|Review by JohnnySplinterfinger||posted 02-12-2013 05:38 AM||2030 views||0 times favorited||0 comments|
For those of you who read my last review of the Pony Rapid Acting Band Clamp you’d probably be thinking I was going to be much more skeptical this time around with the same brand, but lo’ for this one I’d call it a winner. Please note in the photo the clips are backwards, but that’s okay because you do that for smaller frames, although given the position of where the clips are I’d say they’re making a huge frame, haha.
As with any other frame clamps setup involves a bit more tinkering than just slapping a band around four corners of a frame and ratcheting the thing down, and oh is it so worth it. I always try to go into each new tool investment with an open mind (and unfortunately an empty wallet in most cases) so for this one the price was about $6.00USD more than the Pony band clamp I previously had tried, and I’d say it was worth every penny. $6 more, now that doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but I’ll be honest when I say I shop for “value wood” as a regional retailer labels it, and try to make it pass as furniture-grade lumber in most of my projects much to my chagrin.
Okay enough of the rambling let me break it down…Pros:
- Metal track system, unlike other plastic versions I’ve encountered
- Easy fold up storage
- Lightweight, but rugged enough if you don’t go Hulkamaniac on tightening it down
- “Self squaring miter clamps” (compared to other methods of clamping miters, I think this one gets as close “self squaring” as one can get)
- Wingnut and a threaded bolt are what you tighten with. A bit fumbly for dumb Splinterfingers like mine that don’t always cooperate and do as they’re told. Plus if you happen to line up the clips wrong you end up trying to reach around your frame pieces to tighten.
- Directions pretty much tell you how to set it up, and that’s about it. You have to figure by trial and error where the clips go for your frame size. No chart or mention of suggested slots to put the corner clips into.
- End caps on the metal runners a bit loose and can fall out if bumped just right. This however was a real stretch to think of something else that I didn’t think to great of it.
Now back to the rambling. I am so glad I didn’t get caught up in the mindset of “One bad product means the whole company’s line of products are a sham” mentality I used to allow myself to get into. The setup does take a bit of finessing to understand just how to get it going, but it isn’t anything two minutes and four scrap test pieces won’t fix for you. Seriously, I took four scrap pieces that I just kind of eyeballed the lengths and slapped some miter cuts at the ends of them using my miter saw (no checking for accuracy at that point) and popped them into the clips and whamo, a mockup frame was born. Even for having uneven miters/lengths it still squared up the pieces like some magic square making machine.
I was so happy on that first trial run that I could have ran naked down the street in joy, triumphantly holding my new trophy of a tool with said slopped-together frame proudly above my head exclaiming to the world that I am now Splinterfingers, Framing King and Mighty Overlord of All Things Square! Okay, not really. One I live in Wisconsin… it’s February and doing that awesome freezing rain to sleet to snow thing it does outdoors this time of year, and secondly I think there are laws against such an act. Then again I’ve never had to check before because to the best of my recollection I don’t think something as simple as a square has ever brought me to a state of such bliss.
Hm, I think I need to get out of my basement, I mean shop… I need to get out of my shop more often. Either way I’d wholeheartedly recommend getting one if you’re looking for something to make mid-to-thinner frame moldings like I plan on doing. Something like these thicker picture frames you see, or say a jewelery box probably wouldn’t work so well, but then again it is a Frame Clamp and not a box-making clamp so you probably already had that figured it out. The markdown of the star was because there doesn’t seem to be any way to find replacement miter clips if you do happen to break one which would make the whole setup useless. Like I said before though if you don’t go crazy on clamping down your miters I’d think this tool should last you a while.
-- If you learn a lot from your mistakes then I must be a freakin' genius!