Workshop Development #98: Improvising air hose retaining clamps.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 04-08-2014 03:55 PM 1602 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 97: Dual air compressor plumbing done, and lesson learned. Part 98 of Workshop Development series Part 99: Problem found with compressed air plumbing! »

Okay so my schedule hasn’t allowed me to run to Home Depot to buy any clamps, and my spools of plastic plumbers strap appear to be playing hide and seek with me, and winning… And that danging hose just bugs the tar out of me… But what to do?


I stumbled upon an old, HUGE nylon zip tie, probably 3/8” wide by 30 or so inches long. I think it may have been from the compressor pallet. Anyway the thought occoured to me that the plastic used here was the same as what was used in the pre made clamps, so why not improvise. And that is exactly what I did!

Photos and a slightly different write up are on my Blogspot Blog...

The install ins’t 100% finished, but once the shop light has been taken off of the ceiling directly and chain hung, I can finish it up. Maybe 3 or 4 more clamps depending on how OCD I get about routing… I need to either find or get chains for this light, OR create some sort of mounting system for it to space it off of the drywall.

For those that have the room and have been considering the hose reel addition and are hesitating not sure if the HF unit is worth the $$... I have the following observations about Air Hose Reels.

I have been around / used hose reels like these literally for decades, I started out as you may recall in high school as a pump jockey at a full serve gas station and worked my way up to management / mechanic while I was in college… I have been around many different makes / models of these things…

I can not attest to the long term durability of this comparatively, however the build quality at least at first glance is every bit as good, if not better than the “High End Tool Truck” models we used when I was making my living with them. My only areas of concern are…

#1. The durability of the spring winder mechanism. Mind you, HF has been selling these for a LONG time now, and absolutely zero of the reviews I can find anywhere complain about spring / rewind failures. More than I can say for the older Goodyear models we used that failed after 2 years… #2. The durability of the Central Pnuematic rubber hose. I see a good number of complaints about this. I am wondering however what conditions they were installed in. Rubber hose is NOT, and I repeat NOT stable to UV, and large heat / cold swings. To be blunt. If I get 5 years out of these hoses, I will give it 5 stars. Throw in the complication of exposing the hoses to petrochemicals such as dirty motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid etc… and I can see how people are experiencing failures of the hose ends within a year. The Goodyear hoses we used to use at the stations on the pump islands lasted about a year before we had to use the hose end mender kits on them… The ones in the shop lasted about 2 years.

The operation of the reel itself is very smooth, and very predictable. No trying to force the reel to take up or pay out… No unexpected yanks on the hose from the return spring either… No rattle or looseness at all in the operations.

I looked at 50’ Hose Reels from the BORG and the Blue Box, as well as from Northern Tool, and even Sears. There seem to be 2 main differences between the 50’ metal open reel hose reels with 3/8” hose. They are paint color, most are semi gloss black, while some are yellow, and one was blue. The other difference was the hose itself. Most appear to have the same exact hose, the red one the HF unit comes with.

Prices vary pretty widely, the best price however was a toss up between the Central Pnuematic 50 footer from Harbor Freight, and Amazon occasionally puts the Tekton 50 footer on sale for roughly the same price as the HF… with the same hose, so the only real difference is do you want you reel in black, or red?

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3 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3581 days

#1 posted 04-09-2014 02:33 PM

Thanks for the advice. Although I haven’t thought about a reel, it might make sense in one of my shops over time. Right now it isn’t an issue, although I am fighting the hose here in La Conner a little. A reel might work here, but the shop has to be further along in its development before I would know where to mount it.

Plugging away on the trim for the torsion box bench, nothing exciting to say here at the moment.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3649 days

#2 posted 04-09-2014 04:44 PM

I found the reel to be a safety improvement for me. I was often tripping over hose on the floor… So at least in my installation it wasn’t really a question of “Should I install a hose reel” but more a question of “which hose reel should I use?”.

The auto retracting reels are certainly more convenient. I have 2 manual extension cord “winders” that while they work great, they aren’t as easy as a simple tug and let reel back in under its own power sort of affair… So they get left out more than is good for me.

Honestly the only thing I would have preferred is for the reel to be white instead of black, to help with the lighting situation in my shop. Amazon has the “Primefit” 50 foot reel, white with a black hose, but at just at double what I paid for the HF reel after you figure taxes in… and the base of that one appears to be a MUCH thinner stamping than the HF unit… So I am keeping it black, at least until the hose fails. Then I might pull it down, scuff it with a sanding block, Krylon white the thing and put it back up with a new hose…

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3581 days

#3 posted 04-10-2014 01:11 AM

You might think about….........lime green, or pink!!!

Seriously, got to put up with some color variations. Both of my shops are a color catastrophe, so I can’t seriously critique it.

Today I had my power tools arrayed around me as I put edging on the pedestals. Had to carefully route cords and the air hose, so I understand the problem. I really avoid walking over cords and hoses, just for safety and convenience. Safety in the shop involves keeping things neat and convenient, so I am with you on that.

I assume the weather is relatively nice there, about this time of year? La Conner as noted in another reply is in the low 50’s but sunny. Anchorage is its usual Springtime calamity….........


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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