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OK - here it is - a review of the McJing parallel clamps. As I mentioned in another post, I took a gamble & ordered 8 of these sight unseen, as the price was right & I had a project where I really needed a whole lot of extra clamps. McJing are usually pretty good if you are unhappy with a purchase, so I didn't think this was too much of a risk.
I ordered on-line early afternoon, and next day the courier shows up with a box of clamps - great service as usual from the people at McJing -
I bought the 600mm clamps that are listed at $40 each. They also have 800mm 1000mm and 1200mm
The clamps were not exactly as pictured on the website (this has since been corrected & the pictures now removed); but they looked sturdy given the price, so I decided not to return them based on initial impressions.
Here is a picture compared to one of my Jets:
First test was to see if, in fact, the jaws closed parallel. I inserted a parallel sided piece of dressed pine and some narrow strips of paper in top, middle & bottom, then very lightly closed the jaws until the top strip of paper was just being gripped. The other two strips were also being gripped, indicating to me that the jaws were indeed closing in a parallel manner.
The jaws have plastic slip-on pads. While I don't think these will do a huge amount to stop marring of the surface, they are great for helping with minimising clean up from squeeze-out. The glue gets on the removable pads that can be slipped off & my white PVA did not stick. Less time cleaning up clamp jaws! How durable these are, only time will tell. The slip-on relies on a lip molded into the soft black pad, and I can see that this might eventually deform so they won't stay put. At present all the clamps have pads that are well attached.
Here are the slip-on pads - slipped off :
The jaws measure just a bit smaller that the Jets - 140mm x 40mm for the McJing (without the clamping pads) and 152mm x 45mm for the Jets. The McJing has 90mm of jaw above the bar. Here is an end on picture:
Now for the action for adjusting the jaw opening. This is a bugbear on many parallel clamps - you don't want to be futzing around trying to adjust un-cooperative clamps. The McJing clamps work in a similar way to most other parallel clamps (with the exception of the Jet clamps, that have a trigger mechanism to lock & unlock jaws to adjust them.) You raise the handle and pull to open the jaws wider, or push down on the handle and push the jaws to close up. Surprisingly (as I wasn't holding out a lot for these, given the price) the action is very smooth.
I found them to be much smoother than the Bessey UniKlamps (light weight parallel clamps) that I have, that always seem to lock up when adjusting at the most stressful point in a glue-up. Also, once adjusted when in the vertical position the jaws stay put (again, unlike my Bessey UniKlamps where the jaw tend to fall down at the most in-opportune time , if you can get them to stay where you want in the first place! )
The jaw mechanism is a bit different to the Jets, and the entire mechanism is encased in the plastic housing.
For horizontal orientation there is a little adjustable foot, or end stop. This performs a similar function to the end stop on the Jet clamps. On the McJing clamps it is a quite soft plastic, and the retention mechanism is a plastic cam with a wingnut type grip, to rotate between locked & sliding mode. It did the job of supporting the bar & keeping it parallel with the bench. However the cam is just a press fit, so it would be easier to loose it than with the Jets, where it is retained by a nice brass threaded screw. Also on the Jets there is an insert in the bottom of the end stop for attaching accessory dogs. No such refined functions available on the McJing. However a few companies are selling so called "cross blocks" that allow setting up clamps for gluing up frames and this is probably all that is needed.
Here you can see the brass inserts & brass screw on the Jet vs the plastic cam on the McJing. However, it works.
The bar of the clamp looks much smaller in the picture below than is actually the case; probably due to the end of the McJings being beveled. The cross section of the McJing is 8.95mm x 29.23mm My Jets measured 9.06mm x 28.88mm. So - the Jets are marginally thicker stock, but a bit smaller in beam height. Not enough in it to make any measurable difference in rigidity. The serrations are finer on the McJing, but they are deeper. In use there was ZERO slippage when starting to tighten, so at least for now that seems to be fine. The Jets have a hole bored into the end of the bar - the McJings do not.
Bar cross section - end view (McJing on the right):
Bar serrations (Jet on the right):
On the bench a square showed that the jaws sat at extremely close to 90 degrees to the surface when the clamp was in its horizontal orientation - as good as the Jet from that respect.
The handle is a "semi-soft" grip with "Duratec" embossed - so maybe this is the manufacturer.
The handle is not as beefy as the Jets, but I had no problem getting enough pressure for the glue-up. You can see that the Acme thread is somewhat smaller diameter. I was able to adjust to get a good, even squeeze-out and in use did not seem any real difference between the Jets and the McJings. I also used a clamp to eliminate about 5mm wain (crook) in a 120mm long 150 x 20 board I was laminating . The clamp pulled the board straight without having to exert undue force, and I still seemed to have plenty of oomph left if it was needed (could still turn screw some more).
I have done 4 major glue-ups with these since I bought them, and they have performed brilliantly
How long they last will be interesting to see. The Jets are pretty indestructible & very heavy construction. These are certainly lighter. However, for a weekend warrior like me I think they will do a stellar job. As of now I am very happy with the performance/price ratio!!
Thanks a lot! I'm also looking for some more clamps and love the pricing on these. Have asked what the chances of getting longer ones is.
Yep great report, McJings always seem to do better than expected for the price
A good edge takes a little sweat!!
Thanks for your review of the McJing and Jet parallel clamps. This belated post is piggy backed on your review as I thought some readers who look to your post on parallel clamps might also be interested in my experience of the Torquata brand parallel clamps sold by Timbercon. I bought them on special as a six pack. Overall I like these clamps they work smoothly and seem to be of good quality but they do need some modifications .
I have only had two issues with them and the first was to do with the little foot that sits on the end of the bar, unlike the jet and McJing that are positively retained with a thumb screw the Torquata foot just slides on with a plastic tube that locates in the hole in the end of the bar. The first time I used these clamps I suspect I spent more time picking these feet up from the floor and refitting them than I did clamping up the project.. In the end I gave up and located some low profile gal bolts I had and bolted the feet in place, problem solved.
My second issue was with the non marring pads on the face of the clamping surfaces do prevent dents in the wood but, and this is a big BUT, they have an oily material in the plastic, may be a plasticiser or the like. What ever it is it leaches into the surface of the wood and leaves an oily stain.(This happened after only two hours of clamping.)This stain was fortunately free of the bright green colour of the pads. I found that I could remove it with repeated treatments of methylated spirits on a white cloth and then clamping wads of paper towel over the stain. I spent around an hour on three consecutive days trying to elute the oily material out of the wood and at the end of each session I would clamp a wad of dry paper towel on the mark and that seemed to draw more of the stuff out over night.
I am now in the process of fitting plywood pads to the clamping surfaces so this will not be an issue in future. With these two modifications I would recommend these clamps to any one who is willing to make the mods and has only a hobby use in mind and is reluctant to spend the big dollars for the Bessy K-body variety of parallel clamp that seem to be regarded as the gold standard. All the best
Thanks to all for time and effort of review, very objective overview. Helps those of us at a great distance from major city to make an informed decision on what to purchase.
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