Wise Buys: Band Clamps
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Wood Magazine

Wise Buys: Band Clamps

Why buy?
Every workshop should have at least one band clamp--also known as a strap or web clamp--for pulling together joints on projects that prove difficult for standard bar or pipe clamps, such as frames, chairs, cases, columns, or any odd-shaped project. They all come with corner blocks for supporting angled joints, but you also can use these clamps without them. Just be aware that without corner blocks, glue squeeze-out seeps into the nylon bands and can be difficult to remove. WOOD tool tester Bob Saunders tested nine band clamps and recommends these three.

Lee Valley 17F10.13

Lee Valley 17F10.13

Editor test-drive:

This low-cost clamp works like the ratcheting tie-downs I use to secure cargo to my pickup truck. But instead of rubber-coated metal hooks on the ends of the 16'-long nylon band, it's secured to the ratchet at one end with the other end loose to pull through the ratchet before tightening. It comes with four 90 nylon corner brackets that clip onto the band and work great for square glue-ups. For odd angles, I use Lee Valley's accessory variable-angle corners (4-pack, #50K57.01, $12.95, shown in the photo) because they adjust from 30 to 180--the only ones with this much flexibility. My advice: Buy the band clamp (#17F10.02) itself for $9.95, then get the variable corners.

To learn more:
800-871-8158, leevalley.com


 

Craftsman 31458

Craftsman 31458

Editor test-drive:

Craftsman's easy-to-use band clamp has a one-handed ratcheting mechanism (with rubber overmolded handles) that frees up my other hand to adjust the corner blocks as I tighten it. The 16'-long nylon band pulled out easily when I depressed the release button, and automatically locked when I let go. The band's metal end hooks onto a magnetic rod that prevents the hook from coming loose while setting it up. The corner blocks adjust from 60 to 180, but I wish Craftsman would sell extra blocks for clamping up projects with more than four corners.

To learn more:
800-383-4814, craftsman.com


 

Bessey VAS-23

Bessey VAS-23

Editor test-drive:

Of the seven clamps I tested similar to this one, I prefer the Bessey. Its handle closely resembles those on my Bessey K-Body parallel-jaw clamps and fits my hand perfectly. Its 23'-long nylon band was longest in the test, and although I might never need all that length, it's nice to have it available in a tight, easy-to-use reel that never gets in the way. And the metal hasp proves easy to couple and disconnect. With swiveling jaws that snugly fit 60 to 180 angles, the corner blocks have open "pockets" inside the corners to keep glue squeeze-out from getting on them.

To learn more:
800-828-1004, besseytools.com


 

shim

Wood Magazine