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Forum topic by AbeFroman posted 06-15-2011 01:42 PM 1259 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AbeFroman's profile


4 posts in 2776 days

06-15-2011 01:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tool clamp compression

I need some good feedback on clamps. I don’t know if it is me, but I have never really been able to use clamps without being frustrated. It seems as though I don’t have enough hands to hold the object, hold the clamp, and screw/tighten it. Does anyone know of any one-hand clamps out there? If so, do they work well? How about an air compressed one that tightens easily?

Please tell me your thoughts, thanks.

7 replies so far

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3385 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 01:54 PM

Some of my most useful clamps are QuickClamps (which are now made by Irwin and called Quick Grip). These have one-handed operation by means of a ratchet trigger in the handle. The design is quite common these days. They don’t produce as much clamping force as regular bar clamps, but they are fantastic to locking down things when you’re missing that third hand. I have a four six-inch ones that are almost always in use.

Here’s a link to the 12” variety:

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2843 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 02:01 PM

Are you doing dry clamp-ups? I had a couple of really hairy glue-ups with all kinds of clamp problems till I started doing dry clamp-ups beforehand. Now I clamp everything without any glue to see how it will hold together and how and in what order to apply the clamps.

The other thing to consider is that depending on the size of the project, you might not be able to glue everything in one step.

And finally, I also use brown paper on my work bench so my project does not stick to the bench, then I lay the project down on the work bench and use that surface to reference everything else.

Hope that helps.

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2931 days

#3 posted 06-15-2011 02:05 PM

My favorites are the 3/4 inch Bessey pipe clamps, mostly because I can get them at the big box and cut the pipe to practially any length (you’ll have to thread it). My second favorite are the F-style crankers. My third favorite are the Irwins (small ones onsale at Lowes last I checked). If you’ve got giant glue-ups of heavy panels, you might want to invest in the big Bessey K-bodies, the older the better (in my opinion). I bought a few modern big K-body’s and I prefer a pipe clamp. A pipe clamp will bow, so you might want to make some notched spacers. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3484 days

#4 posted 06-15-2011 10:04 PM

Running out of hands is a common problem. You are doing a dry run first? Try gluing up in stages, not all at once. Takes longer, less stress and better results. Sometimes for big or complicated jobs you just need an extra person.

The Irwin quikgrips are pretty good for holding things in place. I tend to use them to hold it together until I can get a ‘real’ clamp on. My other clamps that have worked well are Jorgensons. The F style, cabinet master(like bessey K clamp) and the I bar.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2928 days

#5 posted 06-16-2011 05:34 AM

Blue painters tape is what I use to hold things in place until I can get the clamps on. Sometimes it is also the only clamping needed{small mitered frames and boxes}. The Bessey band clamp is also a useful 1 hand clamp as are the Irwin quikgrips.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3327 days

#6 posted 06-16-2011 05:51 AM

I like one-handed clamps too, though they dont give you much force if you need to press in a glue swollen tennon or anything else, they hold everything well enough for glue to dry, or stabilize it while you have both hands on a bar clamp.

I have some QuickGrips I bought when they first came out about 10 years ago, and they were great at first, but after a few years they all started failing, the mechanism doesnt release the bar properly to return to a prone position, so I only get a half motion out of each handle squeeze ( it takes forever to close in an inch). Anyway, I decided that the Harborfreight version is a good deal, they last pretty well as long as you dont put too much force on them, but even when they do break, I dont care, they are cheap enough. When I find the 12” $1.99 each with a coupon, I stock up, and the longer ones are a bit more, but those are really the same clamp with a longer bar, so if I break the ratcheting head, or the end stop, I just take parts from a small clamp and fix it.

Bottom line, if you want to try one-handed clamps, I recommend the HF squeeze clamps, just dont overtighten them. get some small ones even if you dont need them, so you can fix the big ones when you forget and try to use them to crush together your loose joints.

Here's a link

View StephenO's profile


44 posts in 2784 days

#7 posted 06-16-2011 06:30 AM

Lowe’s sells Bessey 4” F clamps for about five bucks each. I have about a dozen of them, and need to pick up more. I never realized just how handy they are until I started using them.

-- -Steve, Seattle

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