Introduction: Make Your Irwin Clamps Longer - for Free

Picture of Make Your Irwin Clamps Longer - for Free

When I'm working on a project in my shop the longer clamps are often committed to other jobs and I'm left with smaller clamps. The obvious answer is to get more clamps (you can never have enough of them), but often I only need another inch or two to make the smaller clamps work.

An easy mod to squeeze out another couple of inches is to knock out the little pin/collar at the end of the Irwin rod. I used a nail countersink set to pop it out. This gives about 2 more inches of travel making a 6.5" clamp a little over 8.5". And if the handle slides off it's not a problem; just hold down the trigger, push the set plate up a little and it goes back on.

The video shows the modified result.

Thanks for taking a look.


capernius (author)2015-09-24

I'm curious....the shape of the rods that you used for this...can just the rods be bought alone & then the clamps put on the longer rod? I'm not a woodworker, or a mechanic, nor do I do anything where I would need a long clamp...hence why I ask....

as for the 'ible', TY for sharing this useful information. : )

stangtime (author)capernius2015-09-24

Yes. I've done it that way too to make long clamps. Thanks for your comments.

rolltidehank (author)2015-05-12

This is crazy. I just did this today for my current project. I had a very hard time getting the pin out though. Your method is much better. Thanks for the share!

When I removed the pins, I just ground them off with an angle grinder. That way I have extra strength from the part of the pin that's left. The other advantage is that I don't have to worry about tweaking the bar when i pound on the pin. ( probably not a big deal, but I'd rather be safe and shrink my grinding wheel. )

I plan on using this idea for the screw type clamps I'm getting. I think it will work really well.

yuuki-chan made it! (author)2015-05-15

Hi! I do this too! For now I have ultra-multi-super-universal-clamp! XD

Jus remove stop-pins and you cfan combinate your clamps as you need!

One more tip - if you loose yeellow pads - reverse them like me - they cant loose now!

Sanderguy777 (author)yuuki-chan2015-05-28

WOW!! I never knew how versatile these clamps where! I have an Irwin 24" that I removed the stop pins from, best decision I ever made. I had a project that I had to move the trigger side all the way to the end of the bar AND take the pads off to BARELY squeeze around the project I needed clamped. I really like your ideas for clamping unusual shapes and multiple things.

yuuki-chan (author)Sanderguy7772015-05-28

I am glad to share ideas for you! =)

DIY-Guy (author)2015-05-13

This is a great tip. Maybe some cheapo Harbor Fright clamps can be extended this way.
From the multiple comments here it looks like the woodworking community is very active and helpful. Thanks for all the other tips from other comments!

jbrauer (author)2015-05-12

I've driven the pin out of both ends, flipped the clamps around, and made a spreader clamp. And if you put the little yellow pads on upside-down, they don't fall off as easily.

pfred2 (author)jbrauer2015-05-12

The knock off clamps hold the movable pad on with a thumb screw. So they are designed to be converted into spreader clamps. I have some genuine Vise Grip one handed clamps, and a whole lot of the knocks offs. For my money the knock offs work well enough. The Vise Grips are marginally better, but not enough to justify the much higher purchase price. I can put two imported clamps on something if I think I need more clamping power, and still be ahead of the game. If I really need a lot of clamping pressure I use screw clamps anyways.

JmsDwh (author)pfred22015-05-12

The Irwin ones aren't made in the US anymore, they're imported now too. I have some that were Quik Grip brand before Irwin bought them and Vise Grip and moved the manufacture overseas.

pfred2 (author)JmsDwh2015-05-13

The few clamps "genuine" I have are old, and marked Vise Grip. They were made before Irwin bought Vise Grip. I know the new ones are imported now. But they are still branded.

jbrauer (author)pfred22015-05-12

I haven't tried the Irwin knock-offs, but I mostly use cheap import bar clamps and C-clamps. I do have a pair of long Bessy K-body clamps that I use for pulling things square, then I use the cheaper clamps to get extra pressure. The Bessy's are nice, but I get glue on the bar, and it makes them hard to slide.

BeachsideHank (author)pfred22015-05-12

I'm not one to have a rack full of casework clamps, I have a few black pipe types, and a variety of different lengths that can be joined up to give me the extra reach I need with couplers:

Real easy to store too.

jbrauer (author)BeachsideHank2015-05-12

I've used couplers in a pinch, but when I do a big glue-up, I try to keep the same amount of flex in all black pipes as a rough estimate of clamping pressure. The coupler kind of messes with doing that. I do like keeping couplers on the end of the pipes so I don't bash up the threads, and if I do need a little extra reach on a shorter clamp, the coupler is close at hand.

stangtime (author)jbrauer2015-05-12

Excellent suggestion. I'll file that one away. Thanks.

TheFer (author)2015-05-13

Great tip! I should have known it before. A few weeks ago i "missed" a couple of centimeters. I have the longer ones like 40cm / 16 inch or so. I will knock some of the stops out!

BeachsideHank (author)2015-05-12

A good tip there, my Irwin is usually the first clamp I try.

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