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Clamp dilemma

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Blog entry by randyb posted 03-08-2010 06:58 PM 814 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

dbhost

5383 posts in 1886 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.

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View lumberdustjohn's profile

lumberdustjohn

1256 posts in 1820 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 Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5090 posts in 1962 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 Amazon.com…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.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1763 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.

David

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

View JuniorJoiner's profile

JuniorJoiner

446 posts in 2094 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

thiel

359 posts in 1946 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

randyb

119 posts in 1981 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

WistysWoodWorkingWonders

11908 posts in 1811 days


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

Randy,
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
Wisty

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

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5361 posts in 2239 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

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