New Handle for a Broken Irwin Squeeze Clamp





Introduction: New Handle for a Broken Irwin Squeeze Clamp

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

I went to use this clamp recently. Either the plastic was brittle, or I squeezed the handle too hard. The part of the handle that adds pressure to the clamp broke in my hand. I decided not to discard the clamp and get a new one, but to make a new squeeze handle and continue using the clamp. The photo shows the break. 

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Hacksaw
  • Angle grinder with a cutting wheel
  • Grinder
  • Spring clamps
  • 1/8 x 3/4 inch strap iron
  • 7/16 inch rod
The photo shows part of the broken handle that will be used for a pattern. In my hand I am holding a piece of 7/16 inch steel rod I have ground away to copy the half-round portion on the broken handle. After grinding, I used a hacksaw to saw two cross section slices from the rod. It was necessary to cut a triangle to be welded to the 1/8 x 3/4 inch strap iron. 

Step 2: Weld Both Halves of the Handle

The two halves of the squeeze handle I made are shown here welded. Compare the cavity in the blue handle on the clamp and the broken portion of the original handle. I have ground the welds a little to make them nearly flat. There is some free movement in the clamp for the handle, so the welds do not need to be completely precise and smooth. 

I cut and ground away some of the triangular pieces welded to the strap iron to fit the cavity in the blue portion of the handle. Notice a chalk mark on one piece and a score mark where I began cutting on the other. I did a little grinding for making a close fit.

Step 3: Test Fit

Insert the welded pieces of the replacement handle into their place in the clamp handle to test the fit. Pay attention to the angle of the welded replacement handle pieces. I had to grind the round 7/16 inch rod a little on one of the replacement pieces to make both pieces follow the same angle of inclination coming out of the blue section. I probably did not have the half-round pieces positioned identically when I welded them to the strap iron pieces, or the flat portion was not identical on both.

Step 4: Weld the Squeeze Handle Pieces Together

There are three pieces in the replacement handle I am making. Two have already been shown. The third is a flat piece that makes a bridge across the front of the two already seen in earlier steps. I welded the flat piece to one-half of the replacement squeeze handle using a piece of aluminum angle to hold the pieces while welding. 

Unfortunately, the replacement squeeze handle cannot be attached to the clamp after all welding is finished, but the final weld must be done while the replacement handle is on the Irwin clamp. Fortunately, a spring clamp held the pieces for the final weld as shown in the photo.

Step 5: The Final Result

The new squeeze handle works as it should. Here I am holding it with some pressure on the squeeze portion of the handle. The Irwin clamp advances and tightens just as it did before it broke.



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    irwin tools has a lifetime guarantee i recently found one of mine that was missing the squeeze portion i contacted them for replacement parts inclossing a picture of my clamp and they immediately e mailed back and said if i replied with my mailing address they would send replacement they sent it out immediately this spanned 1 day total great customer service

    1 reply

    Thank you. I often do not remember or think of lifetime warranties, even if I am aware of them. When something breaks my thoughts are, "What can I do to get this working now? I need it without delay."

    you're the only person I've found whose seen the inside of an Irwin Quick Grip. Do you think the QG and its strength could be replicated well in wood?

    1 reply

    You could probably make a demonstration model from wood. I really doubt a replica from would could have the same strength as the original from steel parts.

    Thank you.

    I almost threw my broken clamp away. Not now it will be fixed and stronger then before. Thanks Phil

    1 reply

    I am glad to be helpful. Thank you for looking and commenting.

    It's great that you fixed this tool but:

    At IRWIN Tools, we stand behind our products and are proud to offer the following guarantees.

    Each IRWIN hand tool is warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of the tool under normal wear and tear, except for damage caused by misuse or alteration. Return the tool to place of purchase for replacement if warranty applies. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, which vary from state to state.

    Limited Warranty:
    IRWIN warrants to the original owner that their products are free from defects in material and workmanship for it’s reasonable useful life. IRWIN MAKES NO OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, CONCERNING THE PRODUCT OF THE MERCHANTABILITY FOR FITNESS THEREOF FOR ANY PURPOSE.
    BTW, I don't work there!

    5 replies

    Thank you for the information. My fix for this broken tool may also help someone with a similar problem, but no warranty get their tool working again. And, it gave me an excuse to use my welder.

    Indeed it is - Irwin clamps are a bit too pricey for me so this is a likely scenario for my cheap Chinese knock-offs - well done. Also I am pleased to see that the quality of your welds aren't all that much better than my own ha ha :-(

    Jacquie Kennedy said she painted in a manner one's own family could appreciate. I have told people that describes my welding. These welds were worse than usual and inspired me to think about a guide to guide the gun, which resulted in my newer Instructable on Never Again Weld A Crooked Bead. (Never mind the comment below that was removed. It was what you see here, but I deleted it in order to clean up some typos.)

    I'm like you that I make things that are a solution to a problem. I keep a stock of 1/4" round stock and have steel coffee cans full of bits of steel scrap.When the bits are 1" square or smaller they go into the recycle bin.

    I think that the warranty policy of Irwin Tools is magnificent, but your repair is better than the original plastic handle, Bill.

    Oh, I had looked at that before this one but hadn't made the connection. Alas, you have a MIG whereas I only a lowly stick. My problems are more with keeping a constant bead running rather than it going off line - I found I cured that problem, and the arc starting problem when I moved to an Auto Darkening Solar Welding Helmet - do you use one?

    Phil you're as bad as I am. I fix everything that breaks too. Great job!

    2 replies

    Thanks, Phred.

    I always like improving on things, and sometimes have dismantled new items so I could modify something I thought poorly designed or poorly made. Afterward, the item felt more like it was mine, and I enjoyed using it more because I knew it was better after I modified it.

    You always surprise me, Phil! Another person had thrown away an excellent tool that could be recovered.

    1 reply

    Thank you, Osvaldo.