G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
385 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As I proceed to work on planning my outdoor railway I see that rail clamps tend to be the preferred choice for joining sections of rail. Now that being said I have seen the following ones out there:

- Split Jaw
- Hillman (no longer made)
- Aristocraft (new?)

Are there others out there? Has anyone had any experience with the Aristocraft ones?

Thanks

Rich
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
Why? They hold your track together better and provide better electrical continuity. Also, if you use flex track or cut track and use track power your only other option is tapping your own hole. Not so bad with brass but much harder with stainless.
Hillmans are still made and distributed through Silvergate.
I have used all three and they all work fine.
The Aristos don't hold as tight as the other two but have the advantages of only needing a philips head screwdriver and are accessed from above not the side.
If I had to pick one I would use only Split Jaws.

-Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,620 Posts
I use the slit jaw clamps as they are far better than the rest. Use the ones that affix straight to the rail and not over the rail joiner. Will give you better continuity. The Aristo tend to break if you over tighten. They also come in brass and SS and a little cheaper. Supposedly Aristo beefed them up some but have not seen any of these yet. Later RJD
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,517 Posts
There have been many threads on this.

I'm not retyping all the stuff I said.

use the search function up on top for clamps.


here's a recent TWO PAGE thread on clamps.

http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/17/tpage/1/view/topic/postid/61496/Default.aspx#61576

Go to George Schreyer's site, or mine (link below).

http://www.elmassian.com/trains-mainmenu-27/track-mainmenu-93/track-powerwiring-mainmenu-237

The Aristo joiners break easily if overtorqued, and do not align rails as well as the Hillman or SJ. The screws pointing up make installation easier, but force you to "work against" the joiner when tightening. They are cheaper, but you get what you pay for.


Regards, Greg

 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,517 Posts
Bob, a side question, have you seen any change in the product since Silvergate took over? The only thing I have seen is that the nickle-plated ones (never an official product) are not available unless you "get a quote", which means buy a bunch, I guess.

Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
470 Posts
I support my local manufacturer, Split Jaw, he's also a member of my club....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,910 Posts
I've used Split Jaw, Hillman, Sanval and Aristo. In my opinion they all have their strengths: it depends for me on where I'm using them. Split jaws and Hillmans are very robust, the Split jaws are a bit easier than the Hillmans, but both are a pain to install in some situations, for example on a curved part of a switch or in or some place with tight clearances. In situations like that the San Vals are really easy and very rugged though they only work over the joiner and they are ugly. The Aristos are inexpensive and since I often tap the track power to run building lights, I find the little screw they include for jumpering really convenient, and you can't beat them for ease of installation with an ordianry phillips head screwdriver. They are not as robust as the hillman's or the split jaws and you can easily overtighten them and break them. You can do it with the others but it's harder. I like having some choices for different situations. If I could only have one brand/type it'd probably be split jaw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
I use the cheap aristocraft two screw clamps I have replaced all my split jaws with them I use the silver plated ones as well as the brass. Easy to install and never fail over 400 feet of flex track and aristocraft code 332 no problems ever
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,883 Posts
Hillman's brass. First ones I saw in a local store and they worked great. I keep using Hillman's as they have never given me a problem.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
92 Posts
I have use both Hillman and Split Jaw. Both work fine. I prefer Split Jaw because it makes it easier to remove a switch or section of track for maintenance or road bed work - i.e. you can loosen one end without removing the clamp entirely.

For the hard to reach locations on switches, I reverse them (screw heads to the inboard side of the rail). Doesn't look as nice but easier to tighten or loosen the screws.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
688 Posts
I use a rail clamp made by a clubmember. They work just as good as hillman and splitjaw and are cheaper than aristo. I started with aristo because they were cheaper, but as stated above, you get what you pay for.
Terry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
Whatever the cheap ones on evilBay were (Hillman style, if not brand, I think). Outside rail only, because I got tired (maybe I'm just lazy?) trying to fool around with the little hex key, and fight to get fat fingers under the rail to hold the clamps on already laid track. Continuity isn't as much of a problem on a mini layout like mine, but they keep the track from working apart.

BTW, for anybody considering these... spring for the screwdriver, or you'll wish you had.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,054 Posts
I use SJ and Hillman..........because they are the best and are available.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
Split Jaw here, I have a mix of LGB and Aristo track (no track power just live steam) my concern is rail alignment. I have recently installed a set of expansion track sections from split jaw and so far they are working well. Temp range so far has been from 85f down to 18f.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
92 Posts
Just to build on Mik's comment about the screw drivers ... the hex wrenches are not only awkward to use but get lost quickly (blend right in with dirt, mulch, twigs, etc
).

Be aware that they take different size drivers - Split Jaw = 7/64", Hillman = 3/32". Split Jaw sells nice ball-end drivers for their clamps. The ball-end allows a fairly large oblique angle. Microfasteners sells both sizes. The picture on the website is deceiving - the one I received is identical to the yellow and black handled ones sold by Split Jaw for about the same price. The yellow is particularly nice in keeping track of it when you set it down on the ground.


Hillman also has nice a nice lift-out bridge kit.

Steve
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
436 Posts
I use the clamps that come with the track with jumpers (see a how-to on my web page) on most of the track joints, but on track that needs to be removed for maintenance such as switches I use split jaw which because of the split design allow you to easily remove the switch and leave the clamp on the track I did spend a little extra $$ and purchase a "screw driver" type allen wrench with a ball tip, it's big enough it doesn't get lost in the dirt or ground cover and ball tip makes it easier to undo the allen screw and remove the switch without disturbing the surrounding track.
What ever type clamp you decide on stick with it because the different clamps use different tools or different size allen wrenches which can be a little confusing.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top