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Apprentice Contributor
sawman19
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
0

Harbor Freight clamps?

Hey guys,

 

What are your opinions on harbor freight's....

-Ratchet Bar Clamp/ Spreader

-Steel Spring Clamps

-Pipe Clamps

 

In my opinion the price cant be beat:smileyhappy: but i'm not sold on the quality yet:smileysad:. The reviews for these products seem to be good. Keep in mind that I am looking to outfit my shop for the least amount of $ possible.

 

I would love to buy all irwin or jorgenson but the cost would add up a bit too fast for me right now.

 

Thanks

Esteemed Advisor
krumy205747
Posts: 2,306
Registered: ‎10-28-2009

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

I read an article once about vice grips. At the end of the article the author was in China. Hanging on the wall along with Chinese copies were genuine vice grip products at several times the cost of the others. The author asked the strore person how they could possiblly sell real vice grips and compete. His reply was that only in America could a person afford to buy a tool more than once. That always stuck with me. I know there are many here who swear the knock offs are just as good but that's not been my experience. I have never regretted spending the money for quality products. I have regretted buying cheap.

 

Steve K

Where do I get my wood? I'm oppor"turn"istic!!
Advisor
Rrandy
Posts: 1,626
Registered: ‎11-05-2009

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

When it comes to pipe clamps or the pistol grip clamp/spreader just stick a piece of 1 x 4 about 4 inches lomg in your pocket and try them out at the store before purchasing. I bought some cheap copies and there were several I tried that would not function in the store. The manager saw me and instant bargain...4 for the price of 1. Since they were only 4 bucks each I thought I couldn't go wrong. Bottom line, the clamps will not tighten like the Irwin clamps. Once they hit resistance they quit getting any tighter. The manager got the better end of the bargain. Be wary when a price seems to good to be true or you could end up  with sub quality stuff.

Never do anything you don't want to explain to the EMT.

Veteran Advisor
grandpabear
Posts: 2,442
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

    sawman19 asks

 

     What are your opinions on harbor freight's....

  -Ratchet Bar Clamp/ Spreader? 

    the plastic versions are prone to disintegrate if you overtighten them. they will replace them if you take them back to the store. not worth it for me.


Whittier CA
THE MOST DANGEROUS TOOL IS THE ONE YOU ARE USING
Senior Contributor
HighDesertWWer
Posts: 497
Registered: ‎10-20-2010
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

I have a few pony pipe clamps before I discovered HF. HF pipe clamps are good.

 

The HF spreaders are also good.

 

I have some HF steel spring clamps. These seems not as tight as the HF plastic spring clamps. The plastic kind with  attached lips are very good and the springs on them are very strong.

 

The HF steel C-clamps are good.

 

I have have some HF plastic C-clamps with quick adjustment. I like these with light duty applications. In fact, I like them as the first few clamps on a project. Their light weight makes handling pre-glue up parts easier. I often use a few of these first and then add on heavy duty steel clamps.

Honored Advisor
stick48668
Posts: 10,137
Registered: ‎01-16-2010
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?


krumy205747 wrote:

I read an article once about vice grips. At the end of the article the author was in China. Hanging on the wall along with Chinese copies were genuine vice grip products at several times the cost of the others. The author asked the strore person how they could possiblly sell real vice grips and compete. His reply was that only in America could a person afford to buy a tool more than once. That always stuck with me. I know there are many here who swear the knock offs are just as good but that's not been my experience. I have never regretted spending the money for quality products. I have regretted buying cheap.

 

Steve K


well said....



this would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
if only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Apprentice Contributor
sawman19
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

Steve: I agree with you 100%, I guess I was just mesmerized by the ridiculous price! Its just that with clamps you need to buy a variety and a good amount to use simultaneously on larger projects and sums of $200 even $300 on clamps.... its tough.... Of course, if that money was going towards a nice new router or a drill press then I wouldn't question it (sigh) haha

 

 

Rrandy: Good idea. Thanks. I may buy just a few of the small ones for real light duty tasks...

 

-Any one have any experience with clamps made of steel (bar and c-clamps) or spring clamps? I can't see any major issues but you guys keep enlightening me with things i would have never thought of!

 

Thanks

Apprentice Contributor
sawman19
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

Edit:

High Desert thanks for the info, did not see your post before I posted my last one...

Senior Contributor
HighDesertWWer
Posts: 497
Registered: ‎10-20-2010
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

[ Edited ]

For spring clamps, do not insist on steel.

 

Spring clamps are not meant to be very tight. The HF plastic ones, the ones with attached lips, are a very good buy.

 

I have both steel and plastic. I think plastic can be better than steel for spring clamps.

 

You need strong hand to open a HF 3" plastic spring clamp with one hand. The plastic is not going to break or bend much with only spring action.

Senior Contributor
HighDesertWWer
Posts: 497
Registered: ‎10-20-2010
0

Re: Harbor Freight clamps?

On a few occasions I needed to sacrifice a C-clamp for special clamping. I mean cutting apart and then welding.

 

What clamps did I sacrifice?

 

I have 3 inch ponys and 4 inch HF steel C-clamp. The former cost more.

 

I cut open the Pony clamps and saved the HF.

 

It is a bit unfair to compare 3 inch to 4 inch clamps, but then again the 3 inch Pony is quite a bit more expensive than the 4 inch HF.

 

I now have a few 3 " HF steel c-clamps. I believe my choice would have been the same, cut the pony.

 

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