Bessey IBeam Clamps

With up to 7,000 pounds of clamping pressure, these incredibly rigid clamps are the best high-pressure clamps money can buy.

Bessey IBeam Clamps

Bessey IBeam Heavy-Duty Clamps



From the company that brought clamping nirvana to woodworkers almost four decades ago – in the form of the K Body parallel clamp – comes the ultimate in high-load capacity clamping, the new Bessey IBEAM clamps. 

Bessey's parallel jaw (or 'case') clamps, which deliver upwards of 1,500 pounds of clamping pressure, are well suited for day-to-day clamping. But for some applications, like clamping thick heavy stock for benchtops and dining tables, wide panels, or assembling large cabinets, heavy-duty clamps are the way to go. The new line of IBEAM clamps are designed for applications where you need maximum load clamping capacity – up to 7,000 pounds of jaw-bone clamping pressure. Of course, the actual clamping pressure you achieve will depend on how much torque you can apply to the clamp. Even if you apply about 75% of the maximum clamp pressure you're looking at 5,250 pounds – still significantly more than you'll achieve with any other style of clamp. 

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IBEAM clamps aren't meant to replace any of your existing clamps, but rather, they're a supplement to your clamping arsenal. The photo above shows the IBEAM (bottom) against two other popular Bessey long bar clamps – the K Body (top) and pipe clamp (middle). K Body clamps, which have those sweet large 2" x 3-5/8" jaws, have a clamping pressure of about 1,500 pounds. The pipe jaw clamp heads are 2" x 2" and provide about 1,000 pounds of clamping pressure. At 1-3/4" x 2" the IBEAM jaws are just a tad smaller than the jaws on pipe clamps. For the types of clamping projects the IBEAM clamps are meant to handle, those jaw sizes should be quite adequate. 

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One feature that sets the IBEAM clamps apart is the beefy 7/16" x 1-3/8" truss shaped nickel-plated steel bar (right, above photo), compared to 3/8" x 1-1/8" for the K Body (left, above photo). You might not think that an extra 1/16" in thickness and 1/4" in height is all that much. But, it's the primary reason the IBEAM delivers such a huge clamping pressure.

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I really appreciate the large (2" x 5-3/4") size of the ductile cast iron handle – you can get a very good grip on the handle, which enables you to deliver all the torque you're capable of exerting. Fixed head travel is a generous 3". I put as much torque on the handle as I could muster, and the bar didn't deflect a hair's breath. 

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The moveable head has 5 hardened steel clutch plates – once you've positioned the head, it won't budge, yet it can be easily released. I found that the head slides along the bar very smoothly without getting caught up. This helps speed up clamping, which can be crucial when using glue that sets up quickly.

Both the fixed and moveable heads have 'feet' that enable them to rest steadily on a work surface (or shop floor) as you load the clamps. The IBEAMs don't come with clamping pads – as with most clamps I use cauls for virtually all glue-ups. They do a better job of protecting stock from deformation from the clamping jaws, and help to better distribute clamping pressure.

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I found that the heads remain parallel to each other, even under all the pressure you can bring to bear, which helps to eliminate racking and makes it easier to align your stock.

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These are great clamps that are economically priced, and given proper should last a lifetime. They provide all the clamping pressure you'll ever need, without bar flexing, and the large easy-turn handle enables you to apply maximum torque. While they will likely be of greatest interest to production shops or those who regularly glue up large panels, they make a welcome additional to any workshop.


KEY FEATURES:

  • Clamp heads: 1-3/4" wide x 2" deep
  • Bar: Nickel plated steel
  • Bar size: 7/16" thick x 1-3/8" high
  • Bar lengths: 24", 30", 36", 48", 60", 72", 84", 96"
  • Clamping capacity: 7,000 pounds
  • Handle: Ductile cast iron
  • Handle size: 2" x 5-3/4"
  • Handle screw: 9/16" diameter Acme threaded
  • Fixed head travel: 3"
  • Movable head: 5 hardened steel clutch plates

COMPANY:Bessey Tools
MODEL:IBEAMXX (24", 30", 36", 48", 60", 72", 84", 96")
PRICE:$49.99 (IBEAM24) to $85.45 (IBEAM96)
MADE IN:Overseas
SOURCE:Find Your Retailer

Author: 
Carl Duguay
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