K-Body 50-in. Parallel-Jaw Clamp - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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K-Body 50-in. Parallel-Jaw Clamp

Bessey - K-Body 50-in. Parallel-Jaw Clamp

The parallel-jaw clamp is an all-around shop favorite.

$40 (As of 10/1/2004)

(7 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor Choice-Best Overall

Editor's Review: Bar Clamps, Head to Head

by Tim Albers

review date: October 1, 2004

The bar clamp, which comes in pipe, parallel jaw, aluminum bar, and steel bar versions, is used in almost every facet of cabinetmaking, and the right clamp can make the difference between success and failure. So I tested the 48-in. size of a representative sample of clamps to measure the deflection in both the bar and the jaws when applying various levels of force. I also used a set of four of each type of clamp to assemble a simple MDF carcase (joined with biscuits) and a large poplar panel, looking at ease of use and the resulting flatness and squareness of the finished product. It was hard to pick a favorite from among the group of parallel-jaw clamps (Gross Stabil PC2, Jorgensen Cabinet Master No. 8048, and Bessey K Body). All of the clamps were capable of assembling a cabinet carcase or flat panel with little, if any, cupping. On the testing jig, the Bessey and Gross Stabil clamps showed less bar flex and jaw deflection than the Jorgensen clamp, but in all cases this was minimal. I gave the top grade to the Bessey clamps over the Gross Stabil on the basis of price.

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Editor Test Results:

Bar Flex/Jaw Deflection Minimal
Clamping Pressure N/A
Jaw Squareness Excellent

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Bessey
Manufacturer's Web Site http://www.besseytools.com/
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-828-1004
Screw Travel 1-1/8 in.
Size N/A
Reach N/A

For my money there just are not any other clamps...Have been using these clamps for about four yearsand have found one thing I could do to the design tomake them better...

I have a number of these clamps and continue to collect them as my wallet allows. The form of these clamps supports their function in that, unlike most pipe clamps or less expensive bar clamps, they remain steady and upright when layed down on the floor or workbench. In addition, the jaws remain parallel even under significant pressure with practically no deflection.

I consider these clamps to be excellent in every respect. I purchased them initially for making a kitchen full of raised panel doors, but they have since taken the place of all other long clamps in my shop. There appears to be no deflection during glue up even on wide panels. The clamps slide easily into position, and the handles are of sufficient size to make tightening effortless. The square construction of the clamp heads offers the added advantage of allowing the clamps to be stored upright on the floor, rather than needing to be hung from as hook. Used in conjunction with Bessey's plastic clamp positioning blocks, large glue -ups go as smoothly as one could hope for. When using my longer Bessey clamps for small glue ups, I use an extra positioning block on the tail end of each clamp to avoid having the clamp tilt.


These are the clamps by which others are judged.Positives: Keeps everything square, no bowing as when using pipe clamps! Will sit flat while on your bench. Does not tip like thinner bar clamps and pie clamps.These clamps are solid and heavy! If you have a light duty clamping situation, buy the aluminum channel clamps. If you are gluing up heavy carcasses and case work, these are the clamps to have!These are tough clamps! I have heard the plastic jaws will break if you beat on them hard enough with a big enough sledgehammer. I have yet to break one and I have owned several of mine for 6 years. They have been dropped from a nine foot attic access door (do not carry more than 3 of the 50 inch ones at one time) and not damaged in any way!Negatives:Expensive! I watch for sales and bought one a month for quite a while until I had a decent set. But, as they say, you get what you pay for and these really are the best!Addictive; you buy the 24 inch and the 31 inch, then you want the 12 inch and the 40 inch and the 50 inch.I have tried Jorgenson and the Gross Stabil, Bessey's are the easiest to use.

These work great. I ended up buying 16 of them in various lengths.I specially like how the head moves easily into position and locks without sliding along the bar.

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