A Buying Guide – The Best Woodworking Clamps in 2020

Woodworking clamps

If you ever tried woodworking, you know that the Woodworking clamps are an essential tool for this industry. These tools are suitable for various operations, but it is crucial to choose the right type. That might be hard when there are numerous clamp types on the market.

It is why we prepared a detailed buying guide on finding the best wood clamps for different projects. 

We’ll tell you everything there is to know about these tools – beginners will learn all the basics, and even advanced users might discover something new. 

1. Types of Clamps

Before selected a wood clamp, it is imperative to identify the potential choices. Therefore, we are starting by learning more about different classes of these tools. Check out this detailed information about various types of wood clamps and when to use them.

1.1 C-Clamp (G-Clamp)

C-Clamp on white background

Caption: C-Clamp on white background

C-clamps, also known as  G-clamps. They are our first pick because they are versatile and common among beginners and veteran users.

These wood clamps are affordable, and that makes them accessible for both DIY experts and professionals. You can use them for woodworking, but also basic metalworking. Although their price is budget-friendly, don’t expect these tools to be long-lasting. They wear off over time, and they also have a restricted working area. If you buy a deeper clamp shape, it will offer additional space for adjusting the clamp and the application. 

1.2 Miter Clamp

What if you need to position multiple workpieces at a specific angle and ensure they are not moving? That is where miter woodworking clamps come into play because they are capable of keeping up to three wooden pieces together. Therefore, you can achieve the desired 90-degree angle easily.

All users should do is to place the wooden material inside the clamp. Next, secure the material in the right position, and the tool will hold it as long as necessary. These clamps are often present when drilling miter joints but also for picture frames and moldings.

1.3 Strap Clamp

A strap clamp

Caption: A strap clamp

What if you don’t have a 90-degree angle but an irregular one? If that is the case, you want to go with a strap clamp. These clamps will work whenever their miter alternatives aren’t the right fit. It might be that your frame is of unusual shape, but you still need a tool to hold the pieces properly. 

Strap clamps are capable of working at odd angles. Therefore, you can expect them to meet your expectations and help achieve the desired results. 

1.4 Bar Clamps (F-Clamps)

F-clamps

Caption: F-clamps

If you are a DIY expert, you might be into making furniture or wooden tables. Therefore, you want to use premium tools on your projects, and F-clamps fall into that category. These are durable and long-lasting products, so expect their price tag to be a bit higher than usual.

You can consider F-clamps if you plan on using them in the long run. If you only use the tool once, the cost might not justify it. However, if you often handle DIY projects and make furniture, this tool is the right choice.

1.5 Edge Clamp

As the word suggests, the edge clamp is specific because you mount it on the edge of the wooden material you want to cut. That makes the tool suitable for straight cuts since it can maintain excellent precision and accuracy.

All it takes is to mount the clamp properly, and the experts recommend connecting it to a circular saw. Once the material is firmly in position, use the tool, and rest assured that the cut will remain straight. 

1.6 Pipe Clamp

Pipe clamps

Caption: Pipe clamps

If you want the best results from pipe clamps woodworking projects, this is a tool to include. Working with pipes can include demanding projects, and you often work with large materials. However, pipe clamps can handle oversized workpieces, and users can even consider applying it as a torque machine.

The biggest benefit of these clamps is that they can accommodate small pipes and large tubes. Therefore, the size doesn’t matter for these projects – the pipe clamps will hold the material in place while you are doing the required task.

1.7 Handscrew Clamp

It’s not as popular as it used to be, but you will still notice handscrew clamp in DIY garages and shipbuilding factories. If you are a do-it-yourself expert, you can find this tool convenient for making wooden cabinets. Therefore, this unit also has the name cabinet clamp because it can be useful when building these pieces.

You could say a handscrew clamp is a simple tool. It helps to keep the material for its edge while holding it to the bench, too. That’s not particularly versatile, but it can help with specific projects.

2. Choose the Right Wood Clamps for Your Project

The best clamps for woodworking are the ones that fit your particular project. Therefore, it is imperative to pick an adequate unit for the material.

Before we head into a detailed explanation of suitable clamps for various projects, here is a quick table of appropriate tools.

ProjectClamp Type
Edge gluing panelsBar, pipe
Face gluingF-clamp
Assembling cabinetsParallel jaw
Attaching edge bandingBandy
Securing jigs & workpiecesPistol quick grip, toggle, Hand-Screw, T-track
Clamping around partsRatcheting band

2.1 Edge Gluing Panels

Edge glued panels

Caption: Edge glued panels

Does your project involve gluing panels by their edges? If that is the case, you can’t go wrong with a pipe clamp. Alternatively, you can try a bar tool, too. However, the primary concern is that there is sufficient length to cover the glue width. Also, it’s vital to find a clamp that can hold the panels in position well.

The best choice could be an aluminum bar clamp, but please note these can be expensive. However, if you want excellent stability with ease of use, this is the way to go. On the other hand, those who find the price to be more important can consider a pipe clamp to cover various lengths. However, make sure the material fits into the clamp.

2.2 Face Gluing

Apart from edge gluing, you can also face particular glue components. However, you won’t use a bar or pipe clamp. Instead, it’s vital to choose F-clamp because it allows for completing various projects. That includes bend lamination, making a table leg, etc.

The idea is that the point of force should extend from the material’s end. Therefore, it’s vital to pick a suitable jaw depth. You can consider piston clamps if you want to hold the panels firm in position. These units come with a 90-degree swivel handle to ensure additional leverage.

2.3 Assembling Cabinets

A professional assembling cabinets

Caption: A professional assembling cabinets

Cabinets are among the most common DIY projects that individuals handle at home. Therefore, your job will be easier that you choose the right tool, so make sure to go with parallel jaw clamps. The reason why you want to use them is to ensure equal pressure and positioning on both sides. That can be helpful when designing face frames and cabinet boxes.

The components should be perpendicular, so make sure to combine clamps with assembly squares. Therefore, a jig should place at the right angle. You position the clamp between the two pieces to ensure they remain perpendicular.

2.4 Attaching Edge Banding

Do you need to handle sheet materials? If the answer is yes, you want to go with a bandy clamp. Thanks to that tool, it will be easy to connect a wood edge to a panel. It is a frequent task, which is why these woodworking tools are popular among users.

If you go with a bandy clamp, it will feature an anti-slip pad and a band that moves between the two jaw sections. Therefore, it’ll be convenient to perform the task, but also ensure the cables don’t disturb you while operating.

2.5 Securing Jigs & Work Pieces

Would you like to secure a component by connecting it to another material piece, the tool, or a wood clamp table? If you want to secure jigs and materials, the experts suggest going with one of these:

  • Pistol quick grip – it will only take seconds to connect and detach the component, while the tool will keep it in place. 
  • Hold downs – it’s great if you are working with a bench. You can also choose T-track since it secures additional wiggle room to position the material properly.
  • Handscrew clamps – these are suitable if you need to keep the material at its edge. 
  • Toggle clamps – you can use them for tiny material pieces. 

2.6 Clamping Round Parts

Let’s say you have a box that features mitered corners. What if you need to wrap something around it, but you don’t know which clamp you need?

That is where a ratcheting band clamp comes into play because it’s capable of ensuring proper positioning and comfort while performing the task. Therefore, it’s the right choice for clamping around components.

Section 3.  Woodworking Clamps– How to Use Wood Clamps

Whether you use small or large wood clamps, it’s critical to utilize them properly. If you don’t have any previous experience, you could use a couple of tips on how to work with these tools. Therefore, we prepared a detailed guide, and here are the rules to stick to during the process

Use Scrap Wood

The first thing to do is to ensure that you won’t damage the material you are processing. That is why you want to find a material you don’t need. Place it between the workpiece and the jaws because the idea is to protect the primary material, and not tighten the jaws too much. However, if that happens, the only damaged piece will be the unrequired one, which means the main workpiece will remain in perfect condition.

The Firm Even Pressures

It is all about positioning the clamp properly. You don’t want the workpiece to fall through the clamp in the middle of the operation. Therefore, the initial requirement is to find an appropriate angle. Make sure to position it to the line where you will place the glue.

Next, you want to use a firm and even pressure if you use multiple clamps. That way, you ensure that the workpieces will remain in place during the entire project.

Clamp-On Tight

Using clamps to connect wooden timbers

Caption: Using clamps to connect wooden timbers

We can’t underline the importance of tightening up the woodworking clamps enough. Therefore, don’t hesitate to invest some strength to tighten the jaws. You don’t want them to move even the slightest during operation. It will take a bit of practice to determine the right tightening level. Therefore, you might consider using a couple of practice workpieces first.

Don’t Overdo It

As we said, it takes practice to find the optimal positioning. Therefore, you will need to clamp the workpiece on two sides, which is why the crucial thing to ensure is the pressure is even.

However, make sure you aren’t forcing the workpiece out of position. It’s all in finding the balance between not pressuring too much and ensuring the unit won’t move out of position.

Avoid Surface Damage

Did it ever happen to damage your workpiece while setting up the clamps? That is a possibility, which is why you should be careful. Here is a neat trick – you can consider using simply felt pads as protection to ensure you don’t damage the workpiece. Furthermore, it’s even possible to use milk caps or improvise another material for protection.

Apart from surface damage, it’s vital to ensure the workpiece remains clean.

Section 4. The Best Woodworking Clamps in 2020

Now that you are familiar with different types of woodworking clamps, it’s time to present the best units in the market. Here are some top suggestions in different categories, along with their advantages and downsides.

Sandor 3″ Metal Face Clamp Woodworking

Sandor 3" Metal Face Clamp Woodworking

Caption: Sandor 3″ Metal Face Clamp Woodworking

Features:

  • A three-inch jaw capacity
  • Excellent quality and durability
  • Suitable for various applications

Sandor offers a two-pack set of woodworking clamps with a metal face. These are C-clamps, which makes them versatile and suitable for various projects. You can mount the clamp in seconds, and it’s compatible with up to 2 ¾-inch thick materials. Therefore, it’s possible to use it in carpentry, woodworking, and simple repairs that involve sanding, gluing or carving. 

Evwoge Woodworking Clamp G-Clip

Evwoge Woodworking Clamp G-Clip

Caption: Evwoge Woodworking Clamp G-Clip

Features:

  • An attractive and ergonomic design
  • The grip is comfortable
  • Simple to adjust the desired clamping force

Here is a basic clamp g-clip for those looking for standard clamps to use in their garage. It’s perfect for DIY projects, and it comes with a comfortable grip. You can position the tool easily because of the ergonomic design. Furthermore, it only takes seconds to find the right clamping force and even pressure. The manufacturer used stainless steel as the primary material for the base, and the surface features colored aluminum.

IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Clamps

IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Clamps

Caption: IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Clamps

Features:

  • A lightweight one-handed mini bar
  • Capable of distributing the generous force 
  • Easy to release the clamps

IRWIN designed durable mini bar clamps that are convenient to use. You only need a single hand to release the clamps when mounted. Fortunately, the product has a firm grip and comes with pads that protect the primary material.

It is a surprisingly sturdy clamp that uses 150 pounds of distributed force to keep the material in place. Due to its mini shape, it’s suitable for small materials and restricted areas. You will receive four clamps in a single pack. 

Maxpower F-Clamp

Maxpower F-Clamp

Caption: Maxpower F-Clamp

Features:

  • A 12-inch opening size with an ergonomic handle
  • Protective pads included
  • Suitable for heavy-duty projects

MaxPower F-Clamp is a steel product, which guarantees excellent durability and longevity. That also means you can use the unit for heavy-duty projects. It is capable of holding all materials that fit into its 12-inch opening size firmly in position. It’s nice to see that the manufacturer included protective pads. That guarantees you won’t damage the primary materials. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that MaxPower provides a lifetime guarantee on the item.

TEKTON Mini 6-Inch x 1-1/2-Inch Ratchet Bar Clamp

TEKTON Mini 6-Inch x 1-1/2-Inch Ratchet Bar Clamp

Caption: TEKTON Mini 6-Inch x 1-1/2-Inch Ratchet Bar Clamp

Features:

  • Available in different sizes
  • Excellent for consistent pressure
  • Easy to release the jaw from any position

Here is an excellent product for all those who need a ratchet bar clamp. TEKTON implemented a constant ratchet action for optimal pressure at all times. You can release the jaw whenever necessary with the press of a button. The jaws are durable, and they come with pads that ensure you won’t damage the material surface. Additionally, users will appreciate that the handles are comfortable and non-slippery. 

3/4″ Pipe Clamp Fixture with Wide Base

3/4" Pipe Clamp Fixture with Wide Base

Caption: 3/4″ Pipe Clamp Fixture with Wide Base

Features: 

  • The wide base guarantees additional stability
  • A simple handle rotation
  • The enamel finish contributes to the durability

Peachtree Woodworking Supply offers a ¾ pipe clamp suitable for standard-sized tubes and pipes. You will usually handle these in your garage for DIY projects. Therefore, you will appreciate the added stability provided by the wide base. It is easy to turn the handle and find an optimal position. Finally, the baked enamel finish extends the product’s longevity.

Jorgensen Cabinet Master 24-inch 90° Parallel Jaw Bar Clamp

Jorgensen Cabinet Master 24-inch 90° Parallel Jaw Bar Clamp

Caption: Jorgensen Cabinet Master 24-inch 90° Parallel Jaw Bar Clamp

Features:

  • It includes two clamps in a single pack
  • Suitable for 90-degree material clamping
  • A deep jaw depth

If you need parallel jaw bar clamps, Jorgensen has the right ones for you. The manufacturer ensured to secure an ergonomic design, and the result is a comfortable grip and secure holding of the materials. Therefore, these clamps are excellent for 90-degree clamping because they offer a deep jaw depth for optimal and constant pressure.

Section 5 Woodworking Clamps– Frequent Q&A

Do you feel like there is more to learn about woodworking clamps? Here are the answers to the most common questions asked by our visitors. You will learn a lot if you check out the questions below and read the answers carefully.

Which Clamp Type Suits the Common Purpose?

If we are talking about basic tasks, you will find that C or G-clamps are the most common choice. That’s because they are affordable and suitable for a wide range of tasks, especially those related to DIY projects in your garage. That is why they are the most frequent ones purchased by users. 

Now, you will also find that pipe, bar, and other clamps are popular, too. Therefore, it all depends on the project, so make sure to pick accordingly. 

Type of Metal Used in Clamp

Do you want to use clamps for metalworking? The general rule is that sheet metal is suitable for these clamps. So, what is the difference between the common woodworking units? Well, you will notice that the metal clamps feature a wider mechanism. Therefore, they are capable of holding sheet metals and similar flexible materials.

Which Clamps Are Easy to Use?

That is a good question, but you will find that most clamps are fairly simple to use. Some units, like G-clamps and even miter ones, are quite basic, and you will figure them out right away. On the other hand, it might take several minutes to position a strap or pipe clamp properly. However, as soon as you place it optimally the first time, you will feel comfortable using the product in the future.

What Amount of Force Is Suitable for a Clamp?

It is all about finding the right balance. Therefore, you don’t want to use excessive force because you don’t want to damage the workpiece. If you tighten it too hard, you might leave marks, which is why experts recommend using protective pads. On the other hand, you want the pressure to be sufficient to ensure the material doesn’t move during the process but avoid tightening it too much.

Summary

Woodworking clamps are extremely useful tools that can help both DIY enthusiasts and professionals. They simplify working with wooden materials and assist in achieving higher precision. If you want expected results, it’s vital to pick a suitable clamp for your project.

NCCuttingtools is a company that has a rich history of manufacturing various tools for individuals and corporate customers. We gather experts that can follow detailed instructions and prepare customized orders quickly. 

Our turnaround is fast, and you can trust that the tools manufactured will exceed all expectations. If you have any questions regarding woodworking clamps or you want to order premium-quality tools, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Feather Board FAQ Guide-Make Feather Board for your Table Saw

feather board

A popular accessory in the woodworking industry is the feather board for stationary power tools.  This accessory serves as a safety measure to reduce accidents from power tools. 

Although several technicians and woodworkers utilize this accessory, many questions remain unanswered. 

Hence, this article presents answers to frequently asked questions about the feather board. You will also learn about different types of feather boards and how to use them for precise cuts.

Figure 1:

A FeatherBoard on a Router Table

Section 1: What is a feather board?

1.1 What is a feather board?

A Featherboard is a hold-down device that operators use in holding their workpieces in place. This device helps to hold the workpiece against a machine fence or tool surface due to its design. 

Many inaccuracies and errors arise when using power tools to cut materials. These errors are typically due to mechanical vibration. Therefore, they are often very difficult to manage or correct. As a rule of thumb, the feather board is a power tool add-on that helps you avoid inaccurate cuts.

The evolution of power tools has put forward the need for safety when using such machines. The feather board also offers you protection due to its modern design for protecting against kickbacks.

Figure 2: Featherboard on a table saw.

Featherboard on a table saw.

1.2 What is the purpose of the feather board?

The feather board is famous for two essential purposes, namely;

To hold-down your workpiece

A vital application of your feather board is to hold your workpiece tightly. This particular functionality is integral to the type and quality of cut you can make on your workpiece. Often, some users have to carry out precision tasks on their table saws. These precision tasks usually require proper handling. As such, the feather board is very effective when precise cuts and consistent pressure are critical. 

Safety

Although power tools are famous for their effectiveness, they are also known to cause some serious injuries. As such, the feather boards helps to prevent your hands from moving too close to your saw blade. This accessory also allows for easy maneuver of your stock in your cut’s direction without reverse movements.

These advantages make a feather board a must-have tool for precision tasks. They are also essential when accuracy and safety are crucial.

Section 2: Why use feather boards?

Numerous accessories enhance the performance of power tools. Therefore, operators have to decide on which accessory is best to use with their power tool. If you are looking to improve your cutting results, then the feather board is a must-have. 

feather board and router table

feather board and router table

Here are the different reasons why you must use the feather board. 

1. Easy to set up and adjust

Feather boards make work easier and faster. Feather board for table saws typically come with a slot for width adjustment and finger pressure. They help cut tricky points while still providing enough pressure for holding down the workpiece.

2. Stability and Tension Control

Power tools are disliked for their vibration, leading to parallax error on a workpiece while cutting. However, the feather boards solve this problem for you as it comes with a tension control functionality. This functionality helps maintain stability and even pressure to ensure a smooth cutting process.

3. Strength

Feather boards provide strength and durability. Nevertheless, most manufacturers use a hybrid material comprising of composite plastic and metal. 

4. Size

Featherboards come in several sizes that suit different applications. Therefore, no matter the size of the material you want to cut, you can find a suitable feather board.  

5. Design Components

Featherboards come in non-magnetic and magnetic variations. Both variations serve as an attachment of the feather board to the table saw. However, the non-magnetic variations employ a standard miter slot positioning for attachment to the table.  

Section 3: Should I make my feather boards or buy a ready-made?

3.1 How to choose the right feather board?

There are two significant ways that most operators acquire their feather board. They either buy from a manufacturing company or make theirs. Nevertheless, the eventual choice of which way to go depends on several factors. These factors include time constraints and whether or not you like making jigs. 

The flipside to DIY feather boards is that they are harsher to use. Also, these feather boards are mostly for professionals. Depending on the type of project you are undertaking, you may need to rethink which option you take. If you are hoping to make a basic clamp to the table saw, you can opt for a shop-made feather board. However, if you intend to make cuts that will require a lot of adjustment, buy a ready-made board.

Section 4: How to make a feather board?

4.1 Cut the Stock to Size

Depending on the size of the workpiece,  choose a dimension of feather board to suit the purpose. An essential rule to follow is to cut your feather board in 5×12 inches. Next, you can rip your stock accordingly before cutting to length with your miter saw.

In cutting your board length, there is an important rule you must follow. You must cut your stock according to your needs. For example, consider that the distance from your clamping point to your saw blade is 10 inches. It means you must cut your feather board to be longer than 10 inches.

4.2 Miter the Board

Next is to crosscut your board at 30 degrees with your miter saw. It is best to cut on the part of the board against which the workpiece rests.

4.3 Mark a Stop Line

From the miter edge or face, mark a point 3 inches parallel to the 30-degree lacerations. This demarcation will serve as your stop line when you start to cut the fingers of your feather board. Also, you can mark your edges with your bevel or a pencil. 

4.4 Cut the Fingers

Set the fence of the table saw 1/4 inch from the cutting edge. Spot the long side of the board immovably against the fence and level on the table. Next, run the board through the saw from the mitered edge until you arrive at the stop line. At that point, cautiously withdraw the board until it securely clears the sharp edge. 

Turn the saw’s engine off. With the stock away from the sharp edge, move the fence an extra 3/8-inch away from the edge. Next, make another cut parallel to the first and again up to the stop line. However, note that the saw must be consistently put off while changing the fence to prevent accidents. 

Section 5: How to use a feather board?

Utilizing a feather board is a lot more secure than attempting to hold a workpiece against the fence by hand. This accessory helps to prevent kickbacks due to its design.

Off-the-shelf models typically integrate with milter slots on the table. However, it should position in the feed direction and front of the blade. This configuration is essential because it helps to prevent wastes from interfering with the cuts.

To position the feather board, lower the blade with the cutting tool off. Next, place the stock against the fence. After this, place the feather board against the stock. You should test the fit of the configuration before cutting. The blade should face down when tested. It involves moving the workpiece on the table. If the workpiece can move forward easily but hard to move backward, the fit is perfect. Once positioned, you are ready to go!

Figure: Featherboard as a guide

Featherboard as a guide

Section 6: The best feather board

1. Milescraft Featherboard 

The Milescraft feather board is a versatile accessory. Its design features an attachment to miter bars of 3/4-inch and 5/8-inch dimensions. Also, it is easy to use.

Pros

  • It gives operators the freedom to place it on both sides of the blade and the fence.
  • It is extremely fast to set up due to its simple design.

Cons

  • It is only suitable for metal tables.

2. Kreg True-FLEX Featherboard

This Kreg feather board is using a plastic composite. It is suitable with band saws and router tables. It has a twin pack setup that allows different placement on the side of the table and top of the fence. As such, it allows even pressure and prevents accidents. 

Pros

  • It is suitable with several stationary power tools. 
  • This feather board helps to maintain even pressure on the workpiece. 
  • It provides ease of installation.

Cons

  • It is limited in design and non-magnetic
  • There is a chance that warping will occur with this device. 

3. Milescraft FeatherBoard For Table Saws, Router tables, and Fence

Milescraft has a unique design of a split track miter plate. As such, this design allows sufficient hold and consistent tension during cutting. Also, it allows for fast and easy setup due to its dual slide motion capability. Its design also features adjustment knobs, which allow easy loosening and tightening. Pros

  • It comes with all the necessary hardware needed for quick attachment.
  • This feather board allows for pre-loading tension, which is crucial for preventing kickbacks.  
  • It provides a firm grip of the workpiece against the fence.

Cons

  • Its adjustment might be difficult for some users due to its curved end.

4. Magswitch – Reversible Featherboard

The Magswitch brand is known for its good work holding capability. They typically provide about 160  lbs of force to make the featherboards remain immobile. Hence, using this kit results in a clean-cut while preventing kickbacks.  

Pros

  • It is reversible and suitable for outfeed and infeed applications. 
  • This feather board is special engineering materials that make it lightweight. 
  • It offers excellent protection against kickbacks due to its design. 

Cons

  • It doesn’t provide as much grip on steel tables as opposed to cast-iron tables.

5. Hedgehog Spiral Featherboards

The Hedgehog Spiral Featherboards features a simple spiral design and one knob to enable smooth adjustments. This design ensures your continuous operation even when using boards of multiple widths. Unlike other feather boards that require numerous adjustments, you only need to flip the dial on the Hedgehog featherboards. With this accessory, beginners will appreciate the ease of controlling the wood while only using one hand.

Pros

  • It allows one-handed use due to its single pivot. 
  • This feather board provides high-quality at a lower cost. 
  • It is lightweight. 

Cons

  • It has no T-bar to fit the miter slot.

Summary

Featherboards are a must-have for professionals and retail woodworkers. At a relatively low price point, most woodworkers have this accessory in their catalog. This article outlines the fundamental knowledge about the feather board and why you should own one. It also gives a detailed DIY procedure if you choose to have your feather board shop-made. However, it is essential to go for a trusted manufacturer when getting a feather board. NCCuttingtools is your best option. We have the best products and professionals to assist you with feather boards purchase. Contact us now! 

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