I bought a couple of Jorgensen Gear Clamps nearly 3 years ago, and they have served me well. In total I have (4) of 8″ clamps, and (2) of 12″ clamps, and maybe one or two extras. What I like most about these clamps is how quick and easy they are to clamp down tightly.
Jorgensen Gear Clamps work in a similar manner to Bessey KliKlamp clamps, but have a completely different feel to them. I bought a pair of Bessey clamps right when I posted about them. The Bessey clamp is lighter, thanks to its magnesium jaws and plastic locking lever, while the Jorgensen has heavier metallic construction. This gives the Jorgensen Gear Clamp a sort of heavy duty feeling, which I tend to prefer more. I suppose I would feel differently if I had to work with a lot of these clamps at once.
The Gear Clamp has two jaws, one fixed and one adjustable, a strong steel bar, a ratcheting lever, and release button. Throat depth is 3″ regardless of clamp size, and the load limit is said to be 600 pounds.
In contrast, the Bessey KliKlamps have load ratings of 260 pounds.
When adjusting the clamp, the movable jaw is slid into place so that it just touches the work surface. A tug on the ratcheting lever, and a few clicks later, and the clamp is securely in place. Clamping is achieved through a cam-action mechanism. If the work pieces are very soft or elastic, or very hard and rigid, trial and error can help make results a little more repeatable, but the same is true with all clamps.
All of my Gear Clamps are still rock-solid. When I first ordered the clamps, one arrived with a minor factory defect that affected its reliability. Jorgensen customer service replaced the clamp promptly.
Overall, I love using these clamps because they’re quick and easy to adjust, and secure once adjusted. Release is easy as well. I typically use cheap Irwin squeeze clamps – you know, the 4 for $20 bundle sets that pop up around the winter holidays – for quick light duty clamping needs, and these Jorgensen clamps when I need greater strength.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t recommend these clamps sooner, that’s mainly because they tend to be very hard to find.
I bought my clamps at Sears. If I had to reorder them all again, I would probably buy them at Home Depot, due to the better pricing and greater size availability. If you want to give them a try and don’t know which size to choose, consider the 8″ size first. I use my 8″ clamps much more frequently than my 12″ ones, and don’t think I own any of the 4″ clamps at all.
Interestingly, the 12″ clamps are typically less expensive than the 8″ ones.
The clamps I purchased were made in Taiwan.