January 26, 2009

Rockwell Jawhorse - Review

jawhorse.jpgMan's two most ancient needs are the need for shelter and the need for food. It's a little known fact that the third item on the list is the need to crush things; whether it be an ant, a beer can, or the annoying kid who lives next door. Anyway, this is where the Rockwell Jawhorse comes in, and why it is an essential tool for every single person on the planet. But the fun doesn't stop with crushing things, in fact, the Jawhorse is about as multi-purpose as a tool gets.

So what exactly is the Jawhorse? As the name implies, it's part sawhorse and part vise, but looking at it that way, the total is greater than the sum of its parts. In the weeks that we've been testing out this item, we've used it to clamp together a chess board that we were gluing, hold up various pieces of lumber for cutting, and position one of the five-panel doors that we're restoring (yes, we're still working on that project). It's difficult to list all of the things possible with this item because it's pretty much up to your own needs and creativity. For example you could clamp flat door slab in it and all of a sudden you've got a portable workbench. You could also whip up a piece of plywood with a 'handle,' making an out-feed platform for your table saw. Or if need be, you could make yet another jig, clamping that to act as an arm to hold up the other end of a piece of crown molding for installation. In a way, this tool is whatever you need it to be.

jawhorse_close.jpgjawhorse_rear.jpg

We had read a great deal about the Jawhorse before actually getting our hands on one. We have to admit that we were expecting something made of breakable, plastic parts. Thankfully, this isn't the case at all. The Jawhorse is very durable made mostly of metal with a few pieces, like the locking switch, constructed of heavy-duty plastic. The tool comes assembled and within two or so minutes we had it unfolded and ready to go.

jawhorse_door.jpgThe whole clamping process is controlled with a foot pedal, which is nice because it frees up both hands to position the piece as it's being clamped. The Jawhorse has the Hulk-like clamping force of 1 ton. But don't be intimidated because it's easy to use. To lock an item into place, just pump the pedal until the workpiece is clamped and then move the locking switch to the locked position. To release the item, move the switch to the unlocked position and press on the pedal. At this point, the jaws release the pressure, but still hold the item, which is nice, it doesn't go tumbling to the ground. We thought the pedal worked very well and it's really easy to get the pressure needed to clamp an item.

When you're done using the Jawhorse, you can just fold up the legs and tuck it away in a corner. At just under 45 lbs, it's a bit heavy, but easily portable for any contractor who wants to make it part of their job site repertoire (which is exactly what we've done).

jawhorse_folded.jpgThe Jawhorse costs about $180, which in our minds is really short money for what you're getting. We're apparently not the only people who love this tool. At the time of writing this review, the Jawhorse had 45 customer comments at Amazon. Of them, 31 gave it five stars (the highest), and the other 14 give it four. The only thread we could find running through the four star reviews was a slight dislike of the single, rear leg. We didn't have a problem with this and thought the three leg design made it easier to set up on uneven ground when compared to our other four legged tool stands.

At Amazon.com and Rockwell

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 26, 2009 5:10 AM

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Recent Comments

You know that's a great question...I have no idea. My guess (and this is only a guess) is that they wouldn't. Rockwell at least redesigned the tool a bit, but the Ridgid looks very similar to the Triton. But the accessories all attach up at the jaws and I really don't know what the Triton jaws look like.


Posted by: Tool Snob at March 27, 2011 7:39 PM

Interesting that the Rockwell seems to be a copy of the Triton. Would the Rockwell's accessories be compatible with the Triton then? For example the Plywood Jaw Accessory Attachment?


Posted by: Jay at March 27, 2011 7:36 PM

Yeah, I've covered a bunch of Triton tool and in most of my posts about the JawHorse and the new Ridgid version, I make a note that the original idea belongs to Triton. Rockwell even went to the well a second time for their little tri-pod work stand...also a Triton tool.


Posted by: Tool Snob at February 6, 2011 8:28 AM

This unit looks amazingly like a copy of the Triton Superjaws that have been around for many years. Check out Triton products from Australia.


Posted by: Lindsay at February 6, 2011 4:14 AM
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