Bar clamps from HF

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Can I safely go cheap with these bar clamps from Harbor Freight: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberY76
Or are they not worth it? Perhaps the bar isn't as thick as the Jorgensen clamps I can get at Home Depot (for twice the price).
Mike
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I've got several of those and they work fine, a real bargain. The bars ARE as thick as the Jorgensens, and the the bars have teeth ribbings to bite into, which the jorgs don't have. The quality of the steel of the bar is probably a tad less, but still worth it for the time it will take for them to warp, which I have seen with an extremely old jorgy clamp of the same type. In fact, I will buy more when needed. I say: "go for it"!
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Actually that is incorrect. I just made a comparison of both, the bars of the Jorgs do have those ribbings but only on one edge, and each 'pit' between the teeth is not* as deep as the HF ones.
Another difference is; the bars of the HF clamps have a gutter running the length of each side, 1/4 inch wide by about 2 or 3/64 inch deep, pressed in or poured that way I don't know. The Jorgs bar sides are flat and just a micro tad thicker.
--

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In my experience, they work fine for what they're made to do. If you're doing really heavy duty clamping, I'd go with pipe clamps, but for low to medium duty, they've worked for me.
todd
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upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (in snipped-for-privacy@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com) said:
| Can I safely go cheap with these bar clamps from Harbor Freight: | http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberY76 | | Or are they not worth it? Perhaps the bar isn't as thick as the | Jorgensen clamps I can get at Home Depot (for twice the price).
I bought a batch of the 36" clamps a while back and like 'em. They (the 36" clamps) periodically go on sale for about half of the price of the 24" at that web page. If you aren't in a big hurry you can save about half (or have twice as many clamps for the same money).
At about the same frequency, HF puts their 3/4" pipe clamps on sale for even less and I like 'em well enough to have accumulated a bunch. These I like even better than the Jorgensens.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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My son bought some of these and they work fine for what they are. You just have to remember that you're working with light weight clamps and use them for light weight clamping. But... then again, that's what light weight clamps are for, right?
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-Mike-
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Mike Marlow wrote:

Mine work fine also, but you are the second person to say they are for light weight work. I beg to differ. If you clamp tighter than these can provide, you will put a dent in the wood even if you are using a pieces of wood to spread the effect pressure. If you need more pressure you are doing something wrong or bending wood. I use pipe clamps but primarily for really long stuff or because the the pipe clamps just easy the set up
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just
them
They will certainly dent wood - that wasn't what I meant by light work. Actually what I had in mind when I posted that was the idea of a 36" bar clamp being used to really pull a piece of wood where a pipe clamp would likely be better. At that length and any serious amount of pulling, I'd rather be using a pipe clamp than a bar clamp. If for no other reason, just because of the flex you can get in a long bar clamp. I can also get a lot more force behind my pipe clamps simply because of the crank mechanism as opposed to the small handle on the bar clamp.
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I have a bunch of them. They work and have held up fine. The handle is small and it actually hurts to use them too much. Nothing is free. I much prefer my one Bessey that I got when HD closed them out, but the price difference is hard to justify.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

I didn't mean that the clamp part would dent the wood, I meant that even if you use pressure distribution block that the wood at the actual joint would be compressed. Easy enough to do with a soft wood, more difficult but not impossible with many hardwoods. I usually stop tightening a pipe clamp when I could actually get another 1/2 turn on the crank of a pipe clamp and I'm pretty weak. But I'm more concerned about smashing the wood at the joint than not getting the joint sufficiently tight. As a caveat, I'll say that I don't glue any curves where the wood has to be bent.
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wrote:

you're right, Mike, but also talking apples and oranges... Comparing HF bar clamps with pipe clamps is about as accurate as comparing Jorgensen bar clamps to pipe clamps...
mac
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just
them
I was thinking more along the lines, as Mike was, that especially for longer clamps the bar clamps really flex which makes me uncomfortable. Plus, the smaller contact area means that for situations where more clamping force is needed you will need to use a block of wood to spread the force out.
todd
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I bought several of varying lengths about 9 months ago and have used them with good success. They have a slightly less "meat" in the metal parts and the fits between parts are a tad sloppier than a couple of Jorgy I've had for many years. But these nits don't affect functionality at all. In addition, mine came with plastic jaw pads, which the Jorgys didn't. The pads look like crackerjack junk, but so far they have held up and unless you are really cranking down they do a fine job of preventing surface marring.
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I've got 4 of these, and they're OK. I have had some issues with 'em - a couple of 'em tend to slip under load, in certain places along the bar. They're not perfect, but they were cheap. If I'm doing a big glueup, I tend to use these last, relying on the Jorgensons and other various clamps first, with these as the final "oops, forgot that bit over there" clamps.
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I have a few, ut use them for light work only. I've found the same ones at " Odd Lots" . Here's a link for a 10% off coupon. Someone sent this link to me and, like he said, save the link and the coupons will be there.
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Thanks for all the replies.
Mike

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Past 24" or so they bar will deflect downward, which will cause the heads to leave any resemblence of 90 degrees. I tend to use them inbetween pipe clamps or my cabinet master/Bessey's for the last bit. Should probably be using cauls, but that is another item to be held into place before you can start to clamp.
The 6" I have used extensively and NEVER had a slip. The 12" less often and have noticed no deflection. Always pick them up when they are on sale.
Alan
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Mike wrote:

One thing hasn't been mentioned. HF has two different bar clamp lines, one marked Pittsburgh and the other not. Stick with the Pittsburgh ones.
Similar thing on their 3/4" pipe clamps. The "heavy-duty" ones work fine, the others are junk.
And as others have said, don't buy them till they're on half-price sale. Happens about quarterly IIRC.
--
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On 1 Jan 2006 18:47:44 -0800, upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I've been using them for years and never had a problem...
Wait, if you can, for them to go on sale... they're 1/2 price often and that's the time to stock up.. (6" clamp $1.99, etc.)
DON'T buy their cheaper ones that don't have the clutch... they're really, really cheap and don't work well.. I have two of the 36" ones that I clamped on the rafters to hold other stuff... only thing that I've found that they work at...
mac
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I have many of them, of various lengths, and they work fine.
Make sure you buy them when they're 1/2 off, or you'll be kicking yourself.
Menard's also sells them, and when on sale (usually in the spring), are cheaper than HF.

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