Pipe clamps are a mainstay of most woodworking shops. They’re affordable, offer exceptional clamping force, and can be easily outfitted with different lengths of pipe to perform a variety of clamping tasks. Do they have any drawbacks? Until recently, they had a couple, but we’ve been working to correct them, most recently with the Rockler exclusive Pipe Clamp Bench Blocks.
A longstanding problem with pipe clamps is that they are difficult to keep upright and arranged in the square and level configuration preferred for frame and panel door assembly and other complex glue-ups. Until now, there has been nothing on the market to address the problem, while assembly blocks designed to keep bar clamps square and level have been available for years.
With the introduction of our exclusive Pipe Clamp Bench Blocks, we feel confident that we’ve solved this pipe clamp problem for good. These lightweight, affordable assembly blocks securely hold four standard 3/4″ pipe clamps at 90º to prevent movement during assembly and eliminate tipping. The Rockler Bench Blocks make it easy to use pipe clamps for rail and stile doors – it no longer takes “three hands” to control the assembly.
If you glue up frame and panel doors or other difficult assemblies frequently, mounting holes in the blocks make it a simple process to attach them to a work surface in a jig arrangement that will reduce your set up time to a matter of seconds. As an added feature, the Rockler Bench Blocks are designed to accommodate the clamp body, meaning that when necessary, the clamps can be arranged so that their jaws meet to form a tight corner.
Another problem with pipe clamps is that the un-aided clutch plates on the tail stock of a typical pipe clamp can be very difficult to release. The typical solution has always been to hunt around for a hammer to whack the stuck clutch plates loose — a process that’s not only frustrating, but eats up valuable “open time” during glue-ups. A while back, we looked into the problem and came up with an affordable, reliable retro-fit for all common brands of pipe clamp: the EZ-Clutch Quick Release System.
Together, Rockler Pipe Clamp Bench Blocks and the EZ-Clutch Quick Release System greatly increase the versatility and usability of one of the most widely used tools in woodworking.