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Suitability of railroad fastener clip for holdfast


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I have several of these railroad fastener clips.  (the ones that are kind of twisted like a pretzel).  They seem to be the right diameter to loosely fit my pritchel hole, and they already have a sort of "spadey-looking" wide end where the clip meets the rail.  Are these things springy enough to make a good holdfast?

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Yes, they're a medium carbon steel and make nice springy hold fasts as well as other tools where tough is more important than hard. I have a few of the rectangular rail clips I keep on hand to make things like drifts. They're darned good stock. Be aware you CAN make them brittle normalizing after doing much forging is a really good idea.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I agree, there is a LOT of steel in the rectangular section clips. Whatever they're called, I forget.

Panderol(sp?) clips make nice hold fasts without killing yourself or using a power hammer.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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The ? shaped clips with the rectangular cross section which is what Frosty and Thomas were referring to are called Unit V anchors. Pandrol clip is the correct name for the pretzel shaped ones. I was wrong about the names until recently and I spent a couple years stacking manifest trains in a railyard haha. 

Pnut

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Hello;

 

For this part of the world; pandrol E-clips are available in 2 crossections; 18  and 16 mm round (E2039 and E2055 in the pic below). There are also Butterfly clips, which have 2 sprins sides, but are generally thinner. I got buckets of 'm; good trading stock :D

Now I can't get them new; but when they work on track; they remove these clips and trow them away ! ... They apparantly only install new ones.

The one I have are colourcoded; the greens are 16mm, the 18 are red. The steel in them is usually a variant of 9260; which is a great steel for tooling; mediocre for knives. Tough stuff. Doesn't want to move under the hammer. Don't forge it too high, it suffers from grain growth like O-1. Normalising is also a good idea. Testing for cracks is also a great idea after forging. Not that great for tongs. 

For a holdfast it would be great steel; just make sure to NOT quench the tip in water even if it gets red-hot. 

 

pandrol-clips.jpg

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One key to success with Pandrol clips is making the straightening process as easy as possible. The best method I've found so far is as follows.

  1. Get two pieces of pipe:
    1. one as long as your vise jaws are wide and big enough to slip over the flattened end of the clip.
    2.  one about 36" long (give or take, but no less than 24")and big enough to slip over the round end of the clip.
  2. Clamp the shorter pipe firmly in your vise, parallel with the jaws.
  3. Get the entire clip quite hot in your forge.
  4. Slip the flattened end of the clip into the short pipe
  5. Slip the long pipe over the round end of the clip.
  6. Quickly uncoil the clip, using the long pipe for leverage.
  7. Final straightening can be done on the anvil.

Here is the basic idea, shown with an unheated clip. In practice, the flattened end would be slid farther into the short pipe, and the long pipe would be slid farther over the round end.

41E8C2E3-5C3B-466F-B3D6-BFDA1DAA8F28.jpeg

It's important to remember that the clip will expand somewhat when heated, so you want a somewhat loose fit between the clip and the pipes.

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John; I have to say it:  "That's Cheating!". 

 (I use a pipe cheater to bend my rasptle snakes in a post vise too. Set the jaws several inches apart and hook the end of the head under the back jaw. Put the cheater on the body and bend over the other jar. Then put the first bend under the back jaw and bend with cheater the opposite way. Repeat until done. Several heats may be required.)

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