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Thread: Pony, Bessey or ?????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Waterford, PA
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    1,111

    Pony, Bessey or ?????

    I've done without any type of parallel clamp for years. I've made due with some cheap Harbor Freight "F" type clamps and some Bessey Pipe clamps. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be in the right place, and was able to purchase one 48" Pony and two 40" Bessey Parallel Clamps for $25 total. Having used them a couple of times, I realize I need to invest in more of these. So, is one brand significantly better than the other? Are there other brands I should be looking at? How many and what sizes are most likely to work well for me?

  2. #2
    Stick with your routine of avoiding parallels. Trust me. You got in on a super cheap barrier to entry. Populate your shop with clamps you can buy as economically as possible (so you have 3-4 for every parallel you would have bought) and dont buy into the hype.

    Your 25 total lucky buy in likely wont get you half of a single clamp but would buy you 1.5 or more of a more well rounded clamp.

    Honestly. Plow your shop chuck full of robust affordable clamps and you wont look back. Parallels look nice hanging on the wall but thats about it. Its kinda like a Gucci belt or a pair of $300 sunglasses. They all do the same job as the gas station glasses or a piece of rope but they just make you stand a bit taller. Sadly the parallels only let you stand taller in public because in private,... youll be let down. But keeping ones chin up when they've layed down thousands in clamps is imperative.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,627
    Subjective thing. I really like my parallel clamps and have and use a "whole bunch" of them. Some folks, like Mark, don't like them. Either way is just fine and valid. Mine are all Bessey and were always bought at sale prices over time. I don't like pipe clamps, myself, but I have some because sometimes they are the right solution and they also are my overflow for really big projects.
    --

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Posts
    729
    Lisa I lucked up on 8 Jorgensen 24" parallel clamps when they went out of business. I paid $18 each for them at the time. That was before the Chinese company bought them out. I used them quite a bit when re-doing my kitchen, but that's about it. I find myself grabbing my Rockler aluminum bar clamps most often. Even for large panel glue-ups, if your boards are jointed well, you won't need that much pressure to get good results. I bought the Rockler clamps as they went on sale. I would buy a few at a time. They work well and are light. I find myself not needing the parallel clamps much except for case work as I mentioned at first. They are great for cabinets, but heavy.
    My Dad always told me "Can't Never Could".

    SWE

  5. #5
    I think Bessey clamps help keep work flat. They adjust quickly and give a lot of pressure. I prefer them to pipe clamps. I have a collection of pipe clamps from the Dark Ages before Bessey clamps were invented. The big advantage to pipe clamps is being able to use pipe couplings to create really long clamps.

    There are glue-ups when I use every clamp I own, but the pipe clamps get pulled out last.

    I don’t know about current Pony clamps. I do know the original owner got in a snit with the government of California over something and shut down the company rather than comply. Eventually the name was sold to someone else who brought the brand back. Products may have changed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Location
    Southwest WI
    Posts
    245
    I had gone through the process of deciding on a brand of parallel clamps a couple years ago. I was chosing between jet, Jorgensen, irwin and bessey. I didn't like the feel of the jets the others seemed reasonably similar. The Jorgensen and irwin have a smooth bar and bessey had a serrated bar. I untimely decided on the irwins for a couple reasons. 1 was many reviews I read talked about the smooth bar being easier to keep clear of glue squeeze out and 2 the Jorgensen and irwin side by side were pretty much identical but the irwins are a little cheaper and I can get them locally at menards. If you have a menards near you I recently picked up 10 more clamps with there 15 percent of bag sale. The price was 34$ eachif I remember correctly. I have been happy with them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    726
    I started with pipe clamps and then moved to Bessey parallel clamps. I still have the pipe clamps but they rarely get used.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Location
    Southwest WI
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    245
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    The big advantage to pipe clamps is being able to use pipe couplings to create really long clamps
    Its worth noting that bessy does sell a connector to attach 2 clamps together for longer glue ups similar to pipe clamps.

  9. #9
    to make a longer clamp from two pipe clamps you only need to swivel the ends 90 degrees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
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    538
    I have a few pipe clamps and a larger number of bessey parallel. I can not comment on the other brands you mentioned. I always reach for the parallel first until I run out, then go to the pipe. They both function well, just prefer the parallel for my process. The parallel ones have longer fingers on the ends making it easier to “overlap” in some situations, at least for the ones in my collection.

    Mitch mentioned the Bessey connector that enables making a longer clamp out of two shorter parallel. Pipe clamps can similarly be connected, so no advantage to one or the other.

  11. #11
    Lisa,
    The sizes you need depend on what you like to build. For me, 6 Parallel Clamps in the 48" range is enough because most projects are smaller. My long ones are a mix of BESSEY and JET. Then I have 10 of the 18" BESSEY REVO JRs. (I dont need more clamping power than they provide. YMMV.)

    Around Thanksgiving there are usually package deals on JET parallels that make it a little more affordable. (They still arent cheap.)

    I also have a ton of F-clamps and Dubuque bar clamps. I only really use my Parallel clamps when the Dubuques arent the "right" tool for the job. (REALLY like my Dubuques.)

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Posts
    182
    I like my Bessey parallel clamps, but their current F-clamps and quick-clamps are not as nice quality as the Jorgensens. The current Jorgensen quick clamps really are superb.

    The Bessey Gearklamps look intriguing but I don’t have any of those.

  13. #13
    I like Bessey K body Revo, not the Revo jr.

  14. #14
    I like my Bessey and Jorgy parallels, but most days I love my rockler light aluminums . Getting old and gluing up big panels, with jorgy's added too much weight. Rockler really helps with this.
    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning, the devil says, "oh crap she's up!"


    Tolerance is giving every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.

    "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts are gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts will happen to man. All things are connected. " Chief Seattle Duwamish Tribe

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    N.E, Ohio
    Posts
    2,980
    I have Besseys, Jorgensens, Jet, and pipe clamps. Which would I recommend, the ones I could get for the best price at the time. The pipe clamps had a disadvantage to them until recently..The disadvantage is the black mark they can leave on your wood. I found a solution on line, put three pieces of PVC pipe of the required size on each clamp keep one at each end and one in the middle. I myself see no reason for one in the middle since the two on each end keep the pipe off your wood.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

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