Bessey pipe clamps

joec

joe
User
I must be dumb as a rock. I have these and rarely use them. I tried again today and realized why I never use them. The side with the screw drive is square to the pipe. The side that slides on the pipe is not. When I use them, it raises up the board closest to the side opposite the screw. It must be something simple that I have not done correctly. I have used them before by putting a wedge in between the board and the off square side but hate to do this as I have other clamps. I have only used these when I need a very long clamp. Any idea what I am doing wrong?
 

Fishbucket

Joe
Senior User
I don't think you are.. save for maybe trying to tighten them down to much.
They inherently bow when reefed on. the longer the pipe the worse it is.
 

joec

joe
User
These are 2' pipes I was using today. When I tighten up on them, the panel would have a concave top surface, as the outer board would deflect up to meet the angle of the clamp.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Are you alternating clamps?
one on the bottom, one on top?

Lightly clamp, so you get little to no bow, then the alternate clamp and so on...

Finally, many people who use pipe clamps for glue-ups add a upper and lower caul on the ends with F-style clamps to keep the glue-up flat.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
you don't need gorilla tight. I almost never need cauls but alternate clamps. Just light to moderate pressure. If you are getting it to bow up you may be getting too aggressive with the clamps.
 

joec

joe
User
I was using my regular clamps on the top and the pipe clamps on the bottom. I ended up just going with the Bessey Parallel Clamps both top and bottom.
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
Years ago I started switching from the 3/4" pipe clamps to the 1/2" version. I know I have a tendency to over tighten w/ too much pressure, so the lighter duty clamps are just right for me.
 

joec

joe
User
My Parallel clamps have the old wooden handles and it is hard to tighten up with them. I love the ease of applying pressure with the pipe clamps but may be overdoing it. However, it would seem if one side was square to the pipe, then the other side should be as well. I could just glue a wedge to the unsquare side and use it that way.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I was using my regular clamps on the top and the pipe clamps on the bottom. I ended up just going with the Bessey Parallel Clamps both top and bottom.
That is what makes the "Bessy-style" clamps so popular - but a manufacturer that solves (or believes they solved) a problem also sets a premium price for the product!

But here I think you revealed another potential problem. As Joe and Fred mentioned, you may be overtightening the clamps, but even lightly clamped, they are putting that tension on one side of your glue-up, you need something on the other side to counter-act that force...
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
The older K-Body and F-style clamps with slick wood handles can be a bit slippery -- buy a bicycle inner tube, cut it into appropriate lengths and stretch each segment over the handles to eliminate the problem. As many know, Bessey changed the handles with the Revo versions to include embedded rubber that eliminates that problems.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Pipe clamps work I know high quality shops thats all they use.

The key is balancing forces top/bottom and resist temptation to hog down them too tight. Don't put the wood directly on the pipe.

Cauls, as mentioned.
 

pcooper

Phillip Cooper
Corporate Member
I use the pipe clamps a ton, and always use cauls to keep boards flat, but I also had to learn how much pressure is required, and it is very easy to have too much. They are so easy to turn that overtightening is most folks problem when it comes to panels and bowing. Mine also 'move on the one end, but I never intended for the pipe to keep the panel flat, I raise the boards off the pipe enough to clear the glue, so that is why cauls are important for me.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
Most of my projects are small. My go-to clamps are Irwin auto style. I have pipe clamps, but mostly use them to apply lots of pressure to something I want to close or straighten. These things can put a lot of pressure on something.

Pop
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
You put them on opposites of panels when you do a glue-up. No bar/pipe clamp wil give even pressure, so you just balance it.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
I must be dumb as a rock. I have these and rarely use them. I tried again today and realized why I never use them. The side with the screw drive is square to the pipe. The side that slides on the pipe is not. When I use them, it raises up the board closest to the side opposite the screw. It must be something simple that I have not done correctly. I have used them before by putting a wedge in between the board and the off square side but hate to do this as I have other clamps. I have only used these when I need a very long clamp. Any idea what I am doing wrong?
The answer is as simple as a piece of dowel placed between clamp pad and object to be clamped. Dowel needs to be same size as thickness of panel clamped. Dowel places pressure directly in center of panel. Plus you still should alternate them. I ain't that smart, I read about this in one of the woodworking magazines (remember them?) years ago.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
On the subject of woodworking magazines. Have anyone noticed that about every 10 years or so they repeat themselves. I guess the exception is Fine Woodworking. They seem to come up new stuff.

Pop :rolleyes:
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
On the subject of woodworking magazines. Have anyone noticed that about every 10 years or so they repeat themselves. I guess the exception is Fine Woodworking. They seem to come up new stuff.

Pop :rolleyes:
We have to remember that there are new woodworkers coming along every day. This means stuff that's old hat to us is new to them. No longer subscribe to FWW, because most of what's in there is in the stack of them in my library. Though I did, just today, spend $18 for two years of Popular Woodworking. Still get Wood, and Woodsmith. Maybe I should call Woodsmith, the Woodpeckers catalog, with a couple articles surrounding it. The WW mags I take and have taken are mainly for the readers tips. For my tips, I've been paid more over the years than I spent on subscriptions. Interestingly, right now there are two tips in a current issue of one, that were rejected by editors several years back.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Two to three years for submissions is about right. Editorial staff changes often and responsibilities change within the editorial staff.
 

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