In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva discusses the right clamp to use and when.
1. C-clamps are best used for metalworking. When used on wood, be sure to use pads to protect the wood surface from damage.
2. Use C-clamps to hold a framing square to a straightedge when laying out stair stringers.
3. Spring clamps, also called pinch clamps, are inexpensive and useful for a wide range of light-duty clamping jobs.
4. Quick clamps can be operated with one hand and many models have reversible jaws for use as a spreader to push apart pieces.
5. When greater clamping strength is needed, consider using pipe clamps. Buy pipe-clamp fixtures and slip them onto black-iron pipe. Pipe-clamp fixtures are commonly available for use on ½-inch or ¾-inch-diameter pipe.
6. Bar clamps with parallel jaws exert immense pressure evenly to the work, so there's less chance of the parts bowing.
7. Specialty work-holding clamps are used to hold two boards at a right angle.
8. A miter clamp with screw handle provides a quick, accurate way to assemble right-angel butt joints, miter joints, or T-joints.
9. A three-way C-clamp has three screws and is useful for securing face frame to cabinets. Just be sure to protect the wood surfaces with pads.
10. Ultra-flexible, super-stretchy surgical tubing is surprisingly strong—and very affordable. Simply wrap it tightly around the assembly and tie together the ends.
11. A strap clamp, also called a band or web clamp, is ideal for securing irregular or oddly shaped assemblies, such as stools, chairs and tables.
12. Some strap clamps must be tighten with a screwdriver or wrench. Others are equipped with a convenient ratcheting mechanism.