Replace A Missing Clamp Pad, Part 2

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This high quality Cincinnati Tool Co. clamp arrived in my possession without a pad. But with the help of a replacement tampon, I was able to completely rehabilitate him.

Last week I showed how to find and install a missing swivel pad on the screw ball of a clamp. That type 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 bearing installed on the threadless end of the screw. Then, through the pressure of a press, the screw stem is flared or mushroom-shaped to prevent the pad from coming off. Over time the flared metal can crack, which leads to the pad detachment and often its disappearance. Fortunately, I think I have found a ready-made remedy that will solve this problem.

Not long ago I have an old forged steel C-clamp made in the USA that came into my possession without a pad. I didn’t want to let it go to the metal recycling bin, so I decided to find something that could fix it.

As I peruse the good old McMaster Carr catalog I discover a swivel pad that can be screwed onto the end of a screw and serves as the perfect replacement for the pad. In fact, it felt like a much sturdier pad than the original one. The McMaster product line includes some optional pads, smooth, corrugated and plastic sole. I decided to take the polished caseback, but before ordering I had to check the thread type on my clamp screw, as these replacement pads also vary in thread configuration. To check the thread type on my gripper I used my thread identifier – a tool that I really recommend to every carpenter. With this information in hand, I went ahead and ordered the pad.

Replacement bearings are available in many thread types common to many small to medium size clamps.

Installing the new pad

I turned and tightened the clamp screw against the clamp feet and with a hacksaw removed the threadless end of the screw.

So I filed and added a bevel to the cutting area.

I slipped on the new pad and tightened it. Finally, I oiled the ball and socket before reintroducing it to my fleet of clamps.

The clamp works like a charm and will serve me for decades to come. I know the price of a new pad is not cheap, but this product is well built and has completely rehabilitated an old woodworking tool, so according to my calculations it was worth it.

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