Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to Ruin a Stapler

I've given up!

After forty years of trying to get people to use staplers correctly, I no longer even try.

Today I was sitting with my son in an office at an insurance agency as the clerk slammed her fist down on her stapler. The staple bent the wrong way and she pulled it out and slammed in another. "Only the boss has a working stapler," she remarked. "The other three are all junk!"

Well, yes! Slamming a stapler down like that does ruin them quickly. Just press and release. It's not a damned hammer!

Consider this Aceliner 502 stapler that I first acquired back in 1972. It is now an antique but is still working fine. Tonight I used it to staple the 40 page document underneath it with no problem.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

It has never been slammed!

Let's take a closer look at the business end of the stapler:

Notice that carefully machined groove into which the staple points are guided when you operate the stapler. That is the key working part of this clever machine. As the points touch the groove, they are gently bent inward and continued pressure folds them under the paper forming a closed staple.

Damage that groove and the stapler is ruined. And how might you damage it? Slam the stapler down and your staple will nick the groove. Do this a few times and the nick will increase in size until it catches staples and causes the points to fold and crunch.

Take an even closer look. Forty years use and no nicks! I attribute this to about 20% quality workmanship and design and 80% careful use.

I used to try to convince people that their banging and slamming were the cause of stapler failure. But they've seen too many movies and TV shows with people pounding staplers to believe it. So today, I just smiled and said, "yes the boss always gets the good tools!"