Aluminium sash clamps

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RichD1

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It's time I bought some decent clamps having struggled on for years with the cast iron head types on a bit of 2x1.

This morning one of Rutlands emails popped up showing an offer on aluminium sash clamps. Pack of 6 x 500 for £60. Are these type any good?

I have been looking at Bessey K Clamps and even their UniKlamp version. Unfortunately Axminsters parallel HD clamps are out of stock and not likely to be back in till mid/late May. Rutlands own version are only supplied in packs of 4

Money is not an issue but I prefer to look at value for money.

Advice please?

Richard
 

Spectric

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What sort of work are you doing and want to clamp? Value for money is something you purchase, it fully performs its function and you have no need to look around for something else. Also clamp collections will grow over time, especially in woodworking. With metal I had a few G clamps and some adjustable magnetic clamps and that was all I needed. Then I got into wood and clamps became key, the old G clamps did not cut it and my first collection was Irwin HD lever clamps which performed ok , but after buying some Bessey Revo clamps at the UK Northern Woodworking show I soon found that they applied more pressure and more evenly when clamping joints etc so now have a collection of these but the Irwins are still handy. If I run short then once a joint has been fully pulled home by a Bessey clamp I use an Irwin and then remove the bessey to use on the next joint. One very handy clamp is the one handed clamp, since buying some of these I would never have realised just how handy they are.

 

RichD1

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Hi Roy, I'm making hardwood window sashes at the moment, probably 10 to 13 in all. Sizes typically 1000mm x 600mm

What I meant about value for money was that I don't mind spending the money on the most expensive tool as long as it represents value for money.

Richard
 
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Argus

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If these are the type that uses an ally U-section with one fixed jaw and the other sliding under a spring, the the first thing to come to mind is that they cannot take a lot of pressure, being Aluminium........

Anyway, that aside, Paul Sellers did a feature some years ago where he showed how to improve these clamps. First off was a bit of work on the screw and its thread - filing off the rough bits and a lick of oil. Next, though was the thing that really worked and transformed this 'cheap' (I mean inexpensive) tool into something a bit better at exerting force without bending.

It entailed cutting a wooden insert which is an exact fit all round and sliding it inside the full length of the hollow Ally bar. It is really effective.

Here's some basic info.... I think that there is a bit more detail on his site.


Good luck
 

RichD1

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It's hard to tell from Rutlands description or the photos whether its a U section or a rectangular tube.

Richard
 

Fitzroy

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The aluminium ones are cheap and cheerful, I've used them for a number of years, and have upgraded them as per the Paul Sellers method. However Screwfix sell a 22" sash clamp that is marginally more expensive and a way better clamp. However it is still not a patch on a Bessey which will acutally clamp flat and true, the heads of the alu clamps or the ones I linked do not sit reliably perpendicular.

Fitz.
 

Fitzroy

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It's hard to tell from Rutlands description or the photos whether its a U section or a rectangular tube.

Richard

U section, you can see the back of it in this photo. It's the same configuration to the other alu clamps on the market.
Clamp.JPG
 

DBT85

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Those clamps are OK. But you will probably get frustrated with them binding because of the castings and need to do what Paul sellers suggests. I've done half of mine but not put any pine inside them yet, nor have I bought anything better to replace them.

How valuable is your time in the workshop really?
 

powertools

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I have got 6 of the aluminium sash clamps and they are fine for light duty clamping. Shoving a piece of wood down the middle will not turn them into heavy duty clamps the main problem with them if you over tighten them to try and force a tight joint together the tooth on the sliding jaw will tear into the aluminium and the pin that holds the adjustable jaw in place will elongate the hole.
 

pe2dave

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I've used these for a few years now, stiffened with wood, never had any problems.
For windows (no 'real' depth) I'm sure they would do the job well.
Clamps either side if needed (bit belt and braces).
 

Gavlar

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I have a few of the Rutland clamps (with feet) and so far have been impressed with them. I thought they might be a little flimsy but in fact there's no appreciable flex or twisting as you clamp up. The ally U-section is quite thick, 2.5-3mm. Yes they're probably not as perfectly rigid as steel ones, but it depends on what you need. I've just used them to clamp up workbench top laminations and they were fine.

I tried Silverline ones a while ago as couldn't get the Rutlands and was in a hurry. They went straight back, the metal is half as thick as the Rutlands and they twist badly. Don't go there.

Also, when Rutlands say e.g. a 600mm clamp, they refer to the clamp capacity. Silverline refers to the overall length, so you get a good 100mm less than that in reality.
 

jim1950

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I got the lighter ali clamps from Rutlands sometime back, only any good for very light work, one broke after about 2 years and one on the way out now.
Record steel clamps i"ve had since the end of my apprenticeship in 1970 still good and used all the time
 

Stevekane

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Anyone had any experience of those ones where you buy the cast iron ends and fit them to a bit of tube? conduit would be flimsey but gas barrel would be okay if it fits,,,the Americans seem to use them all the time and you can buy them on ebay very cheaply,,,maybe they are rubbish? I had a pair of monster Record ones about 6ft long, very old and the section of them was bigger to match, great clamps but a bit of a workout moving them about, I now have some of the cheap chinese,,,or maybe their Indian(?) traditional pattern steel sash cramps, not terribly well made but for me they do the job well enough.
 

RichD1

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Just had a further mail from Rutlands correcting their previous mail and stating they were U section aluminium!!!

Richard
 

RichD1

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What about the cheaper Bessey Uni-Klamp versions?

I think I would have gone with the Axminster HD parallel clamps if they had stock due shortly and not the end of May.

Richard
 

thetyreman

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the uni-klamps are a big improvement over the cheap aluminium ones, I hated my aluminium clamps and threw them away after about 2-3 years as one by one they became unusable, maybe I had some particularly bad ones but I'd never buy them again, the only ones decent are made by an american company called dublique but they've become almost impossible to find in the UK, and the only european dealer in germany no longer ships them to the UK due to brexit.
 

G S Haydon

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It's time I bought some decent clamps having struggled on for years with the cast iron head types on a bit of 2x1.

This morning one of Rutlands emails popped up showing an offer on aluminium sash clamps. Pack of 6 x 500 for £60. Are these type any good?


I have been looking at Bessey K Clamps and even their UniKlamp version. Unfortunately Axminsters parallel HD clamps are out of stock and not likely to be back in till mid/late May. Rutlands own version are only supplied in packs of 4

Money is not an issue but I prefer to look at value for money.

Advice please?

Richard


These are gold, especially for panel glue ups, doors, face frames or sashes. You'll never wear them out. Check out eBay etc for secondhand and see if there are any local for pick up. They cost, but many people spend £300+ on a smoothing plane.
 
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