, there is a tool that can prevent this kind of mishap from occurring in your woodworking projects: a woodworking clamp. This tool allows you to hold together two pieces of wood (or metal, glass, etc.) after gluing to keep them from shifting or coming apart before they set.
There are quite a few types of woodworking clamps on the market today, so knowing which one to purchase for your project can be a hassle. And that’s where we come in.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common types of woodworking clamps, give you some creative DIY ideas to try out after your purchase, and acquaint you with some of the best clamps on the market today.
Types of Woodworking Clamps
As you step foot into the woodworking world, there are several clamp types you should be aware of. While all clamps serve the same basic function of holding together two wood pieces, each clamp type is best suited for a particular use.
Clamps are often categorized into two broad categories:
- F Type
- G Type (also called a C type)
The letter indicates the general “shape” the clamp has.
In addition to these categories, there are more-specific types of clamps out there. The ones most common in woodworking include:
- Corner Clamp
- Strap Clamp
- Trigger-Activated Clamp
- Wood Screw Clamp
- Spring Clamp
- Parallel-Jaw Clamp
Keep in mind that there are many, many more clamp types on the market today. This is just a small sample of the most common types.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these clamp types.
F Type woodworking clamps are most often used when a secure grip is required for tasks such as gluing or screwing together two wood pieces. Its ‘F’ shape comprises two horizontal jaws and a metal bar set vertically between. To use this tool, you simply need to tighten the jaws via the screw as needed; it’s easily adjustable for use on a range of projects.
G Clamp / C Clamp
G clamps (also called C clamps) feature a simple design consisting of a C-shaped piece constructed of steel or cast iron and a long screw that is used to tighten the clamp. You can purchase G-clamps in a variety of sizes to best fit your upcoming woodworking project. Do note, however, that it’s good practice to use scrap wood or another buffer to keep the clamp from coming in direct contact with the project wood—this type of clamp is known to cause slight damage to wood it comes in direct contact with.
A corner clamp is ideal for woodworking projects requiring a perfect 90-degree angle for corners. This would come in handy, for instance, if you plan on working with mitered wood pieces.
Strap clamps are very similar to corner clamps, but are even more versatile. They can be used for working with mitered corners at right angles, as well as other ‘odd’ shapes that most other clamps won’t be able to handle.
Trigger-activated clamps are just about as simple and convenient as they come! To utilize this type of clamp, you hold the wood with one hand and activate the clamp’s trigger with the other. This type of clamp can be used for any number of projects and offers a secure grip you can trust.
Wood Screw Clamp
Wood screw clamps feature a simple and easy-to-use design. The two clamps are held together using two long thread screws (facing opposite directions), each of which you can ‘thread’ to the exact tightness you need for the project. The screws even have handles to make things more convenient for you.
Spring clamps are ideal for smaller projects. Their design is similar to that of a clothespin, but constructed for use in woodworking. With just one hand, you can ‘clip’ them onto smaller, thinner pieces of wood to hold them together.
Parallel-jaw clamps are best used for larger-scale gluing projects requiring 90-degree angles and perfect square pieces. This type of clamp provides a very secure grip and can be purchased in a variety of sizes to best suit any project.
DIY Projects Using Clamps
Once you have your new clamps in tow, you can start taking on more DIY projects than you could imagine! Here, we’ll outline three relatively simple woodworking projects from HomeEdit that require clamps to get you started.
Countertop Wine Rack
Let’s face it: Those wine bottles standing on the kitchen counter do not give your home an attractive look. The good news is that you can easily create a stylish wine rack at home to eradicate that problem. This DIY project features a simple wooden frame and a leather sling.
You’ll need a few items and tools:
- A leather strap (4.5” X 31”)
- A sharp needle
- Polyurethane glue
- Timber screws
- Drill and bit
- Several pieces of timber
- 8 pieces that are 5.9” (L) X 1.2” (W) X 0.7” (Thick) – These are your A pieces.
- 8 pieces that are 3.5” (L) X 0.7” (W) X 0.7” (Thick) – These are your B pieces.
- 6 pieces that are 3.7” (L) X 1.2” (W) X 0.7” (Thick) – These are your C pieces.
The first part of this project involves gluing the pieces together, which is where you get to make use of your new clamps! You will glue two A pieces to two B pieces to form a square, and do this with all of the A and B pieces until you have four squares. Clamp the glued pieces together, wait until it’s completely set, and then screw the squares together to ensure they stay together.
Next, you will use the C pieces to connect the squares. Do this by gluing a C piece in-between each of the two squares on either side, at the bottom. Clamp and let set.
Finally, you will take the leather and sew it across the frame sling-style.
DIY Wood Candelabra
Whether you need a festive décor item for Christmas and New Year’s or a little something to liven up your living room year-round, a candelabra is a great option. Best of all, you can easily make one at home yourself with just a few tools and items.
- Wood (2” X 2” X 8’)
- 2” drywall screws
- Gorilla Wood Glue
- Danish oil
- Chop or circular saw
- Orbital sander or sandpaper
- 18V cordless drill
- Drill press
- Foam paintbrush
- C clamps
This project is relatively simple, especially if you have any woodworking experience.
To start, you will saw the wood piece into pieces of varying lengths and then smooth the corners of each piece. Next, you will drill holes into each wood piece for the candles to go inside (measuring the candles first is a good idea). Once the holes are drilled, clean up any excess dust and use the Danish oil to protect the wood. To finish, use screws to hold the pieces together in sets, glue the sets together into one candelabra piece, and let set with clamps. Now your candelabra is ready!
Desk with Shelf and Hairpin Legs
If you have a bit of woodworking experience under your belt, making this DIY desk will be a simple, straightforward process. The end product is a beautiful, minimalist desk with a top shelf for extra storage and a cord concealer (optional).
Here are the things you’ll need:
- Four hairpin legs
- Several cuts of wood
- Wood screws
- Pocket screws
- Kreg jig
- Right angle clamp
- Wood glue
- Wood filler
- Fine sandpaper
- Pocket hole plugs
There are several steps involved in this project, but to summarize:
To begin, you will glue and clamp the top and bottom part of the desk surface together, screw them together for extra security, and apply a wood filler to any hollow or worn spots you notice. Next, you’ll drill pocket holes into four 1X8 boards and set aside.
Cut two 1X3 boards into 3’ (L) pieces and drill pocket holes on each one, on the long side. You will use these two pieces to make a L-shaped corner, which you will glue and screw onto the bottom part of the desk surface (with the L-shaped corner’s opening toward the back).
Now you will take the 1X8 boards and glue and screw them onto the top part of the desk surface to form cubbies. To form the shelf, glue a 3’ 1X8 board on top of these and screw it on well.
Sand the desk, clean off any dust, insert the pocket hole plugs, and add the finish to the wood.
Best Woodworking Clamps
Now that your creative juices are flowing and you know a little more about clamps, let’s briefly go over some of the best woodworking clamps currently on the market.
This set of eight from IRWIN will be a great purchase for anyone who needs a variety of clamps for casual projects or larger workloads. It includes four Handi-Clamps with convenient trigger functionality, two Mini Bar clamps that provide 150 PSI pressure, and two spring clips. Each product in this pack boasts a durable construction of reinforced resin and come with the IRWIN Lifetime Guarantee. This set is perfect for everyday use and the occasional woodworking adventure!
Smaller projects require smaller tools, and that’s where this four-pack of Mini Bar Clamps comes in. These clamps are designed with the user in mind, featuring pads to keep the wood safe from marring, easy one-hand operation, and a durable construction of resin and steel bars. These little guys are stronger than they appear, able to clasp wood pieces with 140 pounds’ worth of pressure. Their small size is ideal for any smaller-scale projects you have planned, so order your set today!
Do you need high-quality, user-friendly F clamps for your next project? Then look no further! These Quick-Adjust clamps from WEN are designed with you, the user, in mind. Their easy-slide clamp system makes them a breeze to use for any project and their micro-adjustment knob gives you extra control over just how tight the clamps are. Despite the clamps’ 1200 pounds of force, you’ll never need to worry about the wood becoming damaged; each clamp features non-marring pads to protect your project. You can purchase this useful tool set in four sizes—6-inch, 12-inch, 24-inch, and 36-inch—so you can rest assured there’s a clamp made just right for your upcoming project, no matter its size.
If versatility is a deal-breaker for you, then make sure you check out these Dovetail clamps from Micro Jig. They feature a unique design that allows you to clamp your project in a convenient, out-of-the-way manner by using dovetail grooves to hold a router bit that will hold the clamp in place. Because all you have to do is create a dovetail groove on the wood right where you want the pressure applied, you can clamp anywhere on the wood. To make your life even easier, these clamps can work with any dovetail router bit that features a 1.5” 14-degree design—this means less time spent worrying over whether the bit you buy will fit! This set is perfect for anyone who needs a little more flexibility from their clamps for more creative or specification-heavy projects.
Are you planning some small-scale woodworking or DIY activities? Then you should absolutely take a look at these corner clamps from SERENDIPPER. First of all, these clamps are versatile: while they’re essential for any project requiring 90-degree angle clamping, they can also be used for 45-degree saws. They’re also built to last, boasting a durable ABS construction and strong springs. And to give you that extra peace of mind, they come with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your money back. What is there to lose?
If you have a slightly larger job in mind, you’ll benefit from this four-piece set of corner clamps. These are a bit more rugged in design than the previous set, featuring construction of aluminum alloy and tough plastic. This makes them great for projects that require a little more strength or durability from your clamps! Finally, you’ll appreciate how easy these are to use and install: simply adjust the screws to tighten or loosen the clamp jaws. Purchase your set today and experience all the power behind these little clamps firsthand!
This corner clamp from Housoultion is just what you need for your next larger-scale woodworking project. It features an aluminum alloy construction for durability, an ergonomic handle for easy adjustments, and an anti-skid design for added safety and convenience. You can even purchase this product in three different colors: Black, Orange, or Silver Gray. This product is practical, stylish, and made to last—what more could you ask for?
This C clamp is ideal for holding pipes in place during welding, though it can also serve double-duty as a clamping tool for woodworking projects. Its V-Pads provide a more effective clamping experience and allow for versatile use, clamping well to a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes. You’ll also love its easy-to-use design and strong construction of heat-treated alloyed steel. This clamp will stick with you through thick and thin, and through a wealth of welding and woodworking projects. See for yourself!
With a 198-pound holding force, zinc-plated carbon steel construction, and vinyl handgrips, this is not a clamp to be taken lightly. This set of four is ideal for larger, heavier-duty projects that require a lot of strength! In addition to the clamps’ strength, you can look forward to their ease of use and practical design features. Each clamp comes with rubber tips to protect the wood during use, an economical design that makes setting it up and removing it a breeze, and a toggle clamp system that makes for a simple, no-frills clamping experience. What isn’t there to love?
This is a fantastic corner clamp set for DIYers and those who enjoy the occasional small-scale woodworking project. These clamps are adjustable from 3/16” to ¾”, feature a durable ABS construction and high-quality springs, and can be operated single-handedly to give you a hand available for other tasks. In addition to 90-degree angles, these clamps are great for holding pieces together at a T-angle and can clamp wood pieces of different thicknesses. Purchase this set for yourself and discover firsthand what these clamps can bring to the plate.
Having the right woodworking clamps for the job can make all the difference when it comes to the end product you’re crafting. We hope our article gave you a good idea of what types of clamps there are, what to look for in your future clamp purchase, and where to find the very best clamps for your projects.
We listed a variety of high-quality clamps for you to check out, but if none of the items on our list seem like a fit, we encourage you to continue your search. Find the woodworking clamps that check all your boxes and start creating!