Harbor Freight Sash Clamps vs Silverline

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  • #735558
    Ilya Bernshteyn
    Participant

    Anyone have experience/thoughts on the Harbor Freight sash clamps vs the Silverline ones Paul Sellers recommends? Look the same and seem like they need the same setup…

    https://www.harborfreight.com/48-in-aluminum-bar-clamp-60540.html

    #735560
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    The main difference is the Harbor freight ones are blue, usually.

    Wait for an online coupon.

    Paul has a 2011 post called “Aluminum Clamps- retrofit makes perfect clamp.”

    In the comments he said

    PAUL SELLERS
    8 SEPTEMBER 2014 AT 6:20 PM
    Both Universal and Jorgensen are lifetime. I like the aluminum because of their lightness. I don’t like steel clamps much. Pipe clapms are good too. I like them. On the otherhand, I use the HB type and have found them more than adequate once retrofitted. I have used mine for many years at the schools I have had and they work there so in a home shop used once or twice a week they should last fine.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Larry Geib.
    #735566
    deanbecker
    Participant

    I use them all the time. I have broke a few and a few had soft ratchet cuts i cut the bad ones down and returned the broke ones for free replacement. Didnt even need a receipt. I feel the five footer flexes too much for me they tend to pop off when stretched out at the end. Thats even with wood inside, might just be the way i work them

    #737098
    GfB
    Participant

    They work good for cheap clamps. Though I’m not especially rough on mine, they are getting a little loose. Not really affecting function yet, but I’m thinking the rivets are going to fail eventually. Upside, lifetime replacement!

    Definitely look at Paul Sellers’ retrofit video though, as it improves them greatly. They will flex a lot until you insert the wood, and potentially mar your work.

    I bought a set of Dubuques when I could afford them, and like them a lot more. The HF ones are great for beginner/budget, but this is a case of “you get what you pay for.”

    I will say, however, the Dubuque butterfly handles can get in the way in a cramped situation, whereas the HF sliding bar makes tightening much easier.

    #737618
    Ed
    Participant

    I have given up on these clamps. Sometimes, under pressure, the clamp head will pivot and dig into the bar making it impossible to get clamping pressure. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, and I just am no longer willing to risk a glue up. I’ve tried modifying them in various ways, but they have never been reliable. There is just too much play in the head. I have more ideas for things to try with them, but I just wanted to get on with my work. I’ve always wondered why I have trouble and others are happy, but that’s my experience.

    #737744
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    Would if be OK to, despite their price, suggest Bessey parallel clamps. They’ve done a lot to ameliorate my stress during glue ups.

    https://www.bessey.de/en-US/BESSEY-Tools-North-America/Products/Clamping-Tools/K-Body-Parallel-and-case-clamps.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    #737762
    Ed
    Participant

    Another option, again pricier than the Pittsburgh clamps at HF: Dubuque aluminum bar clamps. They are the same idea as the Pittsburgh Clamps, but executed better. I’ve only had mine a short time, but am hopeful they will work well.

    By the way, my next step with the pittsbugh clamps, if someone wants to try it, would be to replace the thin wooden piece that Paul glues or tapes on (to prevent marring) with one that is perhaps 1″ thick. I’d attach this block so that it rides against the bar, preventing the sloppy jaw from flopping over and digging into the bar, which is the source of my problems. It will probably be necessary to drill the moving clamp face to attach the block with a screw or two. Don’t forget to file off the old burs that have been dug out of the bar already, which like to catch the jaw and make it cam over again.

    #737769
    deanbecker
    Participant

    That thick pad might be all right.
    The first clamps i got from hf were pretty good then paul happened and they started to make em faster and looser
    I bought a couple a few weeks back and the quality is coming back up a bit. Tighter tolerences lately
    The dubukes are real nice but about 3 times the price.
    I have two bessy parallel clamps that are super but i bought them too short and they near broke the bank 15 years ago.
    Mostly thme hf ones get grabbed first. The dubukes do however work to their full length. 24 inch will do 24 in. Hf wont do that.

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