10 Types of Woodworking Clamps

Types of Woodworking Clamps

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If you are planning on doing some woodworking, chances are pretty big that at some point you will be using glue to secure pieces of wood together. When doing this, you need to have some kind of clamp to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. Clamping the pieces together will ensure that the glue bonds securely to both surfaces, thus forming a secure joint once dry.

That said, there are many different kinds of woodworking clamps out there, and today we are here to look at all of them.

1. Parallel Jaw Clamp

Parallel Jaw Bar Clamp The parallel jaw clamp features a long bar to which two clamp heads or so-called jaws are attached. The jaws on the clamp are parallel to each other, and perpendicular to the main central bar.

This allows you to hold together three pieces of wood, with two of them being quite far away from each other, or in other words if you are creating square assemblies where three or more pieces are being held together in a square or rectangular manner.

When making square assemblies and gluing them together, the parallel jaw clamp is an essential tool that you will definitely have use for. This is one of the most common types of woodworking clamps, and if you are making any sort of box-shaped item, you will absolutely want to have this tool.

2. C-Clamp (Carriage Clamp)

C-Clamp The carriage clamp, otherwise known as the C-clamp, features a large U-shaped frame made out of solid metal, with a screw bar that can loosen or tighten across the opening of the frame. This type of clamp is ideal for clamping together relatively small pieces of wood, particularly when a lot of pressure needs to be applied to a very small surface area.

One example of when a C-clamp would be used is for gluing laminations and veneers to a curved workpiece.

There are then also a few subcategories to consider here, including the locking C-clamp, the quick-release C-clamp, the double anvil C-clamp, and the deep reach C-clamp.

These are generally considered quite convenient and versatile because being able to screw these clamps shut means that your workpieces won’t move out of place as you are tightening the clamp.

3. Corner Clamp

Corner Clamp The corner clamp is another essential type of clamp that you should be familiar with. If you are gluing two pieces of wood together to form a 90-degree angle, or in other words, a corner, then this is the type of clamp that you need.

The corner clamp features a flat base on which the two pieces of wood being joined in a corner can rest on. There are then two outer bars, almost like fences on a saw, that hold the pieces in place.

There is then a central component to the clamp that gets tightened on both of the interior sides of the corner, which can be screwed shut. This, therefore, holds two pieces of wood together to form a corner.

If you are making cabinets, boxes, or anything else with a perfectly square corner, then this is the type of clamp that you need. It’s how you make a perfect 90-degree angle when joining two pieces of wood together.

4. Spring Clamp

Spring Clamp Here we have what is going to be one of the smallest types of woodworking clamps on the list, although also one of the most useful. This type of clamp resembles a large clothespin and is made out of metal, combined with rubber on the clamp teeth for a secure grip.

If you just need to secure two very small pieces of wood together while your glue dries, and you don’t need a whole lot of pressure to be applied, then the spring clamp is ideal.

If you need to clamp together two long and thin pieces in a straight line or a curved shape, such as for making a guitar, then this is an ideal clamp to use, as you can line up multiple spring clamps beside each other. These clamps are also very easy to use, as you just have to apply pressure to the handle, just like with a normal clothespin.

5. Strap Clamp

Strap Clamp One of the more unique clamp types out there is the strap clamp. This type of clamp features a large box or housing inside of which a flexible strap is contained. There is then a spool around which the strap is wrapped, along with a spinning handle to extend and retract the strap.

You also get a ratcheting handle so you can ratchet the strap tightly around a variety of objects. Many people use these as corner clamps, although they are more versatile, as they can accommodate angles other than 90 degrees, both smaller and larger.

Just wrap the strap around the various pieces being glued together and then ratchet it tight. This is also an ideal type of clamp to use for circular workpieces, as the strap is soft, so it can mold itself to whatever it is being wrapped around.

6. Pipe Clamp

Pipe Clamp We then have the pipe clamp, which in terms of its design, is fairly similar to the parallel jaw clamp. However, here the two heads of the clamp are fitted around a circular pipe.

One of the clamp heads does not move, while the other one slides up and down the pipe to accommodate various lengths of workpieces.

You then get a screw bar or rod to tighten everything into place. This is a useful type of clamp to use when you need to hold together multiple pieces of wood and need to keep them all perfectly lined up.

That pipe acts like a fence to keep everything in line. For example, if you are gluing the sides of multiple boards together to form a larger and flat surface, you could hold everything together at once with a pipe clamp.

See in more detail how the pipe clamp compares with the parallel clamp. You might also want to see how it compares with the bar clamp.

7. Kant Twist Clamp

Kant Twist Clamp The Kant twist clamp is one of the most popular types of clamps used in woodworking. Here you will see jaws that look like the letter C, with the mouths of the jaws featuring square metal blocks that can rotate.

This clamp then also has a screw bar that is used to loosen and tighten the jaws of the clamp. This is a very commonly used clamp in both woodworking and metalworking. It allows you to clamp together two small pieces without twisting or moving the pieces as the clamp is being tightened.

8. Trigger-Activated Bar Clamp

Trigger Clamp Next, we have the trigger-activated bar clamp. This clamp is somewhat similar to a parallel jaw clamp, but also contains elements that resemble a caulking gun. Here, you have a long and thin bar to which two clamp heads are attached.

One side features what looks like a handgun or the trigger end of a caulking gun. You can extend the bar through the handle to its maximum length, and then use the trigger to tighten the clamp. Pressing the trigger causes the bar to retract through the handle, thus tightening the clamp.

This is a fantastic type of clamp to use, as it allows you to hold the workpiece with one hand while tightening the clamp with the other. If you need to glue together two fairly large pieces, or multiple pieces at once, then this is one of the best clamps to use.

9. Wood Screw Clamp

Wood Screw Clamp Here we have what has to be one of the oldest types of clamps out there. With this tool, you will see wooden jaws with two screws that face each other. This allows you to tighten the jaws of the clamp from both sides at once, applying different amounts of pressure from both sides and in slightly different locations.

This can be very useful because being able to tighten the jaws with different levels of pressure a few inches apart means that clamping two pieces that are not perfectly parallel with one another is made easy. So, if you have two pieces of wood that are not going to line up perfectly and be totally parallel, then this is the type of clamp that you need.

10. Deep Throat Bar Clamp

Deep Throat Clamp Here we have what is essentially a combination between a C-clamp and a parallel jaw clamp. It features the very deep throat of a C-clamp, thus allowing you to reach far down onto workpieces, combined with the bar and clamping style of a parallel bar clamp, therefore also allowing you to secure long pieces together. The throat can be up to 4” deep, and the bar up to 80” long.


Now that you know what the ten most commonly used clamps in woodworking are, you can choose the one that is best for your next project.