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Thread: Clamps,Clamps, Clamps, whats the difference?

  1. #1
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    Clamps,Clamps, Clamps, whats the difference?

    I recently purchased some Bessy clamps, (famous name), from Loew's, they were roughly $20 ea. Yesterday I was walking thru Home Depot, & decided to just check out the clamps. WOW, Jorgenson has almost the same clamp for roughly $11 ea. If you didn't notice, that's almost 1/2 price!

    Lastly I have a bunch of 3/4" black pipe clamps. I have included pictures of the Bessy and Jorgenson, so we are all on the same page. I'm sure you all know what the pony pipe clamps look like.

    So whats the difference? The Bessy clamp has small ridges in the bar to catch, the Jorgensons just bite into the bar much as a pipe clamp does, and there is the pipe clamps. Are any one better than the others? Are they all pretty much the same? Is all preference? What do you all think?

    Thanks
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    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose

    Jack

  2. #2
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    There are different grades of clamps with various clamping strengths. Jorgenson makes light duty, medium and heavy duty clamps with 300, 600 and (I think) 1100 lbs sq/in of clamping strength.

    Also check the bar thickness and width. Some of the lower end clamps will flex more when under load.

  3. #3
    Besseys are (IMMHO) the best. They are available in different "duty ratings". So are the Jorgensens. The Jorgies are good quality but I think the Besseys have them beat. I really like the fact that the Besseys do not use clutch plates which makes them a bit easier to adjust. There are tons of imitators, most of which are of lessor quality, something that is often reflected in the price. Bessey is a German company. Jorgensens are made by Adjustable Clamp Company. Both have been family owned businesses since the turn of the last century.
    David DeCristoforo

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by David DeCristoforo View Post
    Besseys are (IMMHO) the best. They are available in different "duty ratings". So are the Jorgensens. The Jorgies are good quality but I think the Besseys have them beat. I really like the fact that the Besseys do not use clutch plates which makes them a bit easier to adjust. There are tons of imitators, most of which are of lessor quality, something that is often reflected in the price. Bessey is a German company. Jorgensens are made by Adjustable Clamp Company. Both have been family owned businesses since the turn of the last century.
    Sadly, the "Bessey" clamps sold at Lowes are made in China. When they first started carrying the line, they were made in Germany, but all of the product that replaced the initial stockage came from China. The funny thing is the reason I caught this initially was from the enormous fit and finish difference between the Chinese and German clamps. Don't stop at looks- check out the tolerance difference. Frightening.

    I'd like some more Bessey clamps, but at this point I don't know if they're all being made in China, or it's just the "special" line for Lowes so they can make a bit of extra profit.

    Home Depot has actually been making an effort to carry some higher spec products recently, while Lowes has been busy replacing entire categories of products (from blades to clamps to electrical to plumbing) with Chinese imports of the basest quality.

  5. #5
    "...the "Bessey" clamps sold at Lowes are made in China..."

    Ahhhh... China. Is there no end to the indignity?
    David DeCristoforo

  6. #6
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    I bought a pair of Bessey's very similar to the ones in your photo yesterday at a real lumberyard. They are German made.

    James

  7. #7
    I recently bought two 30 piece Bessey clamp sets. I haven't bothered looking at where they were made, but I did notice that they were of excellent quality. Got mine from my local supply truck guy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Baker SD View Post
    I bought a pair of Bessey's very similar to the ones in your photo yesterday at a real lumberyard. They are German made.

    James
    The ones from Loew's are 12" clamps, mind if I ask the size and price of those which you purchased?
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose

    Jack

  9. #9
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    OP also mentioned pony pipe clamps. Which one is better kinda depends on what you are doing. I use the ones pictured above for face joining two boards, gluing smaller pieces, box knewels. I use ponies to glue up panels. Not really the same classification in clamp, so not a fair comparison.

  10. #10
    My shop is full of Jorg's, Besseys, Ponys, and other off brand stuff. I like them all, to be honest. A clamp is a simple piece of machinery to get right. The Besseys are a bit smoother than all the rest. They're a bit more expensive. I'm not sure it's worth the extra $$$.

    The thing is, though, that clamps pretty much last a lifetime. If you have the $$$, it may not be a bad investment to buy the best clamps you can. Over 30 or 40 years, the extra couple of bucks won't add up to a whole lot. I guess it depends on how many clamps you really need, and what you're doing with them.

    I really like my Home Depot Jorgs, and I have a LOT of clamps. The price point is right for what I'm doing. Then again, I have some Besseys so they must have something going for them too!

    For glue ups on flat pieces, like when I'm gluing up a guitar top or something like that, I like pipe clamps.

    There's lots of nice clamps out there, and lots of price points. I would say maybe buy a sampling, and figure out where your personal tolerance is for price vs niceness.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACK WILSON1 View Post
    The ones from Loew's are 12" clamps, mind if I ask the size and price of those which you purchased?
    I am afraid I do not know clamp terminology well, but the adjustable jaw can be moved 24" from the fixed jaw along the bar and the clamping screw is 7" from the bar. They were $38 each at TH&H in San Diego.

    Hope that is the info you wanted.

    James

  12. #12
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    I like the "Pony" pipe clamps, but for bar clamps, like the Bessey "Tradesman" clamp. I like the way the Bessey "Tradesman" clamp adjusts without the use of clutch plates, so that I don't need three hands to operate it. I find the "pony" pipe clamp to be tough and put together well. The plus there is also the reversible deep reach clamp in the "pony" line, which is great if you need spreading strength. I like pipe clamps in general because I can clamp whatever length needed just by adding another section of pipe w/ coupler!''

    I don't care for the grips on the "Jorgies", they appear to be hard to get a grip on!
    Last edited by Scott Vantine; 02-06-2010 at 1:56 AM. Reason: forgot text
    I didn't do it.....YET!

  13. #13
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    As far as that style of clamp, I have the Dark Blue clamps from Harbor Freight (pic below) and they work very well. I like them a lot. I have some gray ones from HF and they are junk for the most part.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=96214



    I have some Bessy clamps. Even the parallel and think they are all over rated.

    I picked up one of the new Jorgenson clamps below to try out. They are fantastic for clamping things quick to the work bench. It is an all metal clamp. Just don't get them from Woodcraft. They want double price for them.
    http://www.adjustableclamp.com/38000_pg.htm

    Last edited by Dave Lehnert; 02-06-2010 at 4:17 AM.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  14. #14
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    I'll add my vote for the besseys. They are just well-made. I also own some jorgensons and have no regrets, even though they are not my first choice.

    I was given some sears clamps a while back and they are nearly worthless - they slip, the handles are hard to grip, and the plastic pads leave stains on your material. Short of falling apart, I'm hard pressed to see how they could be worse. I gave them to my 5 year old to play with outside. They're apparently good for clamping rocks, sticks, and mud together - so, not a total waste, I guess.

    You get what you pay for, most of the time.


  15. #15
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    Saskatoon Saskatchewan
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    I've used both, I prefer the Besseys.

    The clutch plate on the Jorg's skin my knuckes.

    You can see in the photo's the Bessey bar is much thicker, and shaped like an I-beam. I can flex the Jorg's bar.

    Jorg's clap pads suck. They fall off and leave oil stains.

    You can get edge banding clamps that attach to the Besseys.

    All complaining aside, the Jorg's are very good clamps. Sometimes the clutch comes in handy, the head stays secured while the Bessey slides around. They are a very close runner-up, if you aren't using them all the time they make sense economically.
    Darnell

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