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I get down to AxHQ a couple of times a month and for the last few sessions, I’ve been filming some ‘Top Tips’ in the studio, which will (when finished and edited) be released on YouTube as a playlist.

Tuesday was no exception and amidst all the chunter and banter (and there’s always a lot of chuntering and bantering going on), I was in the process of doing a piece on clamps – what precisely we were doing, you’ll have to wait and see on t’interweb! Suffice to say that during the course of filming the piece, I was becoming more and more unable to say the right words… to ‘clamp’ or to ‘cramp’?

Axminster is now a bona fide ‘clamping’ outfit and in theory, all publications, both written and on the internet, ought to be singing from the official clamping hymn sheet. Except me, because I’ve been a ‘cramper’ for over 40 years and the problem I encountered yesterday was the abject refusal of the thing that passes for my brain to transmit to my tongue the instruction to say ‘clamp’. No matter how hard the effort, try as I might, ’tweren’t going to happen!

Take one, take two… it seemed to go on interminably until we all were so exasperated and after much chuntering we all ended up by agreeing “Oh, what the ******. Rob, go with what you’re used to.”

Which is what I did, so when you see the particular clip, you’ll notice that I say ‘cramp’ instead of ‘clamp’ (unless the odd ‘clamp’ word slips in under the radar).

The burning and $64K question is this – are you a ‘cramper’ or ‘clamper’?

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6 Comments on "To cramp or clamp, that is the question"

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Jon 'Jim'll' Knight

Clamp. A cramp is what you get when you don’t have a clamp available and have the hold the blinking bits of wood together yourself until the glue dries.

Rob Stoakley
Interesting. If one were to search for ‘cramp’ using Google, screenfuls of medical results ensue. Then search for ‘woodworking cramp’ and one of the results is from Wiki…”A clamp is a fastening device to hold or secure objects tightly together to prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the term cramp is often used instead when the tool is for temporary use for positioning components during construction and woodworking; thus a G cramp or a sash cramp but a wheel clamp or a surgical clamp.” From their interpretation, it seems that… Read more »
Richard Harvey

In the workshop, cramp is the British English word, clamp the US. Personally, I go for British.

Rob Stoakley

This discussion opens the veritable can of worms. Personally, I agree and have always been a ‘cramper’ for the last 40 odd years, so it’s very, almost impossible in fact, to turn into a ‘clamper’. At the end of the jour, I don’t suppose it makes a jot of difference as we’ll all end up going with what we’re comfortable with, so for me, it’s cramp.

Alun Davies

Now look here Rob. I’ve just been reading your informative blog on dovetail cutting and am outraged at your continual use of “clamp”.Not a word I utter very often , but I hope I can be forgiven this time. I’m sure you will agree that horsewhipping is too lenient for “clampers” and trust that you will now return to the brotherhood of “clampers”. Incidentally I noticed splendid example of a genuine clamp on an American site this week…..they call it a breadboard end . Worth a look.

Rob Stoakley

I’m in agreement Alun. Horsewhipping’s a bit pink and fluffy for the clamping brigade. Back in the days when we did stuff properly, ‘clampers’ would have been hauled off to the Tower to suffer ‘due process’. Having re-read what I writ, I can only concur that I did indeed write ‘clamp’ for which I offer a grovelling apology and can only hope that you won’t demand my head be stuck on a spike on Old London Bridge!