Bessey Angle Clamps
Real 90-degree joints, multiple styles and different thickness pieces
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 10-16-2010
Even after you have accurately cut material with a perfectly square ends, joining two pieces to form that perfect 90-degree corner is not assured. Often it is more difficult to ready the pieces at a 90-degree angle and hold them there accurately for welding. The Bessey Angle Clamps makes that kind of fabrication or welding operation a no-brainer and lets you focus on the welding.
The inner and outer jaws of the Bessey Angle Clamps are precisely cast from high grade cast iron to ensure long term accuracy as well as durability in the shop environment. Each side of the WSM-9 Bessey Angle Clamp has a 1-3/8”-tall outer jaw and a maximum passage for miters of 3-1/2”. The WSM-12 Bessey Angle Clamps have 2-3/8”-tall jaws and a 4-3/4”-maximum passage for miter joints. Because they were designed with welding in mind the entire area where the pieces meet is left open to provide maximum access.
The open-ended jaws also allow building T-joints that are also perfect 90-degrees. This open structure makes the Bessey Angle Clamps compatible with a huge range of project designs not to mention precise miter joints. The base surface of the Bessey Angle Clamps body is an even 1” from the surface which makes it easier to fabricate outboard supports for long work pieces to help keep them flat and square to the joint being made.
The Bessey Angle Clamps have a flat bottom so that they can be used loose on a worktable. They also have slots on both sides that let you fasten them to the surface which leaves your hands free to work with the pieces being assembled.
What is exceptionally handy is that the Bessey Angle Clamps can hold two different material thicknesses at the same time and hold them perfectly square to each other. The spindle is mounted on swivels at the inner jaw and the stationary end so that the inner jaw automatically remains square to the outer jaws even while shifting to accommodate different material thicknesses on each side. Of course if the pieces are the same thickness, the Bessey Angle Clamps fits those just as easily.
The spindle has the Acme thread that lets you generate lots of clamping pressure quickly and with little effort. The spindle is also copper plated to help it resist welding spatter. The relatively coarse design of the Acme thread helps it shed many of the contaminations caused by grinding and other operations.
In the Shop
Until you start using the Bessey Angle Clamps their ability to automatically secure two different thicknesses without adjustments may not sound as impressive as it really is. In terms of setup and fabrication, this disregard for thickness means lots of saved time without sacrificing accuracy. If you have ever tried to block up pieces for welding with hopes of getting them square, the Bessey Angle Clamps will make lots of sense.
The Acme-threaded spindle and its slip-through handle make applying the pressure you need to keep the pieces secure a low-stress event. Because of how the Bessey Angle Clamps grips the pieces it is not trying to press ill-fitting parts together so there is no stress that way. Prepare the pieces well and the Bessey Angle Clamps makes welding them up as easy as it gets.
The Bessey Angle Clamps are typical of their use of high-end materials and manufacturing. The only way to make these clamps easier to use is to have someone else use them for you. I tried all of the configurations I could think of including a square end, 90-degree mitered joint, T-joints and all of them are easily set up.
With a street price of just $75.95 (10-15-2010) for the WSM-9 version and $138.95 for the WSM-12 (10-15-2010) model you can set up a highly productive, highly accurate work area with a minimal investment. If you generate money by making quality metal structures that need square installation of the components, the Bessey Angle Clamps will let you make more money faster and with less effort.
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