Premium clamps that provide up to 300 pounds of clamping pressure, have large pads that align perfectly, a movable jaw that doesn't slip when pressure is released, quickly convert to spreader mode and can be joined together to extend clamping capacity.
The right clamp can often mean the difference between a successful, stress-free glue-up, and a complete, or near disaster. There are a wide range of clamp styles on the market, suitable for various clamping situations. Trigger activated bar clamps are very popular because they free up one hand to hold a workpiece while you use the other hand to operate the clamp. As well, they provide excellent clamping pressure, are great for a range of project glue-ups, and are reasonably well priced.
The Jorgensen E‑Z HOLD bar clamp comes in five clamping lengths: 6″, 12″, 18″, 24″ and 36″. I had the opportunity of shop testing the 12″ length, model 33412.
The E-Z HOLD has a super rigid 1/4″ x 3/4″ steel rail that resists flexing under load. It’s black coated to resist rusting and make it easier to remove residual glue. On one end of the rail is a removable jaw, and other end is a movable jaw with a pressure release handle. Both composite jaws are slightly contoured, providing more clearance during assembly, are covered with large, removable 1-3/8″ x 2-7/8″ cushioned camping pads, and have a 3-3/8″ throat depth.
The fixed jaw jaw has a push button release mechanism that enables you to quickly convert the E-Z HOLD into spreading mode. Push the black button, and then slip the jaw off the rail. You then slip the jaw onto the opposite end of the rail and push the black button again to lock the jaw in place. The effective spreading distance is from 7-1/2″ to about 19-3/8″. Conversion takes no more than 10 seconds.
Another unique feature of the E-Z HOLD is that you can link together. You simply remove the fixed heads, flip them over and insert one head into the other via a sliding dovetail built into each head. With a 12″ clamp you get 12-7/8″ clamping capacity. Join two 12″ clamps together an you get a whopping 30-5/8″ clamping capacity. That’s an extra 6″ due to the width of the fixed heads. It’s a huge advantage for these clamps that I haven’t seen on any other one-handed clamps.
The movable jaw has a generous, comfortably shaped 4″ handle with rubber inserts. As you squeeze the handle the jaw moves smoothly across the rail in 1/4″ increments. To quickly reposition the jaw you depress the pressure release trigger, and then push or pull the jaw along the rail. I found that the jaws moved smoothly across the rail.
Another feature I really like with this clamps is the clutch mechanism that doesn’t let up on clamping pressure when you release the trigger. The 6 clutch design has three steel plates and a tension spring that advances the moveable jaw and another 3 plates and tension spring that holds the jaw firmly in place when you release the trigger.
When fully engaged these clamps deliver 300 pounds of clamping pressure. I was impressed with how easily the E-Z HOLD clamps could draw together severely warped studs and curved stock.
More importantly, when engaged, the jaws align almost perfectly, with virtually no gaps between the pads, making for an even distribution of camping pressure. Releasing clamping pressure doesn’t take a lot of effort – just a single pull on the release trigger.
These clamps are well made and provide sufficient clamping pressure for a wide range of clamping tasks in the shop. I like that they have large pads that align perfectly and a movable jaw that doesn’t slip when pressure is released. They convert to spreader mode very quickly and, more importantly to me, can be joined together to extend clamping capacity. If you’re looking for premium one-handed trigger activated bar clamps you can’t go wrong with Jorgensen E-Z HOLD.
Top to bottom: linked clamps in extended mode; standard clamping mode; spreader mode.