What is a Graflex clamp? | Lightsaber Terminology
A Graflex clamp is a lightsaber part comprised of a metal fastening assembly that encircles the midsection of a vintage 1930s/1940s era Graflex 3 Cell Flashgun. Although the mounting clamp is designed to attach to the flashgun to the camera, Star Wars prop makers salvaged and slightly modified a real world Graflex 3 Cell Flashgun in order to create the iconic Luke Skywalker lightsaber prop for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Filmmakers also incorporated a Graflex clamp into the design of the Original Trilogy Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsaber and Luke Skywalker (ROTJ) lightsaber as well.
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A genuine, vintage Graflex clamp features stamped “GRAFLEX” lettering in the center, wrapping around the assembly. Filmmakers covered up the stamped “GRAFLEX” section with a metallic, adhesive mylar tape during the production of Empire Strikes Back.
Replica Graflex clamps are often manufactured either with the stamped “GRAFLEX” lettering or simply blank. Some custom saber makers prefer blank Graflex clamps, while others choose to cover the “GRAFLEX” lettering with metallic mylar tape.
The Graflex clamp features a protruding, rectangular section lightsaber enthusiasts call the activation box. The activation box area of the lightsaber features a small, movable lever on the side. Lightsaber builders commonly add a bubble strip or clamp card to a Graflex clamp, depending on the design of the hilt.
Genuine, vintage Graflex clamps, along with other Graflex 3 Cell Flashgun parts, are rare and expensive due to the high demand from Star Wars fans and lightsaber enthusiasts who endeavor to build a highly screen accurate prop lightsaber. Multiple custom saber companies manufacture high quality replica Graflex clamps as well, however.
LIST OF GRAFLEX CLAMP SELLERS
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The Custom Saber Shop United States
eBay (search for vintage and replica Graflex clamps)
Etsy (search for vintage and replica Graflex parts)
The Graflex Shop United States
JQ Sabers United Kingdom
Roman Props United States
The Saber Armory (by KR Sabers) United Kingdom
COVER IMAGE The Graflex Shop Graflex clamp (left) and Korbanth Parks Graflex 2.0 Lightsaber hilt (right)