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Thread: Tell me why I shouldn't buy...

  1. #1

    Tell me why I shouldn't buy...

    the dirt cheap clamps at Harbor Freight. They are on clearance, or some such sale. 12" bar clamps $1.99 upto 36" for $5.99. I know they are junky, but given the price, I'd have to think it's a good deal. I mean, they're just clamps, right? If it's still not worth it, tell me why.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Thibodaux, La.
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    242
    I have made a couple of good buys on clamps on Ebay. I got 4 36 inchers which are non-name brand but which work great. I also bought 8 12 inch clamps for a really good price and they all work well also.
    Just be sure to check the feedback on the person you are considering buying from.
    Lynn J. Sonier

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Clermont County, OH
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    1,272
    I had some. The screw clamps would "back off"..and thats not a good thing when you are needing the clamping pressure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
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    15,300
    Andy,

    Sometimes you get what you pay for.
    Wood: a fickle medium....

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Delton,Michigan
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    668

    cheap clamps ??

    well i tend to agree with don i too have had some bargin clamps and found out why i didnt want them. its like this, look at what you are trying to make and then think if its worth the risk of having it fail because of the lesser quality clamps. your work is a reflection of you and your skills. just ole guys opinion
    If in Doubt? Build it Stought!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Grand Marais, MN. A transplant from Minneapolis
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    5,513
    Andy,

    You get what you pay for! Just thinking back to the HF DP that cut ellipses or the HF impact wrench that sucked my compressor dry to remove one lug nut.

    I can think of nothing more traumatic than a glue up with expensive imported hardwoods, short open time and clamp failure.

    I inherited some HF clamps from the X FIL that were pot metal. They broke in the middle and the threads would slip under tension.

    Just my personal experience
    TJH
    Live Like You Mean It.



    http://www.northhouse.org/

  7. #7
    The problem I've found with cheap clamps (yes, I own a few) is that they do not always seem to tighten in a straight line. As you tighten them down they this causes the pieces being clamped to want to slip and slide out of alignment. This seems to happen no matter the type of clamp whether they be pipe clamps, bar clamps, C-clamps, etc.

    In my opinion, the old saying "You can never have enough clamps" is only true if they are not cheap clamps. You CAN have enough cheap ones.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    802
    Allow me to stray from the group here. I have about a dozen harbor freight clamps and with one exception they all work well. The one that doesn't is the pipe clamp with the serrated locking lever. It slips. All the others work quite well. In fact, a couple of my favorite smaller clamps are the harbor freight models. They don't compare to Bessey K-bodies, but they don't cost anywhere near as much, either.

    Clamps are one of the few things I would buy at harbor freight, though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
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    5,885
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gill
    Allow me to stray from the group here. I have about a dozen harbor freight clamps and with one exception they all work well. The one that doesn't is the pipe clamp with the serrated locking lever. It slips. All the others work quite well. In fact, a couple of my favorite smaller clamps are the harbor freight models. They don't compare to Bessey K-bodies, but they don't cost anywhere near as much, either.

    Clamps are one of the few things I would buy at harbor freight, though.
    My experience parallels Dan's. I have 4 of their 12" "F" clamps and they work as well as Pony. I also have some pipe clamps with the clutch disk mechanism. They don't slip like the toothed mechanism, but the clutch mechanism doesn't release as well as Ponys. I looked at the aluminum bar clamps but they seemed sloppier than the Jet bar clamps I have. It's nice to be able to go to a store and handle them; it's a crap shoot mail order. My experience.

    Curt

  10. #10
    I too have a bunch of the HF bar clamps, as well as some from WoodWorkers Supply when they go on sale. I also have some of the HF bar clamps that have the reversable heads to make spreaders (they are fairly new, black with orange/red heads). Also I am a believer in their 3/4" pipe clamps (Pony knock-offs). Yes, I ocassionally run across one that might not clamp in a straight line or one of the reversable ones that slips under 'high pressure', but for the price, I can discard them and be many many $$$$ ahead. Besides you don't screw the heck out them for a glue up, you'll starve the joint. What little WW $$$ I come up with goes for quality in actual tools (chisels, saws, routers, sanders and related accessories, etc).

    George

  11. #11
    Andy;
    For the price, they're OK. the real reason one might say you shouldn't buy HF clamps is to avoid the temptation to buy other stuff while you're there. I am referring to many items that they will have there that will be so cheap "yo've got to, got to get it." Mostly stuff where the manufacturer can cut corners in materials or quality control -- and they do. If it has a motor, be very careful.

    So if you can control yourself, go for it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
    Posts
    2,550
    I have the Harbor Freight 3/4" clutch style pipe clamps & light duty F style & aluminum tube style & I also have some of the HF squeeze style bar clamps that have the reversible heads to make spreaders (they are fairly new, black with orange/red heads). I've only had trouble with 1 of the F style clamps not gripping & ground the rivet off the bar & turned the clutch pack around & it worked fine I cut a nail off & peened it back in the hole. On the squeeze style bar clamps that have the reversible heads I had the reversible head break off. All in all at least as good or better than Sears.
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

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  13. #13
    A few years ago I bought 10 18" F-clamps for $2 each. I'm not sure if they are still the same ones they sell or not. Anyway, lets put it this way, I wish I bought 30! They've worked fine for me.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    67

    Love 'em

    I dont know about the pipe clamps or the longer ones, But I have a dozen 12" F clamps and 6 18" F clamps and if thier on sale again I will pick up another dozen.

    Thier very handy to have around. They dont slip and they hold up just fine.

    I wasted some money on Bessy F clamps, thier is no difference in my opinion. The Bessey's might "release" a little easier, but for $2 pick some up.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Inlet, NY (beautiful Adirondacks)
    Posts
    233
    about a year ago I bought a barrell of clamps at a cabinet shop auction for $50 when I got home I had about 130 F clamps that look like HF or Homier or some other importer. Sorted out about 10 cracked or broke. The rest seem to work fine. I have had no problems slipping or failing.

    I wish they hadn't taken the Bessy's out and sold them separately. They went for about 10% less than list.

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