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Bessey vs Jorgensen K-Body clamps

ten13's picture

Has anyone compared the Jorgensen to Bessey K-Body style clamps?  Jorgensen makes a Cabinet Master 90 Degree Parallel Steel Master Bar Clamp, and of course there is the classic Bessey K-Body Clamp.

The Bessey’s bar has small grooves ground into the bar to help grab.  The Jorgensen has no grooves, but grips excellent and is infinitely adjustable.

The Jorgensen is slightly cheaper, but it’s $41 for 48” compared to $44 for the Bessey, certainly not a big different.

My main interest is if the Jorgensen’s infinite adjustability would be an advantage, etc.

Has anyone compared these two clamps?  Any preferences?

Turbo's picture

(post #95278, reply #1 of 12)

       There was a review of these clamps by the American Woodworker Magazine last year.  I use Bessey's and love them.  They are infinitely variable too, though they don't look like it with the grooves.  Jorgensen does have good clamps and they last too.  The balance item on the Jorgensen is nice when you are gluing something short.  I have not personally used Jorgenson's K-Body Clamps, so hopefully others who have, will provide a better comparison for you.


MikeCirc's picture

(post #95278, reply #2 of 12)

I looked at the Jorgensons, and I am sticking with Bessey.

The Jorgensons are so large as to be clumsy.  I don't have a need for such a large, heavy clamp.  The Besseys are plenty tough enough to do the job.

The Besseys have more flat-square surfaces which give many options for odd clamping opportunities.  The round nose on the Jorgensons don't allow you to balance it on that surface for odd clamping  (been there several times).

The Jorgensons jam a lot.  Every time I try one, I can end up jamming the head closed.  Not something I want happening in the rush of a glue up.


The Jorgensons are nice, but the price advantage is not enough to get me to switch. 


One more thing to watch for... If you already have Besseys, note that the Jorgensons sit higher off the table.  This makes using the clamps in the same glueup more difficult.

fredsmart48's picture

(post #95278, reply #12 of 12)

I am waiting for some one to start a business knocking off  Bessey and jorgensen clamps.  They are twice as much as they should be. 

Elcoholic's picture

(post #95278, reply #3 of 12)

The only clamps I've used that I think are equal to or better than K-Bodies are the Gross-Stabil PC2's.  A buddy (pro) has worn out a bunch of Bessey's and started replacing them with these.

John O'Connell - JKO Handcrafted Woodworking

Life is tough.  It's tougher if you're stupid - John Wayne

John O'Connell - JKO Handcrafted Woodworking

The more things change ...

We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized.  I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

Petronious Arbiter, 210 BC

BaldEagle's picture

(post #95278, reply #4 of 12)

I have compared them, and prefer the Jorgensen for these reasons:

1) the bessey's are awful.  For just gluing up doors in their "blocks", they are adequate, but anything else, forget it.

2) the bessey's are almost impossible to get a 'bite' if you only have one hand on the clamp (I always wish I was born with 3 arms when I need to use one hand to hold the stock.)   

3) the jorgensen's never have a problem getting a bite.

4) the screw on the jorgensen's is longer, so that IF they don't bite immediately, by the time they do, you will still be able to apply ample pressure before the screw is exhausted.  The number of times I had to back out the screw and start over on the bessey's is astronomical (not to mention cussing too!)

5) The sliding jaw on the Jorgies clears the bench or floor, thanks to the attachment at the end of the clamp.  Critical advantage.  I do a fair number of butcher blocks, and when you start gluing up the first few pieces, the Bessie's (pun intended) won't stay flat on the bench (or floor).

6) The bar on the bessie's WILL BEND.  I guarantee it. I found this out on accident.  All the reviews say these bars won't bend, but I KNOW DIFFERENT.

7) The Jorgie's are reversible to use as a spreader.

If anyone wants to buy two pairs of bessey clamps (40" and 24") let me know.  I'd be happy to trade them for a pair of Jorgies too!

ten13's picture

(post #95278, reply #5 of 12)


MIKECIRC (in an above message), mentioned that the Jorgensens can have the head jam closed.  I have had this happen to me too, at the store, for example.   Have you had this happen to you?  Is this a concern, or is there an easy way out that we are missing?

Oriole's picture

(post #95278, reply #6 of 12)

This was posted on the wreck some time ago. Hope it helps. I love my jorgensen clamps and just remember not to close them all the way.


Leon" <> wrote in message
> Been there and found an easy fix.
> Assuming you keep the screw roughly centered in its 2 or so inches of
> travel, there is a trick to opening the jaws if they are closed against each
> other.  Hold the clamp with the fixed end pointed up and the movable end
> with the handle pointed down.  IIRC the locking mechanism releases in this
> position and the jaws fall open.
> IF there is no loosening room from the screw handle and the above method
> fails simply insert a flat blade screw driver between the silver square and
> the round rod that it is against inside the bottom of the movable clamping
> end, and the movable end will fall free.

ten13's picture

(post #95278, reply #8 of 12)

Excellent feedback, thanks!

Pardon such a dumb question, but what does "IIRC" stand for?


Michael6255's picture

(post #95278, reply #11 of 12)

if I remember correctly...........

RANGERP75R's picture

(post #95278, reply #7 of 12)


   Ditto baldeagle for the reasons stated. The Jorgenson Cabinet Masters have square faces, not round. They are a few dollars cheaper(I have 12 now, a free clamp in the long run from the saving) and they have the little stabalizer at the end to keep them from tipping. I have not had any problem with them jamming.

   I had to borrow 8 from a neighbor to do a 40' parts counter for my comapny. Had 20 in action at once and no jams.I will continue to add Jorgenson's till I get at least 4 of all lenghts. I find them excellent. The Bessey's are great, but the stabalizer and price sent me to the Jorgenson.

Good luck with your decision...


Proud member of the :  "I Rocked With ToolDoc Club" .... :>) 

Windwoodtrader's picture

(post #95278, reply #9 of 12)

I just got some clamps in. I've been using pipe clamps and light-weight bar clamps and wanted to be like Norm! My new clamps were already ordered when I read this string of messages. I was set on the Bessy but heard a lot of good things on the Jorgensen. I couldn't make up my mind so I got 2 Jorgensen 31" and 2 Bessy 24". The price for the two Jorgensen was just about the same as for the two Bessy but I picked up a bit of length with the Jorgensen.

They compare side to side as quite alike, the Jorgensen having quite a bit more substance to it, with heavier moulded material making up the clamp body and the clamping faces significantly larger. The Bessy appears to have a more positive clamp lock but I couldn't move either one after clamping some pieces together. I tried to get a feeler gauge in between the clamp faces and the wood (oak) but couldn't on either- obviously square clamping pressure.

Someone else mentioned the chance of the Bessy sliding down the shaft and nailing your hand if you held it vertically as if you were putting it back in a clamp rack- YUP! I hate blood blisters in the web of my hand! Jorgensen doesn't do that.

The Jorgensen is reversible enabling the device to spread stuff apart or clamp from within. One quirk with the Jorgensen is that if the handle thread is run all the way out and the clamp is slid face-to-face it is tricky to get it apart! I learned quickly to make sure to leave the handle run in several turns before clamping the faces together.

Time will tell the whole story since this was only my first purchase of high end clamps but I believe that my next will be for the heavier duty Jorgensen.

Windy Wood

From the Helderberg Mountains

Edited 2/21/2003 9:18:56 AM ET by Windy Wood

(:-) Windy Wood In the Helderberg Mountains of NY
Jeff's picture

(post #95278, reply #10 of 12)

The Bessy does slide down and get your hand.

It's happened to me a few times.