Sunday, March 19, 2017

My favorite things 12

Several years ago my son gave me this little gizmo as a Mother's Day present.  It has a heavy base with a non-skid gripper surface on the bottom and two arms fitted with alligator clips that bend every which way.  You use it to hold onto whatever needs holding onto -- here it's holding the end of a braided cord that I'm making out of selvages.

I've used it to hold my knotted constructions, turning it as needed to work from the back as well as the front.  I've used it to hold my Christmas ornaments while I zapped them with a heat gun (just had to remember not to touch the metal for a few minutes until it cooled down).

I've used it to hold up directions or other notes in front of my workspace and to hold the middle of a twisted cord that I needed to turn back on itself.  I can't remember what all else; my little holder lives on my worktable and gets called into service all the time.  It's surprising how many projects benefit from a third (and fourth) hand!

The little magnifying glass can be positioned between you and your work, but I've never needed it; miraculously the reading lenses of my bifocals allow me perfect focus of my sewing machine needle, my worktable, and all the places I hold my handwork.  I'm blessed to be able to thread needles, rip seams and take really tiny stitches without outside assistance.  So I have made a little felt hood for the magnifier, which serves as a pincushion and needleholder, but took it off for this photo.

My son found the gizmo at Radio Shack, it says on the base, so apparently its original use was to hold electrical components while you welded them together (at least that's what we did when I took electronics back in the olden days of tubes).  I'm told that the same kind of device is essential equipment for fly-tying, if you're into that, so maybe you could get one at the Bass Pro Shop, Radio Shack having demised.

It's one of those tools that you have no idea you need until it appears in your workspace, and then you wonder how you could ever live without it.


  1. Love it, need one. Mother's Day is coming up very soon in the UK - my son needs to know about this!

  2. Only seven bucks for a cheap-o version on Amazon.

  3. I got one of these at the local small, family run hardware shop. It is really quite good. The first one I had was borrowed by someone painting War Hammer figures back in the day. It has a plastic surround to a glass magnifier and that broke when dropped and the glass fell out. My current one has a better design for the magnifier, but not looking like yours.
    I don't find it to be as stable as yours seems to be. Maybe because the glass makes it heavier? But it is easily anchored by bluetac or something.

  4. They are also available at Harbor Freight.