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  • Bessey K-body clamps

    I was wondering if I could get some opinions on the K-body clamps. I think I'm gonna' spend all my Christmas money on clamps this year! I've used the pipe clamps and their not too bad to use and adjust, but I want to know if the K-body clamps are worth the money. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Bessey K-bodies are the best you can get in my opinion. They are the sturdiest and squarest clamps I have found. I have 4 each of the different K-body clamps (12 in all) and somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 of the smaller clamps. I really appreciate them every time I use them.

    For really long clamping needs, the old standby pipe clamp is still available. The Quick Clamp is also handy for a lot of miscellaneous applications.

    Don't know if anyone has said it before, but "you can't have too many clamps" (C;

    Rodney Jenkins

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    • #3
      George---"worth it" is a relative term. I once did a rough comparrison of the cost of replacing my current clamp collection with K-bodies----I could buy a new jointer or be well on the way to paying for a Unisaw, for the price.

      Yes, the K's do align parallel more easily than pipe clamps, but IMO, they are sure just as heavy.

      I just look at clamps as a shop commodity--like glue and screws or dustpan and brush---I might pick up a few on a sale, but my shop will never look like Norm's
      Dave

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      • #4
        I agree with Dave, don't have any, don't want any.

        I get along fine with HF clamps, and don't spend a fortune on them.

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        • #5
          George,

          I agree with Rodney that they are worth it,but it would depend on the type of projects you make. I can get them set up much quicker than I can pipe clamps. If you are trying to glue up a project with a lot of parts or a lot of biscuits, they help speed up the assembly time. This may not be a factor, depending on what your are making and the type of glue you are using.

          One of my last projects was a combination double bookcase and entertainment center. It was 6 1/2' tall, 4 1/2' wide and 17" deep. It held a small TV, a lot of stereo equipment and a lot of books. I used every k-body I had to glue the face frames to the carcuss and even borrowed a few from my neighbor who is also a woodworker. I was using regular yellow glue and must have had at least 20 biscuits to match up. I never would have got it together before the glue set up using pipe clamps (or without my neighbors help).

          I use pipe clamps, quick clamps and about every other type of clamp, but I reach for the k-bodies the most when I'm gluing up a project.

          Bob R

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          • #6
            I just got a chance touse my new K-clamps yesterday. (I was making some furniture for my mom's christmas present) Anyway, the set up was fast and easy, and clamping force was great with minimal handle turning. While I won't go so far as to say that I will have a few of all the sizes, it would be worth it to own at least a few of one or two sizes.

            BTW. The rail and Stile (SP?) block that Bessey sells for them work great. They're just blocks of plastic, but they hold the clamp upright and act almost like a third hand.

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            • #7
              If you want a buy on clamps, check out www.toolking.com....I bought a "bunch", couldn't believe the price after looking at H.D. etc, the girl at the counter also said, the have a lifetime guarantee!
              \"Aarrgh, sliver me timbers\"<br /><a href=\"http://www.picturetrail.com/daviddunlap\" target=\"_blank\">www.picturetrail.com/daviddunlap</a>

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              • #8
                I seem to have a whole assortment of clamps. Pipe clamps, K bodies, and quick grips. The all have their place in my workshop.

                I had the good luck to buy the k bodies during the Sears below cost clearance earlier this year. At the NMM in Texas this year "Clampman" had donated some Cabinet Master clamps for the door prizes. I was very impressed with these. They were not as bulky as the K-bodies but as well made. The could be reversed and used as spreaders too! They are worth taking a look at. Maybe Lowes has them since HD doesn't.

                Dan

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                • #9
                  They (Jorgensen Cabinet Masters) were not as bulky as the K-bodies but as well made.

                  Dan, it's hard to tell without setting them next to each other. Cabinet Masters are actually significantly larger than K-bodies, right where it counts.

                  If you lay a K-body down flat and measure from the side of the jaw to the clamping bar, you'll get just over a half inch (.56" on the one I have sitting here). Do that with a Cabinet Master and you get just a hair over 3/4" (.76 here). Now, imagine you're clamping a typical 3/4" panel. See a connection?

                  The jaw face is also longer, six inches instead of five. Handle is a little bigger around for a better grip.

                  Cabinet Masters take a little getting used to when you are used to Ks. The motion I use to move the jaw on my Ks is kind of a jiggling. That doesn't get you anywhere with a CM, you need to pull the handle away from the clamping bar. Then, the jaw slides very smoothly, without the racheting noise a K makes. Similarly, to engage the CM, you have to push the handle toward the clamping bar. Otherwise the jaw will just keep sliding.

                  One thing you cannot do with a Cabinet Master is allow the jaw to go crashing into the fixed jaw. Doing this can jam the clamp closed. Jorgensen has a technique for releasing it when this happens, but it could be frustrating anyway.

                  I have a few K-bodies (a dozen or so, I guess), and two Cabinet Masters. I think I'll be tending more toward the Cabinet Masters in the future, they are nice clamps.

                  Dave

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                  • #10
                    I've got about a dozen K bodys in various sizes. They are my first choice in any situation where I have the right size. Haven't used the Cabinet Masters so I can't compare although I trust Dave Arbuckle's assessment completely.

                    There is a huge difference between K-bodys and pipe clamps as far as alignment, square and ease of use. They are wicked expensive but, for me, very worth it. By the time I get to a glue up I need all the help I can get and the K bodys are almost as good as an extra pair of hands. I guess it depends on whether you see clamps as a tool or shop supplies. I need every edge I can grt so for me they are a tool!
                    Mike<br /><br />We\'re lost, but we\'re makin good time!

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                    • #11
                      I've been slowly acquiring K-Body clamps from HD, one a month, and I think they're great. They are easier to handle when gluing up stuff.

                      I used them, plus Dave Arbuckle's great advice on using curved clamping cauls, and I've successfully glued up a 5 foot top, bottom and shelf of white oak with very little shifts in the glue lines.

                      Michael

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                      • #12
                        Dave A. Thanks for the review. While I have no intension of completely replacing my clamp collection with K-bodies or CMs, (I'd have to forget that room addition ) it's good to know the advantages of the CMs---besides, they're a hair cheaper than the K's at some stores. Got some Christmas money and since I don't see any long packages under the tree, I may try a few---for use at those "I wish I had 10 hands glue-ups"
                        Dave

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                        • #13
                          I like the K bodies, they are real easy to set up and the even clamping pressure accross the entire face, and the wider face than a pipe clamp, helps. I use them as my first clamps on a glue up and then back fill with the Bessey bar clamps (I don't know what they are called, but they are cheaper and more like other bar clamps but with a wider bar), quick grips and even a pipe clamp. My preference is to glue up sub assemblies and then pull them together, so the only time I really max out my clamps is when I am making several items (three jewelry boxes for Christmas or four chairs for the deck).

                          I think each clamp in my collection has its merits - sometimes the K-body clamps are too big, I would build a variety based on the type of projects you build.

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                          • #14
                            Bessey bar clamps (I don't know what they are called, but they are cheaper and more like other bar clamps but with a wider bar)

                            They are called Tradesman, or F body.

                            Dave

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                            • #15
                              Haven't used a bar clamp since high school (nearing 25 years)
                              My rack has 2k in bessy K bodies, and keeps growing as needed. Along with the old hand screw clamps and every growing veriety of the bessy mighty mini clamps is all I use. These old arthritic hands sure appreciate the Bessy's!
                              John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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