Clamp Handle Supersize

I have a few of the standard Bessey F-clamps.  They are well made and seem to hold up well.  My only real complaint with them is that the handles are too small in diameter.  The small diameter makes it more difficult to tighten them enough.  To improve them I needed to make a quick and easy way to supersize the handle.

Since the handles on the standard Bessey F clamps are 7/8″ in diameter, I originally went to the hardware store and picked up 7/8″ ID hose.  Unfortunately, it went on too easy and would slip when I started tightening the clamp.  So after a trip back to the hardware store I bought some 3/4″ ID (inner diameter) braided vinyl tubing (it has the lattice pattern in it) and the unbraided clear version.  The braided version goes on better as it seems to have a little bit more structure to it.  After a few trials and errors here is what I found worked best.

grips for clamp handles

  1. Cut a length of 3/5″ ID braided vinyl that is 1″ longer than the handle, including the metal ferule on the handle.  The hose shrinks in length as it stretches to go over the handle.
  2. Clamp the clamp to your workbench so the handle is facing up.  Force the tube down onto the handle as far as you can by hand.
  3. Wrap your hand around the tube lightly to keep it from bending over as you hit the end of the tube repeatedly with a rubber mallet.
  4. With each whack, the tube will move a little farther onto the handle.  When it is fully on, you can stop.
  5. You may need to trim the end of the tubing with a utility knife to put a little bit of a chamfer on the tubing.

clamp handle gripThe handle now has a diameter close to 1-1/8″ which gives me nearly a 30% increase in Torque and a substantial increase in comfort.  Of course the other option is to spend a couple of dollars more per clamp and get the Bessey Heavy Duty F-Clamps which are a little heavier, but have larger handles already.

Reader's Comments »

  1. By pete on November 1, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Nice simple tip, i like it.