I noticed that Menards has tye Irwin 10pc Clamp Set on sale for $14.99 this
week. Here's the product:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
How many sets of these do I need, Lew (please don't say ALL of them!)?
Three should be enough to hold down an amoeba in a hurricane, shouldn't it?
P.S. I understand "clamp-fever" now...I think it's the feeling that you
can't have enough of them!
Not a bad deal. Likely would buy a set or two if I could try them out
first. Maybe someday technology will allow a virtual
I bought two Irwin clamps at a flea market, about $3 each, not too
shabby not top-notch either. I like the feel of the grip design,
release lever, light weight. They flex a little too much under hard
pressure and not suitable for every clamping situation. Most
certainly better than China-made.
That's sort of the way I have been conditioned to think about
"Irwin"--midgrade, not too cheap and not top of the heap.
After further consideration though, I wonder whether these may be too light
as they they are characterized as "craft" or
"hobby" clamps. I don't have any small bar clamps so far. I'd probably get
more use out of something a little bigger, along
with some of those 2" spring clamps Lew mentioned.
I drive right by a HF regularly. Maybe I'll start collecting bar clamps
Of course, you know, you've already helped talk me into buying 15 pipe
a few bar clamps to my collection is almost a walk in the park after that!
Anyone happen to see the workbench in the new Winter edition of FWW?
Amazingly complicated design (to me)...it sort of put me in my place.
One thing I've been thinking more about are the torsion/rotation forces on a
That seems to lead back to more traditional looking designs.
As I've gone back to the drawing board, so to speak, I'm putting vises into
design where they belong. That's meant a bit more learning as there is much
to a tail vise than I realized!
Somehow, though, with my first efforts with SketchUp, I got to build the
of my imagination--and I didn't have to waste any wood. In retrospect, it
have held up to torsion forces very well.
One thing I can take still take some comfort in is that I have a good idea
for a workbench top!
On Wed, 4 Nov 2009 20:25:26 -0800, the infamous "Lew Hodgett"
Ditto that. Half price on Chiwanese stuff = For a song.
I'm headed down there today for a few minor goodies.
Hell, that's a minimum of 34 years ago, Lew. Just b efore I gave my
(actual) pound of flesh and gallon of blood to the God of Searz
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of
ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
-- Thomas Jefferson
I bought a bunch of HF bar clamps a couple of years ago. They haven't
been great. Several of the screws have jammed in the head and a
couple of the aluminum heads have snapped. I also have a few Irwin
bar clamps I bought a few years ago on sale. I use the Irwins to
quickly hold the work together, then fill in with the other clamps.
The HF clamps are being replaced with Bessys. It's a shame because I
like the HF clamps (light and pretty strong), but don't much care for
them breaking when I've got wet glue on wood.
I don't think much of the plier type spring clamps, but I've 12 of the
Irwin pistol-grip bar clamps, 4 each of 3 sizes, and I love them to
pieces, mostly for assembly purposes.
I don't have to worry that they might leave marks, and they're really
good for one handed application - much, much easier than f-clamps for
trial assembly and such. and they work find for light clamping
requirements during glue-ups too. My F-clamps only come out for heavy
duty glueup jobs, or to make up the numbers required these days.
I have been disappointed with Irwin products over the last few years.
I have a couple sizes of the Irwin clamps, and they are not nearly as robust as
by "Quick Clamp" before they sold out to Irwin. I have 4 of the smaller Irwin
clamps that have
stripped out due to me trying to tighten them down. Did I abuse them? Maybe,
but no worse than I
have tried to tighten down on some of the Quick Clamps. NONE of my old Quick
Clamps have ever given
me a bit of trouble, and work as well as they did some 20 years ago when new.
A few years ago I needed a new TS blade on an emergency basis, and tried one of
the Irwin blades.
It made me sorry I did not save some money and buy a Black and Decker Piranha at
the time. The B&D
was a better product and cheaper.
I purchased 3 sizes of Marples chisels from Lee Valley in one of their recent
sales. I haven't used
them much, but my initial impression is that they are a tier below the Craftsman
chisel set I bought 4-5 years ago. I may give the Irwin-Marples to my wife for
her paint cans.
Those Craftsman chisels are pretty good, but not nearly as good as the mixed set
of Craftsman &
Stanley socket chisels I got on the Bay a couple months back. (Beware- Old Fart
Digression - Those
socket chisels are 50-80 years old and are absolutely wonderful! A couple
minutes polishing the
back and Scarey sharpening were all it took to get those old things back in
shape. It was lovely
trimming those whisps of endgrain in pine and oak. I now look for socket
chisels at every flea,
rust pile and junk store)
I've got some old Irwin auger bits and a rachet brace I am very pleased with.
But I won't waste
more money on anything they currently make. YMMV
Not impressed with clamp sets.
Had a Irwin clamp hand operated bar clamp, it was not my clamp of
H/D around here sell 2" spring clamps for less than $1.
Should be able to equal that in your area.
Yeah, but sets like this are good marketing. If you buy (or receive
as a gift) a set like this the pump is primed. You have one or two of
several of their products. It's enough to get you interested by not
enough to be practical for most projects. Gotta go get more.
My clamp rack has quite a few of the smaller Irwins (6" - 18") plus a
few of the larger ones. Those small clamps are great when you need to
get something lined up and glued quickly. The rocking horses I build
are laminated in two layers and use nearly every clamp in the shop.
Those are the first ones on because they apply easily when things are
Out of that set the pieces that are most useful are the mini bar clamps.
The reason they're useful is that they're a convenient size and work
one-handed--the larger Irwin clamps can also be worked one-handed but
they're a bit unwieldy. They don't have huge clamping force, but it's big
enough for many purposes, if I need more then I get out the bar clamps and
Besseys, but even then I may stick the pieces together with the Irwins to
hold them while I get the big clamps on them. They're also just the thing
for holding a stop block on the router or RAS fence and otherwise just plain
handy to have around. I've even clamped one to a stud and used it for a
coat hook on occasion.
Note--clean the bars with lacquer thinner when you get them, work the clamp
a few times, and then clean them again--for some reason some of them come
from the factory with oil on the bars and if that is present they _will_
Of the others, the two at the top are useful mainly for very, very temporary
holding against no resistance--the clamping force is tiny--but the big
throat is occasionally useful. I wouldn't buy the set for them but if you
have them you'll use them because they are there. They are usually the last
clamps I reach for.
The one on the bottom right is OK for that type of clamp--basically a big
clothespin with padding. I've found it to be no better than the ones that
Harbor Freight sells though--it's kind of hard to screw up a clothes pin.
The one at the bottom center is kind of specialized--if you're building
model airplanes or the like you'll love it, but it makes very little force.
I have a couple because they came in a set with the minis for less than the
minis alone when I got my minis and I've not used them much. Not even heavy
enough to work as paperweights.
If the price of the set it less than the price of the mini bar clamps alone
then you might want to get a couple of sets. Otherwise get one and a set of
the mini bar clamps--I know I've painted a dim picture of the others but the
fact remains that I have on occasion found uses for all of them.
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