NotcHead Shop Grip

(Image/Wayne Scraba)

When working on cars—race, restoration, hot rod or street, you’ll invariably end up with hardware that has to be stripped, cleaned, polished or otherwise manipulated.

Trying to clean bolt threads on a bench grinder wire wheel regularly results in flying objects (bolts) and roasted fingers.

Sure, you can use a set of vise-grips on the bolt hex, but that won’t guarantee trouble-free results. Bolts sometimes slip on the vise-grip if you use too much pressure against a wire or polishing wheel. Then it too can be launched successfully across the garage (there’s nothing like a direct hit from a flying red hot 3/8-inch bolt to make your day).

That’s where the NotcHead Shop Grip comes into play.

It’s a special, but straightforward and simple tool (actually three different-sized tools) designed to grip things that can be difficult to handle, get hot, or are prone to flying away.

The tools are machined from aluminum and then hard anodize-coated which makes them extremely durable while protective of things like the threads on a bolt or screw. The tool consists of a long handle with an interchangeable chuck/collet arrangement. This provides for a rock-solid means to hold anything from a #4 screw all the way up to a ½-inch bolt.

That’s not the end of it though: The design of the tool makes it a perfect handle for a tap or an extension for an Allen-key or as a file handle or to hold other finicky little parts in place while you work on them (see the accompanying photos).

When grinding or polishing something, the long handle allows the use of two hands for complete control while still keeping your hands and fingers away from the spinning grinding or polishing wheel.

The actual tools consist of a handle along with a four-jaw collet (chuck) and collet ring. The collet is held in place (to the handle) by way of a stainless set screw. In terms of operation, you simply loosen the collet ring; insert the bolt (or whatever you’re holding) into the collet. Tighten the collet ring and you’re ready to go. The NotcHead folks even supply a small tube of anti-seize compound with the kits. The idea here is to apply a small amount of anti-seize to collet threads. This ensures the collet ring doesn’t seize up on the threads during the tightening or loosening operations. Once you’re finished working with the object held in place by the collet, simply loosen the threads and the hot piece will drop out. No more burned digits!

Summit Racing sells the NotcHead tool in two forms:

  • As a single tool (part number NTH-5000) that will accept fasteners from #4 screws to 3/8-inch.
  • As kit with three complete tools (part number NTH-5200) that will accept fasteners from #4 all the way up to ½-inch.

In terms of quality, these are high-end, high-class tools. The construction is impeccable. In fact, once you open the package for the first time, you might even hesitate to use them because they’re so nice. But fear not—they clean up nicely. Just be sure to re-lube the threads with anti-seize following a clean up.

For a closer look at the NotcHead Shop Grip in action, check out the accompanying photos. With this tool, you can safely kick up your clean-up, grinding, or polishing job up a notch. They’re a great addition to a tool box.

NotcHead Shop Grip tools

These are the three tools in the NTH-5200 kit. The first one accepts #4 to #10 screws. The second accepts ¼- to 3/8-inch bolts. The last one accepts 7/16- to ½-inch bolts. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip tool

Here’s the tool disassembled: As you can see, the collect is held in place on the handle by way of a setscrew. Then the collet ring simply screws on. Each of the tools is built the same way. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip tool

To use the tool, loosen the collet ring and insert the fastener. Once inserted, tight the ring and you’re ready to go. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip tool

Here, we’re grinding off the hex on the bolt. The plan is to fabricate a pushrod for a clutch linkage. The end of the bolt has to be sharpened to a dull point in order to engage the clutch fork. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


finished bolt - notchead shop grip

Here’s the finished bolt. It will eventually be installed in a fabricated linkage (the next photo shows another bolt we completed – this time with more threads). (Image/Wayne Scraba)


(Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip

As we pointed out in the text, there are other uses for the Shop Grip. Because of the way the collet grips the item in question (with four jaws), it works perfectly as a handle for a tap. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip

The Shop Grip works equally well as a file handle—one that you can remove and interchange easily. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip tool

There’s more: A Shop Grip can also be used as an extension handle for an Allen-key. Often large keys are used in high torque locations, but you can’t place sufficient force on them. This solves the problem. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


NotcHead Shop Grip tool

The Shop Grip isn’t restricted to round objects either. As you can see, it can easily grip something like a line clamp. It’s perfect for extending your reach in hard to access spots too. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Author: Wayne Scraba

Wayne Scraba is a diehard car guy and regular contributor to OnAllCylinders. He’s owned his own speed shop, built race cars, street rods, and custom motorcycles, and restored muscle cars. He’s authored five how-to books and written over 4,500 tech articles that have appeared in sixty different high performance automotive, motorcycle and aviation magazines worldwide.