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Thread: Jet or Irwin parallel clamp better than Bessey?

  1. Jet or Irwin parallel clamp better than Bessey?

    Hello all. I'm about to buy a bunch of new parallel clamps for my new shop and in doing research it seems that Bessey is not longer king of the parallel jaw clamp. Now Jet or Irwin seem to be the better clamp. I saw Irwin and Bessey together at Rockler and Irwin seems sturdier. The bar is stronger. The pad is larger. I've heard very good things about the Jet, too.

    Anyone have experience with Jet or Irwin? Any thoughts?

    Thx.
    Michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Wood Magazine tested parallel clamps in the September 2007 issue. Jet won Top Tool and Woodcraft won Top Value. Irwin was not available at the time, and was not included in the test. I'd trust the Jet brand name over Irwin any day - but that's just me and my humble opinion.

    I have a bunch of Bessey clamps, and like them. I wonder if the new brands are as heavy as the Bessey clamps - they sure are heavy, which is not necessarily an advantage.
    Dave Falkenstein aka Daviddubya
    Cave Creek, AZ

  3. #3
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    I have a lot of Bessey's, tried a couple jets - I will be buying jets by preference, although no complaints with the Bessey's, but jets are slightly cheaper and have both the scale and a better handle and the pins that fit in bench dog holes and the quick release. In actual clamping they are indistinguishable from Bessey (or Jorgensen for that matter)
    Mike
    From the workshop under the staircase, Clinton Township, MI
    Semper Audere!

  4. #4
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    I have several of the JETs and I love em'.
    What you listen to is your business....what you hear is ours.

  5. #5
    I love the JET's. Easy to use and extremely functional. The scale on the bar may not seem like a big deal but it comes in handy.

  6. #6
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    I have both the Jessy and Jet, my Jessy's are the lift the handle to slide style and I found sometimes when in a akward posistion I have trouble getting them to lock, not so with the Jet with their lift the lever method.


    The jets seem to be of a better/heavier quality also..seems like it anyway.

    Al
    Remember our vets, they need our help, just like they helped us.

  7. #7
    another vote for the Jets

  8. #8
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    i have a couple of besseys and after several of them opened up and slammed into my thumbs i was wishing that i had the jet version!

  9. #9
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    Here is a thread you may want to take a look at.

    I have long 2 Besseys and 2 long Jessys I only use the Besseys when I have to and the Jessys are really well made much better then the Besseys IMHO.
    I can't comment on the Jets, sorry.

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=58788

  10. #10
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    What the heck is a Jessy?

    I have never used the Jet or Jorgeys so I can’t compare them.

    My Bessy’s have never let me down.
    “ Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. ” — Abraham Lincoln

    Please help support the Creek.


  11. #11
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    I have Jet, Bessey, and Gross Stabil clamps hanging on the wall. The first one I reach for is the Jet. All clamp very well but I really like the handle on the Jet best. I haven't used the Irwin.
    Steve

  12. #12
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    I have 4 jets only but love them.There so pricey, I guess any of those are.

  13. #13
    Assuming you are buying parallel clamps.....

    The Jets have the ruler feature (some find it useful), nice grip and work well with 3/4" dog holes in your workbench (unique to the Jets), and ~ 1" longer jaw, sometimes useful. Price is high, unless you catch'em on big sale, less frequent than the K Bodies.... Overall, the Jets are good, but not great at clamping force. It feels like they are getting tight, but they are not quite as "tighten friendly" as the Besseys and Stanleys.


    Bessey's.... The new handled Bessey K bodies will be a real treat, it overcomes the biggest weakness the K Body had. I have tested many of these clamps with a pressure gage, clearly the Bessey and the Stanley Baileys are the best for ease of attaining 1000 lbs of pressure. I would not buy the wood handle K bodies, since the new angled rubber handled K bodies should be shipping real soon. K bodies have one other advantage, they can be joined together with a K Body Extender ($13), to increase the length of the clamp. Unless you only use one size clamp, this greatly increases the range of clamping options you have... joining two 48" clamps will get ya an 8ft clamp! If you can utilize this jointing feature of the K bodies, they are the best choice IMO.

    Stanley Baily Parallel clamps.... Superb.... Yep, if the Stanleys had Extenders like the K Bodies, they would dominate my workshop. Perfect grip, rock solid, and produces 1200 lbs of force with ease. Since they don't join, I use them in the 12 - 18" range only. Amazon is running special on them, about $26 each, buy 4, pay for 3, a great deal.... The Stanley doesn't have the dog feet feature of the Jets.

    Jorgies.... solid clamp, but IMO, lacks some of the desirable features of the others above.

    In the end, people usually buy whats on sale. All the ones you are looking at are solid performers, you probably won't be unhappy with any of them.... unless certain features appeal to you..... hope these tips help....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Falkenstein View Post
    Wood Magazine tested parallel clamps in the September 2007 issue. Jet won Top Tool and Woodcraft won Top Value. Irwin was not available at the time, and was not included in the test. I'd trust the Jet brand name over Irwin any day - but that's just me and my humble opinion.

    I have a bunch of Bessey clamps, and like them. I wonder if the new brands are as heavy as the Bessey clamps - they sure are heavy, which is not necessarily an advantage.
    The new brands are larger and heavier - their jaws are a little deeper.

    I might be clinging to old habits (and none of my habits are that old), but I like the Bessey clamps better than the Jets simply because they're the right size (i.e., when clamping medium sized items, the smaller size of the bessey clamps is more pleasant to deal with) and they operate a little more smoothly once you get used to operating them (i.e., which way to yank the handle before you start screwing so you don't just run out of thread without the clamps tightening).

    It's nice to have some of everything. So far, I probably have 15 bessey K body clamps and 15 jet clamps. I don't like the fact that the jet clamps are nearly as expensive as the bessey clamps and the jets are made in china. Again, that might just be me, but they should be cheaper than they are based on where they're made and what they're made of.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Blick View Post
    Bessey's.... K bodies have one other advantage, they can be joined together with a K Body Extender ($13), to increase the length of the clamp. Unless you only use one size clamp, this greatly increases the range of clamping options you have... joining two 48" clamps will get ya an 8ft clamp! If you can utilize this jointing feature of the K bodies, they are the best choice IMO.
    The Jet parallel clamp works with the Bessey K-Body Extender. Here are links to two threads I started. I only have Jet parallel clamps, but have used most of the other brands. I think that the Jet is by far the best clamp. Some of the other clamps may have more clamping pressure, but the Jets have more than enough clamping power for any glue up. If you cant bring your joints together with the Jets, you did something wrong.

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=67765
    http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthr...v=#Post3320241

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