Clamp Wear and Tear

A discussion of how and why bar clamps wear out, and what to do about it. February 17, 2006

We have a number of K-Body and Tradesman clamps in our shop. About 30% of them have acquired a condition where it is difficult to twist the handles; it feels like you're fighting the threads or something, and you don't get corresponding pressure at the jaws. We've tried lubricating the threads, and this doesn't seem to help. I haven't looked in to this problem much at all, but does anyone out there know what's going on and have a fix for this problem?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor G:
I know about this problem. It seems when you really use K-Body’s after a while, the threads start to wear out for lack of a better term. Fortunately, Bessey has a lifetime warranty, so send them back and they'll send you new ones.

From contributor S:
The biggest problem I have with K-Body clamps is that the actual range of adjustment via the screw is miniscule. Also since there is no tommy bar you can never hope to get bone crunching torque out of them when you need it.

From contributor R:
K-Body clamps are assembly aids for putting boxes and veneered cabinet parts together. If you use them for gluing up panels or use bone crushing torque on them you might as well use pony clamps because there less than half the cost.

From contributor G:
I work in a high end shop producing mainly office furniture. Our K-Body’s are used all day every day (mostly their 97" clamps) because we need the throat depth on a lot of our casework assembly. We do use them a lot rougher and much more frequently then most shops I imagine, and that's why I can relate.

From contributor S:
Sometimes I find myself in need of high torque in a cabinet assembly, not just edge joining. We have some designs that call for 18 clamps in two directions. If a biscuit is misaligned and has started to swell, a Bessey will never cause it to move. We use plywood cauls to spread the force of Record Speedcramps. It is rare you find a situation where a Bessey reaches in the right amount by itself or in a pair.