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I think Clamps, especially good ones are...well worth the money, now that I read this forum

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Forum topic by steve6678 posted 665 days ago 3549 views 0 times favorited 130 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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steve6678

438 posts in 693 days


665 days ago

I cannot afford good clamps, no way. $30-60 each. (more like 50 -70) **They are pricey but I realize now, that it’s probably the way to go..
But, then I go and buy Harbor Freight cheapo’s and regret it, they work, barely, I’ve broken a few, but never seem to hit the mark as I want it.
What’s a woodworker to do unless they have $500. to drop on a kit of Besseys?

UPDATE: I will take my time and search Craig’s daily, and purchase what I ca, when I can…I can’t wait to have some NICE parallel clamps, my work will be so much more gratifying.
Thanks for all the advice!

I’ll buy a few, here and there, and quit whining that I don’t have good clamps. Waaahhh!

-- Steve - Dust sucks!


130 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1741 days


#1 posted 665 days ago

Clamps are one of those things you can never have too many or too large a variety of. I started out with a number of HF spreader clamps, 12, 24, and 36 inches and a number of 12 inch F style clamps. Over the length of time, every time I had an extra 20, I would buy a Bessey or Irwin clamp. Now I have 2 48 inch Jorgensons, about a half dozen 12 inch and another half dozen 24 inch Bessey and Irwin clamps. The HF clamps kept me from being needy as I slowly built the collection.

I don’t know about you, but my relatives never know what to get me for holidays and birthdays. All of them have a list of the clamps I like. Most family gifts are to be 20 bucks and under. Makes everyone happy, including myself.

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

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steve6678

438 posts in 693 days


#2 posted 665 days ago

lol, yup, good stuff, thanks

-- Steve - Dust sucks!

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1106 posts in 1876 days


#3 posted 665 days ago

I totally agree. I keep looking at the ‘nice’ cabinet style clamps and just shake my head. IMO they are priced $10 – $20+ too high (depending on size). It just amazes me how much a couple pieces of cast metal, a threaded rod and a steel rod cost.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies and the wall gets in the way.. - Mike -

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waho6o9

4837 posts in 1210 days


#4 posted 665 days ago

I hear ya.
Craigslist has been good to me on clamps.
One must look every day, and then, bingo, clamp city.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1108 days


#5 posted 665 days ago

What’s a woodworker to do unless they have $500.

Here you go, nice project and you get bar clamps… :-)

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/72747

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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Tedstor

1369 posts in 1265 days


#6 posted 665 days ago

HF pipe and F clamps are inexpensive and work well.

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1643 days


#7 posted 664 days ago

Even pipe clamps cost a fair bit unless you’ve got lots of spare black gas pipe sitting around, but definitely cheaper than nice parallel clamps.

It’s frustrating, I agree. It has taken me several years to build up my vast collection of 8 Jet parallel clamps. Yes, 8. Everytime I have a spare $100 to drop on your shop, clamps are the last place I look to spend it, so it has taken a lot of discipline to get even these 8. The one lesson I’ve learned and strategy I’ve tried to stick to is that whenever a retailer is discounting parallel clamps, I must take advantage. It slowly builds the clamp collection and I don’t feel I’ve gotten as gouged as having bought them retail.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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knotscott

5425 posts in 2008 days


#8 posted 664 days ago

Woodworking is a niche market…..every aspect of it can be overpriced. There’s no way I can justify the price of some of these clamps, even if they are great clamps. I tend buy the deals from sales, clearance prices, etc. I bought some of the Stanley parallel clamps dirt cheap from Big Lots a few years ago. I also bought the Jet clamps at a steep discount. The HF F style clamps are a great deal for lighter work. Pipe clamps in general are relatively affordable too.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Arminius's profile

Arminius

304 posts in 2436 days


#9 posted 664 days ago

To take a contrarian view, a well-made clamp lasts forever. I definitely understand the frustration of funding a good set among all the other items you could add to your shop, and have definitely gone the used and cheap route. But I use the good ones almost every project, and they have outlasted most of my original power tools.

I also think the ‘you cannot have too many clamps’ idea is both true and wrong-headed. Different projects are going to require additions, but you can do a lot with a fairly small set – 4 24” Besseys are my workhorses. Those and some good quality handscrews do an awful lot.

Pretty sure that Lee Valley has a Bessey sale once a year.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1741 days


#10 posted 664 days ago

Items like these shop made right angle clamps, can also save you some money. It allows you to use the less expensive 6 inch and 12 inch clamps and greatly reduce the number of 24” + clamps that bring a higher price tag.

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

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile

CessnaPilotBarry

886 posts in 743 days


#11 posted 664 days ago

There are lots of techniques out there to reduce clamping needs. These include fast drying adhesives, gang clamping, sprung and mechanically locking joints, cheaply made jigs and assembly fixtures, brads and screws, shrink wrap, even tape…

There’s always used clamps, too…

Craigslist, pawn shops, garage sales, etc… Boring old clamps rarely get much love, so they are often sold cheap. That’s WHEN you can find the good ones. Lots of crap out there, too!

On the other hand, if a top quality clamp could be sold at a decent profit margin for $15-20, don’t you think it would be out there? Put yourself in the shoes of a project manager at a tool company and think about it… You could corner the market! On the same token, if an Asian factory could cheaply produce such an item, without patent infringement issues, they’d be shopping them to every wholesaler on the planet.

While some of the cheaper clamps are plenty serviceable, it’s the little details of top-quality stuff, as well as a smaller potential purchaser base, that drives up the cost. This isn’t limited to woodworking. Compare the low and high end of anything, from tools, to cars, to homes… It’s the details that make the difference, and it’s up to us to individually decide if those details make enough different to us to justify the extra cost. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t…

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

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HorizontalMike

6925 posts in 1547 days


#12 posted 664 days ago

I am beginning to think that “good” clamps are a lot like “good” WW equipment, in that they cost more and you only cry once when you fork out the $$$ for them. Once I started using the Jorgensen Cabinet Masters, I finally understood. Yeah, I still have a lot of their F-style clamps and a “dwindling supply” of HF clamps (they fail and are discarded), but the Cabinet Master parallel clamps (similar to Bessey) simply change/improve your clamping skills, IMO.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 881 days


#13 posted 664 days ago

I have A LOT of the Pittsburgh bar clamps from HF. I also have a few longer jorgensen HD bar clamps as they deflect less than the HF ones. The best thing I ever did was bite the bullet and buy a pair of 12”, 24” and 36” parallel clamps. The 36”s are jorgensen cabinet masters and the 12” and 24” are Bessy Revo’s. It’s amazing what a difference a good parallel clamp makes when doing a glue-up (ESPECIALLY end grain cutting boards). After I get the glue-up registered and locked down with 2 parallel clamps (and cauls on top of them) I slap on the Pittsburgh bar clamps where they are needed.

I used to think they were an overpriced luxury until I used them. If I had the money, I would have a wall full of them.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13809 posts in 971 days


#14 posted 664 days ago

Clamps are number one on Christmas list as well. They can’t go wrong getting any.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1602 days


#15 posted 664 days ago

Ask an Englishman what kind of cramps (see, we even spell it differently) he uses and the answer will be ‘Record Sash Cramps’.
Even though a sash cramp is only a steel bar, two jaws and a threaded rod, you’d think they’d all be the same. But they’re not. I bought 4 cheap ones before, ruined one job with them and took them to be recycled.
I won’t make the same mistake again – you get what you pay for.

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