Saturday 3 August 2019

Sash Clamp - T bar Or Not?

I was once told that as a carpenter I'll never have enough clamps and nothing could be truer! 

Every job I do at the minute I seem to be using every clamp I have. Or to be more accurate, every clamp I like. I have a large selection built up over 20 years and it's a right hodgepodge and there's a few clamps in there I don't like to use unless I have to.

Ideally I'd like to invest in some more clamps. The ones I use the most are a set of six (the same as the ones in the left of the picture above and below) that I purchased from Rutland Tools about 10 years ago.

So while thinking about buying some more clamps I decided to think why I favour these over any others that I have in the workshop (large clamps that is).

Firstly I think that having clamps in pairs is essential. Having a matching pair of clamps to use makes it so much easier, especially when it's warm and glue is going off fast! Last thing you need to be doing is trying to level clamps up or messing with different handles etc. My other clamps are often odd ones that I picked up second hand.

Weight is also a consideration. I favour the normal bar sash clamp over a T bar one because it's so much easier to handle and easier to pick up and move the work once it's clamped, something I have to do quite often in my small workshop.

T bar types (like the one in the picture above) are much more solid and less likely to twist but that's not been something I've ever worried about. The bar type are plenty strong enough for the type of work I do and I find that although the "T" type ones are superior there's no real need for them in my small workshop.

Look how often I use these! Covered in a thick layer of dust! 
Thread on clamps is also a consideration.

I have some cheaper ones I picked up at a car boot that I need to sell again to someone else who only needs them for occasional use! The main problem with them is the course thread, this makes tightening them up a bit more of a heavy handed affair, a finer thread is a much smoother to use.

The pins always seem to get lost over time! This is a pain but a screw or bolt soon fixes that. 
Although I'm always a bit of a brand snob I also don't think I'll be shelling out for top of the range Record or similar clamps and instead I'm going to experiment and buy a few different cheaper ones first to see which I like the best then invest from there.

Hopefully I'll have a wall full of matching clamps fairly soon! Watch this space!

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