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Thread: Clamp advice (everybody loves to talk about clamps...) :)

  1. #1
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    Clamp advice (everybody loves to talk about clamps...) :)

    My friends and family are advanced planners, so now is the time to plant the seed for simple holiday gifts I might enjoy. One item I always add on is clamps. Some of what I have already include:

    I have some of these and like them (lightweight but most times things fit well enough they dont need over clamping): https://www.amazon.com/Jorgensen-353...ustomerReviews

    I have two smaller ones of these and like them due to the clamping force, may add a couple more of these to the list: https://www.irwin.com/tools/clamps/q...ded-bar-clamps

    I have a bunch of these in various lengths. They are powerful, but heavy and steel rails I do have to take care with rust marring the wood. https://www.amazon.com/Jorgensen-724.../dp/B0000224CI

    I have 4 of these I bought on sale, and thought I would like 'parallel jaws'. However, these particular clamps are not smooth. Sometimes they tighten down without actually compressing the jaws (?). Always a pain to operate so although they seem like nice clamps I dont use them. https://www.amazon.com/Tools-Record-.../dp/B001DSZW1A

    And a bunch of smaller clamps and spring clamps, etc.

    So the question is, any thoughts on additional clamps as a 'must have'? What are your favorites and most used? (furniture building)

    I might try the parallel clamps again, but in a different brand. Jet or Bessey? They seemed like something I wanted but they didnt work well enough to make it a good purchase. Should I try again with a different brand?

  2. #2
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    Personally I like to use Jet parallel clamps, f clamps like old Jorgies or the ones Lee Valley sells, and basically the same 3536 aluminum bar clamps Lee Valley sold at one point. Believe it or not I really like 6” f clamps from Harbor Freight and prefer them over other makers. For $2.99 they can’t be beat, get a dozen! The longer they get the more bent the beam is and likely don’t clamp straight.

  3. #3
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    The majority of my clamp money is tied up in parallel clamps. They aren't the best option for everything and they are heavy and thus awkward to use one-handed but I tend to use them whenever I can. I have Jet, Bessey and Jorgensen and prefer the Jet version but in reality, I buy whatever I find the best sale on. I usually pick up 4 or 8 every Christmas season and last year the Besseys were the best deal I found. For several years the best deal was always Jet but they haven't had the great shopping season sale since I think 2015.

    Usually, I use quick clamps (I like the value in the Highland Woodworking version) for the initial alignment for a glue up then go back and replace them with heavier clamps, usually parallel clamps.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Believe it or not I really like 6” f clamps from Harbor Freight and prefer them over other makers.
    I keep a lot of 6" and 12" F clamps as I tend to use a lot for bent laminations. I think it was 2 cyber Mondays ago I got 48 6" ones from Peachtree for ~$100 shipped. While they absolutely do the job I actually prefer the HF handle, the Peachtree ones have the red wooden handle like the old light duty Besseys. I would buy more of the Peachtree ones at $2 each shipped but the HF 6" F clamps are an excellent buy.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Personally I like to use Jet parallel clamps, f clamps like old Jorgies or the ones Lee Valley sells, and basically the same 3536 aluminum bar clamps Lee Valley sold at one point. Believe it or not I really like 6” f clamps from Harbor Freight and prefer them over other makers. For $2.99 they can’t be beat, get a dozen! The longer they get the more bent the beam is and likely don’t clamp straight.
    I agree with Matt's comments. However, bending of the longer bar clamps can be eliminated, or significantly reduced, by rip sawing a suitably sized strip of wood & inserting it inside the channel.
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
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  6. #6
    I like the JET parallels.

    Last year I bought a set of these Dubuques (LINK). Lotsa people make bar clamps, but these were really a good add to my shop.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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  7. #7
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    The HF clamps both 6" and 12" are a steal IMHO. The handles are great. And I have about 20 3/4" Bessy H pipe clamps. The thing I like about them is they stay mounted most of the time on 4' pipes, but with my collection of couplings and 2' pipe sections I could make a clamp any length I need. Jorgenson's are nice for odd shapes. I have several parallel clamps but find them clumsy to use, so they stay on the wall most of the time.
    Bill
    I'm not old. I've just been young for a very, very long time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    I like the JET parallels.

    Last year I bought a set of these Dubuques (LINK). Lotsa people make bar clamps, but these were really a good add to my shop.
    Scroll down to the bottom of the linked page. The Dubuque wedge-action face frame and right angle clamps can be useful in situations where other clamps won't quite work.
    -- Jim

    Mr. Natural sez, "Use the right tool for the job."

  9. #9
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    You were right; everyone likes to talk clamps. Everyone will have a different favorite based on what they do and how they do it. Your needs may or may not align with others. The beauty of that is that the info is valuable either way. If others use models don't match your own they may make you think of different ways to do things. If they match, they will add credence to your own methods.

    Parallel clamps are my go to as well.

    Cleat Clamp Rack V2 (8).jpg

    For lighter work I have a batch of Bessey UniKlamps.

    cleat-wall-uniklamp-fixture.jpg . Cleat Clamp Rack V2 (15).jpg

    These along with small Bessey bar clamps are probably my most used clamps.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  10. #10
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    Parallel clamps for me, too, augmented with a few other types and I have some traditional pipe clamps available for overflow or special long lengths. (I actually have two 11' pipe clamps that were gifted to me by a friend when he shut his shop and moved to Florida)

    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Wow, I've got a box of those rags...

  12. #12
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    I agree those Irwin clamps are the worst. I bought them on closeout from Homedepot and sold them a couple of years ago. Love my Jet parallel clamps. I also have both old and new Bessey parallel, Irwin quick clamps, Bessey Uniklamps, Bessey Duo clamps, Spring clamps, and old pipe clamps(I never use anymore).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    Wow, I've got a box of those rags...
    They are harder to come by these days...HD stopped selling them around here...and I like them for certain finishing things.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    My favorite clamps are hand screw clamps,yeah the old shop class wooden jaw things. I have about 20 pipe clamps and want 20 more. I also have about 10 jorgensen parallel clamps,20 or so c-clamps,20-30 f-clamps and about 30 small 4'' f clamps. I like the parallels sometimes and hate them others,personally I am not convinced that they really work much better than pipe clamps. I will probably buy quick grips and more small clamps.Mike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    I like the parallels sometimes and hate them others,personally I am not convinced that they really work much better than pipe clamps.
    While I think there are several performances differences between pipe clamps and parallel clamps the two biggest for me are the fact parallel clamp jaws stay parallel and they have a much larger contact surface. I got rid of most of my pipe clamps many years ago and only kept a few for really long spans. Now I have some 72" parallel clamps and with the clamp extenders I can clamp up to just shy of 12' so I gave away the last of my pipe clamps. I have at least a couple of most every normally used wood clamp type and find a use for them at least occasionally but the pipe clamp is just one I never bonded with in any way. Pipe clamps are one of those things in life I just don't like and I am flummoxed by other people's affection to them, it is just like Brussels sprouts.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

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