TEKTON Mini 6-Inch Ratchet Bar Woodworking Clamp

Last updated date: June 26, 2020

DWYM Score
9.2

TEKTON Mini 6-Inch Ratchet Bar Woodworking Clamp

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We looked at the top Woodworking Clamps and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Woodworking Clamp you should buy.

Overall Take

A well-made trigger mechanism makes it easy to adjust the pressure on this ratchet clamp. When you're ready to remove your work, a quick-release button makes it smooth and effortless. The size makes it great for small to medium size jobs, even in tight spaces. In our analysis of 12 expert reviews, the TEKTON TEKTON Mini 6-Inch Ratchet Bar Woodworking Clamp placed 4th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note June 26, 2020:
Checkout The Best Woodworking Clamp for a detailed review of all the top woodworking clamps.

Expert Summarized Score
9.2
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.6
1,796 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The TEKTON Mini takes the top spot for ratchet clamps since its 6” bar clamp makes it suitable for large and small projects alike. The Mini also comes with a quick release mechanism, making it one of the quickest clamps to set up and take down as you need. Simply press down on the trigger as you close the jaw for a smooth movement, then release when you have the desired force. Press the quick release button to undo your work when finished.
- The Spruce
Suitable holding power for light and medium duty projects. Spreading feature can be easily engaged.
- BestReviews
Useful in tight spaces, Durable, Securely holds small and medium-size parts together
- 7 Router Tables
What experts didn't like
Multiple reports of ratcheting handle breaking after a few uses.
- BestReviews
More stiff than other clamps
- 7 Router Tables

From The Manufacturer

Squeeze the trigger of the TEKTON Mini Ratchet Bar Clamp / Spreader and apply precise, consistent pressure to your gluing or assembly project.

An Overview On Woodworking Clamps

Step into any serious woodworker’s shop and you’ll see a wide variety of tools. That’s to be expected. No handyman (or woman) wants to be caught without the right drill bit for an oddly-sized opening, or a saw that can cut at just the right angle. If there’s one item you’d think they would use that is right for every job, it’s the humble woodworking clamp.

And you’d be dead wrong in thinking that, because a woodworker’s clamps are one of the most specialized toolsets they can use — and the most essential. By their basic definition, a clamp’s job is simple: Hold a block of wood in place by clamping it onto a more stable object, like a table. But that’s hardly the only job of a clamp, and it turns out even that simple task requires a lot of variation.

Hence the first step in buying your new set of clamps: Determine the best type for the job at hand.

Let’s start with the smallest jobs. If you’re gluing together relatively thin pieces of wood or securing edging material onto a panel, you want a reliable set of spring clamps. These simple clamps look and operate just like giant clothespins, and they’re great when you need a quick hold. They won’t have the grip or width you need for securing large planks or blocks, but for light work, there’s nothing handier.

The most common clamp in a woodworker’s arsenal is the bar clamp, which can encompass a lot of different styles. For tasks where you need a quick hold, there’s nothing like a trigger bar clamp, also known as a pistol grip clamp. The particular advantage of this tool is it can be used one-handed. Just get your pieces in position, put the clamp in place and pull the trigger as many times as you need. Each pump will ratchet the pads closer together until you’ve got a secure fit. They typically come with a release lever that can instantly break the tension.

A more common type of bar clamp is the F-style, named because of the shape of its profile. These old-school clamps come in a variety of designs, but they generally require the turn of a screw handle to tighten the pads. It’s not as easy to do as a trigger clamp, but the hold will usually be tighter. The width will definitely be an advantage, as F-style clamps can be adjusted from an inch or less out to a few feet. This makes them one of the most versatile clamps, able to secure multiple pieces of wood together or even fasten sanders and other tools directly to a workbench.

For really large jobs like cabinet assembly or work that takes up an entire tabletop, you’ll need clamps with jaws that can open several feet wide — and still remain stable. That’s the primary specialty of parallel jaw clamps. They feature two jaws that slide on a long bar, both of which remain fixed to the bar at a 90-degree angle. Alternatively, you can pick up a good set of pipe clamps. These have jaws that secure with a turnkey and can fit over any standard length of piping. That lets you make them as wide as the job requires. Sometimes they are even sold completely separate from the pipe, in which case you’ll have to check that your workshop has a compatible length of pipe handy.

For jobs that require a little spatial creativity, there’s the handscrew clamp. This clamp with its two thick wooden jaws looks like something of an antique, but it is a staple in every serious woodworker’s tool kit. The loose way the jaws are held together by their long screws allows them to clamp together pieces that are tapered, offset or just at an odd angle to one another.

There are certainly other types of clamps, but that list covers the main general types. Whichever type you use, you’ll want to consider the amount of force it can apply. At the same time, give the pads a look. Too much force can leave unwanted impressions in the wood, but padded jaws can mitigate that.

DWYM Fun Fact

We’ve got the ancient Egyptians to thank for innovations in many fields of art and science, and woodworking is no exception. The first Egyptian woodworkers were using tools such as bow drills, chisels and pull saws earlier than 3000 B.C. Archaeologists also found the world’s oldest piece of plywood — that homebuilding staple — lining an Egyptian coffin.

The Woodworking Clamp Buying Guide

Use the right clamps, but use them correctly. You don’t want to apply more force than you need, especially if you’re working with “soft” woods or other material that clamps can leave an impression on. For bigger jobs that require multiple clamps, consider alternating their placement so the force of the clamps doesn’t pull or twist your project to one side. Apply your first clamp right side up, the next one upside down, etcetera.