I had seen Cladman featured in Inventors Corner in an issue of Professional Builder and it whetted my appetite. I have done more than my fair share of cladding and weather boarding and for me it has always been a two man job. Nothing wrong with that, it is nice to work with someone and have a bit of banter but having one guy cutting the lengths while the other is fixing means you can fly through the job at three times the speed and the accuracy is assured.
The Cladman is adjustable to suit different board widths but it is also able to handle different thickness’s. There are other devices on the market that will do the same job but there isn’t one that works with cement fibre boards and timber feather-edge. The device I have seen for cement board, for example, has a thin strap that goes down the back of the board. It works well enough but when you pull the straps out they have a tendency to scratch the boards. That makes the customer unhappy so you have to get out the touch up paint. All of a sudden you are a decorator rather than a carpenter. That won’t make you rich or happy.
You can see that the Cladman has a rubber buffer on the front to prevent such scratches and the buffer is also the roller that supports the board above and allows it to roll along its length without marking
Claman looks simple enough but that is deceptive, it has gone through a lot in the design. Nobody ever gets it right first time and James has produced a series of prototypes in his workshop to get to the finished article. When I visited him he had finalised the tool but was busy designing a special carrying case to hold a pair of Cladmen.They are robust enough but they have precision adjustments that would be better off if they were not knocked about by throwing them into the back of the van.