DIY homeowners and pro tradespeople alike are sometimes known for their hardy, independent spirit. The “I can do that all by myself” attitude is often commendable, and also frequently disastrous. We have all done tasks solo that really warranted having a helper handy. Luckily for most of us, there wasn’t anyone filming those events in the hopes of posting the latest carpentry fail video sensation on YouTube. Since few people can stand the intense music selection I prefer to work to, I often find myself working solo on projects. After Rockwell sent us their Jawstand XP for review, I suddenly found many projects were not only easier for me to take on, but also far safer than some of the questionable solo tactics I had used before.
The Rockwell Jawstand XP Unboxed
When Rockwell calls the Jawstand XP a portable work support, that’s an accurate description. While the box it comes in is hefty, the actual components of the Jawstand XP are pretty minimal. Taken apart, stowing the Jawstand is an easy task. Most of the time I leave mine assembled for quick deployment. Either way, the folding legs make for minimal bulk. Whether it’s in your garage, or in your work truck, most users should be able to stow the Jawstand readily.
Adjusting the Height and Angle of The Jawstand XP
The Jawstand XP is no slouch when it comes to height adjustment. When you’re dealing with something that’s designed as an outfeed support, height adjustment is key. Many outfeed supports tend to be a bit clunky in this regard. The Jawstand XP on the other hand offers both a quick rough adjustment (with a handy height scale for reference), as well as a hand crank for finer adjustments. The fine adjustment really comes in handy for outfeed support. When your support it too high you can find your workpiece bumping into it rather than gliding over it. Too low, and longer pieces can start to bow, presenting cutting woes back at the saw. The hand crank lets you dial in exactly the right height you need for ideal support. The precision adjustment also comes in very handy for tasks like supporting cabinets.
While the need for an angle adjustment might not be immediately apparent, it does have its uses. Angling the head of the Jawstand XP enables you to clamp a support piece in place and then use the Jawstand as a third hand for tasks like cabinet or molding installation. It’s also useful for angling the clamp when supporting a heavier object like a door propped at an angle for planing or hinge mortising. The XP is rated for holding up to 220 lbs by the way. Whether you’re looking for a flat outfeed support or an angled work support, the Jawstand XP has you covered.
It Stands, and Clamps Too!
Most work supports are one-trick ponies. They’re designed as outfeed / infeed supports and that’s about it. The Rockwell Jawstand XP distinguishes itself from the crowd by offering a clamping function too. If you’re away from your truck or workbench, having an impromptu vise available can come in very handy. One thing I wasn’t crazy about is the limited and offset clamping surfaces. There are two pads on one side and one on the other. While this can make for good pressure and holding power on the workpiece, it’s not ideal for thinner pieces that tend to bend in that process.
Even so, I was pleasantly surprised at the holding power and versatility of the clamping or vise function on the XP. The clamp also has a cam lever which makes fairly quick work of clamping and unclamping, especially when workpiece thickness is consistent. In a perfect world we’d like to see a quick clamp design more like the Rockwell JawHorse, but that would likely be overkill on this stand design. Don’t expect to clamp down on a 4×4 by the way, max capacity is 1-3/4″. For a quick overview, check out this video from Rockwell:
The Jawstand XP in Action
Most of my testing of the Jawstand XP was during a hardwood flooring install I was doing solo. I was working with vintage style 2″ wide, sometimes very long white oak flooring. Despite the narrow widths, I still needed to rip several pieces of flooring for the right fit around pesky immovable obstacles. Prior to using the Jawstand XP, this would have entailed me wandering around the house for 45 minutes trying to find several objects that stacked to a height worthy of providing an outfeed support. My workpieces would then get stuck on said stacked objects, resulting in potential YouTube fail moments. I would also coat those same stacked domestics objects with copious amounts of sawdust, which didn’t always go over well with the keepers of those objects.
Unlike random stacked objects, the Jawstand XP is actually designed for its supporting role. Not surprisingly, it performs very well at this task. The fine adjustment crank really comes in handy for dialing in just the right height. And, unlike rolling pin style outfeed supports, workpieces glide effortlessly over the smooth, rounded surfaces, even if the stand is at angle. I also used the Jawstand XP as an extended support at the miter saw. If you’re not working at a dedicated miter saw table or stand with long supports, the Jawstand is indispensable for giving long boards the support needed for safer, more accurate cuts at the saw.
As shocking as this may sound, I discovered a couple of our cabinet bases weren’t perfectly square. This resulted in some of the flooring needing a little finessing with my beloved Bosch planer. The Jawstand XP came in handy as an impromptu vise. I wound up doubling up the workpiece to prevent the offset pads from bowing the board, but other than that, the XP provided the support I needed for the task.
Summary, Pricing and Where to Buy
If you’re accustomed to having countless minions loitering around the jobsite, just waiting for menial tasks like serving as human outfeed supports, then the Jawstand XP probably isn’t for you. But even if you have spare hands on deck, chances are there are probably more productive things to do than supporting longer material while it’s being cut. And, if you work solo like I usually do, I’d go so far as to say the Jawstand XP really is an essential tool not just for productivity, but also for safety. It’s so light and compact, whipping it from one job to the next is simple and efficient. At under $80 via Amazon, it’s very affordable as well. And, with over 100 reviews and 4.5-ish stars, it’s highly regarded by other users too.