In Praise of a Third Hand

Phillip Torrone, Senior Editor of Makezine, sings the praises of the Third Hand tool in the recent edition of Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools e-list, because: “It’s pretty tough to find someone to help you at 3am when most of the important work seems to happen. Two adjustable metal clips hold in your circuit boards (or whatever else) and a magnifying glass gives you a little zoom in action for the really tricky constructions. Perhaps I anthropomorphize useful things, but on an otherwise cold work bench, the Third Hand looks like a little robot pal with claws raised, always eager to help.”

He has the same one I do, the US$6 jobby from Jameco. The only thing he didn’t say is that you really want at least two of these, because for many projects, even an extra set of robo-hands just ain’t enough.

Make Your Own Third Hands: While $6 is plenty cheap for a tool as indispensable as this one, you can make several pairs of these helpers for nothing, if you have some thick-gauge copper wire and alligator clips hanging around. All you have to do is attach the clips to both ends of a length of wire, and then, using carpet tacks, attach the wire to a piece of wood (such as a short length of 1 x 4). Instant Third Hand.