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Bessey Uniklamp not holding...I cleaned and waxed the bar

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Forum topic by ellen35 posted 08-17-2014 07:58 PM 664 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ellen35

2576 posts in 2120 days


08-17-2014 07:58 PM

My Bessey Uniklamps were pretty sad, all covered with glue along the bars from lots of use. They are my “go-to” clamps. So I googled cleaning them and watched a bunch of videos and read a lot of articles. Long story short, I cleaned them with mineral spirits, a soft brass brush, steel wool. Then I put some wax on them. Now they will not hold. I cleaned off the wax with mineral spirits and still no luck. I think the teeth are just too thin. If anyone has a helpful suggestion, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, does anyone know if the bars are available as the heads are fine (I have 4 of them). I was wondering if they are interchangeable with other bars and, if so, where I might find them.
Thanks for your help.
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire


23 replies so far

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

597 posts in 1701 days


#1 posted 08-17-2014 08:09 PM

Ellen – Unfortunately I donʻt own that brand of clamp so i donʻt know how it clamps to the bars. From the clamps that i do have, there are usually some metal thingies that ride over the bar. You might want to remove them if possible and check to see if the square hole that rides over the bar has “sharp” and not rounded edges. That may be one source of the problem. Just guessing.

As for the glue accumulation problem, one thing that I do with my clamps is put blue painters tape over the bar where glue squeeze out might fall. When Iʻm done using them I just take the tape off and itʻs clean again.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2740 days


#2 posted 08-17-2014 08:10 PM

Maybe a little sanding of the bars to roughen them up a little? Course like 80 grit??
... just along the Grabbing edges… :)

Just a thought that I would try…

Good luck!

Sounds like you really cleaned them GOOD! (too good :) )

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View jack1's profile

jack1

1939 posts in 2715 days


#3 posted 08-17-2014 08:15 PM

You might try denatured alcohol or acetone. Smelly but they should strip the slippery stuff off. Mineral spirits can leave slick behind.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View JuniorJoiner's profile

JuniorJoiner

448 posts in 2128 days


#4 posted 08-17-2014 08:20 PM

i find i need to press the handle towards the bar as i turn if i want mine to catch. and i have never cleaned mine , except to break off the larger glue blobs.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3182 posts in 1363 days


#5 posted 08-17-2014 08:26 PM

I don’t own these clamps either so I am not sure how the grip. If you can take the bar out and look at the gripping mechanism you can tell more. You could have wax built up in there that needs to be cleaned. Sounds like they stopped all at once and this was when you cleaned and waxed them so that is a possibility. Other clamps such as the Pony pipe clam uses a stack of metal that slides over the pipe and grips when the motion is reversed. These corner get worn and don’t grip as well. The stack of metal plates can be removed in those. Turn the stack over and install to use the other side. They will serve for years like that. It really sounds like the wax got pulled into the monkey motion though.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7098 posts in 1991 days


#6 posted 08-17-2014 08:41 PM

wow, sounds like someone got anal with there clamps…lol…i usually just scrap off the glue with a putty knife, i dont think waxing them is a good idea..i hope you can figure it out, i use mostly pipe clamps but i do have some of the bar clamps, and i think just knocking the glue off with a putty knife or something with a sharp flat blade…good luck…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Loren's profile

Loren

7734 posts in 2336 days


#7 posted 08-17-2014 08:58 PM

The bars are toothed. I have never opened a Uniklamp
to see how it engages but it seems kind of like an
F clamp. I also do not see wax as helpful.

My thought is the teeth may have worn on the
bars and you may be able to use a triangular file
to revive the teeth. I would.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View MayflowerDescendant's profile

MayflowerDescendant

414 posts in 1475 days


#8 posted 08-17-2014 09:35 PM

My suggestion would be to contact Bessey directly. They have great customer service and (usually) really quick turnaround on parts and orders. I’m sure they have run across this issue (what you did seemed logical and I’m sure other people have done the same). They should not only help you solve your immediate problem (to get your existing clamps functioining again), but coach you how to clean them up properly in the future. (One ask – let us know what they share with you. No one can be without their “go to” clamps). Good luck!

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2740 days


#9 posted 08-18-2014 05:53 PM

Mayflower stole my thunder… I was just going to suggest that very same thing… Contact Bessey Cust. Serv.

In fact, their website MAY already have a cleaning procedure on it!

Would like to know what your solution ends up being… when you get it… OK?

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2576 posts in 2120 days


#10 posted 08-18-2014 05:55 PM

Thanks everyone. One thing I learned is not to believe everything on the internet… like waxing the bars!
I have a call into Bessey. I’ll post their answer here.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2576 posts in 2120 days


#11 posted 08-18-2014 06:31 PM

I just talked with Tech Support at Bessey. His only idea was to take off the ratchet end and re-clean the bar. No, they do not sell just the bar….
I took Comet cleanser AND scrubbing bubbles to the bar and cleaned with a soft brush. Still no bite. I had already tried acetone and alcohol (not the drinking kind, although that occurred to me – I’d drink it and clean with something else!). The 4 clamps now reside in the trash. I’ve ordered 10 more (glutton for punishment?) as they really are great light duty clamps. I think I am at fault here… me and my OCD cleaning!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. My best advice is not to believe everything you see on the internet… that’s where I got the idea to clean and wax them!

Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2740 days


#12 posted 08-18-2014 06:49 PM

OK, it’s NOT the bar… it’s the other half… inside the sliding part.

See if you can carefully remove a cover, remove the parts (remember orientation with crayons or something) that come in contact with the Bar, and clean them good… NO WAX… Might run a file over the ends, like sharpening a Scraper to be sure there is a good square sharp edge on them… put it back together & try it again!

That is THE ONLY thing I think it can be… we know it’s NOT the Bar… right?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

725 posts in 733 days


#13 posted 08-18-2014 06:53 PM

Sorry to hear about your problems.

I do want to add that waxing a clamp bar is meant to protect them from glue adhesion. The certainly can affect clamping ability since they are meant to prevent adhesion and promotes slippage. That is why I have only ever waxed my larger parallel clamps (Jet, Bessey, PeachTree), as (to my understanding) their clamping ability is primarily provided by the larger ridges along the bar. My pipe, F-style, and quick grip are wax free. If I ever get any Jorgensen Cabinet Masters, they will stay wax free.

-- paxorion

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2576 posts in 2120 days


#14 posted 08-18-2014 07:46 PM

Joe – it is the bar! I think a combination of Perfect Storm happened – cleaning, lots of use (not a good excuse) and waxing.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2740 days


#15 posted 08-18-2014 08:32 PM

OK, I guess you have to roughen it up a little to provide something to GRIP to…

I thought your clamps were the same as my Orange Cabinet Masters… I think they have metal strips that dig into the bar… don’t know for sure… I thought if those ‘strips’ got waxed up, they would not dig into anything.

Hope you can make’em work!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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