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I have never owned a jawhorse before, and decided to get this newer model, the sheetmaster, instead of the original. It was a little more money, but the added features and ability to handle 48″ wide sheets without buying additional adapters was a bonus. It is my understanding that this version is a little beefed up from the original, has the 48″ capacity out of the box, has a different wheel/rolling system, and is easier to break down.
I wanted a jawhorse to basically use as a portable vise. To hold material securely when cutting off 2x material, to hold larger items while sanding, chiseling, or ripping, etc. I was sick of working on the ground, or inconveniently on saw horses, etc. Since I got it, I’ve also used it as a miter saw stand, which worked great.
I watched and read a lot of reviews, and determined that even though this unit is expensive, it would be worth it to me, and it definitely is.
It is super easy to set up and break down. It takes maybe 30 seconds to unfold a few legs and flip it over, and vice versa.
The clamping force is great. I haven’t tried to measure it, but it is definitely more than enough to secure whatever you put into it. The jawhorse is not really prone to tipping due to it’s design, but obviously can if you force it, and I say this to say that from my off the cuff tests, I get the unit to tip before I can dislodge/slip the material that is locked in the jaws. This is to say, the clamping force is fantastic. And super easy to clamp something by allowing you to use your foot, which frees up both hands to make sure the piece is placed just the way you want it.
I have yet to put a full sheet of anything into the jaws. It comes with an extra jig piece that quickly clamps and holds holds two pieces of 2x material at 90 degrees that is meant to be additional support for full sheets. The two pieces at 90 degrees form an “L” where the mid point of the long side of the “L” rests on the jawhorse to support the long dimension of the sheet, and the short side of the “L” rests on the ground. It looks to be pretty quick to set up, but you’d have to have that 2x material handy whenever you plan to do full sheets (maybe not as travel friendly then), and would have to set up the clamps each time. And then you wouldn’t want to lose the clamp jig, and it does not store with the unit itself. This is all to say that yes it does full sheets, and I’m sure it is great at it, but it’s not a fully integrated solution that all packs away into the unit itself. If you’re going to be cutting a number of sheets, it’s definitely worth it to set up the extra jig and go to town, but otherwise, you’ll probably not be using it for single sheet cuts. This doesn’t mean that the 48″ jaw capacity is not useful though, beacause there are still times where you may want to hold something “long ways” by its <48″ dimension, and as long as it’s not wider than a few feet, you wouldn’t need the support braces.
One gripe I have about the unit, the only one so far (unless you count how cumbersome I view the support brace setup to be), is that when you try to wheel it, (a neat feature by the way, that you can compact it, and it wheels with the leg as a handle), a combination of the wheels being small and close together results in a lot of rocking while wheeling. You wind up fighting it while wheeling it, even on flat ground to an extent. Like a crappy suitcase where it’s constantly on one wheel, then the other, then the other, back and forth, etc. You have to baby it to get it to roll properly, even on flat ground. If you are trying to do stairs, or go over grass or anything else, forget it. I personally have about given up on the wheels and just carry it. If you’re going 10 or 20 feet across the garage, the wheels are OK, but more than that, it saves time and frustration to just carry it. My understanding is that the two wheel design this unit has is different than the single roller the original jawhorse has, and is supposed to be better. I haven’t used the original, so I don’t know how that one works, but I can say that I am not too impressed by the wheeling capability of this unit. It’s fine for flat ground, and I guess not *too* bad overall. Let me say this… it’s better than not having them, so there’s that. But I do think they could be improved.
One other note is that you need to be careful with the clamping force. It’s hard to control just how much you use, and when removing it, just like an E-brake on a car, you need to apply *just* a little more force than you used to clamp/lock it, which means a little more clamping force needs to be applied to remove a clamped item. You wouldn’t want to use it to hold anything delicate. For example, I tried a test piece of 1/2″ copper pipe, and found that it was difficult to secure the pipe without crushing it out of round. Even when I got it to hold without hurting it…
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