As I give versions of similar replies to assorted folks over a period of time, it seems wise to offer a guide on our various 3rd Hands and Work Holding Tools. Frankly this will not be of much help with other manufactures products, specially as much of what we make is unique, but it should clear up the “whats?” and “whys?” of our offerings and so make your choices cleaner and with less regret. No one (save our foolish government) likes to waste their money, although when you can just print more I suppose it doesn’t matter as much. Most of us cannot do that, so I surely don’t want YOU to waste yours.
Most all the things minus the free standing Storks, Ring Bosses , Hitching Posts and Grilling Pads are based on 3 basic Soldering Pad platforms : Mini, Junior and Regular. All the variants utilize one of these 3 sizes. In practice actually only TWO, the Junior and Regular are used for kits. The Nice, Sweet and Wild Stork Nest are made from Junior pads (8 x 10.5), Quadropuss, and the Griller Pads are from the Regular size (12 x 10.5) . These are listed here in the order of cost and complexity.
Nice Series:This is the low cost starter end of the offerings. A smaller pad (Jr.), minimal magnifier and 3rd hand armature. Sometimes the armature (the part that holds the clips and magnifier) is not attached to the pad. Frankly, that is not a good thing for the user as unattached 3rd Hand armatures are very hard to get good use from. They move when you don’t want them to. The Ultra Nice and Ultra Nice+ ARE attached.. All the Nice offerings are there because I don’t see it as my part to insist on what you buy: you know what you can afford.
Sweet Series:These have the same size pad (Jr.) as the Nice series, the pads are painted and all the armatures and magnifiers are of the higher, lighted, grade with a 6 inch dual light magnifier. Most have the Storks. Storks are a necessary evolution of the simple cheap alligator clip. Alligator clips are very limited in what they grab and they tend to melt under the flame of a torch: in short, they suck. These units come with a good variety of solder and tool options.
Quadropuss Series:These units are based on the much larger pads and have the better optics as well as Storks. They are built with the idea of 4 (at least) clip sets to hold n, so more than one set up can be run at a time. This allows much greater flexibility in use. It also has the honor of being our very first offering in attached armatures. All else grew from it.
Wild Stork Nest: This is our latest effort in 3rd hands, where we moved into 3D (kind of) where storks mounted on rails can be placed in reach of ANYWHERE across the width of whichever board they are mounted to. They are based on the idea of “working in the round” with maximum flexibility and will have the best in lit magnifiers.
Grilling Pads or Pouring Pads:
Grilling Pads are 2 of our Regular pads with a roughly 8 inch separation. The top one has a 4 inch circular hole cut into the center with a thick stainless steel mesh attached. It is used for heating from the BOTTOM of what you want to join, Many times this is desired as SOLDER ALWAYS FLOWS TOWARD HEAT.
Pouring Pads are Regular sized or Junior sized pads that have boarders (1/2 inch thick and high) on THREE sides of them. They are meant fro restraining where hot metal might run to when being poured into molds,
So that is it. Four series (so far) and the future as open as we can make it (yep, being optimistic about our economy if not our government) and we will leave with some final definitions of accessory things like Storks, Ring Bosses, Hitching Posts and such.
Hitching Posts: These are carbon/graphite posts that are meant for the medium and large sizes of Jump Rings, links that hold jewelry together. They are NOT for tiny/fine jump rings on much of women’s jewelry. By way of example, if the Jump Ring is the same size or smaller than a pencil lead they really cannot be of much help. You can still drape chain over it and hold it with clips (Storks preferably as they hold both small AND large things better) but when it gets too fine the carbon is too brittle to be of use. The Hitching Post holds links up to about 3/8ths of an inch. Because it is carbon nothing will stick to it. They DO hold heat and frankly are better suited to torch work although irons can also work.
Ring Boss: Essentially a MUCH larger version of the Hitching post that can hold a fair series of finger and body rings. We have 3 sizes of posts that fit all finger ring sizes. These are both used in some Quadropuss kits, like the Ramona.
Storks: A natural outgrowth of seeing clips melt and work ruined. These are unique to us as our answer to needing something that holds many things well. They are made of stainless steel and can hold bitty stuff with the fine end and larger things with the length of the jaw. They are about 6 inches in length with over 2 inches in clamping area. The Wild Stork is an unbolted Stork that can move as needed.
Ok, that’s all folks! Thanks for thanking the time to read this and let us (actually me, Ron) know where it comes up short in description. All this is about being readable and understandable.