Thursday, February 10, 2022

El-Cheapo clamps — usability modifications


I have some bar clamps that I bought years ago from the Warehouse. They have the single virtue of being very cheap.

They're perfectly functional, but they do have several issues: the jaw pads were never much good, and have all fallen off and been lost. I've replaced the screw-jaw pad with bits of plywood, and I'll have to do something similar with the fixed jaw as well.

The main thing that dissuades me from using them is the handles, which are both thin and smooth. They're difficult to get a good grip on, especially for me now that my hands are becoming more decrepit.

I've modified them by planing the grips down square(ish) and glueing ribs of scrap wood to the facets. Just making the handles square would be a great improvement, but adding the ribs increases the diameter of the handle as well, which will make them easier to turn.

The amount of work required to make these clamps usable means that even though they're cheap to buy, they're really not cost-effective. Still, since I've got them, I might as well be able to make use of them.

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