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Clamps - Best bang for buck?

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Heath Robinson

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Hi all,
I'm looking at buying a pile of clamps, primarily F and G types. Where should I be looking, for the best bang for buck? I've got a few cheapo F clamps where the casting is slightly skewed, and I hate that - I'm not looking for cheap, just the cheapest option for a decent quality clamp. I'm also interested to see what clamps you've had for a while, and which ones have stood the test of time!
P.S I know that Bessy make great clamps, but at seemingly more than 2x the price for F clamps over Irwin, I'd be expecting them to not just clamp, but cut the dovetails, and probably bring me breakfast too...
 

Cabinetman

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I have a few F cramps but my hand usually grabs a G cramp, probably because that’s what I grew up with, but they do seem easier to use in a difficult quick situation.
Sash cramps, I have a quite old pair of 48” Drapers which surprisingly as they are very lightweight do the business, but all the rest of mine are record the smaller ones being straight section and the longer ones T bars. It’s noticeable that the accountants got hold of the specifications, The chain lost a couple of links which just makes life more difficult and the pegs are no longer tapered so they drop out just when you don’t want them to but basically they’re pretty good. This isn’t really a fair review as these are the only ones I’ve ever really used . Ian
Whatever you buy a bit of candle rubbed up and down the sash cramp stops the glue marking it.
Sorry to say not one of my cramps has ever brought me breakfast!
 

Trevanion

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I think it all really depends on what exactly you want to clamp, I always recommend Record T-Bar sash clamps as best value for money because you cannot break them but they won't suit everyone.

I think for G clamps you can't really beat the slim section Record 119s, pretty good value for money and again, nigh-on indestructible.

The only real experience with F-clamps I've got are with the Sandvik ones which aren't made anymore but are excellent, all the other ones I've tried has been rubbish.
 

Blackswanwood

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That’s a pretty open question.

For “basic clamping” speed clamps are cheap and effective.

Axminster have some decent quality bar clamps on offer at the moment.

Record G clamps are really good. I like the old ones with the wing nut.

What type of project are you looking to use them for?
 

thetyreman

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I recently bought some silverline g clamps and was pleasantly surprised at how good they are, it was around £30 for 8 of them, that's for 3 inch size, they are just as good as vintage records in my opinion but the threaded shafts are made from copper, I'll have to see how they last but very positive first impressions, no slop in the threads.
 

Sideways

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Not uncommon on cheaper clamps to have some copper plate or similar coppery finish applied to a steel screw.
 

crogthomas

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Copper is normally applied before chrome plating steel as extra corrosion resistance and to fill-in pits in the base metal. As the chrome wears off the copper is revealed. All fairly normal.

I also have a selection of Silverline clamps and have been impressed by the quality. Much better than some of the really cheap rough cast ones available.
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
My G clamps came from Cromwell Tools.com.......exc quality esp the deep ones....brilliant threads and perf alignment even when useing a short pipe in the handle.....yes, yes vandalisim I know......had em years and they have worked hard with wood and metal......
Found these home made ones at a French car boot....they work a treat.....and at a fiver each how could u leave em....
IMG_0838.jpeg

also
Bought a display load of the Stanley reversable ones......the handle grip type.....the shop went under.....
have a few older G clamp ones but cant remember the make......
plus 4 x3m door cramps + 2 x4footers they came from Belgium, no idea on make.....
I'm always on the look out for more.....u can never have enough can U.....
 

shed9

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I have a good mix of clamps from the Irwin XP's, Record G & F's and a stash of Bessey F & K body clamps. Because of the nature of my work I probably have around 400+ clamps in the workshop.

Knowing what I know now and if I had to start again I would invest in Bessey F's and Record G's in response to the original query of which F & G's to get. I know you state the Bessey's are too much on the expensive side but their Kliklamps are just superb. I have nearly always regretted buying lesser F clamp packages but never the Bessey's. They do flash deals on the Besseytool website and whilst usually they offer limited price reductions, now and then they have some really good deals. They have a current deal of 15 various sizes of Kliklamps for £300. I appreciate this is a lot of change to throw down on clamps but that is £15 a clamp essentially. Depends on needs and budget I suppose.

For reference the Bessey K bodies are superb bits of kit but they can be awkward to work with some times.
 

shed9

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I had to google K clamp, what are they used for?
Same as any clamp really, they fit where you can place them and when they make sense. The K bodies have a flat base so they help in lifting the working piece off the bench. They also have a large surface on either side of the clamping area which helps in certain circumstances. They have their merits but as above, can be awkward especially one handed and are quite heavy - however that's probably a function of the quality as well. They tend to have huge clamping pressure and as with most clamps in that line they make very good spreader bars as well. Axi and Rutlands do clones.
 
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beech1948

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I have only just decided to respond as I feel I will get a negative response but here goes.

I was faced with making a veneered 26 ft long x 5ft wide table recently. About 3 months before starting I was thinking about clamps and a quick count showed that I might be 30 clamps short of what was needed. Now due to the nature of the pandemic and a 30% slow down in business cash was shorter than normal.

So 30 Bessey clamps were somewhere north of £1800 and would cut into the profit margins.

I ended up making a wooden clamp a la John Heinz as a test piece. Try out seemed to prove the point that the needed pressure could be reached. I went ahead and made 40 more in three sizes....an exercise in batch production....and proceeded with my job to client aclaim..thank god.

My point here is an old lesson I have to keep relearning. That is that I can often make tools myself that work well and can equal a manufactured tool. The manufactured tool is usually OK but often is just average in performance.
 

Trevanion

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Copper plated steel probably. I think it's a common coating for G-clamp screws as G-clamps are often used for welding and weld splatter won't stick to the copper.
Ahah! That makes a lot of sense actually.
 

Heath Robinson

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Hi guys, thanks for the replies. I'm worked off my feet this week, and this mountain of info deserves a much more comprehensive (and probably cohesive) reply than I'm capable of now, but I'll get to it soon
 

recipio

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Stay away from 'Dakota' clamps sold by Rutlands. I learnt the hard way that they are not fit for purpose -- the mechanism keeps sliding rather than grip the bar. Its not just me -- there are loads of complaints online. Just sayin' :rolleyes:
 
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