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Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps
US-Made tough and accurate
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Posted - 2-06-2006
Cabinet-style clamps are considered to be the best for most woodworking applications, with good reason. The long, wide faces apply pressure evenly, making it far easier to squeeze joints closed evenly and keep an assembly square while the glue dries. The oversized jaws on Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps makes them even more effective and versatile than others that may look similar.
Another point that is important to many woodworkers is that Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps are made in the United States.
Just picking a Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamp suggests lots of steel has been used to make it. Everything from the 1 3/16"-wide by 3/8"-thick bar to the heavy-duty locking mechanism parts are manufactured from steel and sized to not only work well but to also withstand many years of use.
The bar has dished sides and rounded edges on the top and bottom that help keep it rigid while allowing the moveable jaw to slide wherever needed smoothly and catch free. The bars are cleanly made and plated to insure a long, trouble-free life.
The Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamp jaws are angled in at the top towards each other slightly so that under pressure they are square to the bar. This is the same principle used on bench dogs. That slight angle makes clamping the workpiece secure and prevents it from riding up as pressure is applied. Though very slight, this angle is crucial to how a bar clamp functions and the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps got it right.
One of the features that make cabinet-style clamps so effective is the long jaws that apply the clamping force over a much larger area than regular pipe clamps. Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps feature useable jaw surfaces (above the bar) of 3 ¾"-tall by 1 7/8"-wide. Jorgensen literature says their jaw faces are 30% bigger than the competition and our measurements and comparisons do nothing but support that claim.
The size of the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamp jaws is no small consideration. The large, flat, non-marring jaw faces are what make cabinet clamps effective and the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps make full use of this advantage to make your clamping tasks easier.
Woodworkers occasionally have to spread the sides of a cabinet to insert a shelf or other cross piece. The Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps have a unique feature that makes that an easy task. The end stop has a spring-loaded pin that when pulled allows it and the moveable jaw to slide off the bar. Turn the jaw around, put it back on the bar and re-install the end stop. It takes only seconds to do but can save lots of time and frustration. Put the jaws inside the parts to be spread and you can dial in just what is needed without over-flexing joints or the wood itself. This is an invaluable feature when needed that you won’t find on other clamps very easily at any price.
Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps are very easy to position and tighten with one hand. Lift up on the handle the moveable jaw and it is free on the bar. Slide the jaw against the wood, lower the handle and give it a twist or two to lock it in place.
The wooden locking handle is sized nicely, making it comfortable while providing plenty of torque when needed.
The coarse-threaded screw shaft is precisely made and offers a good balance of speed and clamping power. Applying just the right pressure is very easy. This is also an important feature because applying too much pressure is just as bad as not enough. The large, locking handle gives the operator a good feel for the amount of pressure being applied.
The locking mechanism incorporates a series of clutch plates that are also cut from steel and precisely made to hold fast but release easily. All of the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamp sizes are capable of generating 1000 lbs of pressure, far more than a woodworker needs, but the design insures that the locking mechanism will not slip even under this extreme load.
In the Shop
After using the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps in the NewWoodworker.com shop for some time, I actually have very little to add to the review. They work perfectly, clamp the project squarely and do not mark the wood.
One surprise was how much easier it is to use the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps than pipe clamps. The flat, square faces make getting the project pieces into the clamps easier and the handle/screw combination allows precise application of pressure. This was most evident when first placing the pieces in the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps. It is easy to apply a light pressure to hold them while their positions are adjusted. Add a little twist of the handle and the pieces are firmly held where you want them.
A nice feature of the Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps is the flat bottoms and the legs on the removable end piece. These surfaces make the clamp very stable when standing on the bench while you load the pieces into them.
We found that Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps have a larger than advertised capacity. All of the sizes we tried opened 1" over the stated capacity. This may not be much, but it is more than enough to make sure when you buy clamps for a 24" project, the Jorgensen Cabinet Master 24" model will handle that job easily.
Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps are available in 12", 18", 24", 30", 36", 48, 60", 72" and 96" lengths. Aside from the length of the bar, all Jorgensen Cabinet Master clamps use identical jaws and operating mechanisms. This is handy when more than one length of clamp is needed to assemble a project.
With prices for the American made Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps ranging from $31.95 for the 12” model to $70.68 for the 60” version, (2-4-2006) these tools are as good a value as they are useful.
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