Clamp Question

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Forum topic by SnowyRiver posted 03-27-2009 07:27 PM 1380 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3450 days

03-27-2009 07:27 PM

What clamps does everyone think works the best for edge glueing boards to make panels? I currently have a lot of pipe clamps, but I always think there must be a better clamp out there for this. Maybe the Bessey K clamp?


-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

8 replies so far

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3495 days

#1 posted 03-27-2009 07:54 PM

I have lots of bessey k body clamps and also the pony brand version of the k body. They work great for panels and are exceptionally good for carcass construction since the clamps stay parallel. They are a bit pricey, but they will last a long time.

That being said, if you’re just clamping panels you can surely use pipe clamps. they are definately cheaper than the bessey clamps.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3618 days

#2 posted 03-27-2009 08:13 PM

for glueing panels pipe clamps are the best, they dont have huge throat pieces which can come in the way, they (except for i-beam/bar clamps) can handle the most pressure of all clamps, and with the least amount of deflection.

if you were talking about case/carcass glue ups – then the parallel bars are the top choice as they keep a parallel jaws while clamped.

these are the ideals… in reality – whatever clamps you have -are the best clamps for the job ;o)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3511 days

#3 posted 03-27-2009 09:22 PM

It also depends on what type of wood you’re gluing. Hard closed grained wood like Sugar Maple take ALOT of clamp pressure, compared to other woods like pine. I use pipe clamps for the strong pressure they are capable of, but sometimes they cause the boards to cup or bend with the clamp. I started using Jet’s parallel clamps to “set” glue ups together which helps keep them flat and then I add the corect amount of pipe clamps to get the pressure needed. Like I said, it all depends on the wood and size of lamination.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Eduardo Rodriguez's profile

Eduardo Rodriguez

37 posts in 3340 days

#4 posted 03-27-2009 10:48 PM

I use record or gross-stabil sash clamps, and also pipe clamps, but always use two pieces of wood at the ends to ensure that the clamps doesn´t cup, and had decent results. Some commercial systems are this method in essence.

-- Tempus fugit...better work wood!!!

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3706 days

#5 posted 03-28-2009 12:11 AM

If you are using pipe clamps be sure to put a small spacer or tape between the wood and the pipe. The pipe can leave rust stains and ruin the boards if they touch.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3323 days

#6 posted 03-28-2009 02:25 AM

Bessey K Clamps are still available, they updated them and added Revo to the name i.e. they’re now called K Body Revo Clamps.

I too start with Pony 3/4” pipe clamps, lots of them, probably 20 or 30 or more, still have them, still use them. But a few years back I started buying K Clamps when the price started dropping and you could buy (2) 40” and (2) 24” for $99 including a set of 4 support blocks from Rockler. Did 2 or 3 sets that way over time. Then when the K Body Revo Clamps were on the horizon everybody was blowing out their stock of K Clamps at sale prices, Rockler, Woodcraft, Lowes, etc. so I picked up a bunch more. I think I got over 30 of them now, close to 50/50 24” and 40”. I buy things that are pricey on sale or with coupons, like Rockler’s buy one item get 50% off on the second item, etc.

I really like the K Clamps. Especially when gluing up cabinets because the clamping footprint is much larger then the pipe clamp and they don’t mar the wood without having to use scrap wood between the clamp that the project. (Or the permanent wood spacers for the pipe clamps shown many times over.) And by design the clamp heads stay parallel to each other under clamping pressure, not sure pipe clamps do that as well their surface area being much small makes it harder to tell.

I first got introduced to Bessey when a woodworking buddy of mine gave me a Tradesman clamp for Christmas many years ago. I was so impressed with it compared to other bar clamps I had that I started buying more. Got around 50 of them now ranging in length from 6” to 3’ and both 2-1/2” and 4” throat. They’re my staple for clamping small projects and things. I was sold on Bessey and use them as the gold standard to compare other clamps to.

The K Clamps are my first choice in larger glue ups and even panels now and I only resort to other clamps if I run out. And yes that happens, you can never have enough clamps…

As for pipe clamps staining wood, what I did from the get go was use galvanized pipe instead of black pipe for that exact reason, thus I never had a problem with the wood getting stained. That little extra one time cost in the pipe was worth it to me. Also, a lot of my pipes are threaded on both ends, that way if I need a longer clamp I just use another piece of pipe and a 3/4” pipe coupler.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View laflaone's profile


59 posts in 3650 days

#7 posted 03-28-2009 03:16 AM

I use pipe clamps, and I use some scrap wood to spread out the pressure and to not leave a mark on what is being clamped.

-- "non illegitimis carborundum"

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3450 days

#8 posted 03-30-2009 03:34 AM

Thanks for all the input folks. Everytime I start edge glueing boards, I start thinking about clamps. I have been using Jorgensen pipe clamps and wasnt sure if there was something that worked better. I had been looking at Bessey, but it would be expensive to buy a bunch of those.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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