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Forum topic by BJF posted 02-18-2013 02:06 AM 2125 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2536 days

02-18-2013 02:06 AM

I have 8 of the H-style pipe clamps, and a few of the Irwin quick clamps. I’m trying to decide which clamps to get next. As the saying goes, you can never have enough clamps. I was looking at the Bessey K body clamps, and I’m wondering what’s the difference between those and the pipe clamps. Specifically, it seems like most woodworkers use the Bessey K style clamps to glue up cabinets and doors. I’m about to start a cabinet project, and I’m wondering if the pipe clamps are enough for keeping it square while the glue dries. Any thoughts?

-- BJF

23 replies so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2333 days

#1 posted 02-18-2013 02:14 AM

I had difficulty using pipe clamps w/ the panels bowing up even when I alternated below and above; but when I started using parrallel clamps either Bessy or Jorgensen that problem was solved. I still use the pipe clamps in addition just to have enough sometimes.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 2155 days

#2 posted 02-18-2013 02:28 AM

I love parallel clamps, but they are really expensive. Even a perfect clamp doesn’t automatically square a project, but parallel clamps make it a lot simpler to get things square. You can accomplish the same cabinet work with bar clamps, it just takes lots more of them to do the same job, and that makes squaring just a little more complicated. But we all managed to get it done before parallel clamps came on the scene.

View bondogaposis's profile


5090 posts in 2552 days

#3 posted 02-18-2013 03:04 AM

Since I bought some k body clamps my pipe clamps have been unused. I’m thinking of selling them. Also think about a good supply of F clamps, they are really handy.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2220 days

#4 posted 02-18-2013 03:07 AM

Check the reviews. I just bought some Jorgensen and Bessey clamps. I like both quite a bit and there are opinions from others worth checking out too.

View Zulu55's profile


72 posts in 2518 days

#5 posted 02-18-2013 05:24 AM

The parallel clamps are def easier to keep your project from bowing a bit due to the way they are engineered.

I just got a steal of a deal on 20 only used once 48” Jorgensen cabinet master’s and absolutely love them. Previously I had 8 Craftsman quick clamps and 8 Bessey pipe clamps that also worked quite well. But…these cabinet master clamps are fantastic.

But, having said all that. If I were you, I would consider making caul’s and use them in conjunction with your pipe clamps. Probably the cheapest solution?

Whatever you decide, good luck.

-- Adam - Langley, British Columbia (Canada)

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2556 days

#6 posted 02-18-2013 05:36 AM

Well, pipe clamps will work, they aren’t the prefered clamps for professional woodworkers because over time the mechanism that makes the clamp bite into the bars weakens, and they slip, or if someone gets something on them they shouldn’t or pipes aren’t cleaned properly they get oil on them causing them to slip, but some careful cleaning and maintenance can get around that I like the I clamps and alluminum clamps because you can torque down harder on them and get a good tight clamping. There are alot of clamps out there and it never hurts to have more of them laying around…

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2556 days

#7 posted 02-18-2013 05:36 AM

oh and to keep things from bowing, put clamps on top and bottom of the work piece.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3014 days

#8 posted 02-18-2013 05:50 AM

I like the Bessey H style 1/2” pipe clamps. Available at Lowes.
1+ for clamps top and bottom for flat panels.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2837 days

#9 posted 02-18-2013 06:42 AM

Bessey parallels are the way to go if you have the money, although you could easily spend $300-400 just to get started. I have a bunch of harbor freight bar clamps and they work ok when you run out of good clamps during glue ups.

If you don’t have good f style clamps, I highly recommend the Bessey tradesman line. I have a bunch of standard ones for clamping work to the bench. I have some other deep throat ones that give more pressure then you could ever need. I wouldn’t get the ones with a clutch, they are a pain. I find it hard not to pick up a pair every time I go into Woodcraft, they are addictive.

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2379 days

#10 posted 02-18-2013 08:03 AM

I love my Bessey K Revo clamps. Only have a few of them so far but I’ll definitely keep accumulating them. I save some money by getting them at Rockler and using the 20% coupons they send out frequently or when there’s some other sale going on.

-- Ben from IL

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4787 posts in 2510 days

#11 posted 02-18-2013 09:01 AM

I have pipe and parallel camps. Prefer the parallels (Bessy’s). However there is a current thread on the woodnet forum that got me to thinking pretty hard about trying some “Universal Bar Clamps”. Not cheap but a little less that Bessy.

Link to Discussion

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30058 posts in 2539 days

#12 posted 02-18-2013 10:19 AM

I buy at least a couple new clamps every month. Different styles. You can never have too many or too many variations. Never know what you might need.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 2304 days

#13 posted 02-18-2013 05:35 PM

I was at Lowe’s yesterday to get some paint, and just happened to pick up a couple of more Bessey H stye 3/4” pipe clamps and some pipe. It is funny that you can get a 10’ pipe and have them cut and thread it for just about the same price as one 48” piece of pre-cut pipe. That makes a total of 8 that I have now. I have some Bessey bar clamps also. I was at a friend’s shop a couple of weeks ago helping him and needed a clamp, so I grabbed one that I had not seen before. I said something about him getting some “higher dollar” clamps because it just isn’t like him to buy higher dollar items. He said they came from Harbor Freight. A couple of days ago I was over there, and he grabbed a couple of new ones from his truck and told me to take them with me. Now I will start getting a couple of those from time to time at $4 each. Those two types of clamps seem to be my favorite ones.

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View moke's profile


1265 posts in 2977 days

#14 posted 02-18-2013 06:17 PM

A year or two ago I bought a lot of Jet parallel clamps. They had a half price sale for like two months. They are very similar to Besey style. While I like them and use them a lot, I find the release for the Quick adjust difficult to use, they don’t move forward or back with out some manipulation and some “verbal encouragement”. I have never used any other brands, has anybody else come accross that?

I hope I didn’t hijack this thread…thanks

-- Mike

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3172 days

#15 posted 02-18-2013 06:33 PM

I love my Jorgensen cabinet masters.
I can’t afford all of them I would like to have, but I fill in with the Heavy Duty F-clamps and Pony Pipe clamps. so I get by.

Probably not a nickels’ worth of difference between the Jorgensens and the Bessys, but the Jorgensens are Made in the USA and sell for a couple dollars less so that’s what I buy.

Bessy does make a special F-clamp I like. It has two feet on the end opposite the screw, so when you clamp something you are clamping three points. It’s much more stable. Like gluing up a leg with 2 or more layers. A regular F-clamp will let the boards slide around in the glue. The three point clamp will hold it all together.

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