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Bessey’s New Adjustable Toggle Clamps

There’s a new toggle clamp in town, and it’s a huge winner. I’ve been using De-Staco toggle clamps for years! And it’s been a real love/hate relationship. I’ve loved them for holding pieces securely in a jig or fixture when nothing else will work. But I’ve hated them because they’re so difficult to adjust.And De-Staco clamps must be adjusted a lot. I have to adjust them to the exact thickness of the material, otherwise the clamping pressure is too strong and I can’t lock the toggle; or the clamping pressure is too weak and the workpiece isn’t held securely in the fixture.

Bessey’s Auto-Adjust Toggle Clamp (approx $20.00) is just that—a toggle clamp that adjusts to material thickness automatically, so carpenters and woodworkers don’t have to thread out or thread in the clamp pad to the exact thickness of the material. There’s a lot of wiggle room with this toggle clamp, which makes working with fixtures and jigs much easier and much faster.

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Please don’t try anything you see in THISisCarpentry, or anywhere else for that matter, unless you’re completely certain that you can do it safely.


21 Responses to “Bessey’s New Adjustable Toggle Clamps”

  1. James C. Bunch

    I just saw these clamps today, and bingo their you are with them. These are going to be time savers and finger savers……
    Jim Bunch

  2. Emanuel

    Hey Gary, Great video with lots of good tips. I always say I look foward to learning at least one good thing in carpentry per day, but today I learned several. Look forward to buying some of those clamps and using them on my future projects.

    Thanks again

  3. kit camp

    Hi Gary,

    Cool video you did of the clamps…

    When you have the 1 1/2″ material clamped under there, it seems like the pad is at quite an angle and might be likely to push the wood to the side. I know the clamps “auto-adjust”, but is there some method of dialing in the range to avoid this angled pressure scenario? It may be, too, that this angle is exaggerated by the location of the camera and is a non-issue.


    – Kit

    • Gary Katz

      Yes, expecting the clamps to auto-adjust from 1/2 in. to 1 1/2 in. is a bit of a ‘stretch’. They’ll do it, but you really should adjust the threaded plunger so that the pressure is more perpendicular to the work. Wow, I can’t believe I was able to say that after dark… So you make a ‘gross’ adjustment by loosening the lock nuts and threading the clamp pad in or out, then rely on the auto-adjusting spring for the rest. Still a great improvement over the horse-and-buggy days of De-Staco clamps.

  4. Joe Stoddard

    Gary – I am your biggest fan and this article and video is an example of why. Norm Abram’s got nothing on your delivery – the articles are great, the photography is great, and the video content is better yet. TIC embodies JLC’s vision of “WJLC a dozen yrs ago when the web was just heating up. I could live here. I want it on a 24 hr cable channel with a feed to my SmartPhone. Love it.
    – JLS

    • Gary Katz

      You are too much. As for your SmartPhone…the new TiC app will be out sometime next month, we hope! It’ll start out with only a handful of “Reference Articles”, but the content will grow rapidly, all through an rss feed. It’s really going to be the nuts.

  5. Willy

    Great video, Gary. I’m glad you left in the segment regarding pulling out the cutoff while the blade is still moving. I almost had a heart attack when you did it, though. Those new clamps are a must-have in my shop.


  6. Bob Cunningham

    Great video Gary. I will be buying several of the Bessy Auto Adjust clamps for my many jigs. Thanks for showing how versatile they are.


  7. Thomas Stremlau

    Before I comment on the clamps, I want to thank you for leaving the section in with getting too close to the table saw. I was about to get another cup of coffee while I was watching this video, but after seeing you grab that cut off from the table saw I was startled and didn’t need any more caffeine!

    The Bessey Clamps look great and you don’t need to make minor adjustments. I have just added them to my must have list.


  8. Phil Raneri

    Gary every time I watch your web site I learn something new. Keep the articles coming.


  9. Bily the Builder

    Gary, Are those clamps made with Reardon steel?
    Always keep a 18″ push stick within reach when using the table saw as an alternative to reaching into the saw

    • Gary Katz

      No, they’re not made with Reardon steel. I don’t think even Bessey could afford that. But I have a bracelet….

  10. Rick Kaitz

    As usual Gary, you never disapoint. I have to say that you cought me off gaurd though. When you reached into the blade my eyeballs popped out of my head! I was glad to see a moment later that you left that segment in. How many times have we all been guilty of that very same thing!
    Looking forward to your next video. Keep em’ coming!

  11. Evan

    Mr. Katz,
    Again a well done presentation of how everything does not go perfectly but there are easy ways to fix them. If you had your own tv show you could make us think it always worked for you the first time exactly the way you want it. I can’t help but notice how you struggled (exaggeration) to align your dust collection holes on the hook and loop sand paper. If you had a nice box with short pegs in the top like I have then you could drop the paper on it and slap the sander on top with precise alignment every time for maximum Festool dust extraction. I just thought I would give you a hard time about that since there is always a different way to do things. Thanks again for the great education opportunity you provide.

    • Gary Katz

      That’s Festool’s RO 90. It’s a Rotex sander that can be used with a round or a delta-shaped pad. Very ‘handy’.

  12. Gary Katz

    Yes, I’m much happier with the video now, too. Like a lot of a carpenters, I do dumb stuff all the time. Sometimes when I do dumb stuff I try to explain that there’s a reason for it…but it’s still dumb stuff.
    I haven’t really lost any weight! At least I haven’t spent any time looking for it. I think it’s been redistributed from what little I had in some places to what little I had in others.

  13. Kirk

    It is the T-shirt that is making him look thin.

    I just saw these clamps at the woodworkers show. They don’t shift the material. I was very surprised when I took the piece of 1/4 inch stock on top of the 3/4 inch stock, aligned the edges and then clamped it without holding the wood and they stayed flush. Very cool clamps.

    I too, must echo the “heart stopping” reaction when you reached for that wood. Thankful that nothing untoward happened and that you left it in as a lesson.



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