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Review Summary

Wolfcraft
Quick-Jaw Micro, Mini, & Standard
Bar Clamps & Spreaders
Priced from $8.97 - $28.97
Reviewed by Leon A. Frechette
08/20/00 Updated 08/12/06

Wolfcraft\'s quick-jaw bar clamps and spreaders, quick jaw bar clamps, quick jaw spreaders, quik jaw bar clamps, quik jaw spreaders, micro clamps, mini clamps, standard clamps, quick-release trigger, clamp functions, spreader functions

Wolfcraft - Quick-Jaw bar clamps & spreaders

Wolfcraft's Quick-Jaw bar clamps and spreaders have maintained their unusual and interesting design since I first reviewed them in 2000. While they have undergone at least three product changes, from color to function to design, they are still marketed under Micro, Mini, and Standard categories.

Unique to these clamps is the front location of the bar rather than the rear. It seems backward, but the design has advantages. While squeezing the smaller upper quick-release trigger with one hand, you can use the other hand to pull or push the bar for quick release or to bring the jaws together.

At the same time, the clamps are also two-directional one-handed clamps. Squeezing the larger lower black trigger with two fingers draws the rear jaw toward the trigger which closes the jaws. Squeezing the smaller upper black trigger with an index finger spreads the rear jaw away from the trigger which opens the jaws.

Clamp adjustments for the Micro size can be accomplished with fingers on one hand simultaneously controlling the triggers; the Mini's lower trigger is designed for three fingers. The Standard size requires four fingers on the trigger, and the clamp operates with the bar extended away from the work piece. The sides of the clamp's body are labeled "FORWARD" and "REVERSE" for a clear understanding of the direction the bar moves during operation.

The clamps are well balanced but the Standard size still is a little heavy. It has great holding power (25% more clamping force—2 pounds per clamp); however, the handle base is a little uncomfortable to use, mainly because the upper part of the handle has too large a spread for comfortable use of the quick-release trigger. If your hands are small, you may want to consider the Mini size.

I found the tool worked best to clamp thicker material. For thinner material, the clamp is easier to use turned around so the bar is behind you. Even with the handle design flaw of the Standard mentioned above, this clamp's great holding power makes it worth considering for your tool collection.

wolfcraft Quick-Jaw Micro, Mini, & Standard These clamps are also designed to be spreaders, and a new design makes it much easier to convert from clamp to spreader functions. Older models required removal of a thumbscrew for the Mini or Standard size (Philips screw for the Micro) and reinstalling the front jaw at the opposite end of the bar. The Micro clamp stayed as designed, but as the photo on the left shows, all you need to do is push in the button to remove the small jaw quickly. You can easily turn the bar into a spreader with a 4" to 44" length capacity (depending on the product size).

Wolfcraft also offers removable non-slip pads to protect work surfaces. The pads on the Mirco haven't changed, but those on the Mini and Standard sizes have been improved. The new pads fill in the jaw void areas and the wider surface pads allow the full length of the jaws to be used for clamping, a great addition to the product. Unfortunately, even with the new pads you can lose about 1/2" between the jaws. Depending on whether the pads are on or off, you can achieve clamping capacities around 4 1/4" for the Micro, 6" to 12" for the Mini, and 6" to 36" for the Standard.

When these clamps originally came on the market in 1998, they had a classy black and teal color combination. Since then, the company has changed to yellow and black, similar to a power tool company. Personally, I liked the black and teal; yellow shows more dirt. Don't let color discourage you from purchasing these clamps—you'll find them great to use!

Copyright © 08/20/00 & 08/12/06 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.



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