Monday, November 29, 2010

Solid Clamping, Minor Flaw, The E-Z Hold II Adjustable Bar Clamp (22") Is Near-Perfect!

The Good: Solid structure, Great clamping power, Consistently durable
The Bad: Release button is somewhat inconveniently located.
The Basics: A powerful adjustable clamp which does not slip, wear out or break, the E-Z Hold II 22" Adjustable Clamp is a durable tool great for small clamping needs!

Despite my apparent sloth, I actually do quite a bit. Last year, I learned how to bind books, which has left me making hand-bound leather sketchbooks for discriminating artists. One of the tools I quickly found I needed in order to accomplish my bookbinding tasks was a good set of clamps and my mentor in the field recommended the E-Z Hold II Adjustable Bar Clamp. I'm not sure how I ended up with the 22" one, but that's what I've been using and I am about 90% thrilled with its design and performance. The missing ten percent is all in design; this is a tool which works absolutely wonderfully!

The 22" E-Z Hold II Adjustable Bar Clamp And Spreader Clamp is essentially a 22" steel bar 3/4" wide. The bar ends in a flat steel piece welded perpendicular to the bar, like a big "L," which acts as a clamp. The bar itself has tiny grooves on the front (the side facing the clamp) so the bar essentially acts as a rail upon which the handle rides. The handle is a reinforced polymer plastic (think big, industrial barrels, not home garbage cans) which is made up of the grip, clamp and release lever.

The grip is a springloaded handle which extends away from the bar at about a forty-five degree angle. When one squeezes the grip, the entire handle array moves up the bar, locking every 1/16" (the spacing of the grooves) so it does not slip backward. A full squeeze of the grip moves the handle 3/8" up the bar. The clamp is another flat square (1 3/4" square) which is parallel to the stationary clamp on the bar. When the handle is squeezed tight on the object one wants clamped, the clamp head and "foot" are usually proximate to one another.

To release the clamp and allow the handle to slide back down the steel bar, one needs only to depress the steel release lever on the back of the handle (on the opposite side from the clamp). As long as the release lever is depressed, the clamp may slide up the bar. This, however, is the only design problem I found with the E-Z Hold II: when one is clamping something thinner, like 1" or less, the release lever becomes difficult to press down on because of the back of the bar-welded clamp. While this will not affect most projects, for finer projects, it is an annoying problem.

I've been using the E-Z Hold II Adjustable Clamp for over a year now and I've never had the mechanism slip. This clamps items solidly and does not release until the lever is pushed. It is easy for the user to apply consistent pressure by placing what one needs stationary between slightly larger boards (to increase the surface area). Even with an extra board layer, the E-Z Hold has never once slipped on me! This is an awesome tool that does what it's supposed to!

For other bookbinding or tool reviews, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
DAP Weldwood Contact Cement
Linzer 6 1/2" Pipe Roller
Stanley 87-367 6" Adjustable Wrench


For other tool reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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