Harbor Freight Bar Clamp #60539 Review

On 1/17/2018 8:46 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Did you try impaling it with a stick? ;~)
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On Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 8:46:35 PM UTC-6, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I look at HF bar clamps as exactly what they are, inexpensive clamping tools. I could get frosted if I paid $20+ ea for them. But they are around a quarter of that. If one breaks, I can still buy two more for the cost of a "Name" brand and be ahead.
Then there is the fact I have a LOT of them and have had no problems. Could it be that those who are having the problems are simply over stressing what should be a light duty clamp?
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On Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:13:26 -0800 (PST), "Dr. Deb"

Except that they break when you *need* them, not when they're hanging on the wall looking pretty. If I can't trust a tool, I don't want it around.

Bar clamps shouldn't be "light duty". They didn't bend. The damned thins broke, with just moderate pressure. My Irwin Quick Clamps will do 10x the clamping force. ...and they aren't designed for such.
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I hate to say this, but if your joints were made better, you would not need so much force. If you have to jam them together, something is wrong with the joint.
I always heard the rule of thumb for a mortise and tenon was that they should fit so that you could knock them together with your hat.
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On Sat, 20 Jan 2018 06:58:31 -0800 (PST), "Dr. Deb"

In a perfect world, maybe you can find perfect wood along side perfect people.
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On 1/20/2018 8:58 AM, Dr. Deb wrote:

This is true but if you are gluing up a table top that is 5~8' long it is difficult to get a perfectly straight edge. Not even plywood has straight edges these days. Not unusual for a board to be straight this morning and bowed a bit this afternoon, depending on the humidity.

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On 1/20/18 11:15 AM, Leon wrote:

Or they bow after planing. You can't keep going back to the jointer or table saw to correct every little warp. Sometimes, you wouldn't have any board left.
In any case, or in the case of perfectly straight and flat boards for a panel glue-up, what good is a clamp like this....
http://mikedrums.com/HF_Bar_Clamp.JPG
Even if you're only clamping two boards to make a panel, this thing will act to push the board up. I've done plenty of 2 and 3 board glue-ups with parallel clamps where I didn't need to hold the middle of the boards down so they didn't pop up. Once I get past 3 it's usually necessary with any clamp, no matter the quality.
But a clamp with a jaw that skewed is scrap metal, IMO.
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-MIKE-

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On 1/20/2018 11:32 AM, -MIKE- wrote:

Hopefully you were not checking that clamp with a Harbor Freight square. ;~)
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On 1/20/18 11:38 AM, Leon wrote:

Don't be silly. If I checked it with a HF square, it would be square. :-p
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On Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 12:06:08 PM UTC-6, -MIKE- wrote:

.

I can hear Ed McMahon and his "Hiyo!" with a rim shot!
I have those same HF clamps and used them for about 3 or 4 glue ups. I spo tted one that was out of square right away so I marked it and used it for p lywood framing glue ups, etc. Oddly, it held up. The others? Even in lig ht use, after the mentioned 3 or 4 glue ups the little balls inside the cla mp head on the end of the screw just fell off.
I don't trust them so I don't use them. I don't know why I don't throw the m away.
Sadly, these used to be a great HF product.
https://www.harborfreight.com/10-in-handscrew-clamp-60549.html
I have a couple left that continue to serve and they are just as good as th eir domestic counterparts. But the newer versions aren't nearly as well ma de and even some of the wood parts are cracked before purchase. I rarely u se that style clamp, but still, I wish I had bought a few more.
Robert
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On Sat, 20 Jan 2018 13:17:40 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

;-)

Rockler has a really good sale on these, occasionally.
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On 1/20/18 8:58 AM, Dr. Deb wrote:

I subscribe to that philosophy as well. Doesn't mean those HF aluminum bar clamps aren't $h!tty. :-)
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It rather depends upon what you are gluing up. If it is a 42" x 96" tabletop I suspect you will find that the edges are not perfect and need some force to close.
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On 1/18/18 10:13 AM, Dr. Deb wrote:

What's alight duty clamp, though. And shouldn't the jaws of even a light duty clamp stay at 90 degrees to the bar. Even if you're only edge banding plywood shelves, if the jaw faces don't stay straight, they will try to pull the banding off the edge of the plywood or at least put uneven pressure (more pressure on the bottom).
They just aren't worth the money to me anymore. Not with the hassles that come with using them. About all I can use them for is supplementary clamping after real parallel clamps are in place.
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Beats me, I see little to no difference between the HF quick release clamps and equivalent ones from Jorgenson et al. If anything, I'd say the the hf ones - those sold now - are heftier. I use them to clamp all manner of things.

IME, no clamps like this do that because the bar flexes as pressure is applied. That's no problem as long as the clamp is properly positioned on the work piece; i.e., if you don't try to make the clamp head perpendicular to the work.

See above.

Your money, of course, but at 1/3 the cost or less of others, I'll stick with HF.
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On 1/18/18 1:53 PM, dadiOH wrote:

I'm not sure what you're talking about. The above doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Just so it's clear what I'm talking about, here's a picture of the issue.
http://mikedrums.com/HF_Bar_Clamp.JPG
The end jaw doesn't even *start out* at 90degrees to the bar with no pressure at all. With pressure applied, it gets worse. This is completely unacceptable and in my mind renders the product defective as to its sole purpose.

Been down that road and haven't looked back. Have fun. I'd rather spend my time making stuff than having to modify tools or techniques involved in using them just to get them to do their most basic intended functions.
--

-MIKE-

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It might make more sense if you were talking about quick release clamps like this...
https://shop.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/6/2/62237_zzz_500.jpg

It really doesn't matter if the jaw is at 90 degrees or not as long as you can set the clamp so that the area applying the pressure is where you want it.
No special technique or tool modification needed.
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On 1/18/18 4:02 PM, dadiOH wrote:

It might make more sense if you read the subject line and look at that clamp.

Wow. I don't even know how to reply to that with anything other than laughter. Just never mind. You go ahead and use them and enjoy.
--

-MIKE-

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On 1/18/2018 5:40 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

Actually Mike, glue a dowel onto that pad, that will ride centered on a 3/4 piece of wood. It will center the pressure every time and save the clamp.. Or thow it away. Or strip it for parts.
--
Jeff

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On 1/21/18 9:23 AM, woodchucker wrote:

I believe I already stated they were only good for scrap metal. :-)
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