When it comes right down to it, we’re all short on clamps, and most of us are especially short on long clamps. And even though it doesn’t happen very often, you still have to be prepared for the rare extra, extra wide clamping situation. How do you do that? You could simply go out and buy a few really long bar clamps or 10 foot lengths of pipe and more pipe clamps. But do you really want to shell out for still more clamps – especially in a length-range that you’ll only need once in a blue moon?
Here’s another approach – one that makes a lot of sense. When you need to, make the clamps you own longer with clamp extensions. You’ll save money, save on space, and won’t get stuck with a related problem: having to use 8 foot clamps to finish off a 2 foot glue-up.
The humble pipe clamp is arguably the most frequently used clamp in woodworking history, and with Rockler 3/4” Pipe Extensions, you can make one virtually any length you want. Rockler pipe extensions slip into the end of standard 3/4” galvanized pipe, making it possible to connect any two lengths of pipe into one “custom” length unit. A few turns of a wrench force the extension’s three ribbed jaws into firm contact with the pipe’s interior, giving you a more than adequate grip at the joint. And with the outside dimensions of the extension slightly smaller than the pipe itself, you can still slide the clamp’s tail stock over the full length of the arrangement.
Bessey K-Body Clamp Extenders give you a similar degree of flexibility with the renowned Bessey parallel clamp. In this case, a rigid, 7-7/8” long aluminum connector bolts to each clamp-bar for a reliably straight and stable (thanks to the connector’s wide foot) clamp-to-clamp attachment. The extenders are sturdy enough to maintain the parallel relationship between the Bessey’s extra-deep jaws, and give you the added benefit of a live jaw at both ends of the clamp.
Let’s face it: parallel clamps are great, but they aren’t exactly cheap. The option of doubling the range of a couple of the shorter Besseys you already have for a mere $16 dollars is a pretty good deal. And if you have a few 50 inchers on hand, you’ll be all set for the rare occasion that calls for parallel clamping over a full 8 feet.
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as “enough clamps”. And no matter how much you grow your collection, you’ll still run into situations where you may have plenty of clamps, but not a single one that’s the right size. That’s what makes clamp extensions a truly great deal.