JET - Parallel Clamp (Rating: 5)

OK, so my title might be a bit misleading. As a hobbyist, I don't think I would be able to justify spending that healthy chunk of change on clamps if I paid the full retail price. Like many others, when the JET parallel clamps went on sale for 50% off during Black Friday 2013, I pulled the trigger to buy some, and I picked up the framing set (2×24" and 2×40" with the clamp blocks and bench-dog pins). Since I started using the JET parallel clamps, I've definitely noticed my woodworking improve, as the clamps have given me much better control during my glue-ups. A few points to share about the experience:

The Good:
  1. I love using these clamps so much, I find myself using them even when another clamp would suffice, just because I prefer using these clamps.
  2. I'm able to pull off my glue ups far more easily. Once the bar was waxed, the clamp slides very smoothly, and the handle turns with very little effort.
  3. Edge glue-ups is one thing that I have struggled with (getting them as flat as possible). The parallel clamps just feels easier to work with than my many pipe clamps (picture 3 is a panel glue-up for a step stool project). There's a combination of reasons, between the smaller contact point to avoid staining, to the larger profile making it easier to position, and even the scale on the bar.
  4. I continue to be amazed at how well the clamp blocks balance the clamps. When I slide the clamps into the upper slots, I can easily reach under with my F-style clamps to tighten up cauls (when needed). In addition, the bench-dog pins are properly sized for the clamp blocks, if extra support is needed to keep the clamp from tipping out of the clamp blocks (longer pin for the upper slot).
  5. Customer service was very pleasant and accommodating to work with. The 40" clamps I received had a problem with the slide-glide trigger than kept sticking (see point #1 in "The Bad"). A few emails later, I received a pair of replacement clamps and was allowed to keep the old ones!

The Bad:
  1. The slide-glide trigger takes a little bit of getting used to and is another possible failure point. Case in point, in the set I received, on both 40" clamps, the trigger didn't operate well. Whenever I pulled the trigger, the lock would stay engaged preventing me from moving the clamp head. JET customer service took great care of me (see point #5"The Good") and I ended up with 6 clamps (4 in good working order, 2 in not ideal working order).
  2. Despite the Sumo-grip being easy to work with, I wouldn't call them a class leader for comfort. The Bessey 2K handle still takes the crown IMO.
  3. The clamps are heavier than some other parallel clamps I've used (e.g. the original Bessey K Body). The extra mass isn't an issue when the clamps are resting on a stable surface but they aren't the best answer when clamping something off a stable surface. My choice (currently) for this application, is the Peachtree parallel clamps
  4. Like I mentioned before, at full price, a hobbyist like me probably wouldn't justify the cost.

In summary, I can't wait for the next time they have an awesome sale like this so I can stock up on more.