Are you looking to undertake a woodworking or metal working project? If yes, the first thing you should do is to invest in the essential tools with one of them being a parallel clamp. Today, I’ll be defining a parallel clamp, explaining how to shop for the right one, and revealing to you the top ten highest rated clamps on the market. But before it all, here’s are some fascinating facts about wood, woodwork, and metalworking:
- A piece of well-made woodwork can last thousands of years, as evidenced by the 5100-year-old stone age door that archaeologists unearthed in Zurich in 2010.
- If built well, a wooden building can last thousands of years as demonstrated by the Horyu-ji temple in Ikaruga, Japan. Built in 607 AD(some 7200 years ago), this story wooden structure is known to be the oldest surviving wooden building in the world!
- With a national average salary of $51,453 per year, metalworking is one of the highest-paying jobs in the United States.
- Metalworking remains one of the most lucrative industries for job seekers where fresh talent is oftepn required.
What Is A Parallel Clamp?
A parallel clamp is a device used in woodworking and metalworking to fasten and hold work pieces securely in place. This avoids any movement or separation, which may otherwise interfere with the work piece.
Now, parallel clamps come in different varieties of sizes measured in inches or millimeters. Notably, each size has a corresponding clamp range similarly measured in inches or millimeters. For starters, the range of a clamp is simply the longest clamping distance that the clamp can accommodate.
Having said that, here are the standard clamp sizes plus their corresponding clamping ranges in inches;
Clamp Size (clamp range in inches:)
- 6’’( clamp range 3/8″ – 7/8″).
- 8’’(clamp range 7/16″ – 1″).
- 10’’(clamp range 1/2″ – 1-1/16″).
- 12’’(clamp range 1/2″ – 1-1/4″).
- 16’’(clamp range 13/16″ – 1-1/2″).
- 20’’(clamp range 13/16″ – 1-3/4″).
- 24’’(clamp range 1″ – 2″).
- 28’’(clamp range 1-5/16″ – 2-1/4″).
- 32’’(clamp range 1-9/16″ – 2-1/2″).
- 36’’(clamp range 1-13/16″ – 2-3/4″).
- 40’’(clamp range 2″ – 3″).
- 44’’(clamp range 2-5/16″ – 3-1/4″).
- 48’’(clamp range 2-9/16″ – 3-1/2″).
- 52’’(clamp range 2-13/16″ – 3-3/4″).
- 56’’(clamp range 3″ – 4″).
- 60’’(clamp range 3-5/16″ – 4-1/4″).
- 64’’(clamp range 3-9/16″ – 4-1/2″).
- 72’’(clamp range 4″ – 5″).
- 80’’(clamp range 4-5/8″ – 5-1/2″).
- 88’’(clamp range 5″ – 6″).
- 96’’(clamp range 5-5/8″ – 6-1/2″).
- 104’’(clamp range 6″ – 7″).
- 128’’(clamp range 5-11/16″ – 8-1/2″).
Best Parallel Clamps Reviews
Looking for a good clamp to buy? Fair enough, there are plenty of options for you to choose. Speaking of which here are the top ten highest rated parallel clamps:
1. Jorgensen Cabinet Master 24-inch 90° Parallel Jaw Bar Clamp, 2-pack
This Jorgensen Cabinet Master 2-pack parallel clamps are good for carpentry, woodworking, welding, metal working, construction, and many other relevant projects. Each clamp is 24-inches with a 90 degree parallel jaw. Notably, this is made from plastic with reinforced steel for maximum durability.
The product is well-made.In other words, it’s sturdy, easy to use, versatile, and value for money. That’s why many people rely on it for their light-duty or heavy-duty projects.
But what sets this Jorgensen parallel clamp from the rest is that it doesn’t distort the project during glue up. With other clamps, the problem is often encountered especially when making drawers. Apart from that, it provides a lot of grip, not to mention that, it releases and glides well. These are some of the reasons many consider it one of the best parallel clamps on the market.
2. POWERTEC 71368 Woodworking Parallel Clamps 24-Inch | Jaw Bar Clamp Spreader Tool | 2PK
Just like Jorgensen Cabinet Master 2-pack parallel clamps, POWERTEC 71368 woodworking parallel clamp is ideal for many other applications besides woodworking. For example, you can also use it to accomplish welding and metalworking projects seamlessly. This tool uses a deep
3-3/4” throat depth to ensure optimized pressure distribution. This feature also guarantees a powerful clamping force of over 880lbs, producing the best results in any project.
Apart from that, this Powertec parallel clamp boasts an ergonomic design. This is characterized by a soft grip handle, sturdy steel rail, and three removable jaw pads. This practical design ensures optimal results whereby users make the best products with this clamp. Other features that directly contribute to the great performance of this product include; (a) an easily convertible clamp spreader tool, (b) rapid action movement, and (c) 90 degree clamping angle.
Just like other top rated parallel clamps on the market, this clamp is built with versatility in mind. This allows users to do a lot of things with it and use its functionalities in many different ways. The term 2-pack as used in the product description means you get 2 identical parallel clamps when you buy this product. Each parallel clamp is 24-inches long just like many clamps on the market.
3. Bora 50″ Parallel Clamp Set, 2 Pack of Woodworking Clamps with Rock-Solid, Even Pressure, 571150T
This Bora parallel clamp will enable you to complete a superior finished product you or your customers will love. In fact, it’s one of the best parallel clamps for woodworking. Measuring 50 inches, this versatile clamp is wide enough to hold both large and small projects perfectly in place.
Notably, it’s strong and even with a 3.5-inch padded jaw that delivers constant and even pressure without damaging your materials. As if that were not enough, the padded jaw has a special feature known as “Passive Lock”, which stays in place while the clamp is being wound.
In addition, this product provides the perfect clamping pressure of 1,100Lbs (500Kg), thanks to the special jaw lock design (that locks neither too tightly, nor too loosely). This is considered the ideal clamping pressure in woodworking.
On top of that, this product provides an easy and comfortable grip, thanks to the specially-designed grip handle. Consequently, it’s easy to lift and slide the jaw up and down.
With that, it’s easy to deliver a superior finished product you or your customers will love.
4. Bessey KR3.524 24-Inch K Body REVO Fixed Jaw Parallel Clamp, 2-Pack
This Bessey parallel clamp is ideal for general purpose clamping that involves day to day materials such as wood, plastic, mixed materials, light materials, etc. The clamp features a 90-degree clamping angle and 3-3/4-inch throat depth for optimum results. It also features 3 removable jaw pads and two rail protector pads to protect material surfaces and keep clamped material from contacting rail surfaces, respectively. Also, the tool provides up to 1500lb force, which is enough to hold any of the above materials in place without damaging one.
If that were not enough, this Bessey clamp offers rapid action jaw opening and closing. This ensures quick results and ease of use, a huge quality that puts it among the best parallel wood clamps. Additionally, it features a soft grip handle with ergonomic design. That ensures comfort for your hand even when you use the tool for a long duration.
5. IRWIN Tools Record Parallel Jaw Box Clamp, 24-inch (2026500)
This Irwin Tools parallel clamp is another perfect choice of clamp for carpentry and woodworking projects. Measuring 24 inches, this clamp has a precise 90-degree clamping angle, which is enough to hold even your most complicated projects in place.
But that’s not all, this parallel clamp provides powerful clamping force up to 1, 150 pounds, which is enough to accommodate light and heavy materials. These include wood, plastic, metal, and mixed materials.
As if that were not enough, this Irwin Tools clamp boasts a 3-3/4 inch jaw depth to ensure optimized pressure distribution. It also features a secure locking system to prevent the jaws of the clamp from slipping.
Furthermore, the clamp’s body is built from alloy steel to ensure maximum sturdiness and durability. On top of that, it’s finished with resin to prevent marring and resist glue adhesion. Last but not least, the clamp boasts an ergonomic grip to keep your hand comfortable during clamping.
6. Yost K5024 24 Inch Parallel Clamp
If ease of use is one of your top considerations in shopping for a suitable parallel clamp, the Yost K5024 parallel clamp is one of the most suitable choices available for you. Considered one of the best parallel bar clamps on the market, this 24-inch clamp is not only user-friendly, but also practical for your projects.
Featuring an aluminum body and steel main bar, this tool provides a sufficient clamping power, strength and force of up to 880lbs. What’s more, it features easy-to-clean plastic jaw faces that help protect your project. On top of that, this clamp boasts an acme threaded screw that helps the tool deliver consistent and even pressure. Besides that, the K5024 clamp is equipped with two support tabs that allow for the raising of any project off of the clamp rail. This ensures added stability and extra precision needed in some complex projects.
7. Bora 40″ Parallel Clamp, Woodworking Clamp with Rock-Solid, Even Pressure | 571140
This parallel clamp is strong and steady. It comes with 3.5-inches wide padded jaws to offer constant and even pressure. The padding also works to protect your materials from clamping damage and keep the jaw in place while you operate the clamp. Delivering a maximum clamping pressure of 1100lbs, this clamp is designed to hold materials together well i.e not too tightly or too loosely. This ensures a consistent and stable pressure you can always rely on.
This 40-inch clamp also features a passive lockjaw that has been engineered with precision to ensure the jaw stays in place while the user winds. The jaw won’t move unless you manually adjust it to.
Another amazing aspect of this top rated parallel clamp is the easy-to-grip handle. This makes the clamp easy to lift and maneuver, letting you work easily. The handle is also designed to help release the jaw, allowing it to slide along with the bar. This enables you to work fast and also clip the material right away. Unfortunately, this clamp doesn’t come with parallel bars. However, you can correct this minor setback with some finetuning.
8. JET 70411 Parallel Clamp Framing Kit (24″ and 40″)
This Jet parallel clamp framing kit includes two 40″ parallel clamps and two 24″ parallel clamps, bench dog set, and framing block kit. This parallel clamp kit has been praised by some users to make difficult jobs seem easy.
Each clamp is constructed well with a wider jaw and deeper throats that will boost your productivity. What’s more, each clamp features a slide-glide trigger that easily locks the jaw to place. This ensures a smooth movement.
On top of that, this parallel clamp set comes with a PRMS (Precision-Rule Measurement System) to provide you with accurate readings allowing you to get correct measurements in your projects. As if that were not enough, each parallel clamp comes with a movable rail stand to boost precision and convenience.
Additionally, each clamp comes with a 90-degree parallel jaw that offers precision and power(1000lbs pressure). Last but not least, each clamp features a soft Sumo Grip handle that lets you hold the clamp easily and comfortably.
9. Bora 4-Piece Parallel Clamp Set 571550
This Bora 4-piece parallel clamp set comes with four pieces of parallel clamps. Each clamp has a strong, easy-to-grip handle that lets you apply good pressure(1100lb rated) as well as works easily and comfortably. What’s more, each clamp features a 3 1⁄2-inches padded jaw that prevents your workpiece from marring. It should be noted that the pads are removable even though they stay in place when in use.
Additionally, the clamp set comes with a passive lock that holds it in place. This prevents it from dropping by itself when the clamp is picked up. You’ll find this great especially when you need to clamp a board to the side of your work bench.
What’s more, each clamp features a movable stop collar located below the bottom jaw. This helps keep the clamps from tipping during panel glue-ups.
10. BESSEY KRE3540, 40 In., Parallel Clamp, K Body REVO Series
This parallel clamp boasts large jaws that will clamp at a maximum angle of 90°. With an optimal clamping force of 1700 lbs this clamp is one of the best parallel clamps for both light duty and heavy duty applications. The clamp has a 3-3/4 inches. throat depth, which works to ensure maximum clamping precision and easier operation.
As if that were not enough, this clamp comes with 3 glue-resistant removable jaw pads, designed to clean easily and prevent marring. What’s more, it features 2 rail protection pads and an end clip to help balance the clamp while you glue-up. Finally, it comes with an ergonomic handle to provide better grip and comfort.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Parallel Clamps
Clamp capacity refers to the maximum size of workpiece a clamp can hold within its jaws. You can determine this by considering the clamp’s throat depth and jaw opening. When shopping for an appropriate clamp, this is one of the most important things to take into consideration.
Consider Throat Depth
The throat depth of a clamp refers to how deep the clamp’s jaws are. It indicates how far a workpiece can fit into the throat of a clamp. Similarly, throat depth is an important consideration in shopping for the appropriate clamp. You can measure this by using the distance from the side of the frame to the top edge of the jaws.
Another important factor to consider when shopping for a suitable clamp is the jaw opening of the clamps. The jaw opening refers to how far and wide the mouth of a clamp’s jaws can open. It indicates the maximum capacity of the jaws. Your clamp will not be able to clamp any object wider than its jaw opening.
As said earlier, clamps come in various lengths measured in inches or milimeters. These lengths range from 6 inches to 128 inches. Now the length of a clamp simply refers to it’s maximum clamping range. Most projects require a clamping length of 24 inches, 40 inches, or 50 inches. If you are stuck, go for those lengths instead, keeping in mind, however, that a longer length generally increases the bolt’s elasticity. This makes your work easier since the bolt can easily follow the movements of the joint and it’s subjected to less dynamic stress.
You’l also need to consider the clamping force when shopping for an appropriate clamp. For starters, the clamping force simply refers to the maximum amount of force a clamp can apply to a workpiece when you close and lock it. It’s an important consideration because standard clamps come with different clamping forces, ranging from 300lbs to 10000lbs. Now the higher the clamping force, the higher the ability of a clamp to resist external machining forces.
Some clamp models come with protective non-marking covers or caps meant to provide surface protection. Such are the options you need to consider when shopping because, with that special feature, you can be confident when holding your delicate workieces in place, using the clamp.
Last but not least, there’s something known as “Clamp Strength”, which refers to the total amount of force a clamp can apply to a workpiece without the tool bending. Now, clamps come with different strength ratings to suit various applications with varying strength needs.
A clamp’s strength and suitability in relation to the strength is always indicated on the product’s package. You need to pay attention to this information because that’s how you’ll know whether the clamp you want to choose is strong enough for your project or not. If your project includes a tough workiece that consists of a hard material like steel, you’ll need to go for something with higher strength and vice versa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
i. What are Parallel Clamps Made Of?
Answer: These woodworking and metalworking tools consist of different parts that are made of dissimilar materials. Now, the bar, handle, and jaws are the main components of these tools. The bar is usually made of steel alloy, and so are the jaws, whereas the handle is often made of wood/plastic.
ii. Where Can I Buy a Nice Clamp?
Answer: Clamps can be bought both online and locally. There are many e-commerce stores and physical hardware stores that deal in them.
iii. How Do I Prolong The Lifespan of My Clamp?
Answer: By using it appropriately according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, if your clamp is designed for soft materials such as wood and plastic, you should avoid using it for hard materials such as metal.
iv. How Do I Stay Safe While Clamping?
Answer: There are a few measures to take to avoid potential accidents and injuries. First, ensure that your clamp is well oiled. Second, put on safety gloves and goggles. Third, tighten your clamp only by hand and make sure to not over tighten it.
The tool you use can make all the difference when it comes to woodworking or metalworking. Using a good parallel clamp is the key to making a great product that you will be proud of. If you are shopping for one, shop no more than the top ten highest rated clamps above. Whether for a woodwork or metalwork project, you can be sure that any of these clamps will not disappoint you.
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