Upgrade your Harbor Freight bar clamps with these easy enhancements

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Blog entry by Marty Backe posted 09-21-2015 01:36 AM 2572 reads 7 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was never a fan of the cheap aluminum bar clamp. They would twist like a pretzel when any decent amount of clamping pressure was applied.

Then I read what Paul Sellers had to say about these clamps, where he offered an easy upgrade path that turned them into decent medium duty clamps. You don’t always need the strength of a Bessey type clamp.

In this video I demonstrate how I perform the ‘surgery’. I recently bought two more Harbor Freight 48” aluminum bar clamps, at $10 each. This rounds out my collection to a final six. Spend half an hour in the workshop and $3 to convert your $10 clamps into $30 clamps.

7 comments so far

View NormG's profile


5424 posts in 2423 days

#1 posted 09-21-2015 03:19 AM

Great upgrade at a minimal costs

-- Norman

View MinnesotaMarty's profile


82 posts in 637 days

#2 posted 09-21-2015 02:43 PM

I had a few minutes this morning and saw your video. Great video and a great idea. I too saw those clamps and passed because I was hesitant that they would stand up. With the upgrades, you are correct, those clamps are definitely serviceable.
Thanks for the videos. I always learn something from you.


-- I can see the cheese heads from here and it is great.

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2107 days

#3 posted 09-21-2015 05:51 PM

I have these clamps. I just added a piece of duct tape on the jaw face as a pad and it worked well. I might add the stiffener. Looks like a quick project. Thanks for the recommendation.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View  woodshaver (Tony)  's profile

woodshaver (Tony)

3938 posts in 2773 days

#4 posted 09-21-2015 11:31 PM

Very useful info! Thanks for sharing! Oh.. and your video was well done!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View Mean_Dean's profile


4932 posts in 2567 days

#5 posted 09-22-2015 12:27 AM

Great info on a great upgrade to these clamps!

-- Dean

View Arcola60's profile


93 posts in 1803 days

#6 posted 02-04-2016 08:25 PM

Thanks Marty, I found a set of pony pads @ my local hardware store. Just upgraded my pair of 24” clamps.

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 2192 days

#7 posted 02-04-2016 09:02 PM

Cool, thanks for letting me know that the video was helpful.

Thanks Marty, I found a set of pony pads @ my local hardware store. Just upgraded my pair of 24” clamps.

- Arcola60

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