A great clamp for what it is meant for - One-handed clamping

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Review by paxorion posted 07-08-2014 01:51 AM 6803 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A great clamp for what it is meant for - One-handed clamping A great clamp for what it is meant for - One-handed clamping A great clamp for what it is meant for - One-handed clamping Click the pictures to enlarge them

Way back when (after home ownership but before my woodworking hobby), I thought that these beefy Irwin Quick-Grip XP600 were the most awesome clamps. After all, why would I want a heavy clamp (i.e. the parallel clamps a few inches away at the big box store) where I’d have to use 2 hands?

Fast forward a few years, and I now have a more realistic perspective of these clamps. Recently, I splurged and picked up 8 of the 12” model from my local Home Depot. My decision was prompted by a mix of the BOGO deal (buy a 12” XP600, get a 12” SL300) and the liquidation that is underway during summer 2014. Overall, I am happy with the clamps for what I intend to use them for: one-handed clamping applications and when my under 12” clamping operation can benefit from the larger face than my F-style clamps.

The summary of my impressions are broken up to the good, bad (where this style of clamp may not be ideal), and the ugly (why I took off a star).

The good:
  • The 1 handed operation does make it very easy to use. Certainly easier than the many F-style clamps that I have at my disposal.
  • There is no doubt that these clamps exert a good amount of pressure. There is a night and day difference between these clamps and my other quick grip clamps (I have a few of the small ones and a few of the SL300).
  • I like the fact that there is clear feedback as you start to dial-in the clamping pressure per pull of the trigger. Specifically, there isn’t a dead stop like with the other quick grip clamps.
  • In a pinch, I have used them as an alternative to parallel clamps for a glue up, thanks to the larger head spreading the clamping pressure across a larger footprint on the boards.
  • The large clamp head is great for clamping across a board lamination, keeping the boards aligned.
The bad (but not deal-breakers):
  • They are not the “most awesome clamps” as I naively once believed. That crown (in my heart at least) has been claimed by parallel clamps.
  • Despite the large clamp head, the clamping pressure is focused on the upper part of the clamp and not spread throughout the clamp head. Be careful when aligning the clamp head when using the clamps.
  • The clamp heads is almost as big as my parallel clamps, and could make it awkward to use in some applications.
The ugly:
  • At the normal price, they are very pricey, and depending on your use, it may not be the best use of your money.
  • I can’t shake the feeling that the metal used for the clamp bar is cheap and of lower quality than any of my Jet, Jorgensen (F-style), or Bessey (K Body REVO) clamps (heck even my Peachtree parallel clamps). Beware of flex at longer lengths.

-- paxorion

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2855 days

3 comments so far

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 3056 days

#1 posted 07-09-2014 03:26 PM

I picked up a few 12” ones when they were on sale for $10 at Menards. Whenever I use them I kick myself for not buying about 10 at that price. I love them, but I haven’t tried parallel clamps yet either.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View Sarit's profile


552 posts in 3949 days

#2 posted 07-11-2014 05:46 PM

I often use the Harbor Freight knock-off version, which turn out to be a little beefier than the standard quick grip clamps not these super ones. They work well for assisting in getting the parallel clamps in place and for all those non-glue up clamping needs like clamping a board to a workbench or sawhorse to work on it.

I think expecting them to replace parallel clamps is a tall order. Just considering how big and heavy the bar needs to be to keep the heads parallel on a parallel clamp under all that clamping pressure. Then to make a light enough one-handed clamp using a bar with similar rigidity would require either much more expensive materials (like titanium) or complicated/bulky geometries (like trusses or I beams) which would greatly increase the cost.

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2855 days

#3 posted 07-11-2014 08:01 PM

I think expecting them to replace parallel clamps is a tall order.

- Sarit

I agree with you, that expecting a lighter clamp to serve the function of a heavier clamp is a tall order. I now have quite a few parallel clamps and use those first until I run out. However, I will note that with a properly jointed surface, you don’t need that much clamping pressure in a glue-up.

-- paxorion

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