Clamps are brace, clasp, or band devices used in woodworking and other crafts to hold things together.
While many people think that clamps are much the same, this is not the case. There are several clamps that you can purchase and add to your tool collection to improve your workplace efficiency, ensure convenience, and up-level your metalwork, woodwork, painting, or other construction sessions.
If you don’t know much about clamps, you’ve certainly come to the right place! Here, we’ll break down the different types of clamps for various work sessions to enable you to get the correct devices for your workshop.
Note: We’ve also included some medical and surgical clamps solely for your information and interest.
Let’s get going!
What Exactly Is a Clamp?
A clamp is a device that fastens and holds parts or objects together, using inward pressure and a quick grip to prevent separation or movement.
There are several types of clamps for different purposes; some are permanently fit into position while others are temporary, used to position parts in place or bring them together during a work process.
Clamps have applications in a wide variety of industrial and construction sectors.
Top uses for clamps include:
- Woodwork and Carpentry: Holds wood parts onto a workbench to complete tasks such as chiseling and sawing.
- Drilling: Holds a workpiece in place while drilling on a drill table.
- Filing: Holds a workpiece in place during filing to prevent pressure-activated movement.
- Gluing: Holds parts or objects in place to enable the glue to harden and stick them together.
- Medicine: Surgical clamps or forceps grasp and hold blood vessels or tissue in place during surgery.
- Metalwork: Holds metal parts during grinding, welding, and metal fabrication.
- Painting: Holds a workpiece in place during painting.
How Do Clamps Work?
Clamps use pressure to hold working parts or objects in place. This process can be temporary to allow a particular task to proceed smoothly, or they can be permanent, fixing parts, objects, or materials in place in perpetuity.
These devices provide a firm grip that holds two or more objects together using components known as jaws. If a clamp has only one jaw, it works together with a work surface like a benchtop to hold an item firmly in place. If a clamp has two or more jaws, these jaws will work together to keep the item or items in place.
Different clamps control their jaws differently depending on the mechanism. Some clamps use a lever mechanism, while others use a trigger mechanism. Still, other types of clamps use a traditional screw that adjusts the clamp’s movement and grip, closing around a workpiece and applying pressure to keep an item or items in place.
33 Types of Clamps for Your Workshop
1. Bench Clamp
These clamps hold objects in position on a bench, which takes the place of the clamp jaw. They come in various designs and sizes and are invaluable for fixing wood in position as you plane, saw, or drill.
YOST is an example of a leading brand that makes excellent bench clamps and vises.
2. Web Clamp/ Strap Clamp
Web clamps, also known as strap clamps, feature prominently in woodworking and furniture making. They use a fabric belt or cord to strap around an object and lock the solid corners into position.
Artisans fix these clamps onto a large item to keep it in position or load it onto a truck to work on it from a raised angle without causing damage.
3. Pipe Clamp
Pipe clamps are gluing clamps used in conjunction with pipes. They work much like a sash clamp but have a cylindrical shaft in place of a flat bar. This shaft wraps around the pipe and uses screws to tighten the pipe in place, giving a firm hold in various positions.
4. Wire Rope Clamp
This specialist clamp is not common in hardware stores, as they have a very specific use. You can source it from authorized stockists or online dealers. They fix loose sections of wire rope back onto themselves, using a bolt and a metal saddle. The bolts tighten or loosen the grip of the clamp.
5. Marman Clamp
These clamps are actually a piece of metal with a circular band shape in which you can fix a bolt to tighten or loosen the clamp. They are perfect for holding two cylinders or pipes together or when working with aircraft fuel lines.
6. Bench Vise
Bench vises are clamps with a fixed and parallel jaw adjusted via a screw. Some are portable, making it easy to carry out your work in different locations. They are common in woodworking when sanding, sawing, or drilling wood parts.
7. Miter Clamp
These types of clamps use miter joints to hold two items in place, most commonly wood pieces. Basic miter clamps are spring-loaded to hold two parts together but can also come in more complex derivations, which enable them to hold more than two wood pieces in place. Most miter clamps have a fixed right-angled clamp jaw, but others have moveable jaws.
8. Sash Clamp
Sash clamps are a longer specialized version of bar clamps used to provide a strong grip on objects when working on large constructions such as cabinets, tabletops, doors, and windows or to glue items together.
They have a long and heavy flat bar and an attached fixed jaw that adjusts via a screw. These clamps also have a sliding jaw that moves along the length of the clamp, locking into position to hold objects and materials in place.
9. Spring Clamp
Spring clamps come in a wide range of sizes for different projects. They operate using a tension spring, which holds down objects in place during jewelry fabrication, carpentry, and other similar projects. They come with PVC-covered tips for safety reasons. These PVC covers are removable, and removing them converts the spring clamp into a device suitable for solder work.
10. Pneumatic Clamp / Power Clamp
Pneumatic clamps, also known as power clamps, are automated clamps that use timers to clamp and unclamp objects at set times. They are common in the manufacturing industry, particularly assembly lines or hard-to-reach applications such as drainage lines.
These automated clamps are famous for increasing workplace productivity as they are central to moving the workforce away from time-consuming and accident-prone manual clamps.
11. Toggle Clamp
Toggle clamps are small clamps used in metalwork, drilling, and woodwork projects. They consist of a pushable handle that moves backward or forward to tighten or loosen the grip and a flat bar that holds equipment in place. Toggle clamps apply pressure using pins and levers to further tighten the grip on an object.
12. Pinch Dog
Pinch dogs are small woodworking metal clamps shaped like a square bridge with tapered ends. These clamps hold freshly glued woodworking pieces together as the glue dries, resulting in a neat and strong glue line. Toggle clamps are essential in any woodworking workshop.
These clamps are ideal for small projects, as they do not have wide jaws. An excellent application for them would be to hold two sheets of metal together.
They’re relatively easy to use; artisans regularly use one while operating these clamps leaving their other hand free to work with the materials. This is because the quick-release mechanism enables users to quickly let go of the clamped materials, hence the name.
14. Cardellini Clamp
Cardellini clamps hold the tubing in place as an artisan works on it. These clamps are compatible with both square and round tubing, and they are also handy for holding flat items such as metal sheeting or plywood in place.
Cardellini clamps excel in tight spaces due to their long, lean shape. They can fit into a space two inches or wider, but can easily damage materials with their tight grip, so you should take great care when working with these clamps.
15. Kant-Twist Clamp
This minute steel clamp is perfect for holding a wide range of objects, parts, and materials in a wide variety of applications, but particularly in metalworking and woodworking. These devices are similar to C clamps but are set at an angle to hold materials that don’t run parallel to one another.
16. Step Clamp
Step clamps are common in metal fabrication workshops during machining and milling processes. They look like a set of steps and come with three components – the clamp, bolt and nut, and clamp support.
17. Quick Action Clamp
Quick-action clamps, also known as one-handed clamps, allow artisans to release an object or part in one quick movement. These clamps have various mechanisms to enable them to do so, including spring, lever, and trigger clamps.
18. G or C Clamp
G or C clamps are versatile clamps used in various applications. They can clamp a workpiece to a workbench or two workpieces together. These clamps have jaw openings ranging from 1 inch to over 8 inches, making them suitable for both small and large projects.
19. Hand Screw Clamp
Also known as toolmaker clamps, these clamps are prominent in metalworking, especially when repairing furniture with metal parts. The jaws are adjustable to hold and fit onto angled material. You can also find hand screw clamps in wood.
20. Trigger Clamp
This versatile clamp, also called a one-handed clamp, is easy to operate, requiring only one hand in some instances. It is commonly available for both residential and commercial use in homes, gardens, and workshops. Trigger clamps use a trigger mechanism controlled by a lever or a button to adjust the jaw. This mechanism releases the clamp quickly and easily, allowing for one-handed operation.
21. Drill Press Clamp
These types of clamps hold boards and materials to a drill press table allowing artisans to make accurate and clean drill cuts. The clamp’s quick-release and easily adjustable tension mechanism makes these devices easy, precise, and safe to use.
22. Picture Frame Clamp
Picture frame clamps are a set of four miter clamps connected to create a space for a rectangular or square frame. These clamps are essential in manufacturing picture frames, fitting four workpieces neatly together in four miter joints.
23. Flooring Clamp
Flooring clamps are essential when laying down tongue and groove flooring. This is a particular type of clamp used only for this purpose. These devices help carpenters fix floorboards before they nail them down and secure them in place. Flooring clamps can hold one to ten boards in place simultaneously.
24. Bar Clamp / Speed Clamp
Also known as F clamps, these clamps use a long F-shaped flat bar to hold the two parallel jaws that allow the user to clamp extra wide or long workpieces effectively.
These clamps are essential when performing heavy-duty projects and are available in various derivations, including sash clamps, T-bar clamps, and pipe clamps.
25. Hose Clamp
Hose clamps, similar to Marman clamps, come in several styles, sizes, and types and make an excellent substitute for duct tape. They do not use as much pressure as Marman clamps but exert sufficient pressure to hold two workpieces together better than duct tape. Hose clamps come in various derivations, including spring, ear, screw, and wire varieties, each with specific uses.
26. Screw Clamp
A screw clamp uses a screw mechanism to adjust the clamp’s jaws and position a workpiece in place. These clamps include C or G clamps, edge clamps, F clamps, rack clamps, and wooden hand screw clamps.
Screw clamps are incredibly versatile, ideal for applications such as assembling, painting, and gluing objects together. Users can also offset or angle the jaws of these clamps to clamp tapered or irregular-shaped objects or parts together.
27. Pennington Clamp
Pennington clamps are medical devices also known as Duval clamps, shaped like a pair of scissors. These devices, named for their inventor David Geoffrey Pennington, an Australian surgeon who pioneered developments in microsurgery, are ideal in microsurgeries.
They are useful in surgical operations where tissue needs to be grasped, common in Cesarean sections, intestinal surgeries, and rectal procedures.
28. Hemostatic Clamp
These types of clamps are also for medical use. They look like scissors with ends that clamp together, forming a tight, flat line. Surgeons use them to clamp blood vessels before ligaturing them to control bleeding.
These specialist clamps come in various designs with curved and straight tips. Other hemostatic clamps include Crile forceps, Satinsky clamps, Rankin forceps, and Kelly forceps.
29. Parallel Clamp
Parallel clamps deliver pressure to objects, parts, or materials clamped by two vertical parallel jaws with one-handed triggers. These devices are handy for fixing workpieces on wide, flat surfaces like doors or tabletops .
30. Corner Clamp
Corner clamps are helpful when securing two workpiece joints at a 90-degree angle. They work specifically with corner joints, so they may not be suitable for other applications that require ordinary clamping.
31. Gripe Clamp
These types of clamps are useful when building a clinker boat. Artisans use them to hold the strake in place while attaching or fitting it to the boat. They are specific in their use, so you may not easily find them in hardware stores. You can usually find gripe clamps in specialist boat supply shops.
32. Cable Clamp
Cable clamps are U-bolt-type clamps used to tighten loose sections of steel rope or cable wires. This minute clamp leaves spaces for the cable or rope to move through, holding loose sections in neat and tight positions.
33. Plastic Jaws
Finally, we look at plastic jaws. These types of clamps are not strictly clamps but alternatives to metal jaws. They are essential when you need to grip delicate or soft materials without potentially damaging them and ruining your project.
Now that you know about the different types of clamps, you can see why no workshop can do without them. Apart from holding and strengthening things together, clamps are also essential for effectively and safely gluing, sawing, routing, and drilling parts together without the risk of injury or accidents.
Remember always to select your clamp based on the purpose of the clamp and the material you are using. Basics such as the F clamp, G clamp, pipe clamp, and bench clamp are excellent to begin your workshop, as you will probably use them all the time. Only get more advanced clamps such as pneumatic clamps and wire rope clamps for your workshop when your skills match their use.
We hope this exhaustive guide has given you all the information you need to get the best clamps for your workshop.
At Tool Grader, we are passionate about giving artisans, machinists, woodworkers, metalworkers, and other construction experts the very best information to help them get the best tools for their projects. We have experience with every tool we review or recommend, ensuring the information we give you accurately reflects our evaluation.
Check out our comprehensive Tool Grader blog to read more helpful reviews, hacks, and tips for growing an effective and valuable tool collection. You may also contact us for more information about our community or if you have any questions.