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Why are Irwin clamps so expensive?

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Forum topic by derosa posted 671 days ago 4343 views 1 time favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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derosa

1532 posts in 1439 days


671 days ago

I’ve been trying to beef up the clamp collection and fill in the spaces around the HF specials; one of the ways I was considering was the irwin clamp/spreader and nearly went into sticker shock. I bought a pair of 24” ones way back when they first came out and have been happy with them but my version doesn’t exactly exist anymore. The HD had a lighter version that is 25.00 for a 24” clamp or 34.00 for a heavy duty version. Talk about sticker shock for a metal bar and hunk of plastic.

At the same time (same isle in HD) it was possible to buy USA made Jorgensens, the heavy duty version of the F clamp is 13.00 and all metal construction with maple handle that can clamp up to 1000lbs. The standard version is a buck less and still clamps as hard as the heavy duty irwin. Although the quick grips have an easier time clamping one handed are they really worth twice the price? Jorgensen also has a quick grip that has the same clamping pressure as the heavier duty irwin for a buck less then the lighter duty version.

A short trip over to HF revealed a new heavy duty clamp/spreader which is twice the price of the old, still present versions. I have a 12” version of their regular trigger clamp, was free with coupon, and have yet to find a purpose for it. Holding the new one, and testing it out there showed that it is probably stronger then the entry level irwins at half the price, normally 12.99 but on sale for 10.00, but probably not quite as strong as my irwins or the heavy duty irwins. Might have to get some of these to try out.

So for those of you who buy the irwins, for me the price keeps getting further away, what makes them worth while to you? And why are they so expensive?

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse


52 replies so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

1732 posts in 792 days


#1 posted 671 days ago

You know what, I have the same questions. The only thing I can say is wait til Black Friday. You may find a package deal at Lowes or Home Depot.

If you like Bessy’s, Wood Craft has the 24” for 23.99. Let me know what you find. I need a lot for my current project.

They also have 24” Jorgensons for 27.99. Keeping that in perspective, I have no clue why Irwins are so expensive.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1437 posts in 805 days


#2 posted 671 days ago

I have 30 or so of the Irwins, blue and silver, they are darn good and strong. I know they are pricy especially for the 48”. The others do not have the holding power and are more prone to slipping. I can take one when I change my moulder belt and the motor is a 20hp. Used as a spreader to lift the motor. Once you bite the bullet you will be happy. Try getting some on Amazon in 10 paks sometimes and save if you can. Do you just need some good clamps for panels? Adjustable Clamp co. I believe based in Iowa, are like 20 bucks or so if you buy 10 at a time, alum bar clamps and excellent and light weight. Customer Service is top notch….

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Musiclogic's profile

Musiclogic

18 posts in 681 days


#3 posted 671 days ago

I am not a quick grip guy personally, I have 6 and 2 of them won’t clamp any longer. I stick with Jorgys essentially and a few Woodcraft, and Besseys. I have about 120 clamps at this point, and until I find a reason to need the Irwins or others of the ilk, I’ll stick with the screw variety….LOL Good luck with your quest for the answer

-- a man never fails, he just quits trying.

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 980 days


#4 posted 671 days ago

It’s cause they’re blue. the coolest color. lol
I’ve had those older HF clamps and they weren’t worth it. Not even for $10. Maybe they make them better now?
I bought a bunch of irwins when HD put them on clearance for the newer beefier design. I still was a bit hesitant to get them at that price but there weren’t many left and i needed some. Still need some of course and have been looking for a good generic one for better price but haven’t seen one.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View derosa's profile

derosa

1532 posts in 1439 days


#5 posted 671 days ago

Gshepherd- the adjustable clamp co. is the same thing as Jorgensen, I’ve just fired them off an email to ask why their spreader style is more then their f clamps. Personally they are the brand I tend to lean towards now and pick up one of their bar clamps every time I hit HD, just wish HD carried the 18” and 30” lengths in the heavy duty or 30” regular strength.

Onlyjust- the new HF clamp I linked to is way beyond the old crap that HF still sells along side it. So far I’ve only seen it in 24”, the website shows 36” as available as well. If they get a good sale price I may pick up two of the 36” just to see how they hold up. Really feel close to the old Irwins that were inbetween the current offerings, similar par dimensions and sturdier plastic.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1437 posts in 805 days


#6 posted 671 days ago

Derose, I meant the Universal clamp Co. They call their Alum clamp Adjustable clamp. They are good…

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 980 days


#7 posted 671 days ago

I’ll have to take a look at them next time i’m there.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 890 days


#8 posted 671 days ago

Here’s my theory on why quality clamps are so expensive. Once you buy them, they basically last forever. The manufacturer has to get their profit from those limited sales opportunities with each customer. I’m sure the profit margins (as a % of the selling price) are quite high on quality clamps, compared to say, sandpaper (or any other commodity that you typically buy on an ongoing and relatively frequent basis).

-- John, BC, Canada

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1180 days


#9 posted 671 days ago

Yep, it’s all about the $$.

Don’t even get me started on clamp prices…
Parallel clamps are the worst offenders…

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2829 posts in 852 days


#10 posted 671 days ago

Quick grips should only be used as a second or third pair of hands. They do not have the amount of clamping force needed for a glue-up. I have a four 12”, four 24” and two 36”. I use them to clamp down temporary fences/jigs, and hold things in place like face frames wile I can set some bar or parallel clamps.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1437 posts in 805 days


#11 posted 671 days ago

How much force is needed to do glue up’s, talking edge glue ups…. 600lbs not enough? Parallel clamps by far have more power around 1400 or so on some less. Now the older cheaper style we are talking less than 300lbs for holding power. The blue and silver style are one darn good clamp. Quick to change to a spreader bar and for most woodworking apps they are more than adequate. Very handy to boot. Too much clamping power is worse cause all your doing is forcing all the glue out…. Parallel clamps are good do not get me wrong. If I had a choice right now for either 10 parallel clamps or the Irwin Silver’s I take the Irwins. If yo had to do some glue up panels for cab doors for example, The irwins would do just fine and be quicker to boot. My opinion…. Fine Woodworking did a comparision some time back and the Parallel clamps were less than the cheaper Irwins….. Do a search on it. Then go from there….

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Shark64's profile

Shark64

12 posts in 672 days


#12 posted 671 days ago

I bought 6 of the 24 inch house brand guick grip type clamps from Highland Woodworking in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. They appear to be as good or better than the Irwin, but I have not used them enough to know how they will hold up long term.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2829 posts in 852 days


#13 posted 671 days ago

The quick grips can really put down 600lbs of pressure? From everything I have read, the average is about 300lbs, which barely meets the minimum requirements for flat grain soft woods. They can achieve higher pressures if you hold the handle down, but when you let go, they back off just a tad. I wouldn’t trust them. Bar clamps are cheaper and the big Jorgenson’s can put down about 800 to 1000 lbs without too much deflection. Parallels are expensive, that’s why I only have 2. I use those to index the pieces, then go nuts with the bar clamps.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View RandyinFlorida's profile

RandyinFlorida

48 posts in 671 days


#14 posted 671 days ago

Quick Story,

I went into my local Lowes recently. They had marked down several of they’re Erwin Clamps, most just 2 or 3 dollars. But one rack had a sticker…. The 24 inch clampswere marked down from $34.50 to 31.99 However the 36 inch clamps (same design, same specs) were marked 13.99. Somebody goofed. There were two on the rack; I bought ‘em both!

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1204 posts in 973 days


#15 posted 671 days ago

Damn, I wish people goofed like that when I went to Lowes or HD…

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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