Culling the Herd

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Blog entry by poopiekat posted 11-12-2010 12:39 AM 5515 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While working on my current project, I realized that there are some tools in full view, within easy reach, that I NEVER USE! Or, at least, I reach past them for my favorites. For example, I have lots of C-clamps varying in size, but some have machine-threads. It takes an eternity to open or close them, very inconvenient when you’ve got glue setting! So, I think I’ll consider getting rid of any C-clamp that does not have Acme threads, those so-called ‘square threads’. Maybe I’ll replace ‘em, maybe not. Now, I cast a jaundiced eye at any bar-clamp that has no clutch discs….those that rely on friction, or an off-centered bind to grab the bar. I’m sick of these suddenly dropping off, often at a very inconvenient time. Ditto for F-clamps that never seem to get the job done. Heave-ho! Now pipe clamps, some of mine, including 4 that I’ve owned and managed to hang on to since perhaps the late 60’s, with green ‘hammer-finish’ paint. I remember buying these at a place called “Kauf’s” now long out of business. These are indeed the old-style eccentric-teeth grabbers in the tailstock, rather than the more reliable Jorgenson-styled multiple clutch grip. I haven’t got the heart to get rid of these, even though they are only 1/2” pipe when all my others are 3/4”!
Then, of course, the squeeze-jaw spring clamps, my metal ones are slowly disappearing and I’ve replaced them with cheezy plastic, carbon fiber, or other crap, most have lost their little jaw inserts or cushions. My old Ponys have outlasted them! And if I look hard enough, I might find the 6 or so that are missing, like holding up Christmas lights, suspending open trash bags, or other non-woodworking use.
Ah, yes… all my speed-clamp trigger-handled bar clamps… If they’re not original ‘Speed Grip by Vise-grip” brand…they’re getting replaced. Those original ‘speed Grip ones are awesome, with the cushy rubber jaw protectors are great; the cheezy imports and store brand ones with the hard plastic tips stain the wood and tend to slip off when pressure is applied.
Then of couse, I have the crappiest tool ever, a clamp that was manufactured from probably rejected caulking guns, yes folks I got one and it’s even embarrassing to even look at it. Kind of ingenious to look at, but utterly worthless. I also have cantilever clamps, useful for fixtures maybe but I’ve never used them, despite owning them since the mid-eighties, and those wrench-turned c-clamp thingies that you use to suspend lights and hvac from steel roof trusses. Why the heck do I keep this stuff? Don’t use the H-word, I’m no hoarder, I just use no judgement when it comes to keeping stuff. Awright… nobody tell me I can send my surplus to your workshop… How’s your herd?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

7 comments so far

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3757 days

#1 posted 11-12-2010 12:59 AM

Here’s a pic: Junky clamps

Okay.. opps that ‘caulking gun clamp’ is out in the garage waiting for next year’s yard sale.
But, anyway, how many of us have c-clamps missing the swivel pad, those vise-grip tools with the welding/sheet metal jaws totally unusable for woodworking, a 90-degree clamp that holds the joint open until the glue sets, and other clamps that clearly have been in your shop too long without any hope of being used?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2785 days

#2 posted 11-12-2010 02:28 AM

I understand I have a shelf of shame it holds four broke spray guns that you buy parts for anymore and all four dont have enough working parts to make one good one. One dead router that smokes more than me when you turn it on, a few cordless tools that the batts wont hold a charge any more and a new batt is more than the tools worth to me, a staple gun that is broke in half ( ran over it long story lol) and a roto zip that lasted me one sheet rock job before it siezed up. why do we keep this stuff I say its because i spent to much money on them to throw them away i wont them to suffer on a dusty shelf for years as punishment for breaking on me.

-- As Best I Can

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2853 days

#3 posted 11-12-2010 02:42 AM

I’ll admit I’m not one for keeping things that don’t work or don’t get used. Usually get rid of the “culled” items in garage sales we have every few years. I have “regulars’ that hit our sales early to see what I’m getting rid of. I price it to get it gone, not to put it back in the shop. For example sold a tub full of QuickGrips, probably about 20 of them, for 10 bucks including the tub.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2803 days

#4 posted 11-12-2010 02:43 AM

You’re being too hard on yourselves ! It’s when you have all those clamps, missing pads and all AND YOU KEEP FIXING THEM..
I have clamps with pill bottle tops, the softer kid proof type, as swivel pads, others with chunks of “nice”
tree branch as pads and a couple of OLD 10” c clamps that the Acme threaded part is too short..mind you those are actual antiques, one’s a Record cast steel version that’d pull a battleship iff hooked to the right chain..or sink it.. And I refuse to disgust all with the wall of shame..oh, what the hell..b n’ d cinch clamps on sale at K-Mart years ago..kinda like a band clamp but MUCH less effective and never would stay where you want it..
Or how about another b n’ d classic (this one I told the family NOT FOR CHRISTMAS !, and got it for 10 bucks at a clearance outlet later ) the incredible battery operated c clamp ! With the afore meantioned machine screw that even with a fresh battery moves like it’s dead..Umm..battery operated b n’d crescent wrench..why thank you son..hope y’all didn’t pay full price.. nope, the H-D clearance bin, and it says it dosen’t work.. (that’d be because the package that says “TRY IT HERE” won’t let you work the switch..)
But I digress.. We are all ADDICTS !
(mmm, Gary..about the 10 dollar tub…....)

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3757 days

#5 posted 11-12-2010 04:58 AM

Hey, racerglen! So THAT’S why my projects all have a stamp imprinted on them ” Push Down While Turning” LOL! I am going to expand on this philosophy a bit further, what with my ridiculous accumulation of duplicate tools. Like how I have about 300 threading taps, half still in their package, yet there’s only 3 sizes that I actually ever use. Seven pipe wrenches. 10 sliding T-bevels. GaryL: note that I did say one clamp is in queue for a garage sale… it’s been in the gathering stage for 3 years. cab4less: I have cordless things with no chargers, and chargers that I have no idea what they were for…so I can’t throw either away. I should standardize everything I own cordless to ONE voltage… errr 12 volt? 14.4V? 18V? or will a new line come out with a new voltage, one week after I buy everything new?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3128 days

#6 posted 11-12-2010 05:22 AM

My ‘Quik-clamps were all starting to slip. Do I throw them away. Nope1 I take them apart and reverse the clutch/ part. they work better now. I found I can use one hand and spin the C clamps to quickly open or close them. I don’t have enough of any kind of clamp to get rid of them. I do have a few old drills if someone wants to try to play a match up game!

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20589 posts in 3128 days

#7 posted 01-04-2011 08:36 AM

If you have tools that do not work and can’t be fixed, pitch ‘em. The frustration of having to work with a sub standard tool is not worth it.
I have a lot of the bar clamps with the plastic heads and they work fine to a point and I use them to that point. If I need real force, I use C clamps or pipe clamps.
The kant twist clamp in the bottom right of the picture is one of my favorites for getting some real force when needed. I made a pair of them 40 years ago and they see a lot of use in my shop! Some times you have to put tape over the metal surfaces or use scrap wood so as not to mark the project when applying a lot of force, but you do what it takes and use what you have to get the job done.
I choose clamps carefully when make new purchases. There is a lot of junk on the market.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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