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Bessey clamps

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 06-10-2017 09:32 PM 1841 views 0 times favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MrRon

4495 posts in 3081 days


06-10-2017 09:32 PM

I don’t see anything special about Bessey parallel clamps; in fact, I hate them. I have 6 of them and I can never get them to clamp. I turn the screw and it doesn’t make contact with the serrations on the bar. I push in while screwing and it doesn’t want to tighten. I end up out of thread and have to back out and start again. Thinking I should pull instead of pushing while screwing, results in the same scenario. I prefer the “F” style bar clamps and can use them with one hand. Please explain to me what is the correct way to use Bessey clamps. I’m getting to the point where I may sell them at a garage sale.


46 replies so far

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firefighterontheside

16941 posts in 1694 days


#1 posted 06-10-2017 09:52 PM

I find they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. I prefer 3/4” pipe clamps. What works for me is unscrew them all the way. Push it closed and as you screw it tight pull the handle end towards the bar which pushes the cam up.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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Loren

9631 posts in 3486 days


#2 posted 06-10-2017 09:53 PM

They have a sort of “clutch” in the sliding
head. I think you push the handle towards
the bar to lock the clutch and pull it away
from the bar to slide the head freely. I do
something like this when using mine and
while they are awkward to use due to their
weight, I’ve not had much trouble with
the heads slipping.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3656 posts in 2147 days


#3 posted 06-10-2017 10:23 PM

Well…...You can send them to me. I’d be happy take those and any other tools than you hate. I’m won’t even charge you anything for the service. PM me and I give you an address.

I have both pipe and Besseys. I much prefer the Besseys for panel glue ups.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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a1Jim

116578 posts in 3415 days


#4 posted 06-10-2017 10:33 PM

I have a good number of Bessey’s parallel clamps, they do take some getting use to but they clamp well, if I had it all to do over I would have purchased Jet parallel clamps they have a trigger that makes them easier to adjust,but since I have 40 or so Bessy’s that would be a pretty fair investment to change now.
Like Alaska guy I have lots of pipe clamps, there are really the best bang for the buck but Bessy’s can do things pipe clamps can’t

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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jonah

1467 posts in 3136 days


#5 posted 06-10-2017 10:48 PM

You have to push the handle down to be parallel with the bar. If it’s lifted up at all, it’s in “sliding mode” and not “clamping mode.”

Once you get used to it, it works fine.

I’m pretty indifferent as to the Jet vs Bessey parallel clamps. I have both. I prefer the Jet a teensy bit, but they both do the job and I actually like that the Bessey clamps have a lighter bar, especially on the longer clamps.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3656 posts in 2147 days


#6 posted 06-10-2017 10:52 PM



You have to push the handle down to be parallel with the bar. If it s lifted up at all, it s in “sliding mode” and not “clamping mode.”

Once you get used to it, it works fine.

I m pretty indifferent as to the Jet vs Bessey parallel clamps. I have both. I prefer the Jet a teensy bit, but they both do the job and I actually like that the Bessey clamps have a lighter bar, especially on the longer clamps.

- jonah


+1 push handle toward the bar to engage and pull away from the bar to slide head.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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AlaskaGuy

3656 posts in 2147 days


#7 posted 06-10-2017 10:58 PM

Something else, if you have damage the “engaging mechanism” (for lack of a better term) you can fix that by taking an allen wrench turning the small screw affair that sits between the bar and the head.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View JRsgarage's profile

JRsgarage

228 posts in 347 days


#8 posted 06-10-2017 11:13 PM



They have a sort of “clutch” in the sliding
head. I think you push the handle towards
the bar to lock the clutch and pull it away
from the bar to slide the head freely. I do
something like this when using mine and
while they are awkward to use due to their
weight, I ve not had much trouble with
the heads slipping.

- Loren

same here..slightly pushing the handle toward the bar as i tighten

-- Two is One, One is None

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

608 posts in 1775 days


#9 posted 06-10-2017 11:58 PM

personally I have always found them a little bit klutzy, not that you cannot learn to use them, and it’s not that hard, but my frustration was that after using screw clamps of various makes, the change in thinking on how to release and adjust them just didn’t function with my “muscle memory”. On the upside, the trun of the handle was good, unlike cheap imports. Had them, sold em, reverted to old-style bessey’s, the “squareness” feature really never struck me as terrifically important to the point it would over-ride my frustration

Just my thughts

Eric

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10634 posts in 2218 days


#10 posted 06-11-2017 01:29 AM

If I hated a tool, I’d get rid of it. Matter of fact I’ve gotten rid of quite a few.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View BigMig's profile

BigMig

418 posts in 2451 days


#11 posted 06-11-2017 02:52 AM

I have some Wood River ones that work similarly…frustrating at first, but you get the hang of them.

I DID see a review here of heavy bar-type clamps with heads similar to pipe clamp heads and they seem to me to be the best of both worlds.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1821 posts in 2782 days


#12 posted 06-11-2017 06:04 AM

I bought my first Bessy’s only a while back. I bought a couple junior K clamps and an an original. They joined over 150 other clamps. I have a love-hate relationship with them, but they are a welcome addition.

Even the Juniors are heavy, but the originals are REALLY heavy. That must be part of the reason they have so much clamping force and make most bar clamps look like toys.

When something needs clamping hard, they can do the job. Too, if I need something that reaches out farther than my pipe clamps, they do it, and still clamp hard.

To get use out of my Besseys takes getting used to, as was said, but I think they’re worth it when your need them. Since I don’t use them every day and since I’m still a newbie with them, I, generally, have to take a few stabs at using them. They, certainly, are not one handed clamps, at this point.

View Sark's profile

Sark

28 posts in 198 days


#13 posted 06-11-2017 02:13 PM

My neighbor had a garage sale, and I was able to buy 16 Bessey parallel clamps (24” and 40”) new unused in box at a great price. I’m still getting used to making them move smoothly, but getting better at it.

Pros: can lie flat on a bench on side or facing up (great advantages), heavy duty, strong clamping, large face will not mar wood so don’t need to protect wood from clamp as much,
Cons: heavy, not for light clamping, and somewhat annoying to adjust compared to my other clamps

My other clamps are mostly Pony clamps and Bessey’s non-parallel. For quick and easy, always grab one of these. For serious glue-up, always grab the parallel clamps/

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

331 posts in 797 days


#14 posted 06-11-2017 02:39 PM



My neighbor had a garage sale, and I was able to buy 16 Bessey parallel clamps (24” and 40”) new unused in box at a great price. I m still getting used to making them move smoothly, but getting better at it.

Pros: can lie flat on a bench on side or facing up (great advantages), heavy duty, strong clamping, large face will not mar wood so don t need to protect wood from clamp as much,
Cons: heavy, not for light clamping, and somewhat annoying to adjust compared to my other clamps

My other clamps are mostly Pony clamps and Bessey s non-parallel. For quick and easy, always grab one of these. For serious glue-up, always grab the parallel clamps/

- Sark

I use a lot of variations of clamps. Parallels aren’t the only game in town…

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3656 posts in 2147 days


#15 posted 06-11-2017 05:16 PM

I guess Ron doesn’t hate those clamps as much as he says. He never did PM me. :)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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