Fix for cheap clamps

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Forum topic by D_Allen posted 03-23-2011 01:47 AM 2473 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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495 posts in 1824 days

03-23-2011 01:47 AM

Years ago I bought 2 aluminum bar clamps at HF and was never pleased with them. The screw mechanism would bind up practically every time. I cussed them too much and almost threw them out a few times.
Then the problem occured to me when I was looking at some from Rockler. Theirs have 2 pins holding the headstock into the end of the bar. I realized that mine were pivoting and binding the screw in the head stock. It worked fine until there was pressure on the clamp.
So, I drilled out the end and added a bolt. I will loose about a half an inch on clamping reach because the screw isn’t as long as the better ones.
But at least I’ll get some use out of them now instead of throwing them across the room!

-- Website is finally up and

12 replies so far

View Sailor's profile


541 posts in 2305 days

#1 posted 03-23-2011 02:34 AM

So they work great now? I have seen these things in my local HF but I wasn’t sure about them. May have to try them out now though…

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 1824 days

#2 posted 03-23-2011 02:53 AM

Oh, I wouldn’t go so far as to say they work ‘great’. I doubt these things would ever qualify for that label.
They work much better than before…let’s leave it at that!

-- Website is finally up and

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 2763 days

#3 posted 03-23-2011 03:16 AM

When it comes to clamps, you get what you pay for. I looked at those one time and put them back.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View jeepturner's profile


936 posts in 1832 days

#4 posted 03-23-2011 03:23 AM

How much of a tab does the head stock have inside the bar? You could drill and tap two flush head bolts on one side and then two on the other at opposite corners. That way you would gain back the reach you lost with the through bolt.

-- Mel,

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495 posts in 1824 days

#5 posted 03-23-2011 03:29 AM

Mel, there are a number of other ways to get there. These things just aren’t worth too much trouble.
Fact is, the length of the screw was always too short and would not give enough adjustment.

-- Website is finally up and

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2617 days

#6 posted 03-23-2011 03:32 AM

Next time try some 3/4 ” pipe clamps from HF . I wait until they have them on sale something like $2.50 each.

-- Custom furniture

View Grandpa's profile


3246 posts in 1715 days

#7 posted 03-23-2011 03:37 AM

Jim, I have some of those from HF and they shouldn’t be confused with a Pony clamp. They are worth what you pay for them but they don’t hold the close tolerances of a Pony so they don’t work as smoothly. I do use them andwill porbably buy more of them some day but I have noticed if I only need a few clamps I reach for the Pony clamp.

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 2334 days

#8 posted 03-23-2011 03:38 AM

These clamps are only okay until the head snaps off. It’s been posted in other topics elsewhere. It’s pretty common. Just don’t put too much pressure on them and they’ll do “okay”.

-- LAS,

View Tedstor's profile


1526 posts in 1673 days

#9 posted 03-23-2011 06:57 AM

I never felt the HF aluminum bar clamps were up to snuff. However, I dig the steel F clamps. The C clamps are good too.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2114 days

#10 posted 03-23-2011 04:21 PM

Several years ago I bought 6 aluminum clamps like the one illustrated (don’t know the brand). I have one left. All the others have broken. Pipe clamps are a little harder work with, but I have never had one break.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Chuck's profile


27 posts in 2283 days

#11 posted 03-23-2011 04:41 PM

I bought aluminum bar clamps from USA Clamp Company a couple of years ago and have been very happy. They were the clamps I used at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking – so I’m pretty sure they can take a lot of abuse. They are also pretty reasonable in price.

-- Chuck, Preston CT,

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 1824 days

#12 posted 03-24-2011 01:52 AM

What? 3/4 ” pipe clamps from HF? Those are a joke too I think. Look at the tiny little tab you have to get ahold of to release the sliding fixture. One of these days I am going to drill that out and put on something big enough for my fat fingers to get around.

-- Website is finally up and

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