Predictable pipe clamp pads
You can buy more expensive ones, but pipe clamps are still my "go-to" clamp for large glue-ups. But the Achilles heel of the pipe clamp has always been the challenge of keeping clamp pads in place while you position the jaws. While this task is bad enough for a horizontal glue-up, it's a real headache when gluing vertically. I finally solved the problem by creating the magnetic wooden pads shown above.
To make a batch of pads, start by cutting out 2" squares of 1⁄4 " plywood. Next, drill a 1⁄2 " hole 1⁄8 " deep in the center of each pad. In the hole, epoxy a 1⁄2 " rare-earth magnet (1⁄2 × 1⁄8 " Craft Magnet, item no. ND031, Applied Magnets, 800-379-6818 or magnet4less.com). The pads cling to your clamps' jaws, and you can store them on any steel surface in your shop.
—Gordon English, Salt Spring Island, B.C.