Kreg has come out with a new line of Automaxx auto-adjusting locking clamps. These clamps look to be a hybrid design that combines features from CH Hanson’s Automatic locking clamps and Bessey’s auto-adjusting toggle clamps. The new Automaxx locking clamps can be used for pocket hole joinery or general purpose everyday use.
There will be two versions available: a standalone face clamp and a bench-mounted clamp. Both Klamp designs will be available in short and long sizes with 3″ and 6″ reach respectively.
To use these clamps, simply set the clamping pressure. Unlike non-adjusting locking clamps, there are no screws or knobs to adjust. The jaws self-adjust to the thickness of your workpiece.
- Short face clamp: 2-7/8″
- Long face clamp: 4-1/4″
- Short bench clamp: 2-1/2″
- Long bench clamp: 4-1/2″
The short face clamp (3″ reach) is priced at $30, and the long (6″ reach) is $38. The short bench-mount clamp is $38, and the long version $44. A complete Kreg Klamp kit that includes a short bench clamp and locking plate is priced at $50.
The bench-mounted Automaxx clamps must be used with a Kreg clamping plate ($13) or Klamp Trak ($45).
ETA: June 2013.
All Kreg Clamps(via Amazon)
Here’s a quick video so you can see how they work:
While occasionally tempted to, I have never purchased a single Kreg clamp, mostly because they always seemed a bit overpriced to me. Vise Grip locking C-clamp pliers ($12 – $20 via Amazon) are widely available and inexpensive, and while they have smaller swivel pads I’ve never had a problem using them on wood. For auto-adjusting locking C-clamp, I would look towards CH Hanson ($16 – $22 via Amazon).
Kreg’s bench-mount clamping system interested me a number of times as well, but the components always seemed too expensive for what you get. A couple of other companies make bench-mounted locking C-clamps (e.g. Grip-on and Gibraltar), and there is no shortage of toggle clamps, hold-down clamps, tracks, and other T-track-compatible clamping solutions available.
Regarding Kreg’s new Automaxx clamps, the standalone face clamps still seem a bit overpriced to me, at least compared to other auto-adjusting locking clamps already on the market. But compared to those other auto-adjusting locking clamps, you get extra large clamping pads and can be confident that the clamps can handle common woodworking workpiece thicknesses.
The bench clamp system looks much more versatile for everyday use, but price is still a major detractor as a single clamp costs $50 or $83 to install, depending on whether you opt for a clamping plate or 33-3/4″ track. You can also fabricate your own mounting system, but not many people do.
That all said, the new Kreg Automaxx clamps do look appealing, mostly in how you don’t have to adjust them for different sized workpieces. You will still have to adjust clamping pressure from time to time, especially when working with different material types.