Aluminium clamps of top quality

I was glad to see these USA domestic made clamps offered in the Veritas catalog so I ordered a couple to see if they were the same quality as the ones I knew from many years back. They are! As with any tool or piece of equipment, with quality you can almost always see it before you touch it. DSC_0596As many of you know, I really like the lighter weight aluminium brings to clamps and if joints are well fitted, rarely do you need anything heavier in joinery in general. Between the US school and the UK we have about 150 such clamps in varying lengths, but the ones we use are much thinner aluminium; actually about 1/16″ thick instead of the 1/8″ of these new ones. DSC_0601We stuff the imported clamps with a stiffener of wood and this radically improves the rigidity, but a real flaw with the US Harbor Freight imports (less so on the UK models) is that the heads do occasionally break. Frustratingly, they always of course snap mid-glue up.
DSC_0606The Universal Clamp Corporation models I have used would not break or even flex hardly, even with unnatural pressure applied to them. The do cost about double, but the convenience of longevity and good local and domestic economy is important. I also like to look back on my equipment and value it, whatever it is, for its many, many years of service.These clamps are that sort of equipment. I think you must buy what you can afford. I would like to gradually shift to replace the clamps for the higher quality even though the clamps imported are guaranteed for life. For the furniture maker and joiner, these clamps make much sense. Two things struck me about the Universal clamps as you will see from the images. The import knockoffs have a much smaller locking mechanism that translates into damage in the registration dents if you apply too much pressure. DSC_0604Of course if you know this the you will not be too excessive and they work fine. The second point is the distance between the indents. The thicker alluminium allows for closer registration points for the lock to register.

One thing that we furniture makers would make much sense of would be a snap on extension. The old Record cramps were available with extensions and simple pine passed through that locked another 2 or 3 feet on there for longer reaches. We relied on these for large frame joinery like window frames and doors and such.

3 comments on “Aluminium clamps of top quality

  1. Your side by side comparison is very revealing. I purchased a dozen of the Universal clamps used (in 3 different sizes), and I really love how light they are and how smoothly they operate compared to my heavy (and clunky) Jorgensen Parallel clamps. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more. TheBestThings also sells these clamps, and they have the lowest prices when bought in quantities of 10.

  2. Do the universal clamps require infilling with wood as the cheaper ones do, for use in your vice clamp system?

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