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View Crickett's profile

Parallel Clamps - Bessey or Jorgensen???

by Crickett
posted 01-26-2015 07:06 PM


28 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5741 posts in 3001 days


#1 posted 01-26-2015 07:19 PM

I guess I would argue that the “undisputed best” is Jet, but on to your question. I use both, and like both but probably prefer the Bessey (Revo’s) over the Jorgy’s. Why, well the Jorgy’s are a little heavier, and the ends of the jaws (away from the bar) are rounded so they won’t sit in that direction on a table. I do like the deeper jaws they have as well as the longer screw in the clamp mechanism, plus the bars are smooth so glue can be cleaned off with a heat gun a little more easily. But the Bessey’s just seem to be a little easier to work with. One thing about the Jorgy’s, if you have a Menard’s nearby they often have some pretty good sales on them…might make them a better deal all around.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Rob's profile

Rob

704 posts in 3579 days


#2 posted 01-26-2015 07:22 PM

Marc Spagnuolo (The Wood Whisperer) did a nice roundup and comparison of clamps a while back. JET has a quick-release trigger and an easier-to-grip handle. The only other noteworthy difference across the top 3 brands that I recall is the jaw size.

If you really want to get the most for your money and you can get by until then, wait for sale. If the lack of clamps is blocking you from getting work done, just buy what you need, as you need it, and buy more when there’s a sale. I missed some sales but set up several Amazon alerts for various brands/sizes using camelcamelcamel.com, and ended up buying several JET clamps on Black Friday.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8768 posts in 3085 days


#3 posted 01-26-2015 07:24 PM

The Groz clamps work well for me.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6652 posts in 3702 days


#4 posted 01-26-2015 07:35 PM

I prefer the Bessys and Bessy Revos….Why you ask..? I think they are the best clamps for me….Don’t know about anyone else….I just know I like them better than anything I’ve had, and they do the job….I have about 60 Bessys of different lengths….One size don’t fit all, so you need more…..People have their preference, and mine are these…...I go by experience, not by what someone says, or gives a review on…...

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Crickett's profile

Crickett

137 posts in 1988 days


#5 posted 01-26-2015 07:49 PM

Interesting post Waho6o9, I’ve never heard of Groz clamps in any magazines/internet articles before. I’d be reluctant to buy many without putting my hands on them first. That said, my first bar clamps I ever had were Jorgy’s and I found them to be bulletproof. I don’t really have any preference on a wood vs. plastic composit handles so that’s not a factor. However the Bessey’s just look damn cool. Can anyone shed light on longterm use with these clamps – and drawbacks after heavy use (i.e. misalignment of the jaws, slipping, ease of retraction)?

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

5968 posts in 2228 days


#6 posted 01-26-2015 07:52 PM

I have both the older bessey K-bodies and the newer revos. Both great clamps you won’t be disappointed to own.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View RobS888's profile

RobS888

2608 posts in 2353 days


#7 posted 01-26-2015 08:09 PM


I prefer the Bessys and Bessy Revos….Why you ask..? I think they are the best clamps for me….Don t know about anyone else….I just know I like them better than anything I ve had, and they do the job….I have about 60 Bessys of different lengths….One size don t fit all, so you need more…..People have their preference, and mine are these…...I go by experience, not by what someone says, or gives a review on…...

- Rick Dennington


Most of us don’t have the time or money to test every major brand of parallel clamp as you must have to let experience be your guide, so we have to rely on reviews.

What did you do with the other brands that didn’t work for you?

-- I always knew gun nuts where afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2422 posts in 3434 days


#8 posted 01-26-2015 08:23 PM

I also have mostly the old style K body clamps, some Revos and some Gross Stabil.

They all work well, however the Bessey is my preference – I have about 80 in various sizes ranging from the 12” to the 96”.

I have found any of this style of clamp will vastly reduce your clamping time, especially when squaring up frames, etc.

I did not see the Groz clamps before, the handles look good on them. I had to wrap the old K style handles with hockey tape to help with grip when tightening. the new Revos are easier to grip.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2899 posts in 2756 days


#9 posted 01-26-2015 08:35 PM

I have about 40 K-body Revos and about a dozen Jorgensen cabinetmasters.

I prefer the cabinet masters by a VERY large margin.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View JayT's profile

JayT

6295 posts in 2719 days


#10 posted 01-26-2015 08:36 PM

I have Jorgensens and like them very much. I have used other brands, but don’t have long enough experience with them to voice an opinion.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

7084 posts in 3106 days


#11 posted 01-26-2015 08:52 PM

Of the Jet, Bessey, and Woodriver parallel clamps I have…I prefer Jet. The quick release is nice, plus I find them easier to engage.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5741 posts in 3001 days


#12 posted 01-26-2015 09:18 PM

Can anyone shed light on longterm use with these clamps – and drawbacks after heavy use (i.e. misalignment of the jaws, slipping, ease of retraction)?

- Crickett

Some of my older clamps are Bessey K bodies, and of the 8 the only thing that’s damaged on them is some cracked plastic on the fixed head of one (I guess I dropped it, don’t know for sure). Mechanically they are all very sound, and nothing has broken. But I also have some Jorgy’s that are quite possibly as old (I bought them second hand) and they are just as good, no damage, no mechanical issues. I’m not sure how old the K bodies are I mentioned, but I think I got them probably 12+ years ago. For the specific stuff you asked: none of them have misalignment or slipping problems. The Jorgy’s are hard to get the sliding head to move sometimes, but that also happens on my newer ones. The older Bessey’s do seem to get a little stiff in turning the handle, especially when you’re trying to really put the torque to it. I tried putting lubricating the screws with several different substances (oil, paste wax, and graphite) and none of to seemed to help.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1107 posts in 2553 days


#13 posted 01-26-2015 10:00 PM

I have Jet, Bessey, and Peachtree brand clamps. I wouldn’t say there is a perfect clamp out of the pack. Here are my thoughts on each one.
  • Jet (my review) – The Jets are great and do a phenominal job. More than half my parallel clamp collection are Jets. The trigger is both good and bad and does take a little getting used to. Handle is great but the plastic is not as comfortable as the composite materials used on the Bessey K Body REVO. The positionable foot is also very helpful when setting the clamp down on an assembly work surface for use. Worth noting that Walter Meier has had 50% off Jet parallel clamp sales on 2 Black Fridays in a row. Not sure if that means that history will repeat itself but Black Friday is a bit aways.
  • Bessey K Body REVO – I have a lot of these as well. Awesome clamp and it does a great job. I particular like the multi-faceted bar design and the handle. Smaller clamp head than the Jet and Jorgensen. Not a big fan of the plastic slide covers thou
  • Jorgensen Cabinetmaster – I shy’d away from these because I didn’t like the maple handle. It felt like something that would someday slip on me. The newer clamps feature a composite cushy plastic material, but there are what appears to be protrusions that don’t feel the best in hand. I’m also concerned that these clamps have a smooth clamp bar (like the Irwins), unlike the Jet, Bessey, and Peachtree/Groz/classic K Body.
  • Peachtree (my review (discontinued) – Clones of the original Bessey K Body but with different handles. The Peachtree went up in price since I bought them but are still a good bargain IMO.

They all do the job, but at different price points and sizes (which plays a factor based on the clamping application). Properly cut joinery won’t require crushing pressure. The bigger and heavier, the easier it is to position on a work onto it and clamp up. The smaller and lighter the easier it is to work with when you have to position and tighten the clamp off a work surface. I like having a range for my collection to pick the right ones. If I were to add more, I’d probably look to get a mix of longer length Jets (40”) if they have another sale this year. If I had to pick a good well-rounded option, I’d say Bessey K Body REVOs. I love the handle and it is a good mid-weight.

-- paxorion

View Rob's profile

Rob

320 posts in 3494 days


#14 posted 01-26-2015 10:13 PM

I have Jorgensens and have no complaints. I have no experience with Bessey, Jet or Groz to compare to but I chose Jorgensens because they were a few $$ less in price at the time I was buying them.

View Crickett's profile

Crickett

137 posts in 1988 days


#15 posted 01-27-2015 12:09 AM

Thanks for all of the responses. One of the major draw-backs I read regarding Irwin was the very soft steel used in the bar, which when clamped under a lot of torqe, tends to mar the surface and you have to file this out later. They also seem to be unneccessarily heavy in weight when compared to other, and the bar is smooth rather than machined with ridges to hold the sliding head in place. I’d also like to find out from those that have used Jorgy’s and Besseys if there is any hardness difference regarding the clamping faces/pads. Max clamping pressure is also irrelevant to me because an advertised clamping pressure of 1500lbs is something that should never be needed. I don’t think you can get a better clamp than the Jets, but you’re going to pay a premium for them for sure.

View Rob's profile

Rob

704 posts in 3579 days


#16 posted 01-27-2015 12:09 AM

I don’t have any Groz clamps but based on Internet research I got the impression that they are lighter-duty clamps than the others, maybe closer to a Bessey UniKlamp vs. the more heavy-duty REVO. But that could be wrong. I think a few people here said they ordered the Groz clamps when Woodcraft had them on clearance, so somebody should have hands-on experience using them side-by-side with Bessey or another brand. To be honest I don’t think the clearance price was much better than the premium brands’ sale prices, but the sales are often unpredictable.

Getting back to the UniKlamp, that might be a good option for smaller projects. UniKlamps are pretty affordable but have mixed reviews and if I recall correctly they’re only available in smaller lengths. They also claim 550 lbs vs. the REVO’s claimed 900 lbs of pressure. It’s possible the negative UniKlamp reviewers simply had a habit of overtightening their clamps. Some complained that the UniKlamp’s bar flexed when the clamp was tightened.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6652 posts in 3702 days


#17 posted 01-27-2015 12:48 AM


I prefer the Bessys and Bessy Revos….Why you ask..? I think they are the best clamps for me….Don t know about anyone else….I just know I like them better than anything I ve had, and they do the job….I have about 60 Bessys of different lengths….One size don t fit all, so you need more…..People have their preference, and mine are these…...I go by experience, not by what someone says, or gives a review on…...

- Rick Dennington

Most of us don t have the time or money to test every major brand of parallel clamp as you must have to let experience be your guide, so we have to rely on reviews.

What did you do with the other brands that didn t work for you?

- RobS888

Gave them to my son…..

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 3198 days


#18 posted 01-27-2015 01:21 AM

I have both Jorgys and Bessey parallel jaw clamps and don’t find a significant difference in performance. My Jorgys have the wooden handles and I have never felt like they were too slick.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4156 days


#19 posted 01-27-2015 01:24 AM

My Jorgensen’s get “jaw lock” but other than that
they have bigger handles than my old Bessey k-bodies.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1871 posts in 2824 days


#20 posted 01-27-2015 01:41 AM

I haven’t used the new Bessey’s but I vastly prefer the Jorgensen over the older Bessey’s and Jet. The locking lever on the Jet interfered with my ability to operate the clamp one-handed.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

2339 posts in 2935 days


#21 posted 01-27-2015 04:06 AM

My Bessey’s old and new work for me and have always got the job done with no fuss or surprises. Who need surprises in the middle of a complex glue-up?

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1107 posts in 2553 days


#22 posted 01-27-2015 03:37 PM

* Jorgensen Cabinetmaster – I shy d away from these because I didn t like the maple handle. It felt like something that would someday slip on me. The newer clamps feature a composite cushy plastic material, but there are what appears to be protrusions that don t feel the best in hand. I m also concerned that these clamps have a smooth clamp bar (like the Irwins), unlike the Jet, Bessey, and Peachtree/Groz/classic K Body.

- paxorion

Correction on the new Jorgensen Cabinetmasters. The new handles don’t have protrusions. I must have mistaken them for something else I was playing with at Home Depot when I first saw them. The handles are quite comfortable, and I dare say, more inviting to grip than the Jets.

I’ll restate my opinion, that there isn’t a perfect parallel clamp in my mind. Here are is my breakdown of qualities:
  • Will the jaws stay parallel? – Fine Woodworking wrote an article about this topic and deflection. I think Jet and Jorgensen came out with top marks.
  • Biggest Jaw size? – The Jet and Jorgensens are up there
  • Is the clamp bar conducive for grip? – I’m paranoid about slipping, especially since I wax my bars. The Besseys the most distinct I-beam bar design with more surface area for the ridges for the jaws to to catch onto. The smooth bar on the Jorgensen makes me wonder if waxing would mess up the clamp’s function. It may be nevertheless worth trying out.
  • Which one has the best weight – Heavy or light, they serve there purpose. Jets are the heaviest parallel clamps I’ve used, and are more difficult to balance and when clamping across casework. Jorgensens are quite heavy too, Besseys are no light weight but noticeably lighter
  • Can you get a grip? – I place a lot of emphasis on the handle. I like the shape of the Jet handle but I prefer the feel of the Bessey 2K handle. So much so that half of my F-style clamp collection is Bessey Tradesmans with the 2K handle.
So having ranted enough, I’ll circle back and answer your original question with two thoughts:
  1. I would contest and say that Jets are not the undisputed best. There’s a lot to like, but break it down enough, there’s are things you can nit pick on.
  2. Everyone would have preferences. If I had to pick between the Bessey K Body REVO and Jorgensens with the new handle, I would still pick the Bessey K Body REVO because of the bar design.
  3. Nothing wrong a small set of both and using them for a while first. You may find your preferences differ.

-- paxorion

View Crickett's profile

Crickett

137 posts in 1988 days


#23 posted 01-27-2015 06:51 PM

Interestingly, I just stopped by Menards (even though I hate that store) and the had Jorgy’s with composite handles as opposed to the traditional wooden ones. They ferlt very substantial, and the prices were hard to beat. When I first got into carpentry and then ultimately woodworking, I went the Jorgensen route, and I just can’t see one good reason to stray from them now.

View WOODIE1's profile

WOODIE1

117 posts in 2787 days


#24 posted 01-27-2015 08:47 PM

I always used pipe clamps until i bought the Jet’s on BF. I will tell you I was very surprised how when the JET clams were near impossible to turn that a pipe clamp was able to put more pressure with no effort at all.

The foot bracket has been an issue and I would not store them on the clamp as 2 have already broke. In the end I use a mix of these and pipe clamps.

If they were not on sale I would just go with the pipe clamps. Not the great clamp design to make the price difference. The squeeze wood. end of story.

View Crickett's profile

Crickett

137 posts in 1988 days


#25 posted 01-27-2015 08:59 PM

I have a fair amount of pipe clamps with the Bessey attachments ironically. They will suffice for shallow clamping needs but in cabinetry and furniture the large throat depth make a world of difference. But with F-style and bar clamps you can only get so far. The Woodorking Shows are in town this weekend so I’m hoping to snatch up a lot of clamps at the show.

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

891 posts in 3573 days


#26 posted 01-27-2015 09:22 PM

Started with the Besseys years ago in the beginning when I could afford to buy only one or two at the most at a time. I went with them because they were the industry standard at the time. And IMHO, they still are. They worked well for me and I stayed loyal to them, because I had no reason to change. I bought a couple or more here and there as I could afford them. Now I have 32, plus Bessey F style clamps in different lengths and reach. I bought 6 Gross Stabil 16” parallels when Woodpeckers was liquidating their inventory after GS was bought by Bessey. Excellent clamps. I know Besseys and that is what I will stick with, now that I have all of the parallel clamps that I think I need. I am sure that Jorgenson and Jet make excellent parallels too. All of my old pipe clamp fixtures are Jorgenson, as well as 60% of my hand screws. Another quality company.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View rockindavan's profile

rockindavan

299 posts in 3144 days


#27 posted 01-28-2015 01:38 AM

I would not place jets in the “best” category. I got 24 on a Black Friday sale and 3/4 of them are very poorly made. The threads are grainy and the lever catches on the bar (not when you want them to). Overall low Chinese quality with little to none American QA. They are almost unusable. A couple work I’ll say well, but not worth the asking price, much less 1/2 retail. All the besseys I have are top notch. I will definitely go with bessey the next time around.

View Alan72's profile

Alan72

221 posts in 2541 days


#28 posted 01-28-2015 04:25 AM

I have both Bessey and Jorgenson, I ordered 8 12” jet clamps on black friday and then cancelled my order when they were on back order. I heard that the Jet clamps had issues so I ordered 12 12” jorgenson Clamps from Grizzly. Grizzly had the best price for the 12” $29.99. I have 4 Bessey and 28 of the Jorgensons, Menards has a sale 2-3 times a year with the Jorgenson clamps. I really like the Jorgenson clamps, one of the parts off the clamp was broken from Grizzly I called Jorgenson and it was covered under the life time warrenty.

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