The other day the leg-clamp on my tripod cracked clean through (see image below); I phoned the (always helpful) Manfrotto service gurus today and was informed this was the result of water getting into the carbon fibre and causing it to swell. To stop it happening to the rest of the clamps, it was suggested I ease the pressure off a bit by loosening the appropriate nut on each closing lever. I had not heard of this before (either the water/carbon fibre intrusion [I wonder if this is something that is particular to Manfrotto's 'Mag Fiber'?] or the 'fix') and, given the prevalence of Manfrotto in the birding realm, I thought I'd pass it on. The replacement part was £13.25, so not exactly bank-breaking, but it will have to be fitted by my own fair hand (quite possibly a task too far for a GAMI* aficionado like me).
Of course the real answer to this woe is to either pick a manufacturer that uses water-resistant carbon fibre [does it exist?]; or invest in a Gitzo (I was thinking a GT3541LS might do the trick), given they have a screw tightening clamp, as opposed to lever clamp, you wouldn't over-tighten them. Problem solved,... right, I'm off to spend £550 on a tripod.
The offending crack. The nut that requires 'easing off' is at the opposite end of the spring from the lever, do I have a spanner to fit? Do I even have a spanner? Will I know which end to hold? Stay tuned folks,...
* GAMI, noun. Definition: chiefly Brit. the activity of employing a professional rather than decorating and making repairs in the home oneself. Derivatives: GAMI’er, noun. Origin: abbreviation of get-a-man-in. Antonym: DIY.
[Addendum: Manfrotto service steps up to the plate, the spare clamp was delivered within 24 hours of my order]