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Aluminium sash cramps.

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MikeG.

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I've never actually seen in the flesh what these sort of U-section aluminium sash cramps are like. How sturdy are they? How useful are they? Are they all the same?

I have only the traditional T section sash cramps, and they're heavy, desperately expensive, and always the wrong length. I just need more, and they don't need to be heavy duty things for pulling a table-top together......just something that can hold a drawer box or a small panel. So, any advice on the subject is most welcome.
 

Trevanion

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I've seen quite a few of these in the flesh in some people's workshops, they seem alright but they're definitely intended for light-duty work as you described. I definitely saw a couple where the clamp had been clamped so tightly that the movable jaw tore the aluminium bar where the pawl/claw goes into the punched holes in the top of the bar. I think used within their limits on smaller work they're probably quite handy and definitely cheaper than most alternatives.

I've always sworn by the Record T-bar clamps because they're super heavy duty, all the same height and all the holes line up together when laid out on a bench, but as you say, they are total overkill for anything that isn't a door. They're not terribly expensive compared to the Bessey Revo clamps though, Some of those are upwards of £50 a clamp and I recently paid just under £40 a clamp for 54" T-bars from Record which are practically global annihilation proof.

Paul Sellers has a decent video on improving the Ally clamps:

[youtube]AyKiGmRq3wY[/youtube]
 

Garno

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I have those exact ones,
If you get them I would highly recommend that you strengthen them the way it shows in the video, it really makes a big difference. So far I have not had any problems and recommend them.
 

Osvaldd

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once retrofited they are extremely rigid. and if you manage to damage one like Trevanion describes, you can just drill a hole through and put a bolt to hold a clamp head in place.
p.s. I've seen these same ones 1200mm at homebase for £11 few weeks ago.
 

John15

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Hi Mike,
I use them all the time and for most of the situations I encounter they do the job. They all seem to be the same design. The longer ones - 4 feet and over will flex under load but problem cured by inserting a batten into the U shape, a tip I got off Paul Sellers. The clamping plates are a little small so on wider joints I sometimes need one below and above. Occasionally the clamping plate racks on the thread causing things to jam - set clamp aside and use another! There will be a way of correcting this but I haven't found it yet. They are incredibly cheap and despite drawbacks are good value for money in my opinion.

John
 

Sam R

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I've not used the ones you've linked to but have 2 axminster branded ones. I like the light weight but that's it. The locking jaw sprung tab is very flimsy & over time the indents get chewed making them prone to popping out. The biggest issue however is the thread which has a terrible steep pitch - far greater than a normal M type thread & nothing like the old Record type. It is also very short. I much prefer the lightest type of Record cramps - 133 maybe? There is also the heavier type which has a bigger bar & the T type you mention which I've found too heavy & unwieldy to be nice to use. But the alu ones are light & won't stain black should one touch a glue line. Also, almost half the price of decent used Records.
 

Rich C

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I have a set of silverline cramps, as the others they are very cheaply made, but serviceable with the wooden insert (18×28 par whitewood goes straight in) and a couple of plywood pads glued on.
 

Phil Pascoe

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You can of course use a couple of heavier cramps to pull the job up, hold it with lightweight ones and move the heavy ones on.
 

AndyT

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I've never bothered buying any because I do have a few sets of old cast iron cramp heads instead. Used with suitable offcuts of hardwood (I'm guessing you'll have those ;)) they are ideal for the lighter weight applications you mentioned.
Pretty easy to find in the usual places.
 

scooby

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I've had some for about 20 years, nothing wrong with them in my experience. Like many people, I fitted a batten inside which definitely makes a bit of difference.
As a comparison to pressure (ime) they exert noticeably more pressure than my uniklamps (probably due to cranked handle).
I share Andy's opinion, I prefer using cramp heads when not using anything super heavy duty.
 

thetyreman

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I have a love/hate relationship with them, they work but there are things I don't like about them, they definitely need to have the wood retrofitted in them which takes time and in my case the screws that pin the thread into the clamp head were not fit for purpose, wrong size and were'nt gripping properly, so they were all replaced with m4 hex bolts, sort of expected though for this kind of price. Also I would not recommend using double sided tape to stick on the wooden jaws to the heads (as sellers recommends), they end up slowly slipping off mid clamping session, epoxy is way better.
 

thetyreman

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also what about making some pipe clamps? then you can have them any length you want.
 

MikeG.

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I don't intend to fit false pads to the jaws. I've never done it to any clamp, and don't like the idea. I'd rather use loose pieces.
 

owen

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I've got a load of them, I've used them a lot for clamping window sashes, and doors etc. I haven't reinforced them with battens as I've never felt the need to? I can't remember the last time I used my cast iron clamps since buying the aluminium ones as the ali are so much lighter/easier to use.
 

loftyhermes

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Like Andy I use clamp heads on 2 x 1 wood, I think mine are Record but other makes are available. You then can make up any length required.
 

MikeG.

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thetyreman":3s7urj79 said:
also what about making some pipe clamps? then you can have them any length you want.
I want something light and light duty. And cheap. Just the heads for pipe clamps are more expensive (almost twice the price) than these whole aluminium ones, and that's before buying the pipe and cutting a thread. I'd certainly consider pipe clamps in place (or in addition to) the T bar sash cramps, but they aren't what I'm after at the moment.
 

MikeG.

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loftyhermes":3leiig87 said:
Like Andy I use clamp heads on 2 x 1 wood, I think mine are Record but other makes are available. You then can make up any length required.
That's what my dad used. I had expected to receive the contents of his workshop, as it was willed to me, but that hasn't happened, and frankly I've never stumbled across the heads for sale in all the years I've been woodworking.
 

loftyhermes

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MikeG.":4n6f507r said:
loftyhermes":4n6f507r said:
Like Andy I use clamp heads on 2 x 1 wood, I think mine are Record but other makes are available. You then can make up any length required.
That's what my dad used. I had expected to receive the contents of his workshop, as it was willed to me, but that hasn't happened, and frankly I've never stumbled across the heads for sale in all the years I've been woodworking.
Mike, let Google be your friend, put clamp heads in the search bar, loads will come up, everywhere from ebay to Yandles. :)
 

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