SHEDNOTES 109: Talking Tools – on clamps

The Shed recently envied a professional pair of one-handed clamps and resolved to upgrade from the lightweight Chinese cheapies it has used for years. Forgot to write the brand down though and got led astray. A local diy store had a couple, looked nice and simple and strong, for about £7 each, but the threaded arm went into a nylon foot which tore loose on first use, on both tools, and they could not be made to grip straight after that.
We got our money back, no argument, opened an account at Tool Station, which is very Shed-cred nowadays, and went a couple of quid large to get the “heavy duty” option from Silverline – formerly Black & Decker, now mainly dealing in cheap imports, like almost evey other UK tool supplier. The cost was about £8 each again, but we assumed we were getting something a pro might use, because that’s Tool Station’s market.
The bloody things both buckled on their first light joinery job. The ratchet mechanism forced its plastic casing loose, breaking a couple of plastic parts in the process so it could not even be reassembled. Tool Station paid up and for £6.99 each, we picked up a couple of simple old-fashioned all-metal G clamps in Tavistock Market, from a West Country importer called Toolzone. They will take any brute force The Shed is likely to apply, forever if required. And if you are not clamping and unclamping all day every day, the extra fiddle they take is nothing much. Even they had nearly been ruined, though, by the geniuses who stuck the barcodelabels all round the thread. Luckily for the Toolzone complaints department, The Shed had a job waiting to start and grudgingly put in the necessary time with solvents and toothbrush.
Anyway, they are a useful stopgap and will remain a sturdy standby when we eventually check the specs and go shopping for the ones we were after in the first place. Keep reading The Shed to find out what the hell we’re talking about.

* The Shed is planning a link to the world wide jukebox and took the following note from author Attica Locke’s cultural recommendations in Observer 5.4.15:
“Fantastico Negrito makes black roots music like a thread from Lead Belly to Alabama Shakes.”


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