Clamp advice

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Forum topic by TylerJ posted 08-30-2017 02:53 PM 960 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 887 days

08-30-2017 02:53 PM

Hey guys I was wondering if anyone had any insight on a fairly decent set of bar clamps. I was looking for a general set of f-body clamps, I know the application is dependent on the style of clamp needed but for the most part I was just looking for a good deal on a set (F-body, K-body, etc..) i was looking at this set on grizzlys website

I just didnt know if anyone out there may have some advice or suggestions as to a good set. Thanks

8 replies so far

View jonah's profile


2092 posts in 3900 days

#1 posted 08-30-2017 03:28 PM

I don’t bother with F-style clamps bigger than ~12”. I have loads of 6” and 12” ones, but that’s as big as I go with them. The bars are too flexible and they’re just not useful at longer lengths. I used to have a few 24 and 36” ones, but I gave them away after being frustrated one too many times with the bar flexing.

The Harbor Freight F-style clamps are perfectly adequate, and the price is right. On sale, they should run you $2-4 each. If you need longer lengths, I’d look into pipe clamps or aluminum bar clamps.

That Grizzly assortment looks like it’s not a very good deal.

View TylerJ's profile


6 posts in 887 days

#2 posted 08-30-2017 03:33 PM

Ok great, thanks Jonah, i will check out Harbor Frieght for smaller f clamps, i found these at my local woodcraft, and they see to be a pretty good deal for clamps of longer length, except theyre kind of lacking in throat depth, have you ever used these?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4250 days

#3 posted 08-30-2017 04:07 PM

Harbor Freight also sells an aluminum bar
clamp. I’ve never had any but the low weight
would be convenient sometimes.

You can get by with just about any style of
bar clamp but if you need to get work done
quickly styles like the parallel jaw ones
will save time in certain applications.

View Slider20's profile


119 posts in 1123 days

#4 posted 08-30-2017 04:36 PM

Home Depot often has a sale on the Bessey 6 inch.

I think they were $25 for 6 last time. I like them, I got two pack and use them allot. I use other styles of clamps for longer ones. My favorite general use clamps are Parallel clamps, I really like the Jet brand, but they are expensive. Or pipe clamps when I need very long clamps.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6032 posts in 3415 days

#5 posted 08-30-2017 04:45 PM

1+ with Jonah, I don’t much like F clamps. Their small round clamping surface slides around and doesn’t distribute force very well.

Focus on pipe clamps for panel glueups (like Bessey H clamps), and parallel clamps like Bessey Revo or Revo Jr.
The Revo Jr.’s are really nice and I reach for them all the time for medium duty clamping. The big Revos are larger and heavier but supply more clamping force. For panel glueups, I still use pipe clamps (despite having access to dozens of parallel clamps). There are lots of brands to choose from, but I’ve never found a good clamp that was also cheap.
Just pay the money and cry once.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bigJohninvegas's profile


722 posts in 2064 days

#6 posted 08-30-2017 05:44 PM

I agree with not much use for f style clamps. I have about 20 of them at around 20” plus that I have picked up over the years at yard sales. I find that the only ones I ever use are the 6” harbor freight ones.
The rest of my clamps are all pony 3/4, and1/2” pipe clamps.
Avoid the bessey brand pipe clamps. A friend bought about 30 of them no more than a year ago. Several are bent where they thread onto the pipe. No good at all. I do believe bessey is going to warranty them, but I will never buy them.
The woodcraft clamp seems to be to much money.
I have not ever used the aluminium clamp from HF.
If you buy pony pipe clamps. Get the pipe from the big box store in 10’ lengths. They will cut it down and thread it for you at a reasonable price.
When I have done mine I had 2-36”, and 1-48” pipe from every 3/4”x 10’ pipe. And 5-24” out of every 1/2”x 10’ pipe.

-- John

View brtech's profile


1066 posts in 3524 days

#7 posted 08-30-2017 06:12 PM

I use my 6 and 12” HF F clamps all the time. Great value. The bar will bend, so I don’t use them when I really need a lot of clamping force. The HF aluminum bar clamps are also good for many applications. You can get quite a lot of clamping pressure. They can be improved quite a bit by putting in a piece of wood in the extrusion. Look online for Paul Seller’s video on how he does that. Also a great value.

But when I’m doing panels or drawers or anything sizeable, I use my parallel clamps. I have a mix of Jet and Bessey’s. Pipe clamps are very useful, and very inexpensive, but the jaw size limits what you can do with them. If all you need is to clamp up some panels, great, but I find that the aluminum clamps are more useful and easier to manage, and the parallel clamps beat out everything else. YMMV of course.

But if you want F clamps, get some 6 and 12” HF blue handled ones. I wouldn’t get anything larger than 12”.

View TylerJ's profile


6 posts in 887 days

#8 posted 08-30-2017 06:49 PM

ok thanks guys, all super helpful, so pick up some 6 and 12” at harbor freight for small applications, and go will parallel jaw and pipe clamps for larger. I can do that

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