parallel clamps???

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Forum topic by cplant posted 02-04-2012 11:55 PM 7594 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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226 posts in 2561 days

02-04-2012 11:55 PM

I have been having a huge debate with myeself over these clamps. (some people call them cabinet clamps) ...I am curious if it is worth spending the extra money for these, or just go with some regular ol pipe clamps. I have used pipe clamps and am happy with their performance. I have never used parallel clamps, but they look pretty sweet. The cost seems to be more or less half for the pipe clamps. What are your thoughts?

-- "...if america is any indication, i was born into one great big vacation...." RMB

15 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3065 days

#1 posted 02-05-2012 12:36 AM

I’ve made cabinets for years with just pipe clamps.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3434 days

#2 posted 02-05-2012 12:45 AM

Pipe clamps work well, and work similarly to parallel clamps. What I like about them is that I can set two or more, jaws up and place some boards to be glued together on the bars. When I tighten the clamps I get an even pressure with the boards level on the bars. The seam is virtually flat and it requires little to no scraping. Often just a little sanding to remove what’s left of the glue. With other clamps, it’s sort of a fumble and tweak event for this type of clamping. Of course my F clamps are really needed for most other stuff. But pipe clamps work well too. I am slowly replacing my pipe clamps though with parallel clamps when I can get good sales.

One thing I have noticed though.. I have two types of parallel clamps, Bailey and Jorgensen. Both are good but the bars, when you set something on them are different heights. I would recommend one sticks to one brand for this simple reason.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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10384 posts in 3645 days

#3 posted 02-05-2012 01:04 AM

Parallel clamps rule for professional work. The glue ups go faster
and panels and frames come out squarer and flatter with less
fuss. I recommend obtaining parallel clamps a pair at a time and
see what you think. You can always use pipe clamps to fill in
the gaps.

View cplant's profile


226 posts in 2561 days

#4 posted 02-05-2012 01:38 AM

Thanx for all the input. I have some points to ponder.

-- "...if america is any indication, i was born into one great big vacation...." RMB

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#5 posted 02-05-2012 02:19 AM

I have a great number of clamps (250) most are pipe clamps and maybe 50 are parallel clamps . Parallel clamps are superior for many clamping applications, but they are expensive in comparison to pipe clamps. One of the reasons I have so many pipe clamps is because their so affordable , When Harbor freight has them on sale they can be as low as $6.99 each for 3/4” pipe clamps. These clamps work as well as the higher cost Pipe clamps. If you have the budget I would suggest you get a number of pipe clamps and a minim of 4 Parallel clamps. say 31” long or more if you need it. The Parallel clamps I like best are the ones with releases on them like Jet or woodcraft.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2966 days

#6 posted 02-05-2012 03:22 AM

One of those little cultural differences between the left and right side of the Atlantic is with clamp (or cramp) type. I mostly use sash cramps, have owned and been disappointed by parallel cramps after the castings that hold the bottom jaw in place against rail the broke on both of them. (These weren’t Bessey K Body cramps, but they were reputable enough, broke, got chucked, and left me wary).

I kind of look at it like this now…. there’s very little to go wrong with a sash cramp (or pipe clamp) compared to a parallel cramp.

View CubsFan's profile


27 posts in 3011 days

#7 posted 02-05-2012 03:27 AM

I much prefer parallel clamps. That being said, I can’t really afford that many of them. I have I think 6 parallel clamps, and they are almost always the first ones I grab. But once those are on and I need additional clamps, I’ll use lots of bar/pipe clamps. I think a good mix works really well.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3685 days

#8 posted 02-05-2012 04:20 AM

I would have to say that despite their initial cost , my Besseys are worth every cent I paid for them !
No fuss , no messing around trying to keep things square , store easily and simple to use : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5857 posts in 3191 days

#9 posted 02-05-2012 04:36 AM

I’m with Dusty56 on the Besseys…I have about 20-30 Besseys, and worth every penny in my book..I try to keep about 4 of each size…....from 12”——60”. I have never had a problem with any of them, and will probably buy some more….I have about 6—8 pipe clamps, and use them mainly for gluing up long pieces…A few are 8’, some 4’, and 6’..... the problem I see with using the 8’ is that they have a tendency to flex somewhat, especially if you have to use a coupler, as in joining two 4’ers. If I have to go longer than 8’ (rarely), then use a coupler, that’s when the little bit of flex comes into play… I prefer the Besseys…...

EDIT: I also agree with Dusty’s assessement on the storage and simplicity of use…just take a look at my shop pictures and you’ll see what I mean…..carry on.

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

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3393 days

#10 posted 02-05-2012 04:39 AM

I’m with Dusty and Rick, you can have my Besseys when you pry my cold dead hands off of them!

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3133 days

#11 posted 02-05-2012 05:22 AM

If I bought a Bessey clamp & stopped at a friends that had Jet clamps I would be really PO’d…

I have both, Bessey & Jet clamps & Jet wins hands down…

They don’t have them {Jet}in my neck of the woods, I had to order them on line…

They were rated #1 by a wood magazine, I can see why…

-- Rick

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#12 posted 02-05-2012 08:22 AM

I agree I own Bessy clamps and jet clamps are much better.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JAAune's profile


1798 posts in 2314 days

#13 posted 02-05-2012 08:50 AM

The Jorgenson parallels are my favorite since they work more smoothly than any others I’ve tried. A simple lift on the handle allows the lower jaw to slide freely up and down the bar. I’ve used Bessey and Jet as well. The clutch on the Jet wasn’t to my liking as it required too much effort to manipulate with one hand.

They are expensive so I buy them a few at a time when they go on sale. The Menards and Farm and Fleet stores in my town seem to put them on sale often enough. Eventually I intend to have just enough to allow me to use them for most of my day to day glue ups. For those times when I need several dozen clamps I’ll keep a collection of cheaper pipe clamps around.

-- See my work at and

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2854 days

#14 posted 02-11-2012 03:31 AM

I like the Jorgenson over the Bessey. I have both types. Once you have the prallels you find yourself going to them first. Get a set and try them.

There is a place for the pipe clamps, bar clamps, quick grips. You will use them all. The parallels are more expensive and worth the extra cost. Keep an eye out for sales and build up a collection over time

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2806 days

#15 posted 02-11-2012 03:49 AM

Pipe clamps

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