Large wood clamps are great for woodworking projects. Learn how to build pipe clamps for almost any size wood project in this tutorial.
12+ years ago, as we were starting our renovation journey, I had no idea what type of wood clamps to buy for projects. We had some spring clamps in our tool collection but those had mainly been used for hanging sheeting for when we used our paint sprayer or holding edging on to the end of wood pieces.
After a trip to the hardware store, I came home with a couple ratcheting c-clamps. At around $20 though, and for only a set distance amount, I quickly realized that we still didn’t have the right type of tool. We needed large wood clamps and what we owned didn’t cut it.
I honestly had no idea that DIY pipe clamps were a thing at this point though so we just kept doing projects without having the right set of clamps for them. One day, at my Grandpa’s workshop, I was looking around and helping him with something (oh, I think it was when he helped me strengthen and fix wobbly chairs!). Anyways, he had a bunch of pipe clamps for wood.
I asked him about them and he said that the adjustable pipe clamps are great and he uses them all the time. After seeing his collection, I set out to make some of my own.
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Pipe Clamp Parts
- 3/4″ Pipe Clamp* or
- 1/2″ Pipe Clamp
- Corresponding threaded galvanized pipe for size of pipe clamp you purchased
Half of the pipe clamp that you buy is going to look like this:
The pipe clamps will come in two pieces and the other side will look like this (without the pipe):
I’m hesitant to even call this “DIY” pipe clamps because it’s really just buying two parts and putting them together. But, since I didn’t know about these when I started my woodworking journey, I’m sharing about how to make these DIY wood clamps.
How to Make Pipe Clamps
To build your pipe clamps, place your two pipe clamps pieces on your threaded galvanized pipe at opposite ends. One part of the pipe clamp will be stationary and the other part of the pipe clamp will allow you to move it to hold wood in place.
You can make these DIY clamps at different sizes, you just need to cut your pipe at different lengths. In my grandfather’s workshop, he had probably thirty pipe clamps and most of them were on pipes that were 1/2″ thick and were around 2-4′ long.
What is the total cost to make cheap pipe clamps?
A pipe that’s around 3′ will run you around $20. Pipe clamps are normally just under $20. So, one pipe clamp will run you right under $40.
What type of pipe is used for pipe clamps?
Usually threaded galvanized pipes in 1/2″ or 3/4″ are used.
One way to save money would be to thread your own pipes. If you have a pipe threader this can be a great option as you can find pipes often at garage sales, restores, etc., pretty often.
We borrowed a pipe threader a few years’ ago from my dad when we were working on customizing our living room light. It was a fun tool to use. A small learning curve, but definitely doable for sure.
Well, I hope this was helpful to hear about! We’ve slowly added to our woodworking clamps. I’ve found a few bar clamps at garage sales and picked up a few C clamps up at the hardware store. The more woodworking you end up doing, the more you’ll need.
If you are interested in trying your hand at an entry-level woodworking project, I still love these two projects that I did: