HF is it really all crap?

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Leon,
I bought aluminum bar clamps years ago mail order from HF. Like $6.99 or something. Probably 12-15 years ago.
I bought the Jet brand 3 or 4 years ago. My Jets bend like crazy..
I measured the walls of the aluminum and the HF were 20% thicker walled.
So the name brand was not upto the quality of the HF..
You pick your battles with HF.. Some things are definetly on par with name. And some better..
Again Bessey C quick release Clamps are in fact no different fact. Aluminum bar clamps.. HF wins over jet.
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wrote:

But that is true across the board, and especially with HF. I have seen things in HF (either catalog or store) and then have gotten a flier from a company that charges much more and seen the same product in their catalog.
Shopping at HF is like anything else, use common sense, try, then buy in quantity. For example, their new 12" bar clamp is much superior to their older version. But I would not have know unless I had tried a couple. I will now begin the replacement process for my lightweight bar clamps. But I looked the item over, tried it and made the decision.
Kinda like life, really.
Deb
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On 6/8/2012 5:22 AM, tiredofspam wrote:

Well my experience is that aluminum bar clamps, mine are 4' and 6' models, bend quite easily. I only use the in light duty if necessary. I have not seen a set of aluminum bar clamps that are any better than what I have however I would love to see a link to what you are using. As far as Jet is concerned, I only have the Bessy K-body style Jet clamps. They truly suck compared to my Bessy Revo and Jorgenson Cabinet master clamps.
Regardless 20% thicker walls does not guarantee a more ridged bar if the material is not the same or tempered/hardened to the dame degree.
I have yet to find anything in HF that is better than anything else sold elsewhere. YMMV
Again I am not saying that HF is not a good deal for some people, it is just that it, is what it is.
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The reason I took notice about the bar clamps was due to the bending. The HF clamps were not bending much at all, yet the Jet was severely bent.
And don't be a snob... having some light clamps is important. There are times my Bessey and Jorgs are just too damn heavy for what I am doing.
Sometimes to get setup you need the lighter clamps , often followed by the heavier but not always.
That's why I have a large collection of clamps... But it's never enough.
Even my Handscrews, I have heavy duty and lighter for the same reason.
Not everything is black and white..
On 6/8/2012 9:23 AM, Leon wrote:

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On 6/8/2012 8:31 AM, tiredofspam wrote:

So are all of these clamps including the Jets aluminum bared and the same length?

Not being a snob, I own plenty of aluminum bar clamps however they are the lats on my "go to" list.

I do a lot of woodworking, I have never used a lighter clamp to set up and then replace it with a heavier clamp. Time is money.

Ok, I dont have a large collection but I pretty much have enough to complete a task, I have 34 bar clamps.
Perhaps if you had a better collection of quality clamps you might not need a large collection....
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On 6/8/2012 9:52 AM, Leon wrote:

Yes give or take 2 or 3 inches.

tasks they are too heavy during setup.
I chose not to nail mostly so I find setting up sometimes time consuming. And heavy clamps don't help when needing to finesse things.
I had been avoiding biscuits for alignment unless absolutely necessary, and I don't have a domino. I use M&T traditionally not everywhere like you have done. If I had a domino, I think I would still be more traditional..
____Maybe that's not efficient, but I am a hobbyist, not making money at it. If I were like you, I would definitely make the shortcuts you have made as TIME IS MONEY.___
I build for myself, and friends, and occasionally because someone I don't know will ask.. Then I charge, but I am not making my living doing it. Right now I'm not making any living.. Damn..
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On 6/8/2012 9:18 AM, tiredofspam wrote:

That most definitely does change the way you approach things ...
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On 6/8/2012 10:33 AM, Swingman wrote:

Yes it does!
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I have many examples why HF is perfect for the right reasons. I would never even think to go there if and when I require a tool which I know I will use a lot. Festool has spoiled me rotten and the extra money to buy tools of that quality is soon forgotten. Money.... like Doritos. We'll make more.
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On 6/8/12 12:29 PM, Robatoy wrote:

You just have to be an informed/intelligent consumer. As for the aluminum bar clamps in question... I have a wall full of them. They go on sale all the time for dirt cheap and I'll just get a couple for the heck of it. They *do* have a limit on clamping pressure before the bar bows out. I refer to that as "self pressure regulating." :-) I like that they are cheap enough to not care about, so I don't mind abusing them and using them for other odd purposes that might damage them.
Some of their other clamps are the *same, exact* clamps you will find at HD, Lowes, and even Woodcraft, but for 1/3 the price.
I recently bought their bridge tile saw for $200 after using their 20% coupon. I'm needing to rip some very long tiles for this bathroom(s) remodel and it's working great. It's the *same, exact* saw that other stores and tile centers are selling for $300-450. I'm going to use it for this project, then put in on Craigslist for $100. So, I'm out $100.... that's a pretty cheap rental for a decent tile saw. :-)
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Exactly which saw is this? I'm in need of a tile saw for a bathroom job.
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On 6/8/2012 12:46 PM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

i have the normal 10" HF tile saw (not the bridge saw). it has to be set up correctly, as it's hit or miss from the factory. also, the water delivery system leaves something to be desired, so i've put loc-line water feeds on it using a higher volume fishtank pump.
i've used mine for laying thousands of sqft tile, granite, slate and flagstone.
you only need a bridge saw if you're doing rip cuts on very long tiles or cuts through the middle of wide tiles. for long rip cuts, you can also use a non-bridge saw if you feed the material into the blade rather than try to use the sliding table to feed the material. however, the cut depth of a normal sliding table saw is about 8" or so. if the smallest dimension of your tile is greater than 16" you may not be able to cut them in half.
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On 6/8/12 2:46 PM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Item# 97360 <http://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/tile-saws/1-1-2-half-hp-bridge-tile-saw-with-stand-97360.html>
Make sure it's perfectly level because it can get messy, real quick. If it's not sitting level, the water will run off and onto the floor. And with any saw, it's all about the blade. Go to a different store and spend the money on a good diamond blade.
It's worked pretty well for me so far. I've never used a tile saw so I can't compare it to a name brand.
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tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote in

I call it the "Diamond in the rough store". Sometimes HF has some real gems, and other times it is pure junk.
Sometimes they have stuff that the other places just don't have. I found an intertube for the dolly (hand truck) after checking about 5 other related places. They've got a miniature cut-off saw that's a great tool for model railroading as it cuts rail (and other metal), wood, and plastic without much fuss, and it's only $30 or so.
The junk is sometimes easy to spot, but as a rule of thumb I stay away from air brushes and anything with a cutting edge like drill bits and saw blades.
Puckdropper
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Make it to fit, don't make it fit.

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Too bad about the drill bits. about 12 years ago I took a chance on their fostner bits and a big TIN drill bit set.
Both have exceeded expectations. I bought the tin drill bit set for the garage as a backup to my good bits. These are now the primary set, they are that good. I save my good bits for critical work. They cut through metal quickly.
The fostners; TIN also were good. I sharpen them occasionaly. But for the money the set was impressive. I don't know how the current set is as things always change.
Those were lucky purchases.
About two years ago I bought the step bits. The small were good, the big was not.. I exchanged the big and got a better one, but still not as good as the smaller set. For the price.... the smaller set on sale is an excellent buy, and now I use it for any sheet metal, and wonder why I didn't get a set years ago.
I have a lot of name brand quality tools. But I would go broke if I spent money like that full time. Also sometimes you don't think you will need something very often.
I would like to buy all American, but lets face it.. we are not always producing quality products. Festool, Hammer, etc prove that we are behind, still on technology that is often 80 years old.
So why pay at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears , for an item that is usually made in China to the same standards as HF. The covering is usually prettier (sometimes) but not the quality.
But again, it's hit or miss.

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On 6/8/2012 9:08 AM, Puckdropper wrote:

I buy the $40 hand trucks at Sam's, immediately shitcan the pneumatic tires that go flat every ten minutes, and replace them with the same size solid tires from HF ... it only takes a year or two that outgass that obnoxious, Chinese rubber stink.
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, and replace them with the same

Dayum I hate that smell. MUCH worse after chemo.
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On 6/8/12 12:23 PM, Robatoy wrote:

There's stuff I can't buy there just because of that stink? Anyone know what it is, exactly? What causes it? (this should be fun) :-)
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-MIKE-

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tetrachloroethylene
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On 6/8/2012 12:38 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

MSG, they use it in Chinese food too! LOL
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