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What are C Clamps? What are they Used for?

Different sizes of C-clamps attached on the steel.

I found myself in the middle of a project and needed to hold something in place, so I grabbed the closest thing I could find. Frequently, these are C Clamps that I use. You have probably seen and possibly used a clamp that resembles the shape of the letter C. This is called a Carriage Clamp, or C Clamp for short. 

Clamps can be a fantastic tool that has a wide variety of uses. There are different clamps, each with its own specific uses. Therefore, it is helpful to understand more about C Clamps to know when you should consider using them. This guide provides you with all the details you need to know about C Clamps and when to use them. 

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What are C Clamps?

A C-clamp on a wooden table for cutting.

A C Clamp is a device used specifically for clamping, especially workpieces that are made from metal or wood. These types of clamps are most often used in welding and carpentry. 

You could hear a C Clamp referred to as a G Clamp. Occasionally, a C Clamp has a screw that makes it look more like the letter G. As a result, you may hear of it being referred to as a G Clamp.

What are the Parts of a C Clamp?

A new C-clamps on the white background.

There are several parts of the C Clamp that allow it to hold a workpiece securely in place. 

Frame

The frame of a C Clamp can also be called the body. The frame is the main part of this clamp. It forms the largest part of the clamp. The frame takes on the most pressure that is placed on the piece of work while the clamp is holding it in place. 

Jaws

The part of the clamp that handles gripping the work to keep it together is the jaws. There are two jaws, and they are opposite each other on the clamp. One of the clamp jaws is stationary, and the other jaw is moveable. The portion of the jaw that is moveable has a clamping plate made of metal. It can be adjusted with a screw allowing you to clamp different sizes of work. 

Screw

There is a threaded screw on a C Clamp, which is used to control the adjustable jaw and its movement. The screw used in a C Clamp has a thread with a broader base than most other screws. This allows the clamp to have a more secure grip. 

Handle

The C Clamp has a handle that is connected to the screw. The handle is used to adjust the jaws. When you want to close the jaws, you have to rotate the handle clockwise to tighten the screw. When you rotate it counter-clockwise, you open the jaws.

The handle may also have a sliding pin to make it easier for you to have leverage while tightening the jaws. The sliding pin is often made of metal and is connected by a collar to the screw. 

Material

You will find that most C Clamps are made from cast iron or steel. There may be clamps made of pot metal. 

How Do I Use a C Clamp?

A man with leather shoes using C-clamps on steels.

You use a C Clamp by turning the screw. You can get to the screw through the bottom of the frame. You turn the screw until you have the appropriate amount of pressure needed to hold the workpiece. When you are tightening the clamp, the work is secured because it is fixed between the flat end of the frame and the flat end of the screw. If you are loosening the clamp, then you are releasing the amount of force being used to allow the fixed objects to be moved.

What Can I Use a C Clamp To Do?

C clamps are the most popular type of clamp used by professionals and do-it-yourselfers. A C Clamp is most often used in woodworking and carpentry to hold material to a surface with the intention of doing some type of work. That work may include drilling or cutting. It may also be used to hold joints together while you glue them. 

C Clamps are used for metalwork like grinding and welding. A C Clamp frame is metal, allowing it to be durable and resistant to warping. Even though C Clamps are ideal for woodworking, you should use care when working with clamps and wood. When using a clamp, be careful not to make indentations or mar the surface of the object being clamped. 

Another way to prevent marring is to use scrap wood between the work and the clamp. This way, the clamp comes in direct contact with the scrap wood and not your work product. 

Are There Different Types of C Clamps?

There are various C Clamp designs. Each type can serve a different need. 

Copper Coated C Clamp

Rusted C-Clamps on a white background.

A copper-coated C Clamp is also known as a spatter-resistant C Clamp. They are intended to resist welding spatter. These clamps are made with copper-plated forcing screws and pads. They are durable, strong and ready for hard use due to being hot-forged. 

Deep Reach C Clamp

The deep-reach C Clamp is also known as a long-reach clamp. They are useful in applying pressure on the center of the material. In addition, they provide additional stability due to their extended throat design.

Double Anvil C Clamp

A double anvil C Clamp has twin pressure points to distribute pressure from the clamp on work evenly. This helps to reduce damage to the work.

Locking C Clamp

Locking C Clamp on a white background.

Locking C-clamps are intended to be used by one hand. Therefore, they have a classic trigger release designed to provide maximum locking force.

Quick Release C Clamp

A quick release C-clamp for wood attachment.

A quick-release C Clamp has a quick mechanism allowing quick and easy adjustments on the clamp. They are best used for holding work firmly for cutting, gluing, welding, nailing, filling, and bending.

Standard C Clamp

A standard C-clamp on the white background.

This is the standard C Clamp that you are used to seeing and probably have used most often.