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I was resisting railclamps to just where I had to put them. I know their good but I was being frugal. I'm indoors and the stock Aristo stainless joiners are pretty good but I can't get them in all the time or they strip.
I have to break the track up into sections for track power. I have a spot right after a turn, where the plastic Aristo insulated don't help hold the mis-aligned rails enough. I called the store for some splitjaws that I have used and they were out. So, I ordered Hillman's (Silvergate) insulated clamps. They seem very robust. They straightened the rails right up. I'll still use the Aristo insulators in my yards, but not on the main.
I wonder which is better the Hillmans or the Splitjaws? Aristo makes a cheaper plated clamp that I use and like, and they have a better clamp that I would like to try but could not get that day. Joe
 

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Hillman and Split-Jaw are like Coke and Pepsi. They are quite similar with a slight difference that usually just invokes preference in it's users. Hillman were what I started with and I have hundreds of them. Our club uses Split-Jaw and they work just fine! I am not a fan of Aristo's clamp. In my opinion, use Hillman or Split-Jaw but stay with one or the other as it does take different ball-screwdrivers to tighten them.
 

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I have seen very often that modellers use strong rail clamps to join miss-aligned track. The reality of this is, that there are unequal forces now permanently on the track which might have an effect on how the rail distances behaves in that area and that optically you can probably tell that there is a "kink" in the track. This kink makes for uneven operation which can be also the cause of that once in a while de-railment. It definitely puts a strain on engine and cars.

Here is a tip that I always recommend (and in your case you might want to find someone in a club or nearby) who wants to loan you an EasyBend DuoTrak for straightening out your joining areas on your layout:

You need a pair of SplitJaw double wide clamps - those are the ones which have 2 screws on each side of the joint (normally are only 2 screws). The Splitjaw clamps are low enough in their profile to ride the rail bender over it. Now you can bend the two adjacent pieces of track into a common curve eventually eliminating the stress point complete. My guess is that if you start out 2 -3 feet on either side and slowly tighten the curve adjustment know you will end up with a very nice smooth track section. After you are done with the bending you can join the rails anyway you like. But you might have to use a Dremel tool to square the ends on the inner rail again.

Note:
DO NOT BEND OVER ARISTO JOINERS - remove the joiners first, then replace them with the SplitJaw double wide (brass or stainless depending on your rail type) - then bend and potentially square the rails and if you square you have to drill a new hole and the tap the screw hole - done. Smooth, consecutive curves.
 

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Hi All,

First time posting. Just joined. I agree with Steve. I've used both and I have had better luck with Hillmans. I just got some of the slpit jaw Al wire holders and was a bit disappointed. The soft AL would loose it's dovetail shape quickly and didn't hold on the track, so I used them on my indoor btest bench rail.

Gary
Wooster, Worthington & Delaware RR
 

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I started with Hillmans but the new company has really raised the price so I am shifting over to Split Jaw as they are at least 20% less and comparable quality.
 

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Started out with SplitJaw Brass, and converted to Split Jaw Stainless Steel.

The brass tarnished very quickly and I experienced electrical continuity issues at the joints. Could have been the mismatched metals (I use nickel silver rails), but the stainless joiners have been great and are a much better color match to nickel silver.

We've changed to almost all battery power so electrical continuity through the rails doesn't really matter anymore. Well maybe it does since we still have some marker lights that get their power through the rails.

Anyway SplitJaw are nice, but I'd avoid their brass joiners unless you use brass track.
 

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Posted By San Juan on 09/01/2008 4:53 PM
Started out with SplitJaw Brass, and converted to Split Jaw Stainless Steel.
The brass tarnished very quickly and I experienced electrical continuity issues at the joints. Could have been the mismatched metals (I use nickel silver rails), but the stainless joiners have been great and are a much better color match to nickel silver.
We've changed to almost all battery power so electrical continuity through the rails doesn't really matter anymore. Well maybe it does since we still have some marker lights that get their power through the rails.
Anyway SplitJaw are nice, but I'd avoid their brass joiners unless you use brass track.






Remember, stainless steel reacts with just about nothing.
 

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I have used both Hillman and Split Jaw. They are both verry good clamps. Every time I put on a split jaw I have one of the sections turned the wrong way. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

Lately I have been experimenting with only using rail clamps on one rail and arito on the oposite. I also stagger the rail clamps.

I run Battery Power so I am able to do that.

PS I have two of Slpit Jaws car loaders. I like them
 

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I too have used both the Hillman and Split-Jaw and they both have some benefits. While they both work well, I have found that the hex screw on the Hillman's is a smaller size and can strip-out when torqued really tight (I have some I can't get off the rail without using a pair of pliers). I've never had that problem with the Split-Jaw.
 

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Posted By Bret W Tesson on 09/03/2008 12:47 PM
I too have used both the Hillman and Split-Jaw and they both have some benefits. While they both work well, I have found that the hex screw on the Hillman's is a smaller size and can strip-out when torqued really tight (I have some I can't get off the rail without using a pair of pliers). I've never had that problem with the Split-Jaw.




It's been a few years since I used Hillman's clamps (I switched to Split-Jaw when they first came out), but my memory of their instructions is that they cautioned against strongly tightening the screws. When I used them I tightened them until the clamps wouldn't slip, but no more. Have you had any other problems from torquing them really tight?

Mark
 

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Posted By Bret W Tesson on 09/03/2008 12:47 PM
I too have used both the Hillman and Split-Jaw and they both have some benefits. While they both work well, I have found that the hex screw on the Hillman's is a smaller size and can strip-out when torqued really tight (I have some I can't get off the rail without using a pair of pliers). I've never had that problem with the Split-Jaw.




Bret...That is called a DEATH GRIP :D

I tighten them till they squeak a couple of times then I stop
 

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The big advantage of split jaw is the ability to lift a section or turnout vertically for maintenance, by undoing only one side of the clamp. Really important for turnouts or to avoid disturbing ballast in adjacent areas.
jonathan
 
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