|Review by Mainiac Matt||posted 06-13-2012 06:57 PM||5433 views||0 times favorited||84 comments|
I go back some 16 years with Harbor Freight Tools…. And while I don’t often buy from them, I was reminded today that I have to readjust my expectations to reflect their low price point… As a company, I have to say that Harbor Freight has always resolved any issues I’ve had with their products, it wasn’t always a speedy solution, but in the end they made it right.
So given the recent positive review about their ‘F’ style bar clamps…. and me needing more clamps for my current project, I bit the bullet and sent them a $65 order for 8 ‘F’ clamps and a pair of 3/4” pipe clamps with stands.
Issue #1: all of the ‘F’ clamps seem to be mis-alligned. On one it looks like the ACME threaded hole in the slide is off, but on the others it looks o.k. Further inspection shows that there’s quite a bit of slop in the slot in the casting that slides on the bar. This slot is rough cast with no machining so they apparently had to make it a loose fit, which allows the assembly to misalign.
Issue #2: The rubber pads were poorly molded from a material that is not as pliable as the pads on my Jorgensen clamps.
Issue #3: The molded hard plastic under the rubber over mold on the handle has lot’s of “air” space in it (decreases mat’l and cost) and one clamp arrived with a broken handle. They’re going to send me a replacement, but it doesn’t bode well for durability of the rest of them (and others who responded to the previous review reported braking the handles).
So it is what it is….. and what it is…. is a cheep China knock off of a classic design, American product. And at 1/3 the price ($4 vs $12 for the 12” and $5 vs. $15 for the 24”) you’re getting either a “great deal” or “exactly what you paid for”, depending on your perspective.
I don’t make my paycheck with my tools…. and I’ll always reach for my Jorgensen and Bessey’s first…. but for the money it will be nice to have these in reserve.
I’ll share an anecdote that highlites the IMPORTANT consideration of personal safety using “great deal” tools. Years ago, I was laying on my back under my old F-150, trying to loosen the rusty bolt on the tie rod ends, when the “Made in China”, 15/16” open end wrench broke and snapped back, putting a huge chip in middle of my glasses lense and giving me a big black and blue knot on my eye brow. I would have been blinded for sure if I hadn’t been wearing glasses. So deal or no deal, you just can’t compromise with some tools.
-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!