What are Parallel Clamps Used For?

Are you a beginner woodworker trying to expand your tools? Then you’ll love learning more about parallel clamps.

At some point in your woodworking journey, you’ll come across the parallel clamps. And when that happens, you may not realize how useful they can be at first.

To help you understand what a parallel clamp is and how you can use one, we’ve made a couple of sections with everything you need to know about parallel clamps.

While the name gives away what they’re used for, it is inevitable to ask whether you actually need one of them among your tools. So, let’s take a look to learn more about the popular parallel clamps.

What Does a Parallel Clamp Do?

Woodworking is an art itself, but without the right tools, things do not go as planned. If you’re trying to glue two boards but have not been able to do so, a parallel clamp could speed up your workflow.

Sometimes, as you’re turning a typical clamp’s handle to apply pressure, it may not apply enough clamping force to the door. This can add some bow to your work. And if the glue were to dry, you’d pretty much be out of luck to try and remove that bow.

However, with a parallel clamp, you can apply pressure in an even and parallel way without adding a bow to your glue-ups.

A parallel clamp can make a huge difference in your work. Some projects might require that extra strength that regular clamps cannot apply independently, especially when doing glue-ups since those types of projects need even pressure.

Features and Uses of a Parallel Clamp

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed by how many parallel clamps there are out there. To clear up some confusion you might have about the types of parallel clamps, we’ll cover a few so that you can better understand how they work and when you should use them.

Parallel Clamp Spreader

Each clamp has a slightly different design, and while all clamps serve the same purpose, which is to clamp wood, they all behave somewhat differently than the other. For instance, did you know that parallel clamps can also be used as spreaders?

By removing the end and the primary mechanism, flip it around and then slide it back on, you can use the parallel clamps as a spreader, which is super helpful to have the ability to do so.

This is super useful as it makes this type of clamp an excellent woodworking tool for various basic tasks. And all it takes is a few seconds to set it up.

Clamping Face

Parallel clamps are just an upgrade up from F-clamps. But unlike F-clamps, parallel clamps have a rather sizeable clamping face.

For example, if you were to hold a box, you’d use parallel clamping, and when they’re parallel to each other, the large clamping face will provide good clamping pressure as you’re tightening them.

If you’re working on a small project such as thin wood, you could use the bottom face to hold the wood. Such a feature comes in handy when preventing marring.

Flat Bottom

One of the biggest reasons woodworkers love parallel clamps is that they have a flat bottom, allowing the user to put the parallel clamps on a flat surface, and they’ll stay there.

Say, for instance, you’re doing glue-ups; whether it’s a door or a table, the flat bottoms would allow you to have more control over the job as you can keep the panel nice and flat.


Imagine this situation: you’re doing glue-ups, but you’re using narrow pads to apply even pressure throughout the beam. This feature is quite useful for doors. But what if you wanted to apply even more pressure on a large wood?

Well, there is a way around this with parallel clamps. You can remove the previous narrow pads and replace them with even bigger pads for the project.

This is great as if you feel as though you need extra pressure, you could add a bigger pad for the project without spending a single cent on an additional tool to help you accomplish the same result.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Looking to expand your knowledge on clamps and how they behave? Well, then this FAQ section is the best place for you to learn a thing or two about clamps.

Why are parallel clamps so expensive?

If you’re trying to get a high-quality parallel clamp, you’ve probably noticed that some of them are quite expensive, to say the least.

However, you don’t need to spend lots of money just to have a couple of them lying around in your garage.

How many clamps do I need for woodworking?

You’ll always feel as though you never have enough clamps in your garage. However, we suggest starting with four clamps. As time goes by, you’ll need more. But as of now, four clamps should be more than enough for a beginner.

Do you need clamps for wood glue?

Yes, you do need clamps for wood glue. Without the consistent strength of a clamp, you’d have a hard time doing your job.

What are quick grip clamps used for?

Quick grip clamps are commonly used by those who are doing glue-up projects. This type of clamp comes in handy if you want accurate results when you’re dealing with glue.


Parallel clamps can be used in many different ways when doing glue-ups. This is great as you get lots of benefits from using a single tool. And while these types of clamps can be quite expensive, they are definitely worth the money in the long run. That extra hand always comes in handy.

After going through the basics of what parallel clamps are and how you can use them, we hope you now comprehend what they’re used for in woodworking and how you could benefit from having one in your tool kit. Get one now and you won’t regret it.

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