Bessey C-Clamp Variety
Lots of designs for lots of needs
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 10-22-2010
It is no secret that there is more than one way of doing just about anything. My email from both www.newwoodworker.com and www.newmetalworker.com demonstrates that in no uncertain terms. It should be no surprise then that Bessey, the major player in clamps makes a bunch of C-clamp styles and sizes to fit those needs.
CM20 Light Duty Malleable Iron Clamp
This line of Bessey clamps are meant to handle the smaller “hold it” jobs in the shop. I frequently just need something to stay in place while I use both hands to finish aligning the rest of the parts or do layouts. The CM20 in these photos is just an example of this extensive line.
Made from cast iron the CM10-CM30 models are galvanized while the CM40-CM80 models are powder coated. Within this line Bessey offers versions with throat depths from 1” to 4-1/2” and clamping ranges from 0 to 1” up to 0 to 8”. Clamping pressures range from 400 to 1200-lbs! All of the clamps in this series feature cleanly made spindle threads and swivel pads that make positioning them easier on surfaces that are not perfectly parallel.
While this clamp series is designated as “light duty” they can handle many jobs in our shop that do not require huge amounts of pressure. The range of sizes and capacities and equally “light weight” price tags such as the CM20 that was selling for $3.97 (10-20-2010) make the Light Duty Malleable Iron Clamps as economical as they are versatile.
QRCC Series Malleable Cast Quick Release C-Clamps
This clamp is virtually identical to the malleable clamps discussed above but adds a pushbutton release that makes applying them much faster. Instead of having to spin the handle down to bring the jaws into contact you can push the release button, slide the spindle to the piece being clamped and then give it a couple turns to apply the force needed. If you use clamps like this often, that bit of speed can add up to a sizeable amount of saved time.
The QRCC Series clamps are available in three sizes. The QRCC3 has a clamping capacity of 0 to 3-1/2” and a throat capacity of 1-3/4”. The QRCC4 (shown here) has a clamping range of 0 to 4-3/8” with a throat clearance of 2-1/4”. The QRCC6 has a 0 to 6-5/8” clamping range and a throat clearance of 3-7/8”. All three versions can generate up to 1200-lbs of clamping force!
All three sizes feature a cast malleable iron body and an Acme-threaded spindle. The spindle end has a pad mounted on a swivel that makes installing the clamp easier. The pushbutton mechanism is built into the spindle end of the clamp body and requires no adjusting.
The QRCC4 Quick Release clamp shown here has a street price of $6.45 (10-20-2010) so in this case speed is not expensive. For those with a need to speed up their clamping processes, (or if you just like the idea) the QRCC Series clamps could be just what you need.
Double Jaw C-Clamp
The DHCC-4 in these photos shows that Bessey even pays attention to the light duty specialty clamping needs. This double-jawed c-clamp was intended for crafts, hobbies and light shop duty. I suspect that the unique double jaw will be of interest to woodworkers and others. All of the woodworkers and metalworkers I know are very adept at making use of features like this.
Bessey offers this clamp style in two sizes. The DHCC-4 (shown) which has a 4” clamping capacity, 2-1/4” throat clearance and is capable of generating 1200-lbs of clamping force. The DHCC-6 model has 6” of clamping capacity, 2-7/8” of throat clearance and also develops 1200-lbs of force.
These clamps use an Acme thread on the spindle for smooth application of force. The spindle ends in a swivel-mounted pad that helps make full contact with less than perfectly flat surfaces. The spindle pad and both jaw ends are fitted with non-marring plastic covers that can be removed if the job requires.
The DHCC-4 shown here carries a street price of just $10.77 (10-20-2010). I would have thought the price was going to be higher but am glad that I can add these nifty clamps to my shop and still be able to eat!
540 Series Ductile Iron C-Clamps
The 540 series clamps feature tough cast ductile iron bodies that are available with throat depths from 1-3/4” to 3-3/4” and clamping capacities ranging from 0 to 2-1/2” and 0 to 14”. While all of these clamps can generate substantial clamping forces the range of 1100 to 2850-lbs puts them firmly in the heavy-duty category for my shop and I suspect most of yours.
The spindles feature Acme threads for fast, smooth application of clamping force with minimal effort. The sliding pin-type handle has a black oxide finish to make it easy to install this clamp in virtually any situation. The spindles end in a swivel-mounted pad that makes application of this power easier.
Despite their wide-ranging capabilities the 540 series clamps are very reasonably priced. The 4” version shown in the accompanying photos was selling for $12.50! (10-20-2010) We don’t often get to equate low price with big clamping pressures in a quality clamp but the Bessey 540 Series Ductile Iron Clamps are the exception to that rule.
Heavy Duty 100 Series C-Clamps
When things in the shop get tough it may be time for the Bessey 100 Series c-clamps. These clamps feature massive steel bodies that have been drop forged and subjected to high-tech heat treating procedures that give them the strength to handle the tremendous clamping pressures they are capable of generating.
The 100 series clamps are available in sizes from the B-102 with a 0 to 2” clamping range and a throat capacity of 1-1/2” to the B-112 version with a 0 to 12” clamping range and a throat capacity of 2”. The B-102 is capable of 7500-lbs of clamping force while the B-112 model can apply an impressive 15,000-lbs of pressure!
These clamps have a large sliding pin style handle but the head is machined square so an open-end wrench can be used for additional leverage to make use of all of the potential clamping force. The spindle has large Acme threads which make applying that pressure smoother with less effort. The end of the spindle has a swivel-mounted pad that makes applying the clamp easier.
Despite the heavy-duty capabilities the Bessey 100 Series C-Clamps carry a reasonable price. The B-104, 4”-capacity model shown in the accompanying photos sells for just $63.46. I cannot see how these clamps could be damaged enough to be rendered useless so buying them should be a one time deal!
B-HS Heavy Service Series C-Clamps
Just when you thought heavy-duty would represent the maximum in c-clamps along comes the Bessey B-HS Bridge Clamps that redefine “maximum” as it applies to c-clamps. The B-HS series clamps feature super heavy-duty bodies made from lots of drop-forged steel that is subjected to multiple heat-treating processes that enable these clamps to withstand the remarkable pressures. Also the B-HS clamps are made in the US. When you lift one of the B-HS clamps you have to wonder if they are US-made at least in part because of the ridiculous shipping costs such heavy clamps would generate if made in Europe!
The B-HS clamps are available in sizes from the B-HS0 that has a clamping range of 0-to 3/4” and the B-HS12 with a 0 to 12-1/2” clamping capacity. The B-HS0 can generate up to 2800-lbs of clamping force while the B-HS12 develops up to a scary 40,000-lbs!
The Bessey B-HS4 shown in the photos here sells for $96.83 (10-20-2010) which doesn’t sound like much if you factor in the cost of 11-lbs of steel needed to make one! If the Bessey B-HS clamps do not last forever you are doing something very, very wrong.
While this review (and our earlier look at other Bessey C-Clamps) covers the majority of Bessey C-Clamp offerings, stay tuned. These people don’t sit back and enjoy their dominance of the market. You can bet that before long another clamping solution we never thought of but probably already need will have been thought of at Bessey.
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