Heres one to get us started: Most builders struggle with Adel clamps. We moan, we cuss, we search for quick and dirty workarounds when, really, a pair of padded clamps is often the best way to stand off some wires or secure some tubing.
The problem? It always seems like you need a third hand and pencil-like fingers to hold the springy tabs together while threading the screw through the holes. Even better upside down and in the dark. I have a nice collection of thin aluminum #10 washers on the floor of my hangar from dropping all the hardware.
No more. This tool, sold by Wicks Aircraft Supply for a paltry $37 (part number ACP), works like a champ. (You old-timers who know about this tool, or have made something like it, can stop snickering and explain why you’ve held the Secret of Happiness from the rest of us for so long!) And its easy.
Use the supplied awl to skewer the open holes in the clamp tangs. Draw them together as best you can by hand. Open the special tool, which is really just a small pair of Vise-Grips with slotted tangs, and slip the slot around the awl above and below the tangs. Tighten. Ive found that you can tighten in two steps if necessary to get the tangs closed. Insert the screw with the pliers in place and start the nut. With just a couple of threads started, you can remove the pliers and finish the job.
The tool set appears to be durable. So far the only complaint has to do with close quarters; there may be times you cant find room to swing the pliers handle into position. Otherwise, its a miracle.
The Wicks kit includes the awl (left). Heres your 3-second tutorial: First, wrap the Adel clamps where they need to go. Stick the awl through both clamps, angling the handle to draw the tangs closed. Slip the pliers around the awl shaft, clamp closed. Remove the awl, insert hardware.
For more information, contact Wicks Aircraft Supply at 800/221-9425 or www.wicksaircraft.com.