Clamps are one of those must have tools. Every carpenter has a least a few in their tool kit. And while everyone has them they are often overlooked and not a whole lot has changed with them over the years. The only big change in recent history was the introduction of pistol grip bar clamps. These are great, easy-to-use tools but JackClamp has taken it a step further. In remodeling and repair carpentry the standout feature I look for in tools is versatility and these clamps deliver and they’re made in the USA to boot!
What is JackClamp?
The big and immediately noticeable difference with JackClamps is the extra bar. This second upper bar is adjustable, and the lower bar is removable. This allows the JackClamp to be turned into a spreader with double the reach of similarly sized clamps. In addition the JackClamp system comes with spreader attachments that allow spreading for openings as narrow as 1/4″. The V-jaw attachments that allow clamping of round rods, pipes, dowels, handrails, and other oddly shaped workpieces. And finally the foot attachments give extra stability to the JackClamp for applications like supporting cabinets.
Using the JackClamp
I’ve used the JackClamps for everything from general purpose clamping, holding down work pieces for routing and for tweaking framing into place during deck and wall construction.
They have a really strong grip for pistol grip clamps and the attachments are really helpful. I’ve used the spreader attachments for straightening decking and for tweaking framing and walls. The V-jaws are incredibly useful when putting up handrails as they really clamp the round profile solidly, but because the v-jaw is an attachment you can use the regular jaw pad on the other side of the clamp preventing damage to posts and walls.
The JackClamps have come in very handy for odd clamping and spreading jobs. But as a carpenter working on repairs and remodels I’m usually working alone and trying to make the best of less than ideal situations. And these clamps are great for this. The spreader attachments allow the user to spread and clamp in places that other clamps just can’t fit into.
These clamps are incredibly strong. I was able to jack up a 2×10 stringer while framing an accessibility ramp to even it up with the other stringers to nail off blocking.
Room For Improvement
Another small issue is that the spreader and V-jaw attachments are a little loose when attached and can fall off pretty easily. I’d like it if they had some kind of detent to keep them in place. The problem is especially noticeable when using them for decking when the clamp is upside-down. But this doesn’t change the simple fact that these are some excellent clamps with some unique, helpful features.
The JackClamps really take pistol grip clamps to the next level. The JackClamp system which includes two JackClamps, and the foot, spreader, and V-jaw attachments, is $119.99 which is a bit steep for a set of pistol grip clamps; but between the overall quality, incredible versatility, and the fact that these clamps are made in the USA, they are a worthy investment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown other clamps off to the side in frustration when they weren’t able to get into the tight spaces I needed them to, didn’t spread far enough to be helpful, or simply couldn’t grip the workpiece. But JackClamps can almost always be adjusted or modified to accomplish the task at hand and get the job done, and for that reason they have earned a permanent place in my truck.