Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Shade clutches

I had an inquiry on the "Need Help?" page, above, about shade clutch systems, and I thought I'd just copy and paste the question and my response here for anyone else who seeks information.  This reply is just a beginning of course!  There is much to know about lift systems and frankly I'm loath to stray from my standard.
So here, below, is the exchange from the comments section on the "Need Help?" page.
I would love feedback about your experience with clutches in the comment section to this post.

How do you determine which clutch system to use? Which do you use most often and where do you purchase them?
Thank you,
  1. Hi Kathy-
    We mostly use Rollease's traversing clutch. We make a lot of shades, so we buy components and assemble them ourselves. Designers' Resource Group in Lodi NJ is a Rollease distributor and I live close enough that I can usually pick up the components at wholesale when I'm in the area and eliminate shipping charges. It's a fraction of the cost that way.
    Rowley Company also sells components for this traversing clutch system in smaller quantities.
    But if you don't use them often, you might find yourself climbing the learning curve every time!- and might be better off buying your clutches pre-assembled. From Rollease, you can get the traversing clutch from their Expressly Yours program.
    Other clutch systems include a variety of offerings from Dofix, Rowley, Safe-T-Shade, and Textol, as well as other Rollease systems.. You can buy most of these either pre-assembled or as kits.
    I have in my workroom kits for ALL of these systems so I can gain experience with the unfamiliar ones, but I'm afraid now they'll have to wait until after the holiday rush for me to have time to experiment.
    We've been assembling so many Rollease traversing clutches for so long now that we can do them very quickly, and have experienced every conceivable glitch so troubleshooting is straightforward.
    Factors influencing which system to use:
    Aesthetics- if you can see it from the outside;
    Available mounting depth- some need quite large boards or headrails and others are very compact;
    Weight- some have weight and size restrictions;
    Ease of assembly;
    Installer's aptitude;
    Cost, including shipping charges;
    Need for special tools or equipment.
    I hope this helps!


  1. I love rowley's "easy rig" system...very simple and streamlined...but I gotta say the component prices have gotten more$$ over the last couple years....I am thinking of trying another to make it more affordable to my designers and their clients...sad to say

    1. I know! Clutches have gotten pretty costly. That's why, since I do a lot of shades, I've stuck to just one system, and it's available as components in bulk which really keeps the cost down. The kits or sets really add to the price. This is a subject I need to research more- I am not fluent in other clutch systems and pricing.

  2. Thank you so much for the info!!! It's so confusing with all the parts and pieces. I have a new client who needs 15 of them and has Rollease systems on her existing shades. It's great to break away from the basic cord locks but this is daunting!

    1. 15! wow! what a great order for you. Yes you'll need to do some homework to figure out the best course for you to take. One of the things I love about the traversing clutch is that unless it's a really huge window or super heavy fabric, there are no weight or size restrictions, and you can use a 1.5" board. Some of the other systems have constraints on width, or board size. There is a learning curve with every system!

    2. I found the videos on Rowley Company for product instruction to be very helpful. It helped when deciding which system was the easiest and what it would be like to work with the systems because they are shown in the video. They also talk about what usually gives folks trouble. When I first started using a couple of these, I had to call and use the technical assistance offered by Rowley. Those folks are great, they looked at photos of my set up and advised me how to fix it.
      Once you use a couple of them, it becomes second nature and you will feel more confident in the in's/out's of each one.

    3. Laura, I agree that Rowley is a great resource for information- they offer so many videos and webinars.