The Jack Claw -
If you play electric guitar, you know that jack nuts can come loose. Now what? Most people reach for whatever is around, like needle nose pliers, or a socket wrench. Two problems, 1) potential damage to the nut 2) tearing out or shorting the wires to the jack , because the jack rotates when you turn the nut.
It might not break the first time, but after you tighten the nut a few times you can get distortion, crackling, and ultimately failure. Not good when you are about to go on stage.
Machinist and guitarist, Bill Hoff, designed the Jack Claw (patent pending) to eliminate this "show-stopping" problem. The Jack Claw uses an expanding collet (machinist talk) to grip the inside of the jack and keep it from rotating, while the built-in socket tightens the nut without damage.
How I came up with this Idea :
Well anybody that plays electric guitar knows the jack nut will always come loose, whether it's on the guitar itself, your amp, or FX pedals. I've found this to be particularly frequent problem on my Fender Stratocaster.
I've seen people using needle nose pliers and ground down sockets to tighten the jack nut. The first can damage the hardware, and the second is just a pain. So one day I visited my friend (a 30 year guitar playing veteran) using needle nose pliers and complaining about not having a good way to tighten the jam-nut. It hit me: use an expanding collet to hold the inside and a nut driver to tighten while the collet is expanded. Don't worry if you aren't sure what that means, and expanding collet is a machinist's tool...and in this case, the right tool for the job.
The real problem is, using pliers or a socket won’t stop the jack input from rotating when you tighten it. It might work once, but if you tighten the nut a couple of times, the wires can twist and short out or break.
The purpose of the The Jack Claw is to stop the jack from rotating. The Jack Claw slides down inside the jack and expands, holding the jack firmly from rotating while you tighten the jam nut with the built-in tool.
Current Project Status:
At this point I've machined 100 units of the finished design. I've sold a few and have a few in the field with product testers. The Jack Claw works great, it's effective and super easy to use.
This is where you Backers come in! I really want to ramp up and bring this product to more fellow guitarists, repair shops, guitar makers, and stage hands. To do that I need to get a bunch of people on-board so I can run a batch of these and purchase material and hardware in volume.
I've been working on this project for a long time, so I'm really excited to launch this Kickstarter project! I've submitted a provisional patent application and secured the Jack Claw Trademark. My long term goal is to have a Jack Claw in every electric guitar player's guitar case. I really appreciate your support and please tell a friend!
Bill T Hoff
Jack nuts come in different sizes:
Typically jack nuts come in 3 different sizes: 1/2", 12mm, and 11mm. When the project ends, you can use the Kickstarter survey to tell me what size you need.
Most equipment that is pre 1970 will be 1/2 inch. However, the best way to determine the correct size is to email the manufacturer of your equipment. You can help me and your fellow backers by posting the make of your equipment and the nut size when you hear back from the manufacturer. I'll incorporate that information into a list as the project goes along.
Standard Anodized Colors:
I'm a machinist so these will be 100% manufactured in my shop. Easy right? :) I will have full control over production schedule and quality control. Every piece will pass through my hands, so you can rest assured that you are going to receive the best possible tool.
The only process that will happen outside the shop is anodizing, and this will be done at a local vendor that I have used before.
Risks and challenges
The overall risk is quIte low, especially since I'll be making all of the parts in-house. The main challenge will be making a lot of parts if the project does really well, but making a lot of parts is what I do for a living!
The main challenge is determining what size jam nut you have. The most common sizes are 1/2", 11mm, and 12mm. I'll be working towards a solution to help make identifying the right size as easy as possible. This might be a list of compatible guitars or something you can print on a piece of paper at home that will allow you to measure the nut.
Most older guitars will be 1/2" . Newer ones will be 12mm. The only guitars I've found that are 11mm are Ibanez. If anyone has more information, please feel free to post in the "comments" and you can help make this process easier for everyone.
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