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Tools tools, I love toys, I mean tools #1: You can never have enough clamps, especially parallel clamps

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Blog entry by paxorion posted 06-04-2014 07:04 PM 957 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I think I have a problem. I love clamps so much that it must be infectious, that my 2 year old daughter gets excited when she sees clamps. My wife has pointed out that I probably have more clamps (built up in 2 years) than her parents keep in stock at any point in time (they run a hardware store…). I’m in denial that I probably have enough clamps to get this hobbyist through most projects they I may undertake in the near future. Recently I have begun building up my supply of what my daughter calls “daddy’s big clamps”, a.k.a parallel clamps. After experimenting with different brands, I seem to have settled on my order of preference:
  1. Jets – Hands down my favorite (I have 6 of them), due to the bigger jaw size, markings on the bar (which is very useful), and the positionable balance foot. Surprisingly, the bench dogs have proven to be VERY useful, they are sized well to provide a balance point when using the clamp blocks. Trust me, they’re awesome when you use a 40” clamp on a 20” clamp-up. The handle however isn’t my favorite, and I’m not 100% sold on the slide glide trigger, as they did give me some problems as I noted in my review
  2. Bessey – The new K Body REVOs are a very close runner up, thanks to the 2K handle. Currently I only have 1 that I picked up from Lowes. I do look forward to when the local orange Big Box starts stocking them in store and not just online. Now if they were to add the bar markings and mimic the Jet balance foot, then we’re really going to have a contest for my money.
  3. Peachtree – I recently added 2 of these to my collection, and they are as simple and easy to use as the classic Bessey K Body. I like the fact that they blended the features of the classic K Body and the bench dogs of the Jets (read more about it in my review. The handle on these, also take second place in my heart as the composite material is very easy to work with. Move over K Body Revo Jr, they may have a similar (slightly higher) price point to the Peachtree, but they’re not winning my vote.
So why did the Jorgensen Cabinet Masters not make my list? Well I’d venture to guess that clamp choices are very much a personal preference, and my preferences just don’t seem to align with Jorgie’s philosophy. While they seem to be a good blend of all the things I like about the Jet and Bessey K Body REVO, I just can’t get over 2 red flags.
  1. I can’t stand the wooden handle. In practice, they have slipped on me when trying to tighten them up.
  2. Where are the ridges on the clamp bar? All the aforementioned clamps have the ridges which prevents slipping with placed in a horizontal position. The Jorgies on the other hand, don’t have them, and I have been able to force the clamp to slide backwards when playing with them at Woodcraft. Maybe I’ll experiment and see if I change my mind when they finally go on clearance at the orange big box.
    Change those two red flags, and I think it’ll be all that more a game changer for me again. Until then, I’ll be continuing to stash away clamp money until another sale (or impulse buy).

-- paxorion



3 comments so far

View Richard's profile

Richard

1103 posts in 1444 days


#1 posted 06-04-2014 07:47 PM

I haven’t found anyplace local to buy the Jets so my choices are stuck to the Bessy or Jorgensen since I really want to be able to touch them before I buy them and not have to deal with shipping them back if I don’t like them.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11552 posts in 1444 days


#2 posted 06-04-2014 11:58 PM

Pax, Ya got some catchin up to do. I bought 39 parallel jaw, 4’, Jorgensen Ponys off CL for $140!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

871 posts in 799 days


#3 posted 06-05-2014 02:17 AM

gfadvm – Someday, when I have the space to store a bigger stash, I’ll be selfishly praying for a haul like yours.

-- paxorion

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