It seems woodworking is gaining popularity these days – and we couldn’t be more excited. Through our interactions with woodworkers over the past few months, we’ve been surprised at just how many people are beginning their woodworking journeys. During a recent Ask Me Anything session we hosted for the woodworking community on Reddit, we discussed a lot of great topics. But one question in particular kept popping up: What are the must‑have woodworking clamps for beginners?
“I’m a pretty amateur woodworker, so I don’t have a heck of a lot of tools yet. However, I’m starting to acquire tools, but constantly struggling to find a balance between price and quality. Clamps seem to be one of the hardest for me to decide on.”
“As a soon‑to‑be woodworker who is still slowly acquiring the tools needed to begin working, what clamps would you guys recommend as good all‑around‑use clamps, and how many would you recommend having?”
“I’m just setting up my new shop at home but I remember the bright orange clamps dad used to have. Knowing that you can never have too many clamps, what would you consider basic clamps everyone should have?”
We totally get it. We offer dozens of clamp varieties, and for a woodworking beginner, the choices can be intimidating. So today, we’re taking some time to review what we consider to be the four must‑have clamps that every woodworker should own.
Our classic Pony pipe clamp fixture is the most versatile clamp you can purchase, hands down. It’s unique in that we provide the fixtures, and you BYOP (bring your own pipe). This means your clamp can be as long as you want. Just pick up some different lengths of 3⁄4‑inch or 1⁄2‑inch pipe at your local hardware store, grab a few of our Pony pipe clamp fixtures, and you’re ready to clamp or glue up almost anything. These clamps work best for projects that don’t require a deep reach. The original steel multiple‑disc‑clutch design gives you a secure hold and instant adjustment at any point along the pipe, without fear of slipping or pipe crushing. It’s America’s most popular and widely used pipe clamp design for a reason.
See how these clamp fixtures turn ordinary pipes into extraordinary clamps in our Anatomy of a Clamp – Pony Pipe Clamp Fixtures video.
Another workshop staple is our Jorgensen steel bar clamp, which comes in a variety of sizes and clamping forces. And believe us when we say that these clamps are beasts. The high‑carbon, rust‑resistant steel bar packs a whopping 80,000 pounds per square inch of tensile strength. A fast‑acting sliding head lets you quickly make clamping adjustments, and the cold‑drawn steel screw is acme threaded for more dependable long‑term performance. Like our pipe clamp fixtures, our bar clamps come with a multiple‑disc clutch for a secure hold anywhere along the bar. And the powder‑coated cast‑iron heads mean these clamps are designed to last as long as the pieces you craft.
Check out the serious strength of this clamp in our Anatomy of a Clamp – Jorgensen Steel Bar Clamp video.
This is one of our most innovative clamp varieties – and also one of the most fun to use. Our unique Jorgensen E‑Z HOLD expandable bar clamp has a trigger and a quick‑release lever on the sliding head to allow for rapid and easy one‑handed clamping. But that’s not all. The stationary head can be reversed to turn E‑Z HOLD into a spreader clamp, and you can join two together to create a clamp with more than double the opening capacity of a single clamp. It’s a feature you won’t find on any other trigger clamp. All this versatility makes E‑Z HOLD clamps a great choice for beginners and veterans alike.
Take a closer look at this one‑of‑a‑kind product in our Anatomy of a Clamp – Jorgensen E‑Z HOLD Bar Clamp video.
It was a tough call between this and our beloved Cabinet Master clamp, but we think our classic Pony spring clamp is more important for beginners to be familiar with. When you need instant, easy application and removal, a spring clamp is your best friend. Our spring clamp’s point of clamping pressure always remains at the tips of the zinc‑plated steel jaws to give you a great hold exactly where you need it. And the available protective handles and jaw tips mean you can use them on metal, wood, plastic, fabric, and more. Openings range from one to four inches, and as far as clamps go, these are pretty inexpensive. So pick up a few different sizes from one of our trusted retail partners – they’re sure to come in handy
One last note about clamps for beginners.
You know what they say – you can never have too many clamps. But for a woodworking beginner, the opposite is true! When you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to buy a bunch of tools without knowing exactly what kind of work you’ll end up doing the most. Remember that a woodworking hobby is an investment over time. When you start out, you should buy only the clamps you need, and those clamps should be the best quality you can afford. Pony Jorgensen has always been a premium brand that feels strongly that great quality can still come at a fair price. The clamps we’ve listed here can help you get your clamp collection – and your woodworking experience – off to a solid start.