Parallel Jaw Clamps

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After battling with a panel glue-up for way too long this afternoon, I've decided to mortgage my firstborn and get some parallel jaw clamps. There's several different brands, and I'm asking you guys what kind you have, and what you wish might be a little different about them.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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heavier, but the grip is easier on my hands. It is a six sided shape that is bigger around than the Bessey round grip. I don't have any of the new Bessey's. Jack
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I'm sorta on the same page WRT Jorgie and Bessey F-style clamps. Can't put a finger on the precise reason, but reach for the Jorgies first.
Read the review of several brands of parallel jaws in the Sep 2007 issue of Wood Mag, and Jet got the nod as "Best Tool" with the Woodcraft Bessey knockoffs as "Best Value".
I know Bessey has a "good name" in clamps, but I simply don't have a warm fuzzy about the F-styles I own. Yeah, I know, that probably shouldn't carryover to the parallel jaw type, but it does.
I note that Amazon currently has Jet kits (2 24" + 2 40") for about US$150 + tax and free shipping. Rockler's US$175 + 15% coupon + shipping + deferred (free) tax, puts the two within a couple of dollars of each other. Except Rockler is currently on backorder.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Bessey's and a couple Gross Stabil's. I received the Gross Stabil's as a gift a couple of years ago and they appear to be of higher quality than the Bessey but all work well. I don't think there is a huge price difference.
Ron.
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I guess it doesn't matter how good the Gross Stabil was. Apparently they were too good because Bessey bought them out and discontinued the parallel bar clamp line.
Oh Well.
RonB
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Tom Veatch wrote:

They're all so over-priced imo I've never bought anything except pipe clamps for heavy work and the lite-weight bar clamps for anything else that doesn't need either the reach or the length...
If I were ever in a real production environment, perhaps; but I'm thinking I'd still just fabricate a somewhat better version of the t-bar version rather than spend what appears to me to be obscene amounts for commercial clamps...
--
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"dpb" wrote:

That makes two of us.
When I do panel glue ups, use a couple of 2"x2"x1/8"x96" aluminum angles and C-clamps as cauls on the ends of the glue ups.
Aluminum is nice since TiteBond doesn't stick to it.
Lew
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Yeah but they're sure nice to work with. <G>
>I've never bought anything except pipe

Max
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It's amazing how a *simple* project can make you feel like you've a production environment going. If you call the price obscene, then I have an obscene number of besseys (18), and I can't count how many times I've had them all in use at the same time. I wouldn't trade them for anything, and consider the money well spent.
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I used pipe clamps until I found a 50% off sale on Bessey clamps. The pipe clamps are rarely used, but they still get used when my Bessey clamps are used up.
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I have never used them but I thought the clamps sold by Peachtree Woodworking were neat. The handle pulls out and then swings sideways so you can tighten them in those situations where you can't get your fingers around a downward facing clamp. They don't seems as well built as a Bessey, but having two or three on hand would be nice for those times you back yourself into a corner....
wrote:

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dpb wrote:

I'm with you. I have a bunch of pipe clamps that work just fine, and have worked just fine for millions of cabinet makers for many years. The high priced spread would be nicer, but not worth it if money is tight.
I also made a set of my own panel clamps that work very well. Two 2x4's with 1" holes drilled about every 8-10". You put 1" dowels on each end with the panel in the middle. The dowel goes through one 2x4, then though a rectangular hunk of wood with an offset hole in it, then through the other 2x4. Then, you use 2 opposing wedges to tighten the panel up. Works great and is cheap as all get out. Heres a picture:
http://jbstein.com/Flick/clamps.jpg
I'd rather have Bessy's of course, but I have a million other tools I really need more than want.
--
Jack
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The Bessy UniKlamps are a cheaper (but lighter duty) version of the K's. They're not as smooth as the K's but I couldn't justify the price of the K's when I bought them.
Despite their limitations I love them and they've become my "go to" clamps. The large parallel jaws and decent holding force make them useful in all sorts of situations. I wish all of my other clamps were as good as them - but then I don't own any of the other premium brands.
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For glue-up type assembly, I usually use some of the older type Bessies. It's very convenient that they sit flat and have wide block faces, something I need from my seated position. In regards to brand, (Gross Stabil, Cabinetmasters, Bessey) they're all pretty much similar in my opinion, so if I were you, I'd go and handle the various types for personal hands on preference and at the same time, keep your eyes open for sales deals. What I like in the feel of parallel jaw clamps, you might find irritating, so you really need to handle them yourself before deciding. They're all relatively expensive, so unless there's a really good deal to be had somewhere, I wouldn't base my choice solely on price.
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I have The Jorgy Cabinetmasters, Bessey Revo, and the Jet.
I have had the Cabinetmasters for several years and am happy with them. Compared to the older style Bessey clamps they IMHO have a smoother action better aux foot, larger clamping area and larger handles. The Jets are loaded with features however they feel difficult to tighten properly. the screw handles just don't seem to be as easily to "clamp down tightly" as the Cabinetmasters and or the Bessey Revo clamps. The Bessey Revo clamps are great however I only have a pair in the 12" version. I have 2 ,Jet 24" IIRC and 10, Cabinetmasters.
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: After battling with a panel glue-up for way too long this afternoon, : I've decided to mortgage my firstborn and get some parallel jaw : clamps. There's several different brands, and I'm asking you guys what : kind you have, and what you wish might be a little different about : them.
: Tom Veatch : Wichita, KS : USA
I have Besseys, Jorgenson cabinetmasters, and these:
http://www.finewoodworking.com/ToolGuide/ToolGuideProduct.aspx?idX06
I much prefer the Universal Clamp Co. ones to either the Bessey or Jorgy clamps. Lighter, cheaper, faster.
    -- Andy Barss
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: : After battling with a panel glue-up for way too long this afternoon, : : I've decided to mortgage my firstborn and get some parallel jaw : : clamps. There's several different brands, and I'm asking you guys what : : kind you have, and what you wish might be a little different about : : them.
: : Tom Veatch : : Wichita, KS : : USA
: I have Besseys, Jorgenson cabinetmasters, and these:
: http://www.finewoodworking.com/ToolGuide/ToolGuideProduct.aspx?idX06
: I much prefer the Universal Clamp Co. ones to either the Bessey : or Jorgy clamps. Lighter, cheaper, faster.
I forgot to add this link, which includes some nice addons, as well as multi-clamp packages:
http://www.thebestthings.com/newtools/uniclamps.htm
    -- Andy Barss
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wrote:

I have had the samee style aluminum clamps for much longer than the F-style clamps. They are nice to work with but they do flex a lot and are better suited for light weight clamping. The reach on them like ordinary pipe clamps pretty much suck.
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Tom Veatch wrote:

Just a suggestion, but if you can find shops with the different brands, _try_ them--the most important thing is that they fit your hand well enough that you can sock them down without undo strain or discomfort.
Word of advice--when you get them, first thing, take some Butchers Wax or Johnson Wax to them and wax _everything_--I can't speak personally for any brand but Bessey, but on the Besseys Titebond sticks securely to the metal and plastic parts and if it gets into the little teeth on the bar then it's Hell to get out. I dunno what Bessey does to those parts but they should bottle it and market it.
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Looks like the response rate has dropped off, so I'll assume that about does it.
Thanks for the responses and insights. WRT the comments on expense, yeah, the manufacturers are definitely proud of those buggers. But, I figure either I can fritter away my retirement income, or the kids can after I croak. More fun if I do it.
WRT the comments on getting some hands on. Good idea. I've seen Jorgies in the local Home Depot. According to their website, Lowes may have some Bessey's, and the Big Tool Store over in Derby is a Jet dealer, so they may have the Jet version. I have to go by the BTS for something else anyway, so I may take tomorrow to run around looking at those three brands, at least.
Thanks again, folks.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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