We repeat: you can never have too many clamps. But the VersaClamp from PennTek might ligten your load a bit. It’s a quick-release bar clamp with two mounting brackets that turn it into a functional vise.
Held parallel by an extra sturdy steel bar, the VersaClamp’s jaws are molded from a fiberglass reinforced polymer. Removable (and replaceable) soft-gripping pads made from thermoplastic rubber cap the jaws, keeping them from scratching or marring your workpiece. And PennTek chemically coats all the VersaClamp’s metal parts to inhibit rust.
The mounting brackets don’t just hold the clamp rigidly like a standard vise — they also allow the clamp to rotate 110 degrees in the brackets. When you need an extra clamp, you can just remove the VersaClamp from its mounting brackets and it’ll function like a regular bar clamp.
To use the VersaClamp, position the work piece between the jaws and slide the free jaw firmly against the work piece. Engage the handle into the cam until the cam locks. After the cam is locked, you can disengaged the handle from the cam and rotate it out of the way. If you’re having trouble envisioning this, check out the video on the manufacturer’s site.
Although the VersaClamp’s 400 pound clamping force isn’t quite what you’d get with a normal vise, it should be quite adequate to hold most projects.
This American-made tool comes in two sizes: the 20″ runs about $35 while the 12″ version is a little cheaper at $33. A set of extra brackets are available for an additional $5 — perfect for moving the VersaClamp from one work station to another without depleting your tool budget.