Tool Tip #8: Plastic spring hand Clamps

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 10-23-2013 09:05 AM 1567 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Check out these monsters Part 8 of Tool Tip series Part 9: Cleaning large Dust Extractors »

These clamps are in just about every shop, and are useful for all sorts of applications.

I was making some veneer inlay strips and decided to use them to clamp the work whilst the glue dried.

Well to my surprise they began snapping in various areas.

The failures ranged from the tip right back to the pivot point, very odd to say the least.

As I had finished work for the day and I was about to bin them when I decided to dismantle them and make two sets from four.

Well that was a interesting exercise in wasting time I tell you.
I don’t know how they were assembled in the first instance but the spring is so strong it is almost impossible to reassemble them, any way I tried but was not able to get them back together safely so in the bin they went.

Why did they break in the first place, I cannot identify one single cause apart from plastic fatigue.
Maybe the UV may have weakened them who knows.

They are almost a consumable item cost wise so I was not too concerned.

I also had a plastic F Clamp break as well some time ago just goes to show the plastic used does not stand up to the force capable of being applied to them in normal use.

-- Regards Robert

8 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3324 days

#1 posted 10-23-2013 09:53 AM

Consumable indeed… lots of these cheap tools are of limited use… and in time need to be binned…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3303 days

#2 posted 10-23-2013 10:08 AM

I always buy small spring clamps made from metal. The larger plastic spring clamps seem ok though.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2037 days

#3 posted 10-23-2013 12:18 PM

Why did they break, check their country of origin. I’ve gone thru a few of the plastic hand clamps also. Strictly use the metal clamps now.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2781 posts in 3407 days

#4 posted 10-23-2013 12:22 PM

I’ve had cheap ones break like this right out of the box. UV light is not the issue. The other clamp that is crap is the cheap ones that are trigger clamps. You squeeze them by pumping a trigger lever. They usually have a plastic pivot point. Not worth the shipping.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2750 days

#5 posted 10-23-2013 12:25 PM

Bought a couple of sets that look like those, from Lee Valley, only lost one to breakage.
And that was an extreme situation, using it to hold a tarp/awning for my trailer in high winds, snapped one leg off the clamp but the other 8 or so in use survived undamaged.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View woodsmithshop's profile


1315 posts in 3515 days

#6 posted 10-23-2013 03:11 PM

I have also had problems with this type of clamp, usually it is the jaws that break.

-- Smitty!!!

View sras's profile


4791 posts in 3098 days

#7 posted 10-24-2013 01:21 AM

I too have had these clamps break on me. I have another brand of plastic spring clamp that has held up very well for several years.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View oldnovice's profile


6775 posts in 3337 days

#8 posted 10-24-2013 02:59 AM

I have 8 of the metal ones and two of the Craftsman plastic ones which are hard to use because of the enormous spring tension and my RA. But they have not failed!

It could be shoddy plastic or a poor design or perhaps lack of UV inhibitors in the plastic. This is also true of cable ties as the black one are more resistant to UV than the other colors!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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