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Replace the pad on the spindle of any of Bessey’s cast iron, Omega, or all-steel screw clamps with their clamping force indicator and you can tell instantly if you’ve applied the correct amount of pressure. As you increase the clamping force, the red disk starts to disappear inside the indicator; when it disappears completely and you only see green you’re using the right clamping force.

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Bessey manufactures two different indicators: the FIN250 which shows you when you’ve applied approximately 550lbs. (2500 Newtons) of force, and the FIN350 which shows when you’re close to 700lbs. (3500 Newtons) of force. Either of Bessey’s Clamp Force Indicators run about $20.

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Clamp Force Indicator [Bessey]
Clamp Force Indicator [McFeely’s]
Clamp Force Indicator [True North Tools]

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9 Responses to Are You Using The Correct Clamping Force?

  1. Grant says:

    The right clamping force for what, exactly? Doesn’t it depend on what you’re clamping?

  2. Geoff says:

    Perhaps this gizmo would be more useful if there were several colored layers that corresponded to different amounts of clamping pressure…

  3. mr. man says:

    the solution to a non existent problem

  4. browndog77 says:

    In gang clamping applications, it is good to equalize pressure at the various points, but that starts to get expensive @ $20 a pop.

  5. David Bryan says:

    Now I have to know if I’m using approved clamping force? Aaaagh! This is way too much pressure!

  6. ChromeWontGetYouHome says:

    I’m wondering if there’s a spring inside, and if so, how long before it starts wearing and misleading the user?

  7. smitty3 says:

    Bessy has too many engineers sitting idle due to the fact they’ve sent all their stuff to China. Things must be getting hard up there in engineering land when you think woodworkers will use something that costs more than the clamp you put it on…so of like putting $20,000 worth of tires on a car?

  8. fred says:

    I notice that Bessey shows this product with their metalworking clamps –but that McFeeely’s seems to be marketing them to woodworkers.
    In a perfect world – with well engineered and precisely made wood joint – clamping force would seem to be of only modest importance. You want enough (probably in the range of 100 to 250 psi) to insure good contact along the joint for good alignment and glue adhesion. With some slop along the joint – higher clamping pressures (closer to the 250 psi end of the range) may help to bring things into more equal contact. In all cases, you do not want to go so high as to starve the joint of glue. Equalizing the force of the clamping setup can use various strategies from professionally made jigs – like the JLT equipment we have in our cabinet shop to shop-made jigs and cauls. For custom setups we often still use oak cauls to help equalize pressure along the joint.

  9. ShopMonger says:

    Yeah i would wonder what is “correct” pressure, Fred made very valid points. for one it this a rig for wood or metal, because those are wholly different animals…. I use more magnet clamps in steal, and more of the bessey parallels in the wood shop. And then if you are using clamps to bring boards straight….Not a good idea…. The GLUE WILL FAIL….EPICALLY….

    ShopMonger

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