I like to do a bit of DIY, sometimes preferring to do the job myself rather than hire a tradesperson and fork out hundreds of pounds just to watch some bloke sit there and drink tea, (or a woman, I'm not a caveman).
So over the years that I have been doing-it-myself I've amassed quite a selection of helpful tools, although I've also collected, and thrown out, possibly a larger collection of useless tools as well.
In my collection I have several different types of power tools, a lot of hand tools and some tools even I don't know what they're used for but they come in handy for something.
But a certain tool that I do not what is use for is the good old fashioned clamp, having quite a good selection of different types of clamps, from the strong metal and heavyweight G-clamps, that take two hands to hold and both your feet to tighten up, to the more modern plastic clamps that you can hold and tighten up with ust one hand, yes one hand, (how technology's has advanced???).
And it is this one handed clamp that I am here to tell you about today, the clamp that comes from a well known company called Silverline, who have made the DIYers life a little easier with their range of different sizes of heavy duty clamps.
Firstly, when I say they come in a range of sizes, I mean that the length are a range of sizes, such as 150mm, 300mm, 450mm, 600mm and more, so there's probably a clamp for you depending on the size of the work you need clamping. But the general idea and mechanism for each different size clamp is the same.
But as I have a selection of different sizes of these clamps and they all work in the same way, I decided to place the review here
The clamp itself...
It doesn't look like a clamp, well the old fashioned metal G-clamps that I used to use in my woodwork classes at school, it looks more like a space aged laser gun, (made for real men then, so they can pretend to shoot things when we get bored... not that I've ever done that you understand).
These ones are made of plastic grips which runs, nay slides along a thin, yet quite strong metal bar.
The actual 'gripping' or 'clamping' parts are an orange plastic, which is spread out slightly wider than the tops so that it grips your work a little more evenly.
Only one of the 'grips' actually move, but the other one does come off for reasons I'll tell you about later. This movable 'grip' is the one that is attached to the trigger and slides along the metal bar
How do you actually use the clamp...
This is a simple one handed manoeuvre, well it's not even a manoeuvre really, it's more a squeeze of the hand. You simply put what ever work you want clamping up to the fixed side of the clamp, then squeeze the trigger with one hand until the movable 'grip' makes contact with the work. Then squeeze a little bit more until the work is firmly clamped in place.
How do I 'un-clamp then..?
This is even easier than clamping.
All you do is press and hold the little orange 'tab' that is behind the trigger and push the movable clamp away from your work. The clamp should slide along the bar away from the fixed side.
As I mentioned earlier, the fixed 'grip' does come off the metal bar by turning the little orange 'nut' and sliding the 'grip' off. This is done so that the clamp can be used not just for clamping things together, they can also be used for prising things apart.
What I mean by that is that if you take the two ends, both the 'solid' one and the 'movable one, take them off and turn them around, these clamps can be used as spreaders. You just simply squeeze the trigger in the same way and the 'movable grip' will slide in the other direction, thus opening up the gap between the 'grips'.
For your basic clamps these are a cracking idea as you can use them with one hand without any problems at all, and the many different sizes make them a great choice for most sized jobs.
The way you can use it with one hand is possibly one of the best ideas that has been thought of to help us DIYers in our daily challenge of juggling bits of wood whilst trying to grip another piece in your mouth, whilst at the same time turning the bolt on a clamp that weighs more than a small elephant, all whilst trapped inside a room the size of a washing machine drum. So thank god the one handed clamp was invented
When you squeeze the trigger it seems to gently move the 'grip' so that you have full control over what you are clamping, giving your work more protection from being suddenly hit with the force of a hammer.
And the way it simply 'un-clamps' make these clamps so easy to use that even a child could use it whilst not letting go of their ice lolly.
Sadly, even though they are easy to use, they are pretty fragile for clamps, considering clamps are supposed to be designed to clamp things together, these tend to fail badly under pressure, with the plastic end cracking if tightened up that little bit too much.
Don't get me wrong, they area great for 'lightweight' work, the sort of job that doesn't need that much pressure, say maybe holding a picture frame together whilst the glue sets. But if you need something that has to handle being force back against itself then these may not be up to the job and you'd be best off with the old fashioned metal clamps.
As for the price...
These lovely useful, yet slightly fragile clamps are selling for around the £5.00 region, depending on the size you're after, but there's not that much difference in the overall price.
Would I recommend this clamp..?
I would have to say YES I would, only if you realise that they're not designed to be used for heavy weight jobs, more your small household DIY work, and if you exert too much pressure then the plastic 'grips' could in fact split.
So if it's a picture frame you want clamping, or pieces of wood held together whilst you drill through the lot of them, then this will do the job.
But if it's a door you want to hold together whilst you dip it, or a chairs broken leg that needs to be bent back into place, then go for the metal clamps.
In all, for a fiver, you can't go wrong if you add these to your tool kit
© Blissman70 2012