Last week I showed how to source and install a missing swivel pad over the ball of a clamp’s screw. That kind of pad only works in a ball and socket situation, so what can we do with clamps that don’t have a ball at the end of the screw?
Many small clamps and mounting clamps have a pad that is installed over the thread-less end of the screw. Then, via pressure of a press, the screw’s stem is flared or mushroomed out to prevent the pad from detaching. Over time the flared metal can break off – which leads to the detachment of the pad and often to its disappearing. Luckily, I think that I found a readymade remedy that will fix this issue.
Not so long I have had an old US-made forged steel c-clamp that came to my possession pad-less. I did not want to let it go to the metal recycling bin so I decided to find something that could fix it.
While combing through the good old McMaster Carr catalog I discover a swiveled pad that can be screwed over the end of a screw and act as the perfect pad replacement. In fact, it looked like a much more robust pad than the original one. The McMaster product line includes a few optional pads, smooth sole, corrugated, and plastic one. I decided to get the smoothed sole pad but before ordering it I had to check for the type of thread on my clamp’s screw – as those replacement pads vary also in their thread configuration. To check for the type of thread on my clamp I used my thread identifier – a tool that I really recommend every woodworker will own. With that info in hand, I went ahead and ordered the pad.
Installing the new pad
I turned and tightened the clamp’s screw against the clamp’s feet and with a hack saw I removed the thread-less end of the screw.
Then I filed and added a chamfer to the cut-off area.
I threaded the new pad on and tightened it. Lastly, I oiled the ball and socket before reintroduced it to my fleet of clamps.
The clamp works like a charm and will serve me for decades to come. I know that the price of a new pad is not cheap, but this product is well built and completely rehabilitated an old woodworking tool, so in my calculation it was totally worth it.
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