I never thought the day would come that I would write a post about easy grip bar clamps and getting older. But, as I near 60, there are days that I tend to avoid clamps with wood handles – I have to grip them harder to get the same torque on the clamp.
Yes, it might be a little arthritis, I am not sure, but it happens more than I would like and these clamps make a tremendous difference.
Sure, I could use Quick Clamps, but you can only exert so much clamping pressure with these, not enough to solidly hold stock in place (for sawing or routering etc) or glue up boards with them. There are times when good old fashioned bar clamps are a must – and safest.
When I first used the new Jorgensen steel bar clamps with rubber coated handles, I was quiet pleased at how much torque I could apply with minimal hand pressure. I would say I can apply half the torque required with these rubberized clamp handles versus varnished smooth wood handles.
Now you may have heard Pony / Jorgensen were closing down operations (it was a sad year of uncertainty for many woodworkers who love their products) and for awhile you could not get many of their clamps.
Recently though, GreatStar Industrial (a Chinese firm) purchased the company and it’s assets and is now producing the brands clamps in China. While this may appear bad at first, the quality of the new clamps appears to be good – I have been using these Jorgensen Light Duty Steel Bar Clamps at work daily for over a year and they are showing no signs of breakage, slippage or wear – and for small clamps, they can exert a lot of pressure with minimal hand torque!
I cannot say the same for my Irwin quick clamps and a few other brands. Whoever GreatStar Industrial is, they know they have acquired a very good brand name and it looks like they intend to keep the quality Jorgensen is know for – thank God for that!
If you find your hands getting a little weaker these days, or you simply want clamps that are easier on the wrists and hands, I highly recommend getting Jorgensen rubber handled clamps – Now that they are available again, I won’t buy any other brand.
Just keep in mind that small clamps have their limits. If you need stronger clamps they are now making Cabinet Makers clamps and the well-known Pony Pipe clamps that have been around since I was a kid.