Yost Vises - K5012 12" Parallel Clamp (Rating: 5)

This is one of those increasingly rare situations where a company simply blows you away with great customer service. I can't say enough about how pleased I am with how Yost has treated me.

I bought four 12" parallel clamps during a recent Amazon "deal of the day" promotion. With the discount, I felt like it was worth a shot on an unknown brand of clamps. I paid about ~$100 with tax for the four clamps. I've always wanted to have some 12" parallel clamps for gluing up small parts and assemblies, but haven't had the chance to pick any up until now. Working with a 24" clamp on the bench is just a pain when you're only using 8" of clamping capacity and the rest of the thing is poking you in the stomach as you work around it.

The clamps arrived two days later in a larger box with a set of clamp racks I recently reviewed. I noticed right away that three of the four clamps were missing the little plastic stop that snaps on the end of the bar. It's substantially similar to how the Bessey clamps work. This was undoubtedly Amazon's screwup. They probably got knocked off in the picking/packing process at the warehouse.

I knew Amazon would take care of me, but that they'd almost certainly want me to box the clamps back up and send them back, then ship out replacements. I felt like that was a horrible waste, since I was missing about half an ounce of plastic, all told. I decided to call Yost and see if they'd send me the missing parts.

I called on a Saturday morning, not really expecting to get anyone since Yost is a pretty small company. Much to my surprise, Pat Nelis (the owner of the company, I think) picked up the phone on the third ring. He said he was in the office doing paperwork, but that they were really closed. He did take down my contact information and promised to have someone call or email on Monday. He agreed that it was better to see if we could get the missing parts shipped out to me rather than going through Amazon.

I half expected not to hear from anyone on Monday, but sure enough, Ryan emailed me and by Thursday I had the missing stops in hand.

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Definitely a customer service win.

As for the product itself, the clamps are definitely lighter duty than my Bessey or Jet clamps, but I certainly never torque those clamps down to their maximum pressure levels. Aside from things like bent laminations or weird joinery, there is absolutely no reason to put ~1000lbs of clamping force on a joint. The "lighter duty" Yost clamps are perfect for my use, and I'm very happy with them so far. They're sturdy enough but more manageable from a weight standpoint.

As far as I can tell, the Yost clamps are made in Taiwan by the same supplier who sells clamps to Woodtek. Those are different colors but look like the exact same clamps.

All in all, Yost is definitely my destination of choice next time I'm shopping for a vise. Fantastic company.