George Vondriska

You Should Know About Lever Clamps

George Vondriska
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Duration:   4  mins

You may have a boat load of clamps in your shop that have screw threads. As you spin a handle the threads turn and tighten or loosen the clamp. Lever clamps are completely different. They have more of a gear/ratchet/cam system. As you move the lever an offset cam puts pressure on the clamp head, which in turn puts pressure on your work. The ratchet system locks the cam in place until you release the clamp.

Easy to apply pressure

One of the benefits of lever clamps is that they make it VERY easy to apply pressure. If you have any hand issues that make it difficult to spin the handles on conventional clamps, lever clamps may be a great clamping solution for you. Pulling the lever to apply pressure and hitting the release to let go of pressure is very simple.

One handed

Thanks to the way the lever clamps work, it’s easy to use them one handed. Slide the head toward your work, then manipulate the lever to apply tension. This is great for scenarios where you need to hold your work with one hand and clamp it with the other.

Hold down for your workbench

One of my favorite applications of a lever clamp is as a bench hold down. Slip it onto a dog hole in your bench, slide your work under the clamp, and apply clamp pressure. What a convenient and easy way to hold your work in place.

Bessey, of course, makes many different styles of clamps. This video will help you select which clamp is best for the task and hand.

More info

For more info on Bessey Clamps visit the company’s website or call (800) 828-1004.

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One Response to “You Should Know About Lever Clamps”

  1. Jay

    Great video! I can see using these as faster than C-clamps with potentially more clamping force than F-clamps. And then there's ratcheting bar clamps. I have only one of those and it leaves marks on the wood that the padded F-clamps don't. I don't have a lot of confidence in them. For ultimate joining, I rely on 3/4" pipe clamps, but they have their limitations, too. My current project is making curved chair backs from ash hardwood. It requires steaming the work piece and bending it between cauls before it cools down or it will crack. I failed 4 times using sapele and almost completed it with the ash. I've been using pipe clamps but it's clumsy at best. The clamping range is only about 3-4 inches and then you have to apply a 2nd set of clamps, loosen the first as the 2nd set starts working, and going back and forth with those. It takes quite a while and it's quite awkward. There's gotta be a better way. Ratcheting clamps might be the answer if they can generate enough force. The bent piece is 29" long, 2 & 3/4" wide and 5/8" thick, bent to a chord-length of 24 inches within a circle whose radius is about 15.8", the final amount of central deflection desired being 5.5".

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