Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps
One-hand locking, versatile jaw designs
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 12-9-2010
Locking clamps have been around for a long time but I was confident that Bessey would show up with an innovative design that made this already popular clamp style even more useful and easier to use in the shop. In this review we look at four Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamp designs that cover virtually all light to medium clamping duties in the home or pro shop.
All of the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps are made from high-quality steels that have been precisely formed and treated with proprietary heat-treating processes to produce the best balance of hardness and strength. Adjustable jaws slide on the famous Bessey hourglass shape that they use in many of their clamping solutions. The designs of the jaws give them flex-fighting rigidity which increases the stability of the grip they develop.
All Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps have fully adjustable locking mechanisms with easy to use releases. The wide paddle-style release handle makes using it easier for even gloved hands. The spring operated mechanism pops the jaws free when the red handle is squeezed making it just as easy to remove a Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamp as it is to install them!
The adjusting screw allows one to set the set the amount of clamping force to be applied when the handles are in the closed position. The sliding jaws allow you to set the clamping width without affecting the clamping pressure setting.
SuperGrip™ Locking Plier
For want of a better description this is the basic Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamp. It has familiar plier-like jaws that remain virtually parallel and can be used with non-marring pads on the jaws or the bare jaws with their grip-producing serrations. This version is available in the SG-4WP model that has a 2-1/2”-throat depth and a clamping capacity up to 4”. The SG-8WP also has a 2-1/2” throat capacity but sports up to 8” of clamping capacity. Both models can generate up to 440-lbs of clamping force.
An adjustable screw on the upper handle allows the user to set up to a 7-degree angle in the jaws for working with tapered materials. The screw in the lower handle adjusts the amount of pressure that is applied. This unique adjustment scheme means that you can get a better grip on more materials giving this locking plier/clamp even more versatility.
The moveable jaw can be positioned at any point along its bar. This lets the operator quickly size the clamp precisely to the object without having to compensate for indexed or pre-sized settings.
Deep Reach SuperGrips™
Since not everything is free of obstructions Bessey designed their Deep Reach SuperGrips™ (#SG5-Deep Reach SuperGrips™) as a solution. The Deep Reach SuperGrips™ has a throat depth of 3-inches and a clamping capacity of 4-1/2”. While the Deep Reach SuperGrips™ is reaching around your problems it can also generate 310-lbs of clamping force for work pieces that do not understand the futility of resistance.
The moveable arm slides on an hourglass-shaped bar and can be located anywhere along that length. Despite being able to move it so easily the sliding arm locks instantly when clamping pressure is applied. The overall design of the sliding arm helps prevent distortions that could reduce clamping pressure. Both jaws have rounded ends that also help with uneven surfaces.
The Deep Reach SuperGrips™ clamp also features the adjustable upper jaw that can be tilted up to 7-degrees to help get hold of not-quite-parallel surfaces. The clamping force can also be adjusted with a screw on the lower handle.
Welders Fork SuperGrips™
Welding can entail lots of odd combinations of materials that need to be stabilized so they can be tacked in place for welding where you really want them. The Bessey Welders Fork SuperGrips™ make many of those uneven tasks surprisingly easy. Bessey also sized the Welders Fork SuperGrips™ so that it accommodates most small to medium welding situations. The Welders Fork SuperGrips™ has 3” of throat depth and 4” of clamping capacity. Add the stout 310-lbs of clamping force and your welding tasks can be much easier.
A pair of moveable jaws, each with rounded ends can be placed at different heights without tools. The moveable arms use the same boss style found on other Bessey clamps because it works very well and locks down as soon as clamping pressure is applied. Both moveable jaws slide on one hourglass-shaped bar so they both respond to the single lever used to apply pressure.
The moveable jaws can be tilted up to 7-degrees for when the materials aren’t exactly parallel. A screw in the end of the upper handle controls the amount of tilt. The Welders Fork SuperGrips™ also has a second screw in the lower handle that lets you tailor the clamping pressure needed for the job. The Welders Fork SuperGrips™ also uses the red release paddle to make removing the Welders Fork SuperGrips™ as easy as it is to apply.
Pipe Clamp SuperGrips™
Fastening or welding round material is a common and often frustrating task. Trying to secure the round stock without it moving can be difficult. The Bessey Pipe Clamp SuperGrips™ take care of that in a simple reliable way. The 2-3/4” throat depth and 4-1/2” clamping capacity make the Pipe Clamp SuperGrips™ compatible with lots of projects. It also boasts 310-lbs of clamping pressure so you can be confident that the parts stay where you put them.
The Pipe Clamp SuperGrips™ has a pair of fixed jaws with V-shaped jaws that cradle round material, automatically keeping it square to the clamps centerline. A pair or equally spaced flat jaws are joined together at a boss that slides on an hourglass-shaped bar. That boss locks as soon as clamping pressure is applied.
Both the lower V-shaped jaws and the flat pads on the moveable jaw can be used bare for welding or similar operations. Bessey includes a set of non-marring plastic pads that slip onto the jaws to protect fragile materials.
The Pipe Clamp SuperGrips™ also feature the upper jaw tilting screw that lets you dial in up to 7-dgrees of angle when the stock requires. The other screw lets you control the amount of clamping force that the jaws apply on the material. The easy to use red paddle style release handle is also included to make releasing the Pipe Clamp SuperGrips™ easy even with gloved hands.
In the Shop
Using the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps is simple thanks to the familiar locking handles function. The real secret with these clamps is the design of the jaw systems. The Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps make clamping up odd-shaped work pieces much easier and in most cases hold those pieces more securely than plain jaw designs can. Being able to adjust the angle of the upper jaws just increases the effectiveness of the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps.
During this evaluation I found that the capacities of each clamp style are more than sufficient for all of the work I could find in my home based shop. Reaching over angle iron or brackets did not pose a problem that the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps could not overcome. Because the clamping size is set with the sliding jaws, applying the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps is surprisingly fast as well. I thought not having a knurled adjusting knob might be a problem but it really is not. With the sliding jaw system you adjust the amount of clamping pressure needed and never touch it again until you want to increase or decrease the amount of pressure applied.
The Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps are very well made and designed for a long life of frequent use. The sliding jaw systems make these clamps surprisingly useful in any shop. With street prices of $59.30 (12-6-2010) for the SG-8WP Locking Plier, $71.24 for the SG5-DR 0-4-1/2" Deep Reach SuperGrips, $109.95 for the GRZRO 4-1/2-Inch Pipe Grips and $89.99 for the SG24-WF 4-Inch Jaw Capacity 3-Inch Throat Depth Welder's Fork it is unlikely that these will be the cheapest clamps in your shop. However consider that the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps are made in Europe to the same tough standards under which tools used to be made in America and it is easy to recognize their exceptional value. The quality of the materials and workmanship mean that the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps will be around and functioning perfectly for a very long time. When you need this kind of clamping versatility, the dependability and function make the Bessey SuperGrips™ Clamps a solid investment.
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