Bessey 4" General Purpose Clamps

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Forum topic by Jim Crockett (USN Retired) posted 05-09-2009 03:06 AM 1557 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3970 days

05-09-2009 03:06 AM

A while back, I purchased six of Bessey’s 4” General Purpose Bar Clamps (LM2.004). When I tried to use them, two wouldn’t clamp shut at all, the movable head just slid on the rail. I returned the faulty clamps to the store where I purchased them and exchanged them for two more. About a month later, two more of the clamps began giving me problems – regardless of how I tried to hold the movable jaw, it just slid on the rail as I tried to tighten them. Since over 30 days had expired, I couldn’t exchange them, so I sent an email to Bessey Customer Service. I received a response to thoroughly clean the rail and rub it with either emery paper or steel wool. I gave them a thorough cleaning with denatured alcohol and rubbed them with 000 steel wool. No change – they still failed to clamp. I again sent an email to Bessey and received this response:

“Well, lets try a less-often-used solution and see if that works. Take 2 of the clamps that are not holding and tighten them up as hard as you can. Really lay into them (use gloves, protective eyewear etc) and then loosen them up then…see if they will clamp something together and hold well.”

This sounded a little off-the-wall to me, but I tried and again saw no improvement. I sent a third email to Bessey, over two months ago, and have yet to hear anything back from them.

I have always heard that Bessey was a good company with a great product -but right now you couldn’t prove it by me. These weren’t very expensive clamps and losing two of them isn’t going to break the bank, but I’m not very impressed with Bessey’s customer service and doubt that I would buy another of their products. Some of you could probably regale me with stories of how good their clamps are and what wonderful customer service you have received, but I can only go on my personal experience and my impression is that (at least) their low-end products are not very reliable (4 out of 8 clamps bad) and that their customer service stinks.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

10 replies so far

View FredG's profile


139 posts in 3934 days

#1 posted 05-09-2009 04:20 AM

Hi Jim,
On a German forum I found this reply from Bessey to a similar complaint like yours.

Sehr geehrter Herr,

Vielen Dank für Ihre email und Ihr Interesse an unseren Werkzeugen.

Gerne beantworten wir Ihnen Ihre Fragen zu den Tempergußschraubzwingen der Linien TG und TPN.

Bei der TG handelt es sich um unsere Original-BESSEY Tempgerguß-Schraubzwinge. Sie ist mit allen Qualitätsmerkmalen ausgestattet; im einzelnen sind das:

- Die integrierte BESSEY Rutschsicherung ab 80 mm Ausladung sorgt für maximale Sichheit beim Spannen. Ein Gewindestift im Gleitbügel greift in die Schinenriffelung. Dadurch wird ein ungewolltes Lösen oder Abrutschen der Zinge effektiv verhindert.

- Die durch Wellen verstärkten, charakteristischen Fest- und Gleitbügel aus hochwertigem Temperguss ermöglichen ein kraftvolles und starres Spannen. Die Pulverbeschichtung schützt zudem vor Korrosion.
- Die BESSEY- Hohlprofilschien aus eigener Zieherei ist speziell für Zwingen optimiert. Das Profil wirkt als zuverlässige Verstärkung gegen Torsionskräfte, die 6-fache Riffelung verhindert zusätzlich das Abrutschen der Zwinge

- Spannkraft bis 6.000 N

- Die oberflächenbeschichtete Spindel mit Trapezgewinde ist besonders leitgängig und verkantet nicht. Für ein noch effizienteres, ungestörtes Arbeiten.

- lieferbar wahlweise mit bewährtem BESSEY- Holzgriff oder BESSEY Best-Comfort- System (2K-Griff und wechselbare Druckplatte).

Die TPN ist eine Bessey Temperguß-Schraubzwinge aus unserer Zweit-Linie und hat im Gegensatz zur Original-BESSEY Temperguß-Schraubzwinge TG:

- KEINE Rutschsicherung

- glatte Fest- und Gleitbügel (d.h. NICHT durch Wellen verstärkt)

- Stabile Hohlprofilschiene mit Riffelung als Verstärkung gegen Torsionskräfte

- Spannkraft bis 5.500 N

Wir hoffen, daß wir Ihnen alle Fragen beantworten konnten und freuen uns, wenn Sie sich für eine Schraubzwinge aus unserem umfangreichen Programm entscheiden.

Für weitere Fragen stehen wir Ihnen selbstverständlich gerne zur Verfügung.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen/ Best regards/ Saludos,
i.A. Edda Haug

Just in case you haven’t mastered this beautiful language yet, try this. ;-)

-- Fred

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4456 days

#2 posted 05-09-2009 05:06 AM

I feel your pain, but it’s not just Bessey. I have a few like yours and a few of a couple of other brands as well. I find it is pretty much a crap shoot getting these small clamps to hold. I think the free-sliding jaw is just inherently a weak design.

My personal experience is that they tend to hold okay if the surfaces being clamped are perfectly parallel, but throw any kind of angle into the mix and you’re asking for trouble.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dusty56's profile


11830 posts in 3925 days

#3 posted 05-09-2009 05:24 AM

I had a couple act up on me just last week , but I blamed myself some how for the problem. The third clamp worked fine , so I figured that I solved the mystery . I never thought it might have been two defective besseys in a row .

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

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3982 days

#4 posted 05-09-2009 05:27 AM

I have some of these, that I use without problems most of the time. If I can hold the movable jaw while I tighten it, it will catch. Mine seem to slip when it’s one of those glue ups that you need three hands to do.

View hairy's profile


2783 posts in 3769 days

#5 posted 05-09-2009 04:37 PM

I bought 4 of those same clamps. I have had the same problem. I tossed one in the trash because it would not tighten.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 05-11-2009 01:09 PM

I had never heard of this problem with their clamps, I have a set of 4 that I bought on sale 2 yrs. ago and I use them for glue ups and they work fine, no slip and tighten really well. I think I got two 48” and two 24” for a bookcase project.

View Dusty56's profile


11830 posts in 3925 days

#7 posted 05-11-2009 03:32 PM

Hello Cato , we’re talking about their 4” clamps here ….My Bessey K-Bodies work perfectly , but I’m just a bit disappointed with the slipping 4” ones : (

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

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3564 days

#8 posted 05-11-2009 04:26 PM

Just some advice, Have you tried calling them ? I used to e-mail a company’s c/s, but when it comes to getting satisfaction, I find a phone call will work way better than a e-mail. There is a older topic on here somewhere about the c/s I was receiving with a older Ridgid saw, was getting nowhere with e-mails, phone calls were always…”We will have to call you back on that”.

Some one reminded me on here to get names, dates etc. and let them know you were getting all this. I did just that, I called them, was getting the same old run around, I asked for their name/direct extension and then told them “Okay Mr._ on todays date I called you at ext. # and was told by (their name) that I would be getting a call back”. One our later I got my call, did the same with them, one week later I had the parts the fix my old radial arm saw.

While most times it is a simple mistake as to why no one is answering you, sometimes they just don’t give a damn. It is way to easy to just say “We never got that e-mail, or I forwarded that e-mail”

When they know you are serious, taking names/dates…they seem to take it a little more serious…NO more e-mails for me.

-- Don S.E. OK

View chickenhelmet's profile


99 posts in 3550 days

#9 posted 05-11-2009 05:01 PM

All my Bessey’s work great, but I think my smallest is 6” to 8”. I do have trouble with those small Rockler clamps that come with the Clamp-it kit. Maybe, as Charlie stated, it’s the size.

-- Larry , Colorado

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3631 days

#10 posted 05-11-2009 05:47 PM

another company going on the wrong way….
I have noticed at my local Lowe’s,some of the Bessey clamps, specially the samll ones, are made in china, you instantly notice the difference, they look cheap…
I have bought the german made ones, tradesman series, and they have performed well, I am happy with them…

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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