Your most useful clamps

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25 Aug 2021
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It is time for me to invest in some new clamps. I have a few Wolfcraft one-handed ones and really like them but do find they slip a little when tightened and are also not overly strong. I could replace them with something similar from the likes of Bessey which I think would work better and exert more pressure. I have also been thinking of just a number of decent F-clamps, which would be cheaper. I have some parallel clamps already so am not looking for those. These will be for general holding of pieces during gluing and installation. I can pick sizes based on what I think I will need based on things I know I want to build, but would appreciate hearing what you all find useful through experience and any brands and clamp type recommendations you have please

For smallish projects or just general clamping, my go to are these Bessey clamps.
They are strong, well made and can also be used as a spreader as well as a clamp.
I have 10 of them and they are my most widely used clamp.

To be fair, pretty much any clamp by Bessey will do a good job for you, as they have a good, justifiable reputation.
Single handed quick clamps for me, the single hand use is important while you hold pieces together with the other hand.
But buy a good brand, bessey, piher, etc; buy a couple of longer ones upto maybe 600mm; buy a couple of extra strong clamping force ones, buy enough lighter ones to make a strong distributed clamping force. Promotional bulk packs are the way to get best prices.
fully agree with @Distinterior on the one handed Bessey clamps, I think he was the one who recommended them to me in the first place and they are just so handy. The bessey clamps are as said all very good and apply good pressure when needed. Another handy clamp can be the small spring clamps that look like this

They don't need to be anything special but are good for holding small parts whilst the glue dries or you want to drill a hole through them.
For smallish projects or just general clamping, my go to are these Bessey clamps.
They are strong, well made and can also be used as a spreader as well as a clamp.
I have 10 of them and they are my most widely used clamp.

To be fair, pretty much any clamp by Bessey will do a good job for you, as they have a good, justifiable reputation.
I only have 4 of those but fair to say they are my most used. Sometimes I wish I has more. Actually with just 4 you can set most jobs us as they clamp square. Then if you need more pressure intersperse with normal F clamps.
I have a few Extol clamps where both the ends are free to move. I find these far more useful than the F clamps with one end fixed. The head is reasonably large and the flange/infill at the bottom of the pad is a little bit flexible, so useful for clamping over a slightly proud tail for example. I would also invest in a couple of hand screw clamps (or build them yourself), these are useful for many things. Pipe clamp hardware is also useful, and more versatile than fixed length clamps.
Park sidey f clamps are good, look here to see the archives on when they might be in. website is often hard to find, so you might need input "archive"
I picked up one of those a few weeks ago to see how good it actually was.The short answer is excellent and they represent tremendous value.Very,very similar to the same pattern Bessey.I perhaps don't need more but I have a feeling I will find myself owning a few of them.
I would say from these replies there are no "best" clamps/cramps. So much depends of the kind of work you do (or might do). Most of my career was with G-Cramps (C-cramp across the pond!) and sash cramps (again N.America favoured pipe clamps). As F-cramps became more common these were added, ingenuity is the most useful cramp aid, rather than the cramp itself. Robert Waring wrote various books on the subject in the past.
Another vote here for the Parkside/Aldi clamps. They seem significantly better than the absolute bargain basement cheap Chinese clamps.
It's one of those tools it's difficult to have too many of. It's also useful to have a wide range of sizes if you tackle a range of projects. I've opted for very many cheaper clamps rather than a few premium ones.
Lidl clamps are great value. I abused several to death from rust using them outdoors to hold down a tarp while replacing a flat roof over about 3 months. I wouldn't do that on expensive clamps.
But if you also try the better brands, there's a big difference. Get some of both and you'll have good ones to use day to day and some affordable ones on the rack for those jobs that just need lots of clamps.
I had a lidl quick clamp, broke within a month under fairly light use, the plastic casing had given way around the pan head screw. No receipt so I fixed it, replaced the screw with an additional washer. Fine for a month, gave way again, I've now removed the screw from the problem spot, drilled completely through and replaced with a bolt, two washers and a nut, tightened up, seemed fine but the clamp would hold pressure, eased off the bolt a touch and it now seem to be working fine (for how long) I've never had any issues with the various irwin qucik clamps I have, I have some f clamps from both lidl and aldi, they do seem reliable and great value, incidentally they are identical to the last detail apart from the colour of the handles
I have a mixture, from Jorgenson (Pony) F clamps to Bessey K body clamps, which have wooden handles, I much prefer the rubber grip of the Jorgenson, which newer Besseys have. The ones I was most pleased about though were Bessey pipe lamps, which I have from 11' down, they're excellent.
Thank you so much for all your thoughts, it’s great to learn from the experience of others here

I like the look of the Bessey DuoKlamp and think I will get four of those and then add some longer F-clamps as they will be useful when required. I do have some spring clamps, as above, and find them very handy so agree a range of clamps is probably best and use the most suited to the task each time

I use different clamps for different jobs, spring clamps, g-clamps, f-clamps and bessey uniklamps, and I still need more! because I'm getting into making guitars I now need some luthier cam clamps because I use hot hide glue and there simply isn't time with any other type of clamps, so will have to make them myself, 8 of them should be enough then I'll make more as I need them, they're actually really useful for other jobs as well, often I don't need much pressure at all, the more the merrier.

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