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Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp
Powerful simplicity that you can use - often
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Posted - 12-28-2010
It would be easy to write off the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp as a simple handyman gadget - unless you try using them. And then I kept finding uses for them in my very normal home woodworking shop. Finally it occurred to me that Bessey simply does not make useless handyman gadgets. The Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp is another useful woodshop tool from the people who really understand clamping.
The clean u-shaped rail is made from high quality drawn steel that provides maximum strength and rigidity with a slim cross section. The clamping end is fitted with a non-marring plastic pressure cap that helps grip the work while protecting the surface of the wood. The curve gives the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp a 2" throat clearance that remains constant across the three versions available. The Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp is offered with clamping capacities (between jaws) of 4" (LMU2.004), 6" (LMU2.006) and 8" (LMU2.008).
The u-shaped rail has serrations formed into both of its edges. These serrations interact with the boss on the moveable jaw to create a dependable grip designed to withstand the 330-lbs of maximum clamping force the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamps are capable of generating. The straight end of the curved rail is "staked" to prevent the moveable jaw from falling off and getting lost.
Made from die cast zinc, this tough, fracture resistant arm locks onto the curved bar when pressure is applied. The close-fitting boss locks onto the flat bar serrations to make adjusting the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp to the work piece fast and easy. A nicely sized wooden handle drives the Acme threaded shaft to apply pressure predictably and with minimal effort.
The threaded shaft is fitted with a disc-shaped end that is covered with a non-marring plastic cover that enhances its grip on the wood while preventing marking of the surface. This disc is large enough to provide a solid base for the pressure but small enough to apply the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp close to an adjoining surface or component.
In the Shop
While the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp is exceptionally handy for clamping boards to my various rolling work cabinets I keep finding other uses for them around the shop. The curved bar reaches over the lips of edge banding and clears other small obstructions to let you apply the clamping force where needed. Still, the curve is shallow enough that it avoids conflicts with things like operating handles on jigs. The traditional red Bessey handle makes applying the necessary clamping pressure easy even though the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamps are capable of generating far more pressure (330Lbs!) that expected from their relatively small size.
Though small and lightweight, the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamps are tough because Bessey continues to use high quality materials and manufacturing processes. The simple but effective design makes these clamps very useful in any woodworking shop.
With a street price of $5.50 to $6.00 (7-29-2009) the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamp are as remarkable in their value as they are in their utility. This kind of bang for your buck is exceedingly rare in today's woodworking marketplace. If you clamp things together or to something else, you need a handful or two of the Bessey U-Style Bar Clamps!
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