Irwin clamps - any good? - Page 2 - diyAudio
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Old 21st January 2010, 07:15 PM   #11
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I've got tons of the irwin quick grips, 6", 12" and 36". they're really good for what they are, obviously they won't give you as much hold as some of the more aggressive grips but they are strong enough for most of my applications and they're very easy. the only downside is that the feet don't always remain perfectly parallel so if you've got a torsional issue with pieces to be clamped you need to be a little careful.
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Old 23rd January 2010, 10:48 PM   #12
ERO is offline ERO  United States
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It really does depend on what you're trying to achieve with clamps. Irwin quick grips, no matter what size, are no good for glue-ups. You just can't get enough pressure to ensure a good bond. What they're good for is holding things in place while you work on them, and that's what they were designed for. Jorgenson or Bessey parallel clamps are good for glue-ups, but do you really want to spend that much money? You'll need quite a few. Jorgenson Pony clamps with 3/4" (NOT 1/2") tubing are the best in terms of clamping pressure, because they have offset handles, not just round handles as do the Besseys and their ilk. Nobody, no matter how strong, can get as much pressure on a Bessey type as they can on a Pony. Pony clamps are pretty cheap as well - around $13 plus pipe each, and HD (in the US) will cut and thread pipes free for you. Buy in 10' lengths and get them to cut to three or four smaller pieces, or pay a little more and buy pre-cut. Pony clamps are so strong that they will flex 1/2' pipe, so go 3/4". The other great thing about Pony clamps is that with a plumbing connector, you can disassemble them and add pipes together to make extra long ones for one off uses. Definitely the best bang for the buck. You should have several 'C' clamps, too, in various sizes.
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Old 24th January 2010, 12:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERO View Post
It really does depend on what you're trying to achieve with clamps. Irwin quick grips, no matter what size, are no good for glue-ups. You just can't get enough pressure to ensure a good bond.
I completely agree. Many builders don't realize just how much clamp pressure is needed to get a proper glue joint. Some (most?) think that too much clamp pressure will squeeze out all of the glue, when in fact it is nearly impossible to do this. Good clamping pressure actually forces the glue to penetrate deeper into the wood fiber making an even stronger joint.
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Old 24th January 2010, 01:32 PM   #14
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Thank you. I just researched these. Not being a woodworker I am not in the know. However, having a little common sense tells me that these 3/4 pipe clamps are the way to go. Looks like a several companies make them. I am still going to buy a few quick clamps for working on flat stock (sawing, routing etc) but not for gluing.

Thanks again everyone for the valuable information.

My only question based on these 3/4 clamps is just how much to tighten. Looks like you could do some damage with these.
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Old 24th January 2010, 02:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJL21193 View Post
Many builders don't realize just how much clamp pressure is needed to get a proper glue joint.
Interesting. Count me in their number. Now I have an excuse for clamping everything as hard as I can.
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Old 24th January 2010, 02:59 PM   #16
ERO is offline ERO  United States
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A word of warning - Yes you can overtighten with these clamps. I'm quite a big lad, and I will NEVER tighten more than I can with one hand - you must use cauls (bits of wood to spread the load). Don't buy the red Chinese knock-offs - they use inferior steel for the threads and they do give out. They're only a dollar or so cheaper anyway - not worth the saving. The orange Jorgenson Pony ones are the best. Use clamps alternately - i.e. one on top, the next underneath, the next on top,etc. and spread them evenly. If you clamp all on one side, you will distort the wood and open the joint up on the opposite side. Oh, and you always need more glue than you think you do...if the excess squeezes out, just clean it off thoroughly and you're fine, but if you didn't use enough in the first place...
Hope this helps.
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Old 24th January 2010, 10:28 PM   #17
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I am going to order a handful tomorrow. THANKS!
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