When you need long clamps for a project, you head to your local home improvement store. When you get to the clamp section you might find yourself in sticker shock. The truth is, long clamps are kind of an expensive thing.
Here is a 48 inch bar clamp from the Home Depot.
Instead of spending the $70 for two of these clamps, I went another route.
In the same clamp section, Home Depot sells these for $13.97 each.
They are the clamp part of the bar clamp. With these all you need is a piece of 3/4 inch pipe.
There are varying opinions about what type of pipe to use. The packaging suggests black pipe, which is what I went with. Quick online research mentions that black pipe could potentially stain wood, with recommendations of a painters tape barrier. Others suggest galvanized pipe which some people experience slippage between the clamp and pipe. You can decide for yourself.
Here’s the tricky part. They sell 60 inch (5 foot) black pipe with the threaded ends for about $15 each. Not much savings there. OR you can buy the 120 inch (10 foot) just under $11. Home Depot will cut the pipe down to length, AND re-thread the cut ends for free! What a great deal! So here are my materials.
The head of the clamp fixture screws onto the threads on the end of the pipe.
The tail end of the pipe clamp fixture slides on and is held on by those silver plates below.
Then you screw this key ring looking keeper on the the threads on the end to keep the tail end fixture from sliding off.
It’s a nice little set of clamps.
2 x 48 inch aluminum bar clamp: $74.94
2 x bar clamp fixture: $27.94
1 x 10 foot of 3/4 inch black pipe, (cut down into two 5 foot sections and re-threaded for free): $10.82
Savings of $36.18 and about six more inches of clamping!
A plus side to using these bar clamps is that you can extend the bar to any length you need by adding a coupling and another bar.
These might not be as cool as getting some antique ones from an auction, but they are quick, affordable, and functional.
Who doesn’t need a 4 foot clamp? Or two for that matter!? It’s a small investment that every garage needs!