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Alpha-Clamp by Lowell Thomas Tool Review

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Alpha-Clamp

Alpha-Clamp

(c) 2009 Chris Baylor, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

I really enjoy coming across tools that show thoughtful engineering, a way of looking "outside the box" that raises the bar on conventional thinking. Such innovation doesn't always come from companies that are loaded with big budget engineering departments. Sometimes they come from passionate, small companies who simply set out to build a better mousetrap.

The Lowell Thomas Tool company from Bozeman, Montana, has come up with just such a tool in the Alpha-Clamp. This one well-built bar clamp can also be used as a c-clamp, a spreader, a floor-standing clamp or jack and even a hanging lift. A truly innovative tool.
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Pros

  • Sturdy, versatile clamp with a slew of options for use
  • Includes thoughful features such as a pair of level bubbles and a metric/Imperial marked lower bar
  • Made in the USA and covered by a lifetime manufacturer's defect warranty

Cons

  • Not available in stores - only available online. Click on the "Compare Prices" button above

Description

  • Can be used in ten different configurations to handle nearly any clamping or spreading application.
  • Warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of the tool (under normal wear and tear).
  • Made in the USA

Guide Review - Alpha-Clamp by Lowell Thomas Tool Review

When I first looked at the Alpha-Clamp, my initial thought was that it was a contraption that was loaded with so many features that it would be hardly useful in a practical application, either in the woodshop or on a job site.

I'll be the first to admit that my initial impression was dead wrong. I am duly impressed with just how durable and useful the Alpha-Clamp truly is for an 18" clamp. It excels in small clamping applications, particularly when a large c-clamp is needed or when the handle on a traditional one-handed clamp cannot fit into the work area.

It also was very handy when a solid spreader was required. And while I've not attempted anything of the sort, the manufacturer actually claims that at least one of their users have used the clamp's hanging lift capability to lift a transmission out of a car. While I don't plan on doing that anytime soon, it's nice to know that I have options!

The Alpha-Clamp may not be as useful as a longer bar clamp in many applications around the woodshop (for tasks like clamping up a large assembly or cabinet), but for smaller applications, this tool is a very welcome addition to the woodshop.

As mentioned earlier, the Alpha-Clamp is not available in stores, but can be ordered online.
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