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Thread: Irwin 24" Parallel jaw clamps $21.99 ea

  1. #1
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    Irwin 24" Parallel jaw clamps $21.99 ea

    now through sept 1st Rockler has Irwin 24" parallel jaw clamps (k-body style) for $21.99 (regularly $39.99). yep, that cha-ching sound was me ordering some a few minutes ago.
    -Ned

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Bulken View Post
    now through sept 1st Rockler has Irwin 24" parallel jaw clamps (k-body style) for $21.99 (regularly $39.99). yep, that cha-ching sound was me ordering some a few minutes ago.
    Ned,

    I have read some conflicting reviews on the Irwin clamps. Would you mind posting your thoughts on the quality fit and finish when you get your new clamps?

    Thanks
    Jack

  3. #3
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    There are a few negative reviews & I understand the reasons & if they are true I wouldn't buy them for these reasons too.


    *Ned* Please read these reviews & compare your findings to them especially the negative reviews.


    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?O...=18181&max=999

    Of course I would need to have a full time custom cabinet shop or furniture shop to justify any parallel jaw clamps just because of the price alone. I still use pipe clamps. I purchased several 3/4" pipe clamps several years ago with black pipe & learned the hard way about stains from the black pipe, that old used galvanized pipe is the way to go. Not the newer galvanized pipe that allows the clamp to slip.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 08-27-2012 at 04:34 PM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys,
    I'm willing to roll the dice for half price... the proof will be in how they work in my shop. Even if they're not Bessey's (which I have a pair of the largest size), they're bound to be better than the cheap f-clamps I'm working with now.
    -Ned

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Lemley View Post
    Ned,

    I have read some conflicting reviews on the Irwin clamps. Would you mind posting your thoughts on the quality fit and finish when you get your new clamps?

    Thanks
    Jack
    I got some, and they're the last I reach for. Personally I have found that the heads can "stick" for me, and be hard to slide along the bar. As well they're considerably heavier.
    But I admit that could just be habit. My main Parallel Clamps are a bunch of Gross + Stabil clamps (remember those?**) and I'm very much used to how they work.

    On the other hand I know of a fellow up here who has a bunch and he thinks they're great. Diffr'ent strokes for diffr'ent folks!

    I think for myself the main thing is that I would prefer it if ALL of my parallel clamps were identical brands, and lacking that would prefer that they all work the same.

    ...art

    ** Gross+Stabil were a line of clamps that I think first came out of Germany. A number of years ago they were bought out by Bessey which subsequently killed the brand. I'm kind of fortunate in that the main tool store here in London bought up a HUGE amount of the inventory from Bessey when they killed it, and so you can still buy brand new Gross+Stabil parallel clamps here for the past several years (and at all the woodshows here in southern Ontario, but those all seem to have died in the last 2 years.)
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  6. #6
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    Art, I'm another Gross-Stabil fan. I've got some of them as well as a few Besseys, and the Besseys are the last ones I reach for.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Irwins arrived today. They may take a touch more finesse to apply them than other brands, however after a very shallow learning curve I found they were easy to use. In the end, for the price, I'm happy. They're Sturdy, are no worse or fidgety than my 48" K bodies.

    This isn't a pro cabinet shop, so they're going to be my 'go to' clamps for cutting boards and cabinet glue ups for years to come.
    -Ned

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Bulken View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	70100Click image for larger version. 

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    The Irwins arrived today. They may take a touch more finesse to apply them than other brands, however after a very shallow learning curve I found they were easy to use. In the end, for the price, I'm happy. They're Sturdy, are no worse or fidgety than my 48" K bodies.

    This isn't a pro cabinet shop, so they're going to be my 'go to' clamps for cutting boards and cabinet glue ups for years to come.
    Thanks Ned!

    Jack

  9. #9
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    Thought I'd take a moment and report on these clamps after some 'heavy' use the past couple of weeks.

    They work well, everything I've clamped has stayed clamped. There is a bit of 'finicky' in them when setting them up; basically you need to back them all the way 'in' so that the screw is 'loose' in the head. This makes it so that the head moves easily and tightens down easily. IF you don't do that you'll have to re-tighten them, it's easier just to set it up the right way the first time, which takes a couple of seconds. Just the other day I needed three sets of clamps, and wound up using my large bessey's as well as the Irwins on the same board. That single application showed me that while they DO work, Future purchases will be Besseys simply because of the Irwin's fine threading on the head. The Bessey's have courser threads, and were easier to set up.

    Still and all, for the price, I'm Not getting rid of the Irwins, I simply prefer the Besseys going forward.
    -Ned

  10. #10
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    Thanks for catching us up Ned. Always proud of a Family member "taking one for the team". Back when I read the reviews linked to in this thread it seems that the folks who had problems would have had problems anyway (except for the clamps that had alignment quality issues, there's no excuse for that). There is a bit of a learning curve for parallel clamps. I have used K-body's long enough that the pulling of the handle away from the bar to slide forward and backward and then returning it to the engaged position to tighten is nearly a one handed operation.

    The Jets have some cool features a large following but, like the Irwins, Stanleys and Jorgies, I find them overly heavy/bulky for the job they perform. The "other" brands that look like the older styled K-body clamps all seem to have quality issues so the field of parallel clamps is pretty open and preference will lean to personal taste. I'm glad they have proven worth the price and appreciate the update.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

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