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Thread: Bessey Clamps

  1. #1
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    Bessey Clamps

    My woodworking skills have progressed enough that I now FO not have enough clamps, imagine that. Anyone know of really good deals on Bessey parallel clamps online or other brands perhaps that you have had good luck with. Have read there is a lot of junk out there, TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    I like Bessey, there might be other equally good clamps I just haven't tried them.

    As for deals, I almost never see clamps on sale, and when I do the deals aren't worth it. Maybe 10% off, or a set of 6" & 12" Irwin quick clamps for 15% off. Irwin also makes nice clamps, but the 6" 12" combos just aren't something I need more of.

    I'd suggest picking a decent maker, and buying what you need. Short of a yard sale/craigslist I don't think waiting helps, and I'm super cheap.

  3. #3
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    Disclaimer --- I cut my teeth on original Bessey K-Body parallel clamps and am heavily prejudiced . The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the poster and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any equally valid counter-opinions.

    Now that we have that out of the way I will present myself to be ridiculed:
    - The Irwin parallel clamps and their DeWalt cousins are pretty much junk.
    - The Jet parallel clamps, although having a lot of good ideas, are poorly implemented and poorly built.
    *** I bought a few sets of these during a Xmas 50% off sale. They were still too expensive for what they are.
    - Jorgensen original Cabinet Masters are very workable. The current Jorgensen badged offerings are usable.
    - The Bailey or Stanley badged Cabinet Master-ish parallel clamps are also usable if short; the bars are not very hard and flex considerably in longer lengths.
    - The new K-Body Revo's are nice but cost double what they should (doesn't everything ).

    Early on I noticed that I didn't have enough clamps. I kept buying the type/size I frequently ran out of until I stopped running out. During this phase of insanity I figured anything close to a dollar an inch for a Bessey K-Body I would buy. When they went extinct I bought a few sets of the Groz/Woodriver clones made in India. They are pathetic but dimensionally accurate so things lay and stand well when mixed with actual K-Body clamps.

    For case work I use Bessey UniKlamps. It feels like I have more of these than any other clamp; I've never actually checked . Watch for any sale but don't be tempted (as I was) to buy something you are not sure of. I have found top quality clamps at good prices at swap meets, garage sales and places like Pic-n-Save. Specialty houses like Rockler and Woodcraft rarely have sales that reach a discount I am tempted to go for. In their defense I have bought Besseys on sale at Rockler since they are close and there is no shipping. During Covid, Rockler and Woodcraft prices soared so high I rarely find anything there that I cannot get elsewhere for less anymore. The sad state of our times .

    There is always some old fart (like me in 10 years) who is easing out of the craft. Watch the classified on the local forums. Best of luck.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 06-27-2022 at 4:39 PM.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  4. #4
    Pinch-dogs are handy for things that will be seen on just one side , or that can be puttied and painted. I made some years ago and bought some. They are STAPLES of the shop.

  5. #5
    Rockler has 15% coupons on a regular basis. I've used those to purchase some Bessey clamps.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
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    595
    I'm a Dubuque Clamp guy, they're strong and lightweight. I always scour Craigslist for clamps, usually old Jorgensen's.
    Regards,

    Tom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Comfort, TX
    Posts
    418
    Ended up getting 2-24” and 2-36” Jorgensen parallel clamps. Amazon had best prices and here in 2 days. Will report quality

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NE OH
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    Has anyone tried the Semble brand clamps Woodpeckers is selling?

    My parallel clamps are all Jorgenson's that I bought 15 or 20 years ago, maybe longer. They have served me pretty well, but several of them have failed in the same way, The threaded rod is swaged to hold it to the locking pawl. The swage eventually fails when loosening the clamp and the threaded rod pulls out of the locking pawl. So far I have been able to "re-swage" it but sooner or later the metal will fatigue and the clamp will be toast. Seems to me if I was using them all day every day they would have failed for good long ago.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    River Falls WI
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    460
    Rockler is having a 6 clamp Bessy package in Friday's New Flyer for $199.94. Not huge but $30 off. Dan

  10. #10
    I like the original, all Red, wooden handled Bessey parallel clamps vs the newer plastic black and red ones. I swear that the bar deflects less under clamp pressure (wide panel glue up, etc), they are a bit slimmer and more streamlined in profile, and they don’t suffer from the same erratic and infuriating clutch engagement issues I seem to have with the new style. I am always on the lookout for used original wood handle Bessey parallel clamps, but it seems few and far between and pricing can be all over the place these days. Sometimes I see used clamps listed for more than retail new.

    I like the Dubuque aluminum clamps as well, but for different lighter duty usage. The Uni klamps are also really nice to have in 24” and under lengths, but again lighter duty use.
    Still waters run deep.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    I agree with Phillip, my most used Bessey clamps that I grab first are the ones with the wood handles. I wish I would have bought more when I could have. The newer ones with the rubber grips are almost the same. I have 10-12 of the 24" Revo clamps, and a drawer full of extra parts that I took off of them (mostly plastic parts). I gave away the last of my pipe clamps, only use the Bessey clamps.

    A reputation for craftsmanship is a responsibility
    to never take lightly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    127
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Disclaimer --- I cut my teeth on original Bessey K-Body parallel clamps and am heavily prejudiced . The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the poster and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any equally valid counter-opinions.

    - The Jet parallel clamps, although having a lot of good ideas, are poorly implemented and poorly built.
    *** I bought a few sets of these during a Xmas 50% off sale. They were still too expensive for what they are.
    .
    Glenn, you're not the first person I've seen complain about the JET parallel bar clamps and I bet your not the last. That being said, I love my JET clamps. I only have 4 of them and aside from being heavy, they're my go to's. Next would be my *original* Jorgy's, then Bessey's and then the various reseller branded parallel bar clamps I've seen. Maybe I got some great ones, or I just have a different workflow.

    My biggest complain with parallel bar clamps is when they're not parallel. Slightly angled closed is ok, but many of the Bessey's I've bought over the years are canted open. I've learned to check them quickly and return the bad ones.

    I'm also partial to the Jorgy's as they were the first parallel bar clamps I bought. But they don't grip the bar well, so if you aren't careful the sliding part can shift while carrying them around and pinch your fingers. Not cool. However they're built incredibly well.

  13. #13
    I have a fair number of the older Bessey K body clamps with the wooden handle and they work fine. I do prefer the newer K body Revos as the new soft handles are much easier to tighten. I agree though that the clutch sees a bit fussier than the old version. I have gotten all mine from the box stores, most of them when they had sales, but they don't carry them here anymore.

    I also have some Jet clamps and when they work right are great. Two out of my four started slipping a couple years after I bought them. It's weird, they tighten down really snug but when I check them later they are loose. I called Jet because of the lifetime warranty but they required me to send the clamp back on my own dime for them to look at it. But given they are 50" clamps, shipping was going to be more than half the price of a new ones.

  14. #14
    I, too, have some of the red handled j’s and use them all the time. Well, actually less of the time now as I picked up some Dubuques and they have become my favorites.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Frederick View Post
    I, too, have some of the red handled j’s and use them all the time. Well, actually less of the time now as I picked up some Dubuques and they have become my favorites.
    +1 on the Dubuques, although mine are the original Universal Clamp Company. The older I get the more I appreciate and use them - just as strong as Bessey or Pony with a quarter of the weight.

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