Clamp dilemma

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by randyb posted 03-08-2010 06:58 PM 1155 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am having problems in my shop, and I need your help. I am going to buy some new clamps, I like the Jet clamps. My problem is what sizes to get, i am getting into some cabinet and furniture. I am in need of some advice, please help. Thanks

-- I was going for that distressed look

9 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3229 days

#1 posted 03-08-2010 07:30 PM

Not sure about the Jet clamps as I don’t own any. MOST of my clamps came from HF, but with some Jorgensons, and Craftsman clamps thrown in for good measure…

My clamps racks are filled with 12 each of F bar clamps in 6, 12, 24, and 36”.

I also have 4 10” Handscrews, 4 band clamps, about 20 various spring clamps, 4 3/4” pipe clamps with various pipe lengths, and 4 or 5 misc C clamps.

I honestly think I am good for F bar clamps, I want to add on to my collection with at least…

8 more pipe clamps.
Irwin Quick Grip bar clamps, same quantity and sizes as the F bar clamps.
8 more strap clamps.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3163 days

#2 posted 03-08-2010 07:38 PM

I like Irwin in 12, 18, 24 and 36, but don’t have near enough.
Use them all equally. Alot of times I have to wait between glue ups due to too few clamps. Never too many clamps.

Hope this helped.

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3305 days

#3 posted 03-08-2010 07:46 PM

The jet clamps are an excellent choice. I am continually adding more to my collection each time I am around a woodworking store. I have even found very good deals on jet K body clamps on…especially since they ship free.
I find that I use the 24” and 31” clamps the most. I also use the 12” and 40” clamps quite frequently. I buy the most of these sizes. I have 6 of each size.however this is because I work alone. I also have 4 of the 60” jet clamps and 4 of the 72” clamps. I ddo not use them as frequently but they are there when needed.
I also have some Bessey K body clamps… 4 24" and 4 40”. I bought these years ago before buying the Jet clamps. I usually gram these after using up the Jets.
I also use a lot of smaller f clamps, c clamps, spring clamps and even some 3/4” pipe clamps.
I have a spreadsheet on my computer with an inventory of all info about tools I have…big or small. According to my spreadsheet I have 127 clamps…
All I can say is the Jet clamps are my favorite and get used alot. I have never known a woodworker to say they have too many clamps.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3105 days

#4 posted 03-08-2010 08:07 PM

I would suggest, just on a general scale, the following -

6 inch, 12 inch clamps – either F style or spreader style clamps – 6 of each size. You will use these the most.

24 inch, 36 inch – two of each size, rest to accumulate as they are needed.

48 inch cabinet clamp – 2 if you are going to be dealing with carcasses – Jet makes the best in that class.

Pipe clamps are very useful as you can buy different lengths of pipe to accommodate a variety of sizes. Try to find some with a larger base or foot so that they can stand more independently.

For spreader clamps, I have tried some Irwin and Bessey clamps. I personally like the Bessey clamps more than the Irwin. Pittsburgh brand F style clamps are a pretty good deal at Harbor Freight. I have a few in the 12 inch range that I am happy with. Spread clamps from there quickly break and I have been replacing mine with higher quality Irwin and Bessey’s as the HF ones fall apart.

You will get a variety of suggestions, but I think the above list would get you started.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


486 posts in 3437 days

#5 posted 03-09-2010 03:45 AM

I have to say I would buy mostly aluminum bar clamps. I have a whole bunch of bessy clamps myself, and the problem is the weight. doing a large glueup requiring many clamps, often makes the project unmoveable because of weight. whereas with aluminum clamps, after a glueup, I can move the project off my workbench and do other work.
I find 24 and 48 inch bar clamps the sizes i use most often. as well as jorgensen f clamps in the 4 or 6 inch size.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3289 days

#6 posted 03-09-2010 04:14 AM

I started out with clamps by buying every other size. 24, (not 31), 40, (not 50), 60 ... and I found that worked pretty well. I could always get by using a larger size if I lacked enough small ones. I loaded up on the 24s and 40s and that has worked out well.

Even one or two really long clamps is a big help, and for the small sizes I would go with Bessey Tradesman (F-Style) instead of parallel clamps (unless you’re building boxes, in which case the 12” parallel jet clamps would be well worth it!).

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View randyb's profile


119 posts in 3324 days

#7 posted 03-09-2010 05:29 PM

I want to thank all of you for your advice, I have a tendency to buy the wrong stuff first, I have a mixture of smaller clamps, I need some longer stronger ones. thanks again

-- I was going for that distressed look

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12758 posts in 3153 days

#8 posted 03-09-2010 11:24 PM

I have a combination of the aluminum and bar clamps in my shop, both of which get service regularly… If cost is a factor, go with the aluminum ones as a starter and build from there… If cost is not a factor, I would buy some of the Jet cabinet clamps in an assortment of sizes.
Primarily, the shorter ones (24” & 36”) get the most use in my shop but this will vary from shop to shop depending on what is being produced.
Best of Luck on your decision

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3582 days

#9 posted 03-09-2010 11:36 PM

I have amassed many clamps 3 walls full of them built up slowly over many years .However I made some bad mistakes buying initially too cheap some of the cheaper or rather mid range ones are excellent I bought some besseys very expensive over here then I bought some bessy clones which all broke the first time I used them so don’t throw your hard earned poppy ( money) on junk, buy sensibly and ask ask ask .Actually you’re doing it the correct way finding as much information as possible right off .So good luck and remember woodworking/ turning is meant to be fun just please remember that.Grandpa Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics