Rockler Spring-Loaded One-Handed Bar Clamp
As a contractor and woodworker, you can never own enough clamps. New to the workshop clamping scene is the Rockler spring-loaded clamp. This clamp features a spring mechanism that closes the jaws with a squeeze of the trigger, leaving your other hand free to position parts – something that I have found to be helpful. Squeeze the release trigger quickly for instant closing or lightly pull the trigger for a slower closing action.
I’ve partnered with Rocker to give you guys an independent review on these clamps and have been using them for 3-4 weeks.
These Rockler clamps are made of a glass-reinforced nylon clamp body with a steel bar and steel spring cover. They feature black-colored, non-marring thermoplastic rubber clamp pads. The clamps come in two sizes with a clamping capacity between jaws of either 6-1/2” or 10-1/2” and a throat depth: 2-1/4”. The clamp pads measure 7/8” x 1-1/2” and have a clamping force of 150 lbs.
Rockler Spring Clamp | First Impression
The main feature of these clamps is that they claim to close fast – and, after having used them several times, I can tell you that they do. I was impressed with how fast the clamp closes; a simple squeeze of the release trigger and the spring mechanism closes the jaws fast which eliminates repetitive pumping of the clamp grip or the use of your other hand to close the jaw.
Once closed, a squeeze the larger four-finger trigger engages up to 150 lbs. in clamping force. To give you some perspective on how fast these clams close, it takes 26 pumps on the pistol grip to close the clamp, or less than a second to close it with the spring mechanism. This is extremely efficient and by far a very cool feature.
When initially closing this clamp the clamp pads slam closed quickly, and with some force. I wondered if this “slamming” of the clamp pads would be detrimental in clamping operations. Rockler says you can precisely feather the clamp closed, something we’ll discuss later in this review.
Opening the clamp is like other pistol grip clamps: you still need to engage the finger release trigger and pull the clamp open, making it a two-handed operation.
Using the Clamps | Easy, Fast, Efficient
The spring mechanism allowed me to close the clamp easily, fast, and efficiently while freeing one hand to position parts, a level, or other items. I found that pre-releasing [opening] all the clamps allow you to install multiple clamps one-handed. This was the best way to use the one-handed feature and allows you to jump right into a gluing or assembly process.
These clamps are faster, and easier to close than the pistol grip “pump” style clamps, I have.
Rockler advertises the two clamp sizes to have a 6-1/2” or 10-1/2” clamping capacity. We measured the clamping capacity on our clamps and got 6-3/4” and 10-7/8”.
One observation we had was that they take a short time to wear in and work smoothly. Early on when we started using them, I noticed that some of our clamps were stiff to open and close. The good news is that they loosened up after using them a bit. We found they worked well after this initial breaking-in period.
Rockler Spring Clamp | Feathering and Precision
The clamp closes fast and with some force. The force is enough to misalign small parts that you are holding with one hand. As a result, you need to feather the clamp closed. We tried feathering a few different clamps, 50+ times, and there is a learning curve, as it takes some practice to get it right.
The process is not really what I’d call feathering. I’d describe it as a “choppy” controlled close. After practicing with the clamp, I was able to slow the closure with three “feathering” presses, but it still is not what I would describe as a “smooth-feathering” closure.
When clamping a small part in place for gluing we noticed that fast closing of the clamp will “slam the parts” out of alignment. This is where that controlled closing is necessary.
Room For Improvement
The limiting size of these clamps is a bummer, after using both size clamps in the workshop and in the field at the job site, we determined that the 2-1/4” throat depth and 6-1/2” or 10-1/2” clamping capacity is somewhat limiting.
Additionally, I’d like to see Rockler improve on the soft closing of these clamps, if they can do that then there is no beating these clamps.
The 6” Rockler Spring-Loaded One-Handed Bar Clamp, costs $19.00, and the 10” Clamp is $22.99. Considering that I can get a 4 pack of pistol grip clamps for a similar price, the Rockler clamps are a bit on the pricier side.
Overall, while not perfect, we liked the spring mechanism closing feature on these clamps. #Rockler #SponsoredReview