Ok, so I'm going to get some Bessey K-bodys for Christmas - my first.
Naturally I cannot get all I would like. I am thinking that size choice
will be like my experience with buying a bunch of F-clamps in the last
year - "longer is not necessarily handier or as useful". But the K-body
pricing model is such that the shorter clamps cost about 75% of the cost of
much longer clamps. I suppose it makes sense - all you get is a couple more
feet of steel bar.
If you had $100 for a Kbody budget, how would you spend it? How about $200?
The rockler sale this coming weekend seems like a good $100 starter
Two 40" K-body
Two 24" K-body
Four KP blocks
What do you think?
I just added several K-Bodies in the past few weeks. I found them at
one of the local Borgs. I got 6 30" Kbodies and 4 24" uniklamps (K-Body
lite) for $260 to augment the 4 50" K-bodies that I already had. I just
finished a cabinet for a friend and that along with 2 pipe clamps and a
couple F clamps were all I needed
that is a great deal. Get one if you have $100, two if you have $200 - easy
I started out with 40" clamps and 24" clamps. I quickly found that using
longer clamps for small pieces is not much fun. I added a few 12" clamps as
well. The thing about the saying "you can never have enough clamps" is that
it is extremely accurate. I now have 4x12", 12x24", 12x(36" or 40") and
6x50". Not all are K-bodies, I have some jorgenson cabinetmasters, too
(actually 24 of them are CMs).
In performance, they are nearly identical, with the edge going to the
cabinetmasters. The improvements in features consist of larger clamping
surface - which I've noticed improves clamping force distribution
considerably - and the inclusion of small feet that allow the movable head
to be slid into position even when the clamps are laid down with a workpiece
on the bar. This last one is a BIG improvement and makes panel glueups go
much easier, IMO. The CMs also feature reversible heads, which I've used a
few times, so it is a nice feature. I think the Bessey's might be
incorporating some of these features in their offerings now, but I'm not
sure. Weight isn't something I've noticed much difference in - so I'll have
to say they are even there. Both are pretty hefty.
There have been some negative aspects to the CMs in terms of product
"malfunctions". These have been reported previously, as well. Namely,
*some* of my clamps exhibit "stuck head" syndrome, where if the movable head
is allowed to slam down against the fixed head the clamping mechanism jams
and the clamp is stuck closed. It isn't really that hard to remedy the
problem, but it is very annoying when it happens. The materials in my CMs
weren't top-notch, either. The plastic isn't as good as in the k-bodies,
and on one of my clamps the fixed head housing cracked severely when it fell
off my bench. I also had several clamps where the bars developed notches as
a result of the clamping action - most of them didn't have any impact on
performance, but a few of them were serious enough to affect the ability of
the movable head to slide past them.
The good news is that the Adjustable Clamp Company is standing by their
product and accepting responsibility for these issues. I reported all of
them to their customer service manager (Jim Luley) and he gave me no
argument whatsoever, and required no proof (i.e. having to mail the clamps
back or something like that). He was very professional and replaced all the
items for free. In total, I received 7 new clamps (it was just the fixed
head and the bars). As Jim explained to me, there was some quality issues
with the parts initially supplied to them for the CMs, all of which have
been remedied. They changed the plastic to a glass-filled type, which is
more durable and robust. They improved the quality of the steel bar stock,
and they came up with a fix for the "stuck head" issue. This consists of a
plastic insert that you can retrofit to your clamps easily to avoid the
problem. All new CMs have all of these improvements (I checked this at Home
Depot and confirmed it). So, with this in mind I have to stand behind the
CMs. As you might imagine, it would have been much better to not have the
problems at all, but the customer service was exceptional, and it seems they
have truly attempted to fix what was wrong in good faith.
So there you have it. I still use my Besseys as much as the CMs, and in most
cases I have no real preference. They are both exceptional clamps and I'm
happy with them all.
wrote in message
I have one question about the CabinetMasters. Don't know what it is about
the material the bars on the Besseys are made from, but I found out the
hard way that Titebond II sticks to it like grim death. Have you noticed
if the same is true of the CabinetMasters?
Mike in Mystic wrote:
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
The CM bar is very smooth and polished - glue is VERY easy to get off the
bars, once it has cured. The serrations on K-bodies is what I guess makes
the glue stick so well and makes it difficult to remove.
wrote in message
When it gets in the serrations it's a pain but even if it falls on the
smooth side of the bar it sticks like crazy and when I do get it off it
leaves a discolored spot. I've taken to waxing new ones when I get them.
Have to give CMs a try.
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
Duh, why didn't I think of that. I just called the local Rockler store to
check for restrictions in their sale. No limits per customer, but only
limited to what they have in stock. That's why they are opening at 7a.m.
every day after Thanksgiving. I asked if they had ordered extra stock or
just going to sell what's in the store. Quote the salesperson: "Well, let's
put it this way - I've been unloading three trucks a day for the last week
in anticipation of this sale. Does that help?" Whoever decided to put a
Rockler store in Houston in a better than average location is a genius.
Their retail prices are ridiculously high sometimes but their sales can be
If you're talking about the one on SW FWY feeder between Edloe and Kirby,
their sales can be competitive, most all the merchandise is better quality
than you'll find at a BORG, a lot of the catalog stuff is in stock, and the
salesfolks are _way_ above average in helpfulness and savvy ... but the real
kicker is that I can be there in five minutes.
That's the one. Their location says they are after the hobbyist seriously.
With the growth of the Baby boom generation and growing interest in
woodworking, I think they must have some vision.
You are correct. I found that the hard way when I first started my
K-Body collection. I have an article on my website that deals with
your first K-Body buy. Looks like it might help you.
I have about 2/3 of my inventory as 24"ers, by the way.
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
I think that, at very least, I'd go to www.allprotools.com, and price out
the Gross Stabil PC2 units. They are every bit as good as the Besseys.
I use both. So do others, who hang out here. Even some who inadvertantly
overload other people's F150 pickups, hauling home maple they've
practically stolen. ;-)
Regarding the length issue, it really depends on what you make. 50" clamps
on smaller projects can be a pain.
"patriarch email@example.comDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message
I've seen them at Woodcraft and they do look great. For regular pricing
they are cheaper, but the shipping cost from Allprotools is not competitive.
Pricing up 4-24s and 4-40s, the Rockler sale is $69 cheaper, after sales tax
and shipping considerations.
Thanks for the tip. I'll certainly do more comparitive shopping in the
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