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Just before Christmas last year, there appeared an Axminster blog giving some information on the new range of Axminster Trade Clamps, which are now available in store and online. This new range is designed for trade or professional use and the clamps are guaranteed to give maximum performance all day, every day.

The strength and reliability of a forged steel clamp gives it the ability to exert the maximum clamping pressure time after time, with no misalignment of the frame. Too much leverage applied to a drop forged, cast clamp will cause frame distortion beyond repair, which is an all too common sight in many workshops.

This gives a very good indication of the advantages of forged steel, compared to a drop forged, cast iron clamp. A forged steel clamp will recover its original form, even when the maximum pressure is applied, whereas a drop forged clamp frame will distort beyond repair if too much force is exerted, as I’ve experienced in my own ‘shop.

Even more important is the notion of ‘active’ clamping which is when a forged steel clamp maintains its pressure, regardless of the condition of the timber. For example, if a piece of timber with a relatively high moisture content were to be clamped in a warm workshop for an extended period, there’s every chance that it would shrink. As the timber contracts, the force applied to it will remain constant as the forged clamp frame will actively move with the timber. Conversely, the pressure applied with a standard drop forged clamp will decrease as the timber shrinks.

One of the new features of the Axminster Trade range of clamps is that the maximum clamping pressure is indicated for each type and size of clamp. This will be displayed on each clamp in the stores by means of a swing label; the website and catalogue show the figure in the text.

How was this magical figure obtained?

At vast expense, we purchased a load cell, which can be seen in use with one of the new forged range of F-clamps. Initially, we were a little concerned about the correct way to show the maximum force, but decided in the end to opt for kilograms as it’s a unit of measurement that’s familiar to all. The figure can also be quoted in Newtons, where 1kg is equal to 9.8 Newtons, roughly bigger by a factor of ten.

 

If you were to buy one of the new 250mm forged F-clamps with a swivel handle in store, you’d see a swing ticket attached giving the maximum clamping pressure of 425kg. Even that’s a difficult figure to visualise, but divide it by 2.2 and you’ll see it in bags of sugar equalling 193.

And that’s a lot of sugar.

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