How do you fix a sticky or squeaky clamp?

Have you ever flipped the lever or twisted the knob on your clamp, only to find that the clamp jaw doesn’t pop open smoothly? Is your clamp making noise that it shouldn’t? Time for some maintenance!

Lever-Release Maintenance

The stainless steel lever on the clamp rides on a self-lubricating, wear-resistant bronze bearing surface. But from time to time, we recommend cleaning grit, dust, and salt-water residue from the shaft to prevent the stainless steel and bronze washers from binding. This article will go through the steps to help you make your clamp as good as new.

  • Flip the lever to the fully open position, and squeeze the jaws together to expose the shaft. Blow out any dirt or grit with compressed air.
  • Use compressed air to blow out any dust or grit from the moving parts of the clamp.
  • Stubborn grime or salt residue can be rinsed with warm water and even a drop of liquid dish soap. A soft toothbrush or pipe cleaner can be used for tight spaces.
  • Apply a drop of lubricant on the shaft and work the lever back & forth to evenly distribute. Wipe off any excess to avoid attracting dirt. We don’t recommend WD-40; instead, use a multi-purpose synthetic oil or waterproof grease. We recommend Phil Wood Tenacious Oil.
  • Place a drop of lubricant on the exposed lever shaft.



Screw-Knob Maintenance

Screw-Knob style clamps have the same jaw parts, but use a simpler knob to compress and release the jaw. The same steps apply for maintaining those parts, with the lubrication going on the exposed threaded shaft of the knob, between the jaw and the knob shroud.

Apply the lubrication to the threaded part of the screw knob, usually accessed from the back of the clamp.


If you are still seeing issues with your clamp when in use, please contact us.