Bar clamps are about as integral to woodworking as the rule in your combo square. But even tried-and-true “F-style” bar clamps have an annoying problem: you need one hand to position the clamp, the other hand to slide the movable jaw into place to tighten it and often another hand or two to hold workpieces together. Sound familiar?
Well, Rockler’s product development team set out to solve this three-handed conundrum with these new Spring-Loaded One-Handed Bar Clamps. They feature a patented internal spring mechanism that retracts the extendable jaw automatically when a metal trigger is depressed. Then, just one or two pumps of the pistol grip tightens the glass-reinforced jaws up to 150 lbs of clamping force. This way, the clamp can be both positioned and tensioned easily with only one hand.
“Many of the basic components of these 6″ and 10” clamps are not much different than other clamps of their kind,” says Jay Owens, one of the clamps’ developers. “Our clamps simply have an additional feature that saves you time and effort.”
Owens says the shroud around the spring mechanism was a big engineering focal point. The spring was exposed in early prototypes, inviting dust to build up in the mechanism and even create a potential pinch point during use.
So the team developed a shroud to completely seal in the spring and rear portion of the clamp’s steel bar.
“We focused on the connection between the shroud and clamp body to ensure that the parts flow together aesthetically and are very durable.”
Another challenge was achieving the correct spring tension. Owens says numerous springs were tested before the team settled on one that delivers “just about perfect” tensioning.
These clamps offer either 6-1/2″ or 10-1/2″ of open capacity and a 2-1/4″ throat depth. Non-marring thermoplastic rubber pads protect clamping surfaces. Available now, the 6″ size sells for $19.99 and the 10″ clamp costs $22.99.