I inherited my first two pipe clamps from my dad. He had used galvanized
for his too. Over time the teeth dug into the galvanized metal, leaving
little metal flakes, and the head wouldn't hold any more. I replaced the
galvanized with black pipe and never had another problem. So, I opted for
black pipe when I bought more pipe clamps.
Mine are threaded, and I keep some PVC caps screwed on the open end to
protect the threads. I bought a couple of pipe couplings just for the times
when I needed longer clamps. Of course, it's usually easier to just grab
another clamp off the rack and interlock them. To date, I've never used the
pipe couplings. :)
In any case, I don't use the pipe clamps much these days. In addition to
the tipping and staining problems, the longer 48" length doesn't fit on my
workbench. So the length is usually a hindrence more than a help for most
situations. Of course, the few times I need the increased length, they're
nice to have.
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