Here is a web search for "medium duty clamp."

What is "medium duty" versus "heavy duty"? Is there an official definition?

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to woodworking. There's no technical or official definition of medium or heavy, at least not one that's used across makers. It's just a rough guide to how much you can crank down the handle before the clamp bends or breaks LOL (Joking aside I mean this literally, lighter-duty clamps often bend in use if they're tightened a bit too much.)
    – Graphus
    Feb 17 at 2:32
  • Thanks. What does "light duty", "medium duty", "heavy duty" mean to an experienced woodworker?
    – dfrankow
    Feb 17 at 2:36
  • Individual mileage varies. You'll get slightly different opinions on this from person to person, based on what they've used, what their requirements are — if you use hide glue almost exclusively your definition of "heavy clamping" could be very different to someone using PVA glues where you must clamp very hard to get strong joints. I also think how physically strong a person is will factor into this (particularly hand strength).
    – Graphus
    Feb 17 at 2:57
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    Because, standards? :-) Edit: seriously while I do mean that you deserve a better answer than this and to be perfectly frank I suspect this SE won't move out of beta; I don't think the format is a good fit for woodworking-related questions.
    – Graphus
    Feb 18 at 11:29
  • 1
    My question was "Is there an official definition?" For some reason, you're answering that with a question. But, I think your answer is, "No, there is not an official definition." I don't understand why everyone's getting so hung up on some imprecision. I learned a lot from this exchange, and I'm not at all bothered that it's not 100% precise.
    – dfrankow
    Feb 18 at 19:06

What is "medium duty" versus "heavy duty"? Is there an official definition?

There's no specific definition of "medium duty" or "heavy duty" as those terms pertain to woodworking tools, and the same is probably true in most other contexts. The terms are essentially marketing terms that manufacturers use to suggest the intended use of a product or to differentiate similar products within their own product line. Moreover, the meanings may vary significantly depending on the specific products or the context in which they're described.

It's generally understood that "medium duty" suggests more toughness and durability than "light duty," but less than "heavy duty," even if none of those terms are precisely defined. Think of these meanings in terms of condiments: when you order a sandwich at a delicatessen and the person behind the counter asks if you want mayonnaise, you might say "heavy mayo, please" or perhaps "medium mayo" or "light mayo," and even though they're not measuring the mayo and if asked you probably couldn't even say just how many grams of mayonnaise are indicated by "medium mayo," everybody still has a pretty good idea of what you mean.

There's no authority or governing body that controls, defines, designates, or authorizes the use of those terms for clamps or other tools. Consider them as advisory if they help, or ignore them entirely and evaluate the products in question yourself.

  • Also, bear in mind that what one manufacturer considers "medium-duty" another may consider "heavy-duty", while a 3rd scoffs and calls it "light-duty". These are nothing but marketing terms.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 22 at 17:18

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