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April 18, 2006

Pony 32400 ISD Hand Clamp Review

Clamps are important and generally you want them to do one thing - clamp. Unfortunately the Pony 32400 ISD (stands for "Innovative, Superior and Dependable") just doesn't work all that well. Here it is shown below alongside a typical spring clamp for scale.

Pony 32400 hand clamp

The problem is obvious if you look closely. Note the pivot point for the clamp. It is closer to the end of the handle than it is to the jaws. This means that the clamping force at the jaw is less than the force you apply at the handle.

Sure it is "Innovative" in the same way pliers with long jaws and short handles would be, but innovative does not mean the same thing as powerful or secure. Unfortunately, clamps are called upon to be both of those things. Even the simple spring clamp has the balance right. It uses the principle of the lever to give it a strong grip.

The second thing the Pony 32400 gets wrong is the release device. It pinches people. It pinched my son when he was trying to release the clamp and almost got me a couple of times. The last thing you want is for your own clamp to bite you.

The only thing that keeps from giving this an "avoid" rating is that it might be OK for someone who is doing really light duty clamping. In that case I can imagine that the longer reach may be useful, but I just found it was a bit short in clamping power for what I was trying to do. If they can come out with longer handles so you can apply more force, and fix the pinch problem I might reconsider, but for now it is just going to be a last resort while old fashioned screw clams or spring clamps get all the use.

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