Who makes the better clamps?

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Forum topic by lilredweldingrod posted 12-11-2009 10:54 PM 5091 views 2 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3107 days

12-11-2009 10:54 PM

I’ve been trying to make raised panel cabinet doors. When I dry fit them, beautiful. Glue those suckers up and all they are good for is rockers on a chair. I noticed the bar bends on tightening the clamps. I questioned Mike Henderson and he agrees that it is the clamps. So what I had is in the scrap metal bin. I need to repalce all my wood clamps. I have several Bessey’s I used in metal working, but they are just to short and heavy. I am going to replace at about 4-8 per month, but only want to spend my money once. Which one’s do you like?

34 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3989 days

#1 posted 12-11-2009 11:25 PM

Be prepared for a lot of different answers.

I have Bessey K-body clamps (the old Style) and I am very happy with them. (I would buy them again) I bought mine over a 10 year period starting about 13 years ago.

I think that the bar on any clamp would bend given enough clamping force.

If you are worried about that then put clamps on both sides and tighten them up gradually and they will counteract each other.

Jet and Jorgensen make good clamps from what I hear but I have no experience with them. I have used pipe clamps, but would only use them as a last resort. That’s just personal preference.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3201 days

#2 posted 12-12-2009 12:16 AM

I think the best answer would be, those that work best for you. I personally have never clamped anything hard enough to bend a bar clamp, force is not the answer. Any pressure that squeezes the glue out is the wrong pressure. When it comes to doors, I prefer pipe clamps and culls at the pressure points. I have 8” pieces of foam pipe insulation on the pipes for the wood to rest on, so no marking.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3287 days

#3 posted 12-12-2009 12:21 AM

Maybe you are putting too much pressure on your clamps. If the joints fit right , you shouldn’t get so much bow.
That said, Gary’s right, you’re going to get lots of opinions. They are probably all valid. I’ve had good luck with several different brands. The key maybe is in the type more than the brand, although brand is important. I’ve used Pony pipe clamps extensively in the past for raised panels, but they will bend. We use a totally different system now, so that’s not an issue now. Jorgenson makes an I-beam clamp with is great. It will say straight. They are not cheap. As Gary said Bessey K-Body clamps are very good. Jet makes the same type with is about the same quality. If you have any particular questions, PM me. I’ll be glad to help.


View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3354 days

#4 posted 12-12-2009 12:32 AM

I pretty much stick to Bessey clamps after getting one for Christmas from a woodworking buddy years ago. I hadn’t realized before then how good of clamp they are. (Well probably because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to spend the money on them because they’re just another clamp, right?) Have a lot of the Medium Duty clamps ranging from the 12” to the 40”. Also a lot of the old style K-Body clamps in the 24” and 40” lengths. I picked those up when everybody was blowing them out cheap because the new ones were coming out. I really didn’t buy them till then only due to cost but they are darn good clamps and would buy them now. I really like the K-Body clamps and favor using them.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 3374 days

#5 posted 12-12-2009 12:37 AM

Fine Woodworking and other Mags have done reviews on parallel clamps, I use Bessey Revo parallel claps. Once you use them it hard to imagine using anything else. I would say Bessey and Jet are the leaders of the pack. Amazon often offers deals on 4 Bessey Revo clamp packs. Besseys are great for large glue up jobs I’ll clamp a cabinet door and stand it on the floor (on the square clamp head) and free my bench for the next door, I’ll often have 6 or 8 doors clamped up and have all my work tops free to keep working.

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3401 days

#6 posted 12-12-2009 12:46 AM

One thing we will all agree on though is you can never have enough. I’ve been using Bessey clamps for a while and really like them. I might get a pair of Jorgenson’s to try them out and see what they are like.

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#7 posted 12-12-2009 12:56 AM

Like Gary said you will get Lots of opinions on this subject.I also have a good number of k body Bessy clamps and like them , Although Fine Woodworking winter issue # 209 page 62 had a review of clamps and I Jet and
Jorgensen parallel clamps came out on top over Bessy. I think the main reason is that jet has a release trigger making them easy to move the clamp(about the only thing I don’t like about my Bessy”s) There are lots of other clamps out there most of them will flex when tightening. I would guess like Kent perhaps your tightening to much. another thing you need to do is put a straight edge across your panels and alternate clamps on top and bottom . If after check all of those issues you can place wedges under clamps to help flatten your panels when clamping. The panels you have now can be sawed apart and re glued after jointing the edges which can be another issue in making flat panels.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3199 days

#8 posted 12-12-2009 01:04 AM

Must say i went for Bessey lately in kitting myself out – on the basis that they are a very well proven item. They have some nice F clamps and lighter parallel and J clamps as well as the parallels.

Woodpeckers Inc have good prices for Bessey, but perhaps not the slickest ever order processing. (at least in my experience)

-- Late awakener....

View himcules's profile


17 posts in 3741 days

#9 posted 12-12-2009 01:28 AM

gotta put in a vote for jet clamps ;)

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5864 posts in 3195 days

#10 posted 12-12-2009 01:28 AM

Greetings Rand: Like all the others, I too have Bessey clamps in a wide varity of sizes. They rangs from 12” to 60”. I have the old style, and just got some new Bessey ReVo’s a while back. I also sue pipe clamps to extend 8’ or better. One thing that wasn’t mentioned: when you glue up a panel door, check for square with a measuring tape. Go from left top to right bottom and vice-versa. Then you’ll know if you’re sq. or not. Go to my home page, click workshop, and take a look at my clamps. Or check out woodshop #2 photos.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3107 days

#11 posted 12-12-2009 02:02 AM

Thanks guys, I just subscribed to FWW and will see if I can get a copy of their issue on clamps. There was a time not to long ago I could have torqued the crap out of a clamp, but not today. Ole Arthritis has seem to that. The clamps I’ve been using are just junk. Soft steel, definatly not not HSLA quality. I will check out Jet and Jorgenson as well. And yes, Splinterman, I will make up hard wood wedges, 100% Oz style. All drawings to be submitted in quadruplicate, SIR!
Sure is nice to have all of you mentors out there. I’ve learned more here in the last couple of weeks than I have ever before on wood working. Thanks again fellows, you are very much appreciated, Rand

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 12-12-2009 02:06 AM

Hey Rand
The Issue of FWW I listed I think is the current one,It’s should be on the shelf were they sell FWW.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3481 days

#13 posted 12-12-2009 03:41 AM

I like the Bessey K body. They work very well. I also use Jorgensen ISD clamps and like those too.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4126 days

#14 posted 12-12-2009 06:25 AM

If your problem is keeping things flat, you might want to look at panel clamps. I’ve even thought about making my own. By combining face pressure on both sides with the linear pressure they bring force to bear in all the critical directions, not just one.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3591 days

#15 posted 12-12-2009 06:55 AM

For parallel bar clamp, I only have Jet., bought at EagleAmerica’s sale. Love to have more of these clamps if I could.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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