Cheap clamps suck

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Forum topic by Christopher posted 09-19-2008 10:32 PM 5048 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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576 posts in 3918 days

09-19-2008 10:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip clamp

I recently bought six, twelve-inch clamps from Menards and I just came upstairs from clamping an important project thoroughly frustrated with them. As I screwed the clamp down it skipped thread under very little pressure. I only used them one other time to apply very light pressure to a nailer I was putting on a shelf. Then, to top it off the little round flat thing on the end of a clamp I was about to use literally fell off. They are the gray bar clamps in case you were considering buying some soon, avoid them.

I hope I can find my receipt.

9 replies so far

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3742 days

#1 posted 09-19-2008 11:55 PM

The adage, “you get what you pay for” really seems to apply to clamps. I think the Woodtech brand, sold by Woodworker Supply, is about as cheap as I’ll go. They only have two slip clutches on them, but I haven’t had any fail yet. I are a medium to light duty clamp any way.

View bbqking's profile


328 posts in 3721 days

#2 posted 09-20-2008 12:21 AM

I use Bessey and Jorgensen, have had no problems except that on one 36” Jorgensen I just wore out an area of thread. They can’t last forever. Pipe clamp fittings I buy from Rockler. bbqKing

-- bbqKing, Lawrenceville

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 09-20-2008 03:56 AM

I made the mistake of buying a bunch of cheap ones a long time ago. Yes, they do suck.

Bessey, and Irwin quick clamps work great for me, as do spring clamps.

Harbor freight usually has great deals on C-Clamps. They are cheap but still work good.

Click for details

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View pastor_shane's profile


29 posts in 3820 days

#4 posted 09-20-2008 06:00 AM

I too thought I was getting a great deal on some (blue) aluminum bar clamps…the price seemed too good to pass up, but now I wish I had! I bought 6, and when I used them they hung up and I had to use a hammer to get them to move again. Trying to find a hammer is not something you want to be doing when you are in the middle of a large panel glue-up. Now they now sit on the back side of my clamp rack gathering dust. I went out and bought some 6 good ‘ol fashoined Pony pipe clamps and some pipe and am very happy with them. If I only kept my receipt!

-- Shane, Guttenberg, Iowa

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3781 days

#5 posted 09-20-2008 07:58 AM

It really depends. I’ve bought all of my clamps (f-style) at cheap-o hardware stores here – I think I paid like $5-$10 for each one – even the 4-footers I bought didn’t cost more than that. And I’ve had no problems with any of them!

I don’t think I could even justify buying a Bessey or Jorgensen – even just one! I’m just a cheapskate. :^)

-- Eric at

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3742 days

#6 posted 09-21-2008 04:14 AM

One thing that I do when I do buy the cheaper clamps, in person, I run the clamp up to the end and tighten the screw, to make sure it doesn’t slip. Some will some won’t.

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3649 days

#7 posted 09-21-2008 04:50 AM

I have had ok luck with the f-style cheapos from HF. I bought quite a few of their too good to be true clamps that can be used as spreaders or clamps. You just squeeze the trigger and they tighten up. I don’t consider myself o have that great a grip but I have had 3 of them pop apart when I squeezed them too hard.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3989 days

#8 posted 09-21-2008 06:15 AM

I too have had good luck with the H/F F-Style clamps. Although I do have to admit I recently acquired a few Bessey K-Body clamps…. WOW what a difference…

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1892 posts in 3669 days

#9 posted 09-21-2008 02:02 PM

A while back, Rockler had a sale on the 4 pack Jet version of the Bessey clamp. They were on sale for a month, so every paycheck I went there and bought a 4 pack for $100. I stopped at 4 packs, and then they put the 60”ers on sale, and I bought 4 of those! I considered Bessey, but with the 4 for $100 buck promo, I couldn’t go wrong! These Jet clamps are great, and I’ve not had one fail me yet. Plus, you can use them as spreaders even! Try looking for sales, of Jet promo’s. I’m lucky, I sell Jet where I work, and can usually find great deals on things before they actually occur.

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

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