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Old 08-30-2004, 12:26 AM
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Question Eastwood butt weld clamps

Just recieved a set of 4 clamps for butt welding body panels.
I am hand forming a steel filler panel for the roof in my Model A.
After reading many posts from talented guys like Randy Ferguson
and others, I am getting the feeling that butt welds should be tight.
These clamps leave a .040 gap "for full penetration and perfect alignment" so Eastwood says.
I'm not sure I could trim the panel any closer than that any way.
Should I use them or not?
How do you pros align the tins and hold them untill it's tacked?
This panel is alot of work for a rookie like me to make a mistake at this stage in the game!
Thanks in advance for your answers!!

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Old 08-30-2004, 06:24 AM
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Meathead-I was wondering about the same thing. I'm tackling 2 cab corners this weekend. Although I had planned on buying the same clamps from Eastwood..I gave that idea up. Being that this will be the first time welding I was concerned I'd have trouble filling the gap without something backing it up. I'm sure a pro can do anything, but in my case thought it was too much to juggle the first time. Plus I thought if I decided to space them, I'd just clamp them slightly apart.

Will be interesting to see what the replies are.

Keith
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Old 08-30-2004, 08:01 AM
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You guys are right, the seam should be flawless, we are talking not being able to see light thru it. Those eastwood clamps are a joke.

One way you can do this is to cut some little strips of metal into half inch by one inch. Use a vice grip to hold it in place under the roof on the car around the edge. Drill a little eighth inch hole and put a small sheet metal screw thru (or of course you could Cleco it if you have them). After you have a number of them around the roof, set the new roof insert in on top of these little metal pieces. You now can use a large "C" clamp vice grip and tighten it all up and screw the insert to the strips as well.

After you tack weld in between them you can remove them and finish welding.

You want to lay that new piece on top of the roof and use a sharpe scriber to mark your cut line. Use tin snips to trim the line and you can make that flawless seam I was refering to.

Now, hopefully Randy will come on and give us more ideas.
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Old 08-30-2004, 07:16 PM
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Yeah, afrer I saw what those clamps were, I could have made them for free from stuff around my garage! Oh well, live and learn.
I also bought that cleco set! What a great oppertunity to use them! I was starting to think I waisted my money on them also since the only thing I thought they were good for was lap welding stuff, and everybody here says those are bad news!
Why are they so bad? And are laps acceptable for floor boards?
Thanks again for answers!
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:23 AM
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Meathead, the whole lap weld vs butt weld thing cracks me up.

Is a butt weld "better" than a lap weld? Well sure it is, if you properly butt weld something, it will be invisible in bare metal, just like it never was spliced. But what is the point? If you are doing some valuable classic car (I am not talking a "standard" 68 Camaro, I'm talking a Yenco or something) something that someone would be going over with a fine tooth comb in judging or in buying it. Why do you need that flawless butt weld for? I'll answer the question, because you WANT it to be flawlessly butt welded, that is why. That is the only reason, you just want it to be. Let me ask you this, what would it hurt to have a lap weld across the middle of the floor pan? First off, the most important point, THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE BUTT WELD ON YOUR CAR, THE ENTIRE THING IS HELD TOGETHER WITH LAP/PINCH WELDS!. Sooooo, being the whole car is held together with lap/pinch welds, what difference is it as far as longevity, strength if you add one more? NOTHING that's what.

If you do something like a floor and you place a nice lap weld that looks like the factory would have put it there, it just isnt' going to matter. If it looks like a patch, well then sure if someone looks under there they will see it has been "patched". But if you do the lap strategically looking at the rest of the floor and making this splice look like the factory did the rest, no one is going to notice it.

It is all in the mind, it is all how you do it that makes the difference. I have made modifications like that on cars that are shown and judged where the judges don't notice the mod because it "looked like it belonged".

I am not saying lap weld everything, there is no need to butt weld. I am just saying that too much is put on this. I see it all the time in the forums, lap welds catch moisture, well the WHOLE DARN CAR IS HELD TOGETHER WITH THEM! What are you going to do, cut the car up, redesign all the welds to butt weld them? All I am saying in on the "average" (and I don't mean junk or something like that, I mean the average vintage, muscle car, what ever) it really isn't going to matter. It isn't going to damage the resale if the rest of the car is nice that someone happens to notice there is a seam running across the floor that wasn't there at the factory.
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:41 AM
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I used them on my 1/4 panels

You can see them on my website.
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Old 08-31-2004, 07:50 PM
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Thanks guys!
It is good to know that one is not more structurally sound than the other! As far as holding moisture, it is a hot rod and will never see snow, salt or a whole lot of rain any way!

Rich,
I know Martinsr doesn't like those clamps but, it looks like you used them on your car. What is your opinion of them?
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Old 09-02-2004, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Meathead


Rich,
I know Martinsr doesn't like those clamps but, it looks like you used them on your car. What is your opinion of them?

If you don't take the time to carefully cut and match, the gaps can be wider than you think.
These 1/4's were the first I have ever done. I'm happy with them , and I do not think that I could have done it without these clamps. I'll use 'em again if needed.
I have since found out that Harbor Freight sells them cheaper!!!
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Old 09-02-2004, 08:43 PM
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Thanks for the input! Your car looks good!
If I would ever need more clamps like this for some reason, I would just make them! the picture in the book wasn't very clear.
I think they do stuff like that on purpose!lol
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