Surviving U.S.-made Woodworking Clamps & Clamp Care

Responding to
my post last week
on the demise of woodworking clamps made
within the U.S., a couple of readers identified that the properly has not
utterly dried out. Sure, we now have most likely misplaced the large names
in casting, forging and milling of clamps, however a couple of smaller
producers have survived, along with new makers who’ve
launched some fascinating stuff in the previous few years.

A number of years in the past we purchased a 10” Milwaukee Software and Gear
Co. woodworking bench vise. It is a actually sturdy work
horse, dependable and spectacular that’s utilized by our college students
day after day.

Tool and Equipment Co
. – to not be confused with the
Milwaukee that
makes electrical, battery powered and different instruments – is making
vises for each metalworking and woodworking, additionally they make
C-clamps and have been in enterprise for greater than a century. As
far as I do know the one woodworking provider who carries their
vises on-line is
Tools for Working Wood
. To search out out about their total line
of vises and different clamping instruments verify their website

Clamp Works
makes its Common Bar Clamps within the USA.
These are medium-duty bar clamps produced from aluminum. I’ve two
of their clamps and they’re actually helpful and powerful. The
firm’s different domestically made clamps are: Picket Handscrew
Clamps, and Miro Moose Cam Clamps. The latter are picket clamps
for delicate or delicate clamping reminiscent of in a luthier’s

Clamp Manufacturing Inc
makes the Kant-twist clamps. These clamps have pivoting jaws
which permits them to regulate to un-parallel surfaces 

The JackClamp is an progressive American clamp
system that claims, as prompt by its identify, to be the Jack of
all clamps. Take a look at this
to see it in motion.

Cleansing and Oiling Your Clamps

Lubricate your clamp pads to increase their life and stop
the ball from pushing by way of the flat floor of the pad.

Once I purchase new clamps, discover second-hand ones
in storage gross sales or (imagine it or not) even in a “Free stuff”
field on the aspect of the street, I ensure to wash the screws
and oil them earlier than use.

Rusted screws will be cleaned with Scotch-Brite
pads, a stiff brush or metal wool, adopted by a rag moistened
with mineral spirits. After this, I oil the screw, the ball at
the tip of the screw and the clamp’s socket pad. It is vitally
vital to lubricate the ball and socket pad;  it can
cut back friction throughout tightening, which suggests longer life for
each ball and socket. Lubricating these may also cut back the
tightening torque wanted to attain the mandatory clamping

For those who fail to lubricate the ball, it can at
some level begin to erode the socket and push by way of it, as
seen within the photos under.

Changing a Worn or Lacking Socket

Do you know that clamps which have misplaced their
pads can nonetheless be rehabilitated? Once I started instructing in my
college I found a cache of crippled “C” clamps . I opened
my McMaster
and ordered alternative pads in 4 sizes. These
pads are the identical pads that was once on the older Pony
clamps. Made by Jorgensen, they’re hefty and can clip onto
the ball on the finish of the screw, and can maintain onto the ball
by way of the assistance of an integral retaining washer, so no banging or
hammering is required. After receiving them, I put a dab of
grease within the sockets and positioned them over the orphaned balls;
grease is best than oil for this function however will be extra
difficult to use.

Our outdated C-clamps misplaced their unique pads in some unspecified time in the future however
gained new ones that work even higher.

As I discussed in my earlier put up, it appears
like Jorgensen is now not making clamps and elements within the U.S.
Plus, in the previous few years the corporate has skinned down the
design of their heavy-duty pads, making them much less sturdy and
irreplaceable, so who is aware of for the way lengthy we can
order the older snap-on pads.

Jorgensen’s alternative pads. They will match over the ball of
clamps made by different producers, too.

An orphaned socket pad of the “pressed on” persuasion

By following these easy cleansing and
lubrication steps you’ll make each your clamps and your wrist
joint a lot happier.

— Yoav

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: