Bar clamps are one of the most common tools in the workshop, and can be particularly useful for anyone who needs to complete a particular task quickly. However, it is vital that you use the right tool for the job, as with any power-based tool, there are different types of bar clamp available on the market. Here is an overview of the main types of clamps, with a brief description of how they work, and which one you need for a particular job.
The easiest type of clamp to understand is the quick clamp. These are generally sold in box-shaped sets of two, and are especially useful for securing a board to a workbench or other work surface. They are a simple design, consisting of two arms with a screw hook at the end, allowing the user to simply clamp the board onto the arm. As with many hand tool brands, these tend to use a small-sized hex key as an engaging mechanism, rather than using an adjusting screw. This makes them more suited to small-scale projects, such as testing boards or small cabinet knobs.
Another popular type of clamp is the heat treated steel bar clamp. These are essentially similar to their cardboard cousins, but are offered in a variety of shapes and sizes. The primary difference between these and quick clamps lies in the material they are made from. Heat treated steel bar clamps are usually coated with a protective layer, which improves the resistance to rust and corrosion. Some also feature a reinforced nylon handle for greater durability.
If you prefer a more permanent fixture, you should consider purchasing a sliding head electric clamping machine. As the name suggests, this type of clamp uses electric motor power to apply pressure, rather than mechanical muscle power. It features a standard steel bar clamps as well as a plastic sliding head. Unlike quick clamps, they are not welded together, so they require a more robust base and greater care.
A common type of woodworking clamp is the cast iron or heat treated adjustable clamp. Made of steel or aluminum, these are designed to offer a comfortable grip on a variety of surfaces. As with a quick clamp, they are not welded together, but rely on the user’s strength for an easily adjusted grip. Some even feature a reinforced nylon handle to improve durability.
If you would prefer a slightly sturdier product with a more secure grip, a quick-release clamp with a high-performance nylon handle is the ideal solution. Most of these clamps feature a high-tension spring that allows users to exert enough force to quickly and easily snap the bar from under the piece of wood or metal. The advantage to this type of grip is greater durability. You can take the piece wherever you want to do projects, since they are very versatile – you can use them for painting, bench pressing or for working on furniture, etc.
Another popular type of bar clamps for woodworking is the stationary variety, which can be used for lifting and moving various sized pieces of wood or metal. The mechanism used is a one-handed press, and usually includes a spring that allows you to exert considerable force to lift and lower the weight. This is the most common mechanism for these types of clamps, but some manufacturers have developed a two-handed version which provides a more secure hold. Most of these come in one-handed or two-handed versions. The manufacturer usually supplies the spring as well, although you may need to purchase other hardware to complete installation.
Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive way to hold a few nails or a sturdy way to hold a whole log, it’s important to choose a quality bar clamp set. Since these tools are used in a lot of detail oriented work, manufacturers make sure that they include all the features you’ll need, like automatic adjustment of clamping force, ratcheting mechanism, etc. This way, you can ensure maximum efficiency in your woodworking projects.