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Bessey TC Series Jobsite Bar Clamps
Economy and versatility from the Big Boys of the clamping world
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 4-7-2009
The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps are an economical way to expand your clamp collection without sacrificing the versatility of this popular clamp style. The bar clamp has been around a long time and remains popular because they are very handy when making just about any woodworking project. The fact that these are made by Bessey - the folks who invented them - in the German facilities doesn't hurt anything either.
The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps feature a tough, flat steel bar. At 1-
3/8"-tall by 3/8"-thick, this bar does a good job of resisting flex while
keeping the price down. The bar is fully galvanized to inhibit corrosion, prevent staining of the wood and to make removing drips of glue easier.
The top and bottom edges of the bars have serrations on three adjoining surfaces. Those six serrated surfaces help the Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps develop clamping pressure from 800 LBS (#TC4.008) to a remarkable 1400 LBS (TCK4.516) on the heavy-duty versions without slipping.
The bar is pressed into the fixed jaw, which eliminates the need for mechanical fasteners that would loosen under pressure eventually. The tail end of the bar is expanded to act as a stop, preventing the moveable jaw from coming off.
Cast Iron Jaws
The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps are equipped with malleable cast iron jaws. The shape and cross section of the jaws helps give them tremendous rigidity. This combination of materials and design allows Bessey to create TC Series Bar Clamps with throat depths from 4" to 7" with lengths up to 24".
The movable jaw is also tough, rigid and features oversize bosses at the bar and pressure screw. The extra material in those critical areas let the Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps apply their tremendous pressures without breaking.
The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps clamping pressure is generated by turning a large diameter wooden handle. The comfortably shaped handle turns the Acme threaded screw that makes applying pressure easy. Bessey uses the Acme threads because they are smooth, very tough and dependable.
The end of the threaded shaft is has a large-diameter swivel-mounted disk that makes putting the clamps on the project easier. This face has a replaceable plastic cover like the one on the fixed jaw. Applying clamping force is easy and does not mark the wood. The plastic covers on both the fixed and swivel jaws can be purchased in sets of three should they become worn or damaged.
In the Shop
The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps are a great compromise between shop-friendly cost and user-friendly quality. They are well made and are available in a range of pressure and capacities that will fit the needs of most woodworkers. The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps are available in 12 sizes from the #TC4.008 with a 4" throat and 8" clamping capacity to the #TC7.024 with a 7"-throat with a 24" clamping capacity.
One of the things I really like about the F-clamp design is their reach. The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps make it easy to apply pressure father in from the edge or to reach over a set of parallel jaw clamps when pressure from another direction is needed. Once you start using the Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps I expect you also will continue to find unexpected uses, making them a handy solution for previously tough clamping chores.
Despite the TC Series Bar Clamps being a "lighter duty" design their pressure capacity is more than adequate for most common tasks, especially if the wood is prepared well in the first place. If you need more pressure than the Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps can provide, your project is doomed to fail in the near future anyway.
The Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps are an economic way to populate your shop with more clamps in more sizes without sacrificing quality, capability or your budget. With street prices (4-6-2009) ranging from $13.50 (TC4.008) to $25.50 (TC7.024) the Bessey TC Series Bar Clamps represent a very good (and useful) value for the home or hobby-level woodworker.
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