Sunday, July 3, 2016

You, too, can be a Happy Clamper with 3/4-Inch Pony Pipe Clamps

Pony Tools ¾-Inch Pipe Clamps #50

Pony Pipe Clamp
Any good woodshop has what may appear to be excessive wall space lined with clamps of all sizes and shapes. Many look at first glance to be common black pipe with bulky orange fittings on the end, and that’s exactly what they are: black pipes with orange cranks and tabs on the ends. They’re a woodworking standard, gas pipe fitted with ¾-inch Pony Pipe Clamps, and most woodworkers have several pairs.


Pony Pipe Clamps are bulky cast-iron bodies that are threaded for ordinary black pipe. Each clamp consists of a fixed head-stop with a crank and a moving tail-stop that slides along the pipe. There’s also a little metal coil that keeps the tail-stop from sliding off. Both head- and tail-stops are painted "Pony Orange" for visibility. The worker buys the pipe separately, allowing you to customize a pair with pipe up to twelve feet long. Since the clamp heads are easily removed and remounted, one set could find use on different lengths.

The tail-stop slides toward the head-stop easily, but grabs the pipe with a spring-loaded clutch when you try to move it in the opposite direction. This clutch releases easily so the stop can slide again. The head-stop clamping face is mounted on crank-driven screw with a range of about 3 inches. Both faces are enamel-coated cast iron, some 1¾" square. You can find plastic slip-on pads that will protect wood surfaces, though if there’s enough room wooden clamp blocks protect edges and spread the clamping surface. Both stops have a bottom projection that acts as a foot so there’s clearance under the pipe when the clamp is resting on a flat.

Using a Pony Pipe Clamp

Assembling a set of Pony Clamps is simple, but some little preparation is advisable: the coating on black pipe should be wiped off to avoid stains on workpieces. This kind of pipe is threaded with NPT taper, so the head-stop can be damaged by over-tightening. An occasional application of a drop or two of oil should keep clamps functioning smoothly.

Long clamps can be pretty heavy, requiring some muscle to sling around. Although a five-foot pipe’s a useful length is around 4½ feet, you can string two (or more) clamps together to cover larger spans. Black pipes are commercially available up to 20 feet long, but most woodworkers only need four or five feet.

Any experienced woodworkers will tell you that you can never have too many clamps.  With an assortment of pipes and a few ¾-inch Pony Pipe Clamp sets, though, even part-time DIYer can get a start on “enough.”



Plus: You can mount them on any available ¾-inch pipes, they’re rock solid, they’re easy to assemble and use
Minus: Big and bulky, coating on black pipe may stain wood, clamps are tricky to manipulate one-handed
What they’re saying: Every woodworker needs a mess of different sizes and lengths of clamps. Pony Pipe Clamps may well be the woodworker's best friend!
copyright © 2016-2017 scmrak

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