Bar clamps provide many advantages over other types of clamps, so I use them a lot in my shop. One downside to their design, however, is they can be difficult to grip as you tighten or loosen them. I noticed that some of the newer designs have addressed this by applying some rubber material to the handle, making them more “grippy”. Rather than upgrade my entire fleet of clamps, I decided to retro-grip my clamps using a technique popular in the world of hockey.
Friction tape. I picked up a roll of Duck brand friction tape, but there are many options out there. For about $8 I was able to tape the handles on 10 bar clamps.
Twist it. First peel off about 15-18″ of tape and twist it by spinning the tape roll.
Wrap it. Then wrap the handle with the twisted tape, criss-crossing and leaving about 1″ spacing between wraps. Then when the twisted section is gone keep going with the non-twisted tape, covering the entire section of the handle.
Use it. The difference is amazing. I was able to tape all of my bar clamps in about 15 minutes, and I will enjoy the benefits for years.
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