Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Radial Clip Jig

Finished Radial Clip
When I was first putting down radials, I bent a few "clips" by hand. Once I figured out that I had to have one clip every 3-5 feet of radial, I needed a better solution.

Basically, a clip consists of about 4" of 12-14 gauge copper wire, bent double, with a large enough bend radius to allow a 12-14 gauge copper wire to fit between it. The resulting clip is about 2" tall, which is about right. Any taller, and you may have difficulty pushing it into the soil without bending it.

What I needed was a jig that would make it easier to cut the wire to the right length, and then bend the clip perfectly each time, perhaps creating more than one at a time. Grabbing a scrap piece of wood and a few nails, I quickly fashioned the jig you see photographed.

The jig consists of a large 16-penny nail and a row of small wire brads. A extra wire brad is placed about 4" away from the 16-penny nail, and serves as a measuring point.

Cutting the wire
First step is to slide the wire up to the 16-penny nail, and cut it just behind the furthest brad. One can do this several times in succession to create a bunch of wires the correct length to be bent into clips.

Next the wire is inserted between the brads and wrapped around the 16-penny nail. Several wires can be stacked at once and bent at the same time. I have the best success with about three at a time.

There you have it. With the jig it is no problem cranking out 50 to 100 clips with just a few minutes of work.
Bending the clip