Ultimate Guide: 15 Best Cabinet Clamps For Woodworking

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Home » Projects » Cabinet Installation » Ultimate Guide: 15 Best Cabinet Clamps For Woodworking

Having the best cabinet clamps on hand will help with everything from panel gluing to assembling finished doors. But did you know there are over a dozen varieties of clamps for jobs like rough gluing, box assembly, door clamping and even specialty cabinet claws used during installation? In this article learn about the best woodworking clamps to build your cabinets.

First, as a cabinetmaker I own dozens and dozens of cabinet clamps. From pipe clamps like the popular Bessey pipe clamp to spring clamps and even cabinet claws.

But, for some reason, I’m always buying more clamps.

So, to help your projects, in this guide you’ll learn about clamps for:

  • Gluing wood panels
  • Making face frames
  • Assembling cabinet doors
  • Positioning clamps during assembly
  • Cabinet claws to install cabinets
  • 90-degree clamps for box assembly
  • Toggle clamps
  • And, many more… 
  1. BEST TO GLUE PANELS:  BESSEY PIPE CLAMP
  2. MOST ACCURATE:  PONY PARALLEL CLAMP
  3. BEST FOR JIGS:  KREG FACE CLAMP
  4. FAST CLAMPING:  JORGENSON TRIGGER CLAMP
  5. FOR EDGE GLUING:  BANDY CLAMPS
  6. CORNER CLAMP:  CAN-DO-CORNER CLAMP
  7. MOST UNIQUE:  PONY CABINET CLAW
  8. PANEL PRESS:  FULTON PRESS

Types of Cabinet Clamps for Woodworking

Best Parallel Clamps

First, I don’t recommend buying every type of cabinet clamp. In fact, there are types of clamps I own that are used infrequently enough I almost regret buying them.

But, based on my experience here’s the cabinet clamps every woodworker should consider:

  1. Pipe clamps
  2. Parallel clamps
  3. Face clamps 
  4. Bar clamps (aka F-clamps)
  5. C-clamps
  6. Sash clamps
  7. Clamp heads
  8. Hand clamps
  9. Quick action (trigger) clamps
  10. Spring clamps
  11. Frameless cabinet clamps
  12. Corner clamps
  13. Cabinet claws
  14. Edge clamps
  15. Toggle clamps

Cabinet Clamps for Assembling Cabinets

One of the core uses of woodworking clamps is gluing panels, assembling cabinets and fitting furniture parts.

And this is where assembly clamps come into play.

Why is pressure important?

Before we take a look at clamps let’s first consider why pressure is important:

  • High pressure cabinet clamps provide the force required to properly set glue joints.
  • Also, high pressure allows for the work piece to be firmly held square while the glue and joint properly cures.
  • Lastly, as glue dries it releases moisture into the wood. And without a high pressure clamp the wood will swell as it takes on this moisture and break-open the joint.

1. Pipe Clamps for Gluing Panels and Face Frames

Bessey BPC-H34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp, red
3,799 Reviews
Bessey BPC-H34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp, red
  • H-Shaped Foot Assembly Stabilizes The Clamp In Two Dimensions Giving…
  • Extra High Base Provides Industry Leading Clearance From The Work Surface
  • Cast Jaw For Durability
  • 2 soft jaw caps are included to prevent damaging materials being clamped

Last update on 2021-05-23 at 15:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pipe clamps are a mainstay of cabinet makers. As a budget friendly clamp they work great for larger projects and offer up a cheap way to glue wood panels. And deliver a MASSIVE amount of pressure.

Tips and Tricks

  • First, you’ll need to purchase black pipe to screw these clamps to. 
  • Purchase a variety of pipe from 36-72″. I prefer mostly 60″.
  • Use pads or a sacrificial scrap wood to avoid denting your project
  • Lastly make sure to use even pressure when clamping

Purchasing Guide

  • Wide clamp base to prevent clamps from tipping during assembly of your project.
  • Tall stance so you can turn the clamp handle over the bench surface.
  • Non-mar pads for finished edges like a face frame.
  • Black pipe size is either 1/2″ or 3/4″ and unless you have a need for lightweight pipe choose 3/4″ for strength.

2. Parallel Cabinet Clamps for Precision Glue-ups

Bora 40' Parallel Clamp Set, 2 Pack of Woodworking...
107 Reviews
Bora 40″ Parallel Clamp Set, 2 Pack of Woodworking…
  • Strong and steady – the 3. 5-Inch wide padded jaw provides constant, even…
  • Perfect pressure – not too loose, not too tight, just right with 1, 100lbs…
  • Multiple sizes – The Bora parallel jaw Clamp is right for any project,…
  • Trusted Bora Quality – Bora knows how important rock-solid clamping is to…

Last update on 2021-06-20 at 20:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Overview

Of all the cabinet clamps, a parallel clamp is perhaps the least understood.

First, it is called a parallel clamp for the simple reason the jaws stay perfectly parallel as pressure is applied.

While a bar clamp will “flex” as pressure is applied this won’t happen as the screw on the parallel clamp is tightened. 

It’s for that reason this precision clamps is best for:

  • Gluing cabinet doors as it won’t mar the door edges
  • Furniture making tasks such as clamping desks, coffee tables or end tables
  • Assembling drawer boxes (if you aren’t dovetailing them)

Purchasing Considerations

  • Length of the bar is fixed and typically cannot be swapped out
  • Throat height for handling thicker material (3″+ is ideal)
  • Padded jaws that won’t damage the cabinet components

3. Face Cabinet Clamps for Clamping Wood and Pocket Hole Jigs

Kreg KHC-Premium Face Clamp
5,018 Reviews
Kreg KHC-Premium Face Clamp
  • Unique Clamp designed specifically for pocket-screw joinery
  • Used primarily for securing individual joints while pocket-screws are being…
  • The large face of the clamp keeps the joint perfectly flush
  • 3″ Reach (76mm); clamps materials up to 23/4″ Thick (70mm

Last update on 2021-05-24 at 15:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you've used a Kreg jig you probably own a pair of these. But if not, a face clamp is a tried and true clamp for firmly holding just about anything.

Tips and Tricks

  • When applying heavy force on softwoods use a wood block to avoid dents
  • For finished cabinet surfaces (eg. hardware jigs) put blue tape on the jaw to prevent marring the surface
  • Drilling cabinet hardware with a cabinet hardware jig
  • Holding drawer slide jig in place

Purchasing Guide

  • Throat depth for reach “into” a cabinet or working space. A standard depth is around 4″, but depths of up to 12″ are available.
  • Throat height for handling thicker material

4. F Clamp for Cabinetry Glue-ups

Clutch Style Bar Clamp, 36 In, 2-1/2 Deep
1,137 Reviews
Clutch Style Bar Clamp, 36 In, 2-1/2 Deep
  • Mpn: GSCC2.536
  • Country of manufacture: China
  • Manufacturer: Bessey
  • Cast heads

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

An F-clamp is a great utility clamp with a deep jaw, high pressure and at a budget price (but please, stop using them for gluing panels!)

After spending quite a bit of time on woodworking forums I’m surprised at how many woodworkers buy an F-clamp for gluing up wood panels.

Please, stop using it for this. While they generate a high amount of pressure they are just plain clumsy for guiling panels. Instead, use a bar clamp (my preferred budget cabinet clamp), sash clamp or parallel clamp.

These are great clamps, but best used in tricky spots where you need the deep throat depth of the F-clamp to reach deeper into the cabinet or furniture edge. 

Purchasing Guide

  • I prefer these clamps in shorter lengths for smaller glue-up jobs
  • While not as powerful as a pipe or parallel clamp, this clamp should still be used with caution on softwoods.

5. C-clamps for Clamping Cabinet Parts

Great Neck 21012 Essentials 2 Piece C-Clamp Set
59 Reviews
Great Neck 21012 Essentials 2 Piece C-Clamp Set
  • Removable protective jaw pads
  • Includes 2-inch jaw opening c-clamps
  • Includes 3-inch jaw opening c-clamp
  • Essentials tools are ergonomically designed for a woman’s smaller hands…

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is one of the oldest styles of woodworking clamps, but still used. I prefer to use them for clamping screw strips during cabinet assembly.

Tips and Tricks

  • Start with 3″ c-clamps … and buy a DOZEN. 
  • Use a padded version or blocks to avoid marring any type of wood

Purchasing Guide

  • Throat height for handling thicker material
  • Throat depth for clamping depth on larger projects

6. Sash Clamps for Gluing Table Tops

Groz 60-inch T-Bar Woodworking Clamp | Heavy Duty...
6 Reviews
Groz 60-inch T-Bar Woodworking Clamp | Heavy Duty…
  • Designed for applications that require extra resilience under extreme…
  • “T” section (1” x 1-7/8”) is made from cold drawn steel, which…
  • Malleable iron head and slide allow these clamps to be used in heavy duty…
  • Main screw has rolled ACME threads for smooth movement and increased…

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sash clamps are arguably the highest pressure clamp you can buy. And with an I-bar design will last for decades.

Chances are pretty good this clamp will end up in your estate sale. 

With a massive I-beam design, a sash clamp has the most pressure per square inch of any clamp in this article. And because of that, it’s favored for gluing up thicker counter and tabletops.

Tips and Tricks

  • This clamp is best used in a permanent glue station or for only very heavy applications.
  • Like other clamps, use padded blocks on finished edges

Purchasing Guide

  • Due to their weight and cost these are a clamp you typically upgrade to. One of the most common uses is for gluing large tables.

7. Irwin Clamp Heads

Irwin Record M130 Clamp Heads
2 Reviews
Irwin Record M130 Clamp Heads
  • Clamp head is a bar clamp of any length can be easily made using a piece of…
  • Cast iron head and slides incorporating large thrust surfaces
  • High quality steel handle and screw with pin attached by welded chain
  • Ideal for professional use

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Clamp heads are a mini-version of a pipe clamp and use the same design of two independent components that pair to apply a tight squeeze.

Tips and Tricks

  • This clamp is best used in a permanent glue station or for only very heavy applications.
  • Like other clamps, use padded blocks on finished edges

Purchasing Guide

  • This is a specialty clamp you’ll want to try first and then decide if you’ll need more.
  • On a SMALL budget they can replace pipe clamps. But will not perform as well.

Utility Cabinet Clamps

Drawer Slide Cabinet Clamps

Not all steps in building cabinets will require a heavy-duty, massive PSI clamp. 

And that’s especially true as your projects progress into installing cabinet hardware, holding drawer slide jigs and grabbing face frames with cabinet claws during installation.

So, let’s take a look at some lighter duty clamps that are still just as necessary.

8. Milwaukee Hand Cabinet Clamps for Jigs and Utility Clamping

Milwaukee 48-22-3004 4' Hand Clamp
20 Reviews
Milwaukee 48-22-3004 4″ Hand Clamp
  • 4″ Hand Clamp
  • The product is easy to use and easy to handle
  • The product is highly durable

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A hand clamp with INFINITE adjustment and a rotating head makes for a great pairing with cabinet jigs and various other tasks during cabinet assembly.

The Milwaukee hand clamp is one purchase I’ve never regretted. This general duty clamp is lightweight, has a massive clamping force and is inexpensive enough to always add a pair to your toolbox. 

And, if you’re just starting out, these are a viable alternative to the Kreg face clamp as they can generate enough force to hold a drawer slide jig, cabinet hardware jig or whatever other jig you have in mind.

9. Jorgensen Reversible Trigger Clamps

Jorgensen 24' One Hand Clamp/Spreader - 2-pack,...
644 Reviews
Jorgensen 24″ One Hand Clamp/Spreader – 2-pack,…
  • Basic Parameter- Max opening: 24”; Load limit: 300 lbs; Reach: 3-1/3”…
  • E-Z HOLD II Design- Not only can these versatile clamps be easily converted…
  • One-Handed Clamp- These bar clamps combine the speed and ease of…
  • Features- The contoured comfort grip and quick release lever make it simple…

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A quality trigger clamp will be used in just about every phase of cabinet construction.

Tips and Tricks

  • Look for a trigger clamp that is reversible to a “spreader clamp” that can be used to reverse clamp or be used as a base cabinet jack

Purchasing Guide

  • Skip the 10-packs and buy a pair of high quality clamps.
  • Large, high-grip pads are a must
  • Consider a few lengths for variety of clamping jobs

10. Spring Clamps For Edge Clamping

Small Rockler Bandy Clamps, Pair
267 Reviews
Small Rockler Bandy Clamps, Pair
  • Proprietary rubber band is made from a tough, tear-resistant material, with…
  • Rubber band conforms to any shape and will not mar delicate materials
  • Spring clamp is made of high-strength nylon with fiberglass fill for added…
  • Pivoting jaws accommodate angled pieces and allow full pad contact…

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If your project will involve clamping strips to the edges of shelving or for just general duty clamping a bandy clamp will assist.

Tips and Tricks

  • A “Bandy clamp” like the Rockler version shown provides a useful 2-in-1 for a good value. And provides a 3rd dimension of clamping force for edge gluing.
  • But I like to have a dozen or so of these for holding wood screw strips on cabinet boxes.

Purchasing Guide

  • Consider a variety of clamp sizes from 1″ up to 6″
  • Look for padded clamp surfaces with soft handles for ease of grip

11. FastCap Jack and Clamp

FastCap JACK The Jack of All Trades (2 Pack)
50 Reviews
FastCap JACK The Jack of All Trades (2 Pack)
  • Multi-purpose jack that does double-duty as a clamp, spreader, and lift
  • Easily lift base cabinets, install shims or adjust leg levelers
  • Use it to install heavy doors and flooring
  • Pack of 2 for maximum versatility

Last update on 2021-05-21 at 22:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

From assembling to being a must have for installing frameless clamps a set of 2-in-1 clamps and spreaders will help your build

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a shorter clamp for connecting frameless cabinets. And for most upper cabinets use 2-3 to ensure a tight fit along the full length of the cabinet face.

Purchasing Guide

  • A 2-in-1 frameless clamp and jack will provide the best installation flexibility
  • Use 6-12″ for cabinet sides (narrow cabinets)

Specialty Cabinet Clamps

Corner Cabinet Clamp

In our last category let’s explore some of the more popular “specialty” woodworking clamps that can be used for cabinet making.

First, these aren’t clamps you’ll use every day.

Or, for even all cabinet jobs.

Instead these are clamps that are good at one specific task and when you need them, well, you need them.

12. Can-Do Corner Clamps

Can-Do Clamp
3,020 Reviews
Can-Do Clamp
  • Can-Do clamp can do it all! A clamp and a vise
  • Sets up instantly; secures quickly
  • Precise
  • Perfect for framing, drilling, doweling, and more

Last update on 2021-05-23 at 19:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For assembling cabinet boxes or furniture these clamps are like an extra hand. Plus, they'll keep the sides at 90-degress.

Tips and Tricks

  • Mount to bench to avoid slipping during drilling or screwing

Purchasing Guide

  • For maximum clamping pressure look for a sliding t-handle versus a single round grip.
  • Support for two pieces of different thickness

13. Cabinet Claws for Installing Cabinets

Pony 8510BP Cabinet Claw, 2-Pack
1,290 Reviews
Pony 8510BP Cabinet Claw, 2-Pack
  • The Cabinet Claw is an unique tool which combines the multiple steps of…
  • Clamp Specifications: works on stiles from 1-1/2 inch to 2 inch; Jaw Width:…
  • Easy use to install and highly durable. Protective pads protect cabinets…
  • Face frame stiles can be tightened, aligned, pre-drilled and fastened while…

Last update on 2021-06-17 at 08:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cabinet claws are a MUST when installing face frame cabinets. With bi-directional clamping and a guide to drill face frame screws you won't regret this purchase.

Tips and Tricks

Purchasing Guide

  • Look for felt pads to avoid marring finished cabinet surfaces
  • A swing-away pilot hole bushing with a LONG 1/8″ drill bit is a must

14. Quick Release Toggle Clamps

E-TING 4Pcs Hand Tool Toggle Clamp 201B Antislip...
2,290 Reviews
E-TING 4Pcs Hand Tool Toggle Clamp 201B Antislip…
  • Package Included: 4 pcs E-TING GH-201B horizontal quick release toggle…
  • Size: approx. 145*35*40mm/ 5.7″ x 1.38″ x 1.57″ (L*W*H). Holding capacity…
  • Material: Cold-rolled carbon Steel with Zinc plated coating for corrosion…
  • Design: Low height design. Retracted clamp will allow for vertical removal…

Last update on 2021-05-22 at 20:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Toggle clamps are extremely handy for DIY router and table saw sleds as they have very high clamping pressure and are easy to adjust.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use with a fixed jig or sled to hold wood pieces for routing and shaping
  • Or, strategically mount on bench to hold work pieces during sanding or assembly

Purchasing Guide

  • Large, firm padded clamp surface
  • Easy to adjust

15. Bessey Edge Clamps

Bessey KT5-1CP single spindle edge clamp for use...
305 Reviews
Bessey KT5-1CP single spindle edge clamp for use…
  • For use with Bessey; Tradesmen clamps and other bar clamps, this edge clamp…
  • Easy to use easy to install and highly durable
  • Wood handle
  • High strength roll formed threaded spindle threads

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For gluing face frames to cabinets or holding work pieces in place during assembly this niche clamp is a good one to have around.

Tips and Tricks

  • Avoid nail holes in cabinet face frames with an edge clamp – great in combination with pipe clamps for “center of cabinet” spots a pipe clamp can’t reach.

Purchasing Guide

  • These clamps can be hard to find so due to that I recommend looking at pairing an edge clamp, like the Bessey, with a high quality bar clamp where the bar clamp provides one direction of clamping.

Frequently Asked Questions for Cabinet Clamps

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best clamp to glue wood panels?

Pipe clamps are the most economical and easiest clamp to glue wood panels.

How do you clamp cabinets together?

A cabinet claw can be used for connecting face frame cabinets during installation. And for frameless cabinets a trigger clamp with large clamping force is my preference.

How do you clamp a 90-degree corner?

The best approach is with a cabinet clamp like the Can-Do Right Angle jig mentioned in this article.

What is a cabinet clamp?​

Cabinet clamps are specialty clamps used in the assembly and installation of cabinets. While some clamps are used to assemble rough wood panels and doors others are used for tasks like installation. Most cabinet clamps are designed to have extreme gripping power to firmly hold two pieces of wood together.

Is a pipe clamp or long bar clamp better for gluing wood panels?​

The simple answer is how large your panels are and how many you’ll need to glue. For example, if you are gluing 18″x18″ exotic wood panels once a day/week/month then a bar clamp is a great choice. However, for larger cabinet projects a pipe clamp gives you the freedom to clamp dozens of panels at a time.

Back to my inventory, you can see I have 24 pipe clamps sitting on black pipe of 48″ up to 96″. Because of that I can glue many face frames and dozens of panels at a time.

Is a cabinet claw really worth it for face frame cabinet installation?​

To start, the quality of a cabinet installation resting on a) the cabinets being level, b) box face frames being flush and c) hiding nail holes and any gaps. So looking at the challenge during installation of screwing a cabinet box in two dimensions (to the wall, to another cabinet) then yes, a cabinet claw is worth it.

Because the cabinet claw clamps side to side and front to back, when installed first it does a job you can’t do with any other clamp.

Summary - Best Cabinet Clamps

Hopefully this article helped you explore cabinet clamps you may not have used before.  For more information be sure to check out our other articles on building and installing cabinets below.

Resources

Manufacturer sites:

Cabinet Clamps on Amazon

Last update on 2021-05-27 at 14:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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