Re: The third hand

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

Manfred, as usual, certainly hits a common nerve. It is not only a
third hand that we need, we need to have that hand tiny enough to get
in between our existing two ham-handed fingers.

Jack Burgess mentions the Coffman clamps. I am one who has had these
for years, and finds them extremely useful, easy to use, and worth
every penny. When they have not worked, it has been the fault of the
incompetent modeler, not the clamp itself (e.g. gluing the sides to
the clamps themselves, or- butting/gluing one side to the back of one
end, and butting/gluing the other side to the side of the end's other

I also agree with a relative uselessness of the alligator-clip holders
that seem to infest the tool flea markets.

I use a wide variety of al fresco "third hands", none of them with any
sophistication: 1) Temporarily tack glue, or even tape pieces
together. As Jack mentions, my favorite is Barge Cement (tiny droplets
squeezed through a tiny hole drilled through the crown of the cap of
the tube). The glue holds almost immediately, but does really not set
up tight for about an hour. This also gives the modeler some leeway
is adjusting position before the part is secured in place with some ACC.

2) ACC is very brittle, and with larger pieces, tiny drops can hold a
piece in place sufficiently steady that other more precise work can
be performed, or while the piece can serve as a removable pattern or
jig. When finished, the piece can be easily snapped away, and
whatever tiny ACC remnant can simply be then sanded away (or removed
with ACC debonder). White glue at times can also serve with resin and
styrene. It is an insufficient cement for these materials, but for
temporary holds, it can hold things in place until other better means
of attachment are implemented. White glue is easily cleaned with
water, of course.

3) Tape: I use drafting tape to hold all sorts of things in place
while I work on them. It is not pretty, but in certain circumstances
it is better than most alternatives.

4) Weights: I have a variety of small steel weights that came from
the tool box of a retired SP machinist. I use them all the time to
hold pieces in place, their squared smooth sides offering excellent
90ยบ support.

5) Sometimes, frustratingly, none of the above will work, and only a
Sky Hook will do. Keep one or two of these handy for such

I will be looking forward in anticipation to what others have to say
about this subject!


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