Stopped in the Borg today to get a propane torch cylinder, and saw the
yellow tags on the Bessey K-bodies. I don't own any of these clamps.
I played with a couple of them for a bit. They close straight, nice and
square. Peeked up in the works to see how they keep the head straight as
the screw advances. Looked again at the price. A 24" clamp was $25; it
was $30 for a 31", which seemed a more useful length to me for a clamp
like this, but still a little too short for general cabinet work. 37"
would be better.
A pair for $60 -- what can you do with just one clamp of any given type?
-- four would be $120. Glanced toward the crowbars for some help, but it
was no use. I just don't have enough complaints about my good ol' pipe
Guess that makes me a confirmed cheap bastage.
I always buy my clamps in pairs. I use the Bessey K-body 24" clamps a
little more often than the 31", and the 40" less often than the 31s.
The price at HD is a real bargain for these, but here they were all
snapped up within a week. I managed to get 4 of them. I use my pipe
clamps the least. I guess it depends on what you are building.
I too was cheap about clamps. Then I got a couple of Besseys and never
looked back. It seemed less productive to buy clamps when I could buy wood
instead. Or at least a tool more fun to play with.
Once I got a couple I realized how smart it is to have a least a few of
Don't rule out the Jorgensen Cabinet Master clamps either. They tend to be
cheaper across the board, normally 10-15% and often, 2 or 3 times in the
last year and half are reduce to less than half price. Most comments from
those that own the Cabinet Masters along side the K-Bodies prefer the
Cabinet Masters. I bought 6-48"ers and 4-36" ers on sale for about $225.00
Where did you get them from?
I do have a few clamps. Never too many -- obviously! -- but not often too
few. Eight of the 48" Jorgie I-beam monsters are what usually I reach for
when I need mid-length cabinet clamps. Incidentally, those are built
heavier than the Bessey K-bodies. I use pipe clamps when I need something
longer. I pocket-screw my face frames nowadays, and usually box out the
cases so they are less than 40" wide; the biggest is usually a 39" wide
sink cabinet. Easier to install that way. So, I don't often need clamps
longer than 48".
There are probably 30 of the Bessey Tradesmen clamps hanging on the rack.
Those are the real workhorses; they get used every day in all manner of
glue-ups and odd jobs. There are another 30 or so of the short Jorgie's
(actually, most of them are the Pittsburgh knock-offs), probably 20 of
the 6-inchers and the rest 12".
I'd probably like the K-bodies, and might like the Cabinet Masters even
better, but I need a job to give them. One fellow posted that they'd be
handy for drawer glue-ups. I can't remember having a problem with that
recently, though. I guess what I'm trying to say is that in my shop, at
least for now, the high-dollar cabinet clamps seem to be a fix looking
for a problem.
The first time I bought them was on my birthday month. I got them from
Woodcraft. In sets of 4 there is a substantial break in price + 10% during
my birthday month. The last 6 I got from Woodworkers Source. These were
really cheap. 2, 48" and 4, 36" for $128.00 shipped. There have numerous
other locations with the great deal on these clamps. You have to keep you
ears open and act fast when you hear of them. I think the small removable
foot on the ends makes these clamps really user friendly as you can put a
long clamp on a short table and move the adjustable end with out having to
disturb the glue up. Setting on the fixed end of the clamp and the foot the
clamping end will move freely back and forth along the bar. Being able to
reverse the clamp and use as a spreader has been great also. I have used
this feature to hold a new wall plumb while I attached the cross brace,
straightened out a bowed roof truss during the decking stage, opened up an
old drawer to reglue the joint, and yesterday I used it to spread a face
frame to add another piece to the frame in the middle.
I am a cheap bastage also and swear by the pipe clamp solution (they have
served me well for so many years with only a little more attention to detail
than it takes Norm to bang his stuff together with his $10,000 collection of
clamps)...except last night I took a small (1 3/4" sides) oak drawer glue-up
out of the "ponies" only to see that something really bad happened between
the perfectly square set-up at the bench and the final product that I set
aside to dry.
I'm now gonna hang my head in shame, take that moth ridden wallet out of my
pocket and buy a few of the Besseys, at least for the smaller stuff. Hoping
I don't get the fever for the bigger stuff.
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