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Forum topic by sweets posted 05-28-2009 08:38 PM 2556 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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sweets

42 posts in 2790 days


05-28-2009 08:38 PM

Is this a good deal on these clamps and are they worth having?

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21397&filter=clamps

I only have a few 12 inch and one 24 inch irwin clamps. Soon I’ll be designing a children’s table and chairs and plan to use narrow stock for the table top, so I’ll need some longer clamps for the glue up. Will these clamps get the job done or should I invest in something else like pipe clamps?

-- Lee ---- South Louisiana


14 replies so far

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3451 days


#1 posted 05-28-2009 09:02 PM

The JET clamps are really nice, as good if not better than the Besseys

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View rickf16's profile

rickf16

387 posts in 3040 days


#2 posted 05-28-2009 09:14 PM

I have two of these and they work fine for me. I think I paid about 18.00 each at Lowe’s. I have three words for you BUY, BUY, BUY!!!

PS: You can never have too many clamps.

-- Rick

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 2841 days


#3 posted 05-29-2009 12:03 AM

I’m going to be painfully honest here. I don’t like these clamp. I have them with the single heads, also bought on a sweet deal through Rockler. I have 6 of them (top row, right side), and they are the weakest of all the clamps I have, and in fact, of any I’ve ever used. My collection includes Bessey K-Bodies and Tradesman clamps, Jorgenson “Pony” clamps, and some Irwin pipe and quick clamps.

Of my clamps, these require many times the turns to tighten them down (e.g. Bessey Tradesman – 5 turns to fully tighten vs. Jets – 20+ turns, and they never get ‘tight’), and I can never get to full tightness, because the bars bend a lot. I just stop tightening, because they feel like they’re going to snap. You should see how they curve, too, like the top of an airplane wing. The bars are substantially thinner and weaker than any of the other clamps I’ve used, and the clamping pressure because of that is far reduced.

Glue companies usually cite between 150 and 250 PSI for the best glue-ups. That divides out over the square inches rather quickly. K-Body clamps – monsters in their own right – achieve around 800-900 PSI. If you’re clamping two surfaces that are 1”x4”, suddenly one K-Body is only providing each of those with around 200lbs. If you’re gluing two long 1” thick panels together, edge-to-edge, you need a K-Body every 4”-5” to get the recommended pressures. These are nowhere near the power of a K-Body, so you’ll never get that full hold, unless you’re putting them so close they’re touching. I’d say they’re at best 200+/- PSI clamps. You simply can’t clamp them hard, because they just keep bending more and more as you try, until you start to worry they’re going to explode and send metal shards everywhere.

All 6 of mine are like that. It’s just how they are. If you’re doing really properly cut and jointed stuff, and don’t need max clamping pressure, but just need to hold things together with moderate pressure while glue dries, these are fine, but they definitely shouldn’t be called upon for anything like helping to pull a warp out of a board, IMO. They’re just not strong enough. I never use them, and was disappointed, even at the low price. I’m probably going to get rid of mine so I’ll have room for more Besseys.

Others seem to be okay with them, but I’m guessing they aren’t doing things like gluing up long panels. The funny thing is, these are long clamps, which sort of exaccerbates the problem. The longer they are, the more they bend. These would probably be really great in <12> board everywhere to pull it down to flat, as jointing something so large – especially on the faces – is out of the question.

Just my $0.02.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#4 posted 05-29-2009 12:28 AM

I still find those Y clamps to be not as versatile as the regular F clamps as you cant really use them on corners. with that said – you can never have too many clamps – but consider what you need clamps for – if it’s for panel clamping ? I’d go for pipe clamps, or save up for parallel clamps as those can have much more pressure, and won’t flex as much – if it’s for case work – these might work ok – for that price, worth getting several.

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

View Mike's profile

Mike

391 posts in 3076 days


#5 posted 05-29-2009 12:03 PM

Jet C clamps are at BIG LOTS in my area. 3 and 4 dollars. Not bad for 3 and 4 inch C’s

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View Konquest's profile

Konquest

170 posts in 2903 days


#6 posted 05-29-2009 01:13 PM

Ditto everything Gary said. Now if you were talking about the Jet parallel jaw clamps (K body knockoff)...those are awesome.

-- 9 3/4 fingers remaining.

View sweets's profile

sweets

42 posts in 2790 days


#7 posted 05-29-2009 03:12 PM

I need them for a table top and chairs, so it sounds like I should get pipe clamps instead. I’ve never used any pipe clamps. Are there different types? What are some good ones?

-- Lee ---- South Louisiana

View sweets's profile

sweets

42 posts in 2790 days


#8 posted 05-29-2009 03:16 PM

To me it looks like you buy the pipe clamp then buy whatever length of pipe you need to span the project. Is that correct?

-- Lee ---- South Louisiana

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

714 posts in 3078 days


#9 posted 05-29-2009 03:24 PM

Yes sweets…...pipe clamps can be made in any lenght. Most of mine are 48” long with BOTH ends threaded. I can attach another section of pipe by using a union for those glue-ups where 48” is not long enough. I also have some 12” lengths of pipe for shorter glue-ups.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#10 posted 05-29-2009 03:56 PM

yes sweets – thats the beauty of pipe clamps – you can always switch the pipe part (regular 3/4” iron pipe) and get whatever length you need. they also hold the most clamping pressure, and hardly if any at all flex. another useful feature is that you can lay them on your work surface, and they will stand stable there as opposed to the F and Y clamps which will tip over and fall on their sides.

I recommend getting the 3/4” pipe clamps, and some long (enough) clamps with a threaded end (for the clamp head part). for panel clamping. from my experience they are the easiest to use for that purpose and have the best capabilities for it – it’s a win win situation.

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

View sweets's profile

sweets

42 posts in 2790 days


#11 posted 05-29-2009 05:14 PM

So the ends of the pipe need to be threaded to put the clamp on? Or, if it is threaded you can make it longer with a union when necessary?

-- Lee ---- South Louisiana

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 2841 days


#12 posted 05-29-2009 10:29 PM

sweets – One end of the pipe needs to be threaded to hold the non-moving jaw of the pipe clamp. It will push onto the end only so far. The threads give its metal ratchet flaps something to dig into. Then you put the other jaw on the other end and slide it anywhere. Here are my Irwins. Note that one jaw is at the end of each, with the other anywhere along the pipe, tight to your part. Then you turn the crank on the non-moving jaw to press the jaw itself into the wood. You will also note that I’m using galvanized pipe, which is silver. Everyone always says to use black pipe, which looks the same, but is a dirty iron color. I wanted galv pipe so it would be cleaner. People tend to use paper towels, wax paper, tape, etc., to keep the pipes themselves from dirtying the wood being clamped. I thought I’d be smart and use galv instead for this reason.

Turns out there’s a reason not to use it. The galv coating is electroplated onto the metal, and it flakes off. When you tighten up the clamp, the teeth in the jaws dig deeply into it, and silver flakes chip away. This also leaves the metal really jagged, like a deeply-cut file. I ended up scratching future pieces while just settling them into the clamps. I switched to black pipe, and while it still leaves little gouges, they’re much less deep, less jagged, and nothing flakes away. It’s easy enough to put a strip of blue tape, or some wax paper on the pipe once you have it set to proper length to keep things clean.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#13 posted 05-29-2009 10:46 PM

well, what do you know – I guess all these years people sticking to black pipe had a reason after all …. lol

thanks for the tidbit Gary – I actually didn’t know that fact, and was always considering replacing my black pipes with galvanized versions of them. I guess that upgrade is being marked off the list now. you should prob. post that as a blog entry – for people to be familiar with this. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that didn’t know it.

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

View Jeff Roberts's profile

Jeff Roberts

35 posts in 2764 days


#14 posted 05-29-2009 11:28 PM

One more thing to add to all of Gary’s great information is pipe tolerances. I have some Power Press pipe clamps sold around ten years ago that wouldn’t work with Chinese pipe. When I measured it, it was under sized and out of spec. I remember seeing a specific tolerance of pipe to be used with these clamps on the packaging which is the same as specified in the Machinery’s Handbook for black pipe. I had to go to a plumbing supply house to purchase American made pipe. Not sure if this is a problem on any other brands of pipe clamps. These cllamps are no longer sold. My recently purchased Bessy and Jet Parallel clamps are getting used the most now with the pipe clamps for longer glue-ups.

-- Jeff, Dayton, OH

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