Update #2: Jawhorse has 4 Stars Again
I have learned the error of my ways. Years ago, I lauded the Jawhorse--in concept. Then, a few years after that original review, I realized that I barely used the thing...plus I still didn't know everything it did. Now, I realized that I was too impatient to look at it carefully and apply it to a real-life remodel situation.
Now that I'm in the middle of big basement finishing project, I've used the Jawhorse a lot and found it to be phenomenal.
If you want to know what Jawhorse does in just a few metaphorical sentences, it's this:
Jawhorse is like your bench vise. Except, instead of opening a few inches, it opens 4 feet wide. And its jaws are padded with rubber. And it's portable, not attached to your workbench.
But that barely describes it. The picture accompanying this review is a good indicator of one majorly awesome thing it can do that regular sawhorses cannot do. You can cantilever your material out crazy-far, yet the jaws still hold the material and the Jawhorse doesn't tip over.
Update #1: Jawhorse, Demoted
I like to update reviews after owning items for a long time--like, years. In the case of the JawHorse, I have owned this for over 5 years and have used it only a few times. Frankly, I'm not really sure how to use this.
First off, this thing is heavy, making it so hard to move around.
Second, it never wants to stay shut. Third, it's such an oddball item that its function doesn't yield to logic. It's the only "sawhorse" that needs instructions to help you understand how to use it. It's been languishing in my workshop, gathering dust. I keep thinking I will hunt down some YouTubes that explain how to use it.
Haven't done this yet, though...
When I first took a look at the Rockwell Jawhorse for review, I realized that it bears as much resemblance to a sawhorse as a Porsche does to a Conestoga wagon. Sure, they might roughly be the same species. But other than that, the Jawhorse and the sawhorse are light-years apart.
Ever Known the Frustration of Using Sawhorses?
Now, I'm sure that readers will chide me for disparaging sawhorses ("I've used them for fifty years..." etc.), but really, folks, can't we improve on a technology that's been around forever? Sure, sawhorses are cheap--just slap some 2x4's together, or if you really want to get fancy, buy some sawhorse clamps from The Home Depot--but cheapness does not make quality.
Problems include: getting all eight legs (yes, remember it's 8 legs) leveled; cutting into the sawhorse with your circular saw; flimsiness; difficult to transport compactly; cannot easily clamp your work down; so forth and so on. Might it be worth shelling out some money for a real sawhorse? Something on the order of the Rockwell Jawhorse, for instance?
Heavy, Substantial, and Solid: Maybe Even a Little TOO Heavy?
I've learned to trust the words that I mutter to myself when I first see a product, and my first mutters when I picked up the Jawhorse were: "My God, this thing is heavy." Right on the heels of that was: "Hmm, but who really wants a light sawhorse anyway?"
And even later on: "Hey, pretty cool."
Yes, the Rockwell Jawhorse, and its Plywood Jaw, are nearly 100% steel (just minimal touches of plastic), a perfect, immobile platform for even heavy items like 3/4" plywood sheets...or heavier.
With its three legs, it forms a tripod that rests on practically any surface. Believe me, you don't want four legs; you would never get the thing correctly in position. But don't worry, the legs splay far apart and have wide feet, so the Jawhorse will not move when you saw, drill, or pound on it. The Jawhorse feet are padded, so you can easily place it on wood or tile flooring without scratching.
The Jawhorse's Jaw
As you might imagine, the very name Jawhorse has great meaning. Think of it as two words: Jaw Horse.
Yes, it's far more than just a solid surface to place items.
It's like a giant, Transformers-sized hand that will literally grab massive work pieces and hold them firm while you do your stuff. Jawhorse product literature shows the product holding incredibly large items in vertical positions. While I did not try to clamp a Ford F-350 in there, I can almost imagine the Jawhorse being able to do that.
As if that wasn't cool enough, the Jaw is operated by means of a foot pedal that completely frees up your hands and allows you to push down harder.
Soft pads on the Jaw protect items from denting and scratching, and help prevent the items from slipping out.
Plywood-Holding Capacity and Some Wish-List Items
As a final note, I should add that the Jawhorse can--and will--hold full 4'x8' foot sheets. For any home remodeler, that's a big deal since four-by-eight is the standard size for plywood, drywall, paneling, and more. However, you would need to purchase the optional Rockwell Jawhorse Plywood Jaw to make this work.
Not so much complaints as wish-list items to the Jawhorse team, how about:
- A handle to help carry the Jawhorse around. It's heavy (did I mention that already?). The Jawhorse's legs are too thick for my delicate hands to comfortably hold them.
- Change the foot pedal on the Jaw's pump so that it can be accessed from all three sides of the Jawhorse, not just one side.