Printer Friendly

Fastening tools.


Clamps are used in a number of different applications to hold items in place or secure items. Most clamps are constructed from wood, steel, cast iron, high-impact plastic or glass-reinforced nylon and some have rubber or nylon straps.

* The most significant innovation to come about recently in the area of clamps is the development of one-handed bar clamps. These clamps work with a pistol grip and allow the user to tighten or loosen the clamp by using just one hand on a trigger switch. They are available in jaw openings from 6" to 50" and a variety of sizes.

* C-clamps--the most common type of clamp--consist of a C-shaped frame, made of either forged steel or cast iron, into which an adjustable screw is assembled to change the jaw opening. The size of a C-clamp is measured by its capacity--the dimension of the largest object the frame can accommodate with the screw fully extended. Also important is depth of throat, the distance from the center line of the screw to the inside edge of the frame. C-clamps range from 1" to 12".

* Bar clamps have a clamping device built on a flat bar (usually steel). The length of the bar determines the capacity of the clamp, which is the dimension of the largest object that can be accommodated between its clamping jaws. "Reach" is the distance from the edge of the bar to the end of the clamping jaws. Screw pressure applies the final clamping load. Bar clamps are used for clamping large objects, making them popular with wood-workers and hobbyists.

* Pipe clamps can be mounted to standard threaded or unthreaded pipe. Clamping can be performed from one end or both, and jaws can be positioned at the ends or anywhere along the pipe. Pipe clamps can also be quickly converted from a clamp to a spreader.

* Threadless pipe clamp fixtures are designed so ends of pipe don't need threads. A hardened steel set screw holds the head firmly on the pipe, but is easily loosened. The 3/4" size has a crank handle, and depth from screw center to pipe is 11/16". The 1/2" size has a crosspin handle, with depth from screw center to pipe of 7/8".

* A handscrew clamp consists of two hardwood clamping jaws adjusted to the work by two steel screw spindles assembled into the jaws. The jaws adjust to a variety of angles and come in a wide range of sizes. They are used for clamping wood, metal, plastic and fabrics. Handscrew adaptors can be used to convert handscrews into miter clamps. Also available are handscrew kits so woodworkers can make their own jaws.

* Corner clamps are designed to hold miter or butt joints at a 90[degrees] angle. They can be used for gluing picture frames, cabinets, moulding and trim.

* A spring clamp consists of two metal jaws to which clamping pressure is applied by use of a steel spring. They are designed for use with thin materials. Spring clamps are versatile enough for home, hobby or professional use indoors or outdoors, holding round or odd-shaped objects. They typically come with 1", 2" or 3" jaw openings.

* Web clamps (also called band clamps) apply even clamping pressures around irregular shapes or large objects and hold tight by means of a spring-loaded locking fixture.

* A hold-down clamp is the screw portion of a "C" clamp, designed to be secured onto any surface, with the screw used to apply clamping pressure.

* Edging clamps are used for installing moulding and trim on furniture and countertops, holding work at right angles, and for welding or soldering. They are designed to hold edging strips, moulding and trim firmly when fastening to the edge or side of work, leaving hands free.

* Welding clamps are a unique type of bar clamp ideal for quick tacking and other welding jobs. Available in 6" and 18" jaw openings.

* Heavy-duty press screws can be used for deep-reach surface clamping. Available in three different lengths, they can be useful for gluing, welding or other assembly applications.


The size of a vise is measured by both the jaw width of the vise and the capacity of the vise when the jaws are fully open.

* Bench vises are designed for light work in the home, garage and farm. They come in stationary and swivel models, milled and ground jaws, machined to ensure proper operation.

* Woodworking vises feature jaws made of wood from 6" to 10" wide. Some woodworking vises have a fast-acting screw arrangement for the rapid positioning of the movable jaw prior to clamping. Smaller vises have continuous screws and are light and easy to clamp on e workbench or sawhorse. A hinged pipe vise is used to hold pipe in position for threading and cutting.

* Home workshop or utility vises have jaws ranging from 3" to 6". Better models feature swivel bases so the vise may be turned to the best angle for each particular job. Some utility vises either have cast-in pipe jaws or permit special curved-face pipe jaws to be inserted between the regular jaws to add versatility.

* An angle vise can be adjusted to a flat position and used as a regular vise. Marked adjustments permit the user to obtain any desired angle. The vise can also be locked into any position with a thumb screw, and bolts can be tightened for permanent positioning.

* A clamp vise is a combination fixed and portable vise, featuring a bottom clamp for easy attachment to workbenches, sawhorses or tables.


Electrically operated glue guns consist of a heating element, nozzle and glue chamber. Glue or caulking sticks are put in the chamber, where they are melted by heat and released through the nozzle. The adhesive cures by cooling. Subjecting the adhesive to heat again can break the bond.

Cordless models are also available. Some models require the operator to maintain pressure on the glue stick with his thumb. Others are self-feeding. The trigger mechanism on some models closes the nozzle to prevent dripping.

There are a variety of glues available--both with a gun and in replacement packages including heavy-duty type for wood joints requiring about 60 seconds drying time, and lightweight for paper, etc., with shorter drying time.

Caulking/sealer sticks provide waterproof protection for cracks and joints.


There are four types of hand stapling machines: desk stapler, pliers-type hand stapler, staple gun and hammer tacker.

* Desk staplers and pliers-type staplers are both anvil-in-base units. The pliers-type machines are used in heavy-duty work, although lightweight units are on the market.

Unlike anvil-in-base staplers, staple guns shoot staples with a one-hand lever operation. Some guns new shoot nails as well as staples. One new design features a handle that is squeezed toward the front instead of the rear, making it easier to use and control. Staple guns ere good for jobs requiring material to be held with one hand and fastened with the other.

Guns of several weights are available and used for lining closets, installing insulation, tacking ceiling tile or fastening roofing paper.

Specially designed guns are made for fastening low-voltage wire. Other guns fasten wire and cable. Some guns shoot flared staples without an external anvil to staple insulation around pipes and ducts.

* Staple guns are useful for jobs such as attaching new window shade material to an old spring roller, recovering furniture, installing new webbing on chairs, making a garden trellis, attaching weather stripping and tacking chicken wire to a fence stake. A staple gun can be fitted with a variety of staple sizes and attachments for specialized applications.

Electric and cordless staple guns are also available. They have the same uses as the hand-operated guns but the staples are ejected automatically with the pull of a trigger. Some guns are built with a flush front and extended nose for accurate staple placement into hard-to-reach areas. They come with trigger locks to prevent accidents.

* Automatic hammer tackers look like a hammer, with the stapling mechanism in the head and the staples stored in the handle. The unit is used like a hammer and automatically drives a staple with each blow. Quality features include shatterproof handles, retractable striking edges, magnetized striking portions and double-magazine capacity for quicker reloading. Newer models have been designed to be lighter in weight and easier to handle, improving on older models that were front-heavy in weight.

* Similar to a stapler is a nail gun that drives and countersinks nails into paneling, carpeting, moulding and insulation with a single stroke. It looks like a heavy-duty stapler but will net scratch, mar or dent work surfaces. Nails are 11/32" in length and come in woodtone colors to match paneling. The nail gun usually comes packaged with a supply of nails and complete instructions for the do-it-yourselfer.

Although there is a wide variety of staple types and sizes, each staple gun will only accept a certain range of sizes and styles.

In choosing the proper staple-leg length for the job, consider two things: the thickness of the material to be stapled and its hardness. Staple leg lengths range from 3/16" to 9/16". In hardwood, 3/16" to 1/4" penetration is sufficient. Softwood requires up to 3/8" penetration. However, if the staple stands away from the work, it is too long for the gun being used. Some staple guns handle round-crown as well as regular staples, while electric staple guns can handle brads for moulding and trim work.
COPYRIGHT 2006 National Retail Hardware Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Hand Tools
Publication:Hardware Retailing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2006
Previous Article:Saws.
Next Article:Storage items.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |