|Review by vipond33||posted 04-16-2013 05:17 AM||3080 views||0 times favorited||21 comments|
Good everyday tools make everything better.
I have an abundance of Jorgensen 3700 clamps on hand, today I bought some more. I’ve been happily using these same American clamps for decades and I’ve really no idea whether the people involved are being paid well or not, but to this day the quality remains outstanding.
It does seem there are companies that make a cheaper, poorer copy of this design but I would say to them and you – why bother? Many of my clamps have been used thousands if not tens of thousands of times so the per use cost becomes less than a piece of Kleenex. Blow your nose, admire and smile after easily pulling up a perfect joint.
These ones were $10.40.
Let me enumerate the features they have from the smallest to the largest.
The paint is perfect. Crisp, heavy and clean. And real bright orange.
The lacquered maple handles are perfect too. Smoothly cut & accurately finished, astonishingly so. I tape them up after, but only to have a high grip still possible with rather dry fingertips.
The threads are dead smooth and powerful as are the swivels. They line up perfectly on contact with little backlash. A good thread such as this allows you to smoothly creep up on your pressure; a drop of oil now and then makes all the difference.
The mating surfaces are flat and clean, I still take time just the once with a fine file and make them truly smooth. Sometimes you may get away with no protection blocks.
The clutches are crisp and positive when new, almost too much so. 30 yrs. older ones have a butter smooth old pair of pants feel to them. I have reversed the clutches on a few.
The fly in the ointment is the new clamp pads. Plastic instead of the rubber type, which would leave funny marks sometimes but would also allow difficult clamping at a slight angle. Plastic slips and also marks under higher pressure on soft woods.
It’s interesting to see that the folks at Jorgensen have not just sat on their butt collecting royalties on these mass produced simple casting patterns over the years. The new ones show some changes,
There is more meat in both parts, a longer thread casting on the tail-stock and a redesigned upper clamp face, now slightly larger than the original ellipse. All thoughtful and useful.
Older styles were riveted with a drift able pin on the end of bar and a solid heavy rivet at the head. Newer ones are upset punched, quite solid though, with only a crimp style restraining bit on the bar end. File it off to reverse things and then punch it back yourself.
Never equaled by the Europeans, this is the Apollo of small clamps.
-- firstname.lastname@example.org : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.