An alert viewer sent Kevin a private message: “I saw you using these little clamps on that sculpture you were just working on (Welcome). What are they?” He was talking about Cleco clamps, or Cleco Locks.

It’s a clamp with a spring and a little groove cut into it. Kevin uses a special pair of pliers from Cleco and shows how they snap into the neck of the clamp. Squeeze the pliers, and the clamp opens. “Just a word of warning,” Kevin says. “These things bite!” They have a very strong spring and will give you one heck of a pinch.

Kevin found them when he was working on a sculpture and thought, “It would be so nice if I didn’t have to work with big monster clamps, the big heavy J clamps or vise grips or anything like that.” These clamps are tiny, yet they have a strong grip. He shows how you can’t even pull apart the metal being held by the tiny clamps.

You can clamp 2 pieces of 1/4″ square stock and turn the metal, but you can’t pull the pieces apart. Kevin shows 2 pieces of 3/8″ square stock. The clamps are wide enough to hold them together, too.

These clamps are just so small, they’re easy to put in small places. They’re also easy to forget, so don’t lose one someplace by leaving it inside something!

Kevin got these Cleco clamps because he had already been using Cleco removable pop rivets. He shows how the removable pop rivets work, using the same pair of pliers you use with the clamps. With the removable pop rivets, though, you drill an 1/8″ hole in whatever you want to clamp. The end of the rivet won’t fit through the 1/8″ hole, but when you squeeze them with the pliers, the end will fit inside the 1/8″ hole. When you let go of the pliers and the head retracts, it locks itself in the hole to hold two pieces of metal together.

The Cleco pop rivets are from the aircraft industry. You’ll see them all over the body of an airplane when they’re putting the panels on to get everything lined up. Then they take out each temporary pop rivet, one at a time, and put regular rivets in.

Because Kevin  was working with 1/4″ stock, he didn’t want to try to drill a hole in each piece of metal because it wouldn’t leave much material on either side – there wouldn’t be enough strength. That’s why he started using Cleco clamps. It’s really worth having some of these around the shop! You’ll find a million uses for them.

Kevin appreciates the question and everyone watching. Before you go, see what happens when you get a little too close with the heat ….

See this video now ….