Friday, March 25, 2016

Black & Decker Gripmate

I recently picked up a Gripmate, still in its original box.  Made in Brockville, Ontario.  Production in that location ended in 1998:  see my previous post.

Even the carton was made in Canada (in Pembroke, Ontario) by the Abitibi Paper Company!  (Abitibi products were once so ubiquitous in this country that wooden matches were sometimes generically referred to as "Abitibi Ronsons." ) Not anymore--in 1989 Abitibi was sold to the Stone Container Corporation of Chicago, and then the firms were combined with the Greenville, South Carolina firm of Bowater to become AbitibiBowater in 2007.  In 2012, the company became Resolute Forest Products.  

I think it would be entertaining to perform Mullen Tests!

Below, the original registration form, never completed by the first purchaser.  It was even printed in Canada! From a day when people still owned 1/4" capacity electric drills.  Even back then, companies were eager for more information on consumers that they were entitled to.

Anyway, here's the tool.  It's designed to be used with the Black & Decker Workmate:

The orange "adaptor bushings" are frequently missing from these tools when people buy them second-hand. Like the Gripmate itself, they're no longer available. Absent these bushings, the clamp is pretty much useless.  With a little work, you could make a substitute out of plastic, so I present the dimensions below for anyone who cares to take a go at this project.  (If it were me, I'd make it out of 1-1/4" nylon round stock, turning it down to .780 and leaving a larger 1-1/4" diameter and 1/4" thick circular lip at the top. (There's no need for the top to be square, as in the original design.) Step the bottom half inch down to 3/4" and cut a coarse thread, so you can use a nut to secure it to the Workmate in place of the two spring clips. Then drill the centre hole 11/32" or .3437" (or use an S-size drill at .3480") and open it up rectangular and to size with a square file.)

Below, the first page of the clamp's original instructions.  I've uploaded a copy here:  Gripmate Instructions.

You can also find a copy on the DeWalt site, when the tool was renamed the Workmate Clamp.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your write-up of the Gripmate. I have a few Type 1 and Type 2 Workmates (a great read of their history btw). Over the years I've picked up a few Gripmates here and there at garage sales, always without the plastic bushings, hoping to find them one day. I came across my Gripmates in the back of my clamps drawer last night, and having recently gotten into 3D printing, decided to design and print some bushings. Before I did however, I checked on the web to see if anyone beat me to it, and, they did:

So, if you or anyone is in the same predicament and know someone with a 3D printer, problem solved!