Irwin® Quick-Grip® 6'' Bar Clamp
I've tried a lot of different wood clamps in my shop, but nothing has turned out be as easy to use as these Irwin Quick-Grip bar clamps. Don't get these confused with the Quick-Grip Handi-Clamps, though, which have been a total disaster for me. Even though both models have one-handed clamping action, I just can't get the Handi-Clamps to come anywhere close to gripping things as strongly as the bar clamps.
I had bought the Handi-Clamps first, tried them on a couple projects, then hung them up never to be used again. In desparate need for some type of clamp for the shop (at least something better than the old rusty C-clamps I bought at a garage sale), I ignored my hesitation about buying another "quick-grip" style and plopped down $20 or so for a pair of the Irwin Quick-Grip bar clamps. And oh my gosh, what a difference these clamps make. The gripping power is exponentially greater than the Handi-Clamps. Not sure why, exactly. Maybe it's just the design of the clamp, with the sliding bar and all that. Whatever it is, the Quick-Grip bar clamps have quickly become a must-have tool in my shop. I've used them on almost all my woodworking projects, like the bookcase plans, workbench plans, and playhouse plans.
Funny phenomenon going on with clamps these days. Have you seen all the mini clamp sets being sold at places like Home Depot? I like clamps as much as anyone, but geez, who really needs a set of 36 super-tiny quick-grips? Maybe it's a hobby thing, I don't know. It's strange, though, how I'm curiously drawn to those packages sitting out in the main isle by the checkouts. I really can't think of any use I would have for them...but damn...I want some of those!
Back to the Irwin bar clamp...which I have recently decided is the most awesome tool I have in my shop. It's really unbelievable to me how well these things work. I guess the best part is the one-handed operation. After using these bar clamps on a few projects, I'm totally confused why woodworkers didn't have stuff like this 100 years ago. I mean, really, why in the world did it take so long for someone to invent a clamp that can be used with one hand? I'm befuddled.
The Irwin clamps I bought are shorties...with a little 6" bar. I suppose the traditional use for a bar clamp is to clamp large wood projects together or glue up wide panels, in which case the bar would need to be quite a bit longer than 6." I've done plenty of drooling over those larger Irwin clamps I see at Home Depot. They're are on my wishlist, but they can be a little pricey. For now, the short bar clamps are working fantastically well for the small projects I'm building in my shop.