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Thread: Parallel Clamps

  1. #1

    Parallel Clamps

    I know this has been covered before, but I didn’t have a lot of luck searching. I’m looking to buy my first parallel clamps in the ~30-36” range, and with the expense I would like to make a somewhat informed decision. The brands that I know of are bessey, jet, jorgenson, Irwin, and taylor tools (had not heard of these but were mentioned by a youtuber). I’m looking for best bang for the buck, and not just the cheapest. So is there a clear winner amongst them? I know everyone’s opinions will vary but I’d like some help. Also, looking for recommendations on where to buy. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Crozet, VA
    Posts
    267
    You are going to get a wide array of answers on this. I personally have both Jorgensen and Bessey parallel clamps, and both work fine. I've a very slight preference for the Jorgensen's as they are a bit smoother, but I use both all the time.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  3. #3
    You'll gets lots of opinions here and it comes down to personal preference. I have both JETs and BESSEY REVOs in roughly the size range you are looking at.

    I like that the JETs don't slide without pressing the lock lever. More than once, I've pinched my hand when picking up the Besseys and the jaw slid into me. (Dumb, I know.) Both the JETs and the Bessey's work just fine for me. Most times, I've just bought what's on sale.

    Aside: I also have 18" Bessey REVO JRs. I really like them for narrower glue ups. Lighter-weight and effective. But I probably wouldn't go longer with the Juniors because of potential flex.

    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,878
    Mine are all Bessy but I bought them a very long time ago, always taking advantage of sales. I'm not sure that brand matters all that much other than combining brands may sometimes require care in a particular glue up situation if the sizing of the clamp jaws vary.
    --

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Posts
    311
    I really like working with Universal Bar Clamps, light weight, have enough power for what I do. I do have heavy iron clamps and pipe clamps, however they only come out when all of the Universals are in use.
    Have some Bessey's at work and don't really like working with them, same for the Jorgensen's I have at home. bought before I found the Universal's.
    Tools for working wood has a nice blog on these
    good luck
    Ron

  6. #6
    I reach for my Revo Jrs whenever I can. Not for the heaviest duty jobs, but they work fine for the vast majority.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    1,889
    I have Bessey 31" Revos. The Jets and Jorgies have enough of a following that I doubt you can go wrong with any of these 3. I haven't shopped clamps lately but I wouldn't be surprised if they are about the same pricewise.

    One feature that might distinguish one from another would be if the clamps can be joined for longer application. The Besseys can be with an adapter that can be purchased. I don't know about the others.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,423
    I have both Jorgensens and Besseys, and slightly prefer the Besseys. But really I'd buy whichever of any of those brands I found the best sale on at the time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    736
    I have Yost, Jet, Bessey, Jorgenson, and Stanley's. Aside from the Stanley's that I got on close out a decade ago, they all work about the same. I wait for sales and grab what I need. Not sure there is a lot of difference when comparing apples to apples.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Atwell View Post
    I know this has been covered before, but I didn’t have a lot of luck searching. I’m looking to buy my first parallel clamps in the ~30-36” range, and with the expense I would like to make a somewhat informed decision. The brands that I know of are bessey, jet, jorgenson, Irwin, and taylor tools (had not heard of these but were mentioned by a youtuber). I’m looking for best bang for the buck, and not just the cheapest. So is there a clear winner amongst them? I know everyone’s opinions will vary but I’d like some help. Also, looking for recommendations on where to buy. Thanks!
    I really like the Yost Heavy Duty parallel clamps, better IMO than the Besseys and (usually) a bit less expensive, you can get them on amazon of course.

    If you really want maximum bang for the buck, try the Dubuque aluminum bar clamps from toolsforworkingwood.com, they are considerably lighter and perform almost as well. Unfortunately, they are less effective than the others as weapons to repel intruders, or as union organizers.

  11. #11
    Several of you have mentioned buying what’s on sale. Where do you all shop most of the time?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Atwell View Post
    Several of you have mentioned buying what’s on sale. Where do you all shop most of the time?
    Bring in the usual suspects! IOW, all of them. But in case you’re new to this, a google search for an item and clicking on the Shopping tab is often very helpful.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    If you really want maximum bang for the buck, try the Dubuque aluminum bar clamps from toolsforworkingwood.com, they are considerably lighter and perform almost as well.
    I have the Dubuques as well and they are my absolutely favorite clamp. But there are plenty of times I reach for the parallel clamps instead of the Dubuques - it just depends on what I'm doing.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Atwell View Post
    Several of you have mentioned buying what’s on sale. Where do you all shop most of the time?
    Coming into the Holidays, you can usually expect a JET sale. Otherwise, just watch rockler, woodcraft and other sites. You'll usually get a heads up on message boards like this, too.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,878
    Believe it or not, Home Depot occasionally has sale prices on Bessey parallel clamps...
    --

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

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