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
I have some Bessey's and some Jet's. I tend to reach for the Jet. They are
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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....
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:
I'd rather have Bessy's of course, but I have a million other tools I
really need more than want.
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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.
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.
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.
: 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
: Tom Veatch
: Wichita, KS
I have Besseys, Jorgenson cabinetmasters, and these:
I much prefer the Universal Clamp Co. ones to either the Bessey
or Jorgy clamps. Lighter, cheaper, faster.
-- Andy Barss
: : 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:
: 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:
-- Andy Barss
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.
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.
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.
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