The Necessities - Welding Shop Equipment Part2

One of the first things you'll wish as a welder, is that you were born with an extra hand or two. It just seems that being able to hold all the parts, the torches, and the filler at the same time is impossible. Indeed, it can be. Welding clamps can help solve the dilemma. Although at times, it may  seem that even if you had 10  clamps it would not enough, having a couple of good welding clamps can help keep you from those dilemmas that you face with trying to hold a part in place and weld it at the same time. There are several type of clamps, including, locking plier type, C-type, and bar type. Having a good pair of locking pliers is a good place to start. Name brand locking pliers have managed to stay reasonably affordable over the years, as well as lesser known, or off brand types. These give you quick adjustment, and easy setup with a variety of different configurations available. The C-type are relatively cheap, and can be bought less than 10.00 at discount stores. Name brand is not as important as the type construction of a C-Clamp. A C-clamp can be made either of cast steel or cast iron. Cast iron types are usually very inexpensive, but have a habit of breaking and lack the strength for any serious welding tasks. Additionally, a copper or black oxide plating on the threads is important to help reduce spatter sticking to the screw. I’d suggest starting with at least 3 clamps, with sizes of 4-6 inches. A bar type clamp, is similar to C-Clamp, except the jaw of the clamp slides up and down a bar and can be rapidly readjusted with one hand if need be. The sliding jaw can use gravity to its advantage, with the tightening mechanism needing only to turn slightly to make things tight, once the jaw has been snugged up against the work. Several other types which hold items to be welded in prefixed angles and positions are helpful as well, but can be quite expensive. If you’ll shop around, you’ll eventually find a collection of clamps that suit you, at a price you can afford. Patience is the key.  Nothing is worse than having a malfunctioning clamp when you need it.