I am a masonry contractor in northern Vermont, in the fall of 2017 I took on a job rebuilding a set of historic granite steps. I knew that I did not want to use bars and straps to remove the steps for a number of reasons. I generally work alone, and I know that it is a real challenge to lift a large stone with a bar and successfully get a strap underneath it by yourself. I could not grab the stones with the bucket and thumb of my excavator, as doing so would mark the faces of the hand cut granites, furthermore I could not park the machine on the sidewalk, blocking pedestrian traffic. I needed to be able to grab these stones from above with some type of below-the-hook lifting device. I searched and searched online in the month preceding the start of this job, and could not find a solution that had sufficient lifting capacity (either in opening or weight) at a price point that I could justify. I built the prototypes pictured above to get through this one job, and I found them to be so useful in ways that I could not anticipate, that I decided to try to produce and sell these clamps. I combed over the design a little bit (included the bar cradle), and worked with a local machinist to get these parts milled out. The initial run is 17 units, I look forward to getting these out there and getting feedback so that I can mash down on the "Go" button.
The objective is to eliminate straps and cribbing from a stone job. This will be ideal for the contractor who works alone, as dealing with straps usually requires at least two people on site. Even with sufficient manpower, using straps for any stone that is set in a bed of mortar proves problematic. It is usually a messy and unpredictable proposition to set stones into a mortar bed with straps, once set you need to wrangle the straps out of there and hope that you didn't move the stone, or smear mortar onto the masonry below. Cribbing, while it could be considered trivial, contributes to a lot of additional time spent hopping in and out of the machine, or scouring the job looking for suitable boards. I didn't realize how much time I spent messing with cribbing until I started using these clamps, and found that I could stack stones wherever and however I liked. Please stay tuned, and look for forthcoming YouTube videos and Instagram posts to see how useful these are for the masonry and hardscaping professional.
The Original Prototypes
Thank you for your interest thus far! I am offering pretty deep discounts for the units that I have available, if interested please contact me directly at:
Welcome to Talon Stone Clamps, please stay tuned as this company readies the device for production in the spring of 2019. There are a few pre-production units available for sale now. The second round of production will proceed once I have performed some destructive testing to confirm the lifting capabilities, and I still need to machine molds for the urethane rubber jaw pads. In the meantime, I am trying to get the first run into the field for some objective feedback from other masonry professionals. Please check back often, and follow me on Instagram @talonstoneclamps to be kept apprised of the development of this product.
Talon Stone Clamps
I set out to develop this product to be at a price point that I could justify as a masonry contractor, anything over $1,000 would have been too much for me to reasonably be able to recover through time efficiency alone. I have spared no expense in the construction of these clamps, because I believe that they should be able to last as long as any tool you own. A key value proposition of these clamps is durability, a tool is only useful as long as it lasts, and I can not, in good conscience, bring to the market a product that does not align with my "buy once-cry once" philosophy. How durable? I don't know, but I am willing to drive my excavator over them to demonstrate durability, and I am not willing to drive my truck over them, because I don't want to damage my truck. I am trying to toe the line between quality and affordability.
"Everything you need, nothing you don't"
Thank you, -Alfred N. Dedam, Talon Stone Clamps
Nominal vs. Actual Sizes: