Clamp Surgery

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 06-27-2011 02:03 AM 1304 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A harbor freight just opened up 5 minutes from my house, not really to get into the debate of “to harbor freight or to not harbor freight”, I never turn down a free clamp. Harbor freight has a ton of coupon deals, one of the coupon’s is a free 12’’ ratchet clamp with a 20$ purchase. (not sure if we’re allowed to link to other sites or what not, but if you google “slickdeals harbor freight” you’ll find a forum thread that lists all their current running coupons).

While I was using one of the new “free” clamps, it broke .. the orange lever just snapped right out of the clamp housing. Disapointed that it broke on first use (I know get what you pay for, but really?!?) I did some googling and found that you can add a screw to these clamps to increase their strength. The forum that had this information wanted me to subscribe to view the images, and I already get enough spam as it is so I just took the clamps apart and figured it out myself.

I started with the clamp shown below

Took it apart, which is pretty easy just unscrew the 5 or so screws holding the 1 side on

Drilled 2 small holes for a machine screw (6-32-1 .. I think that means #6, 32 threads per inch .. and 1 inch long). The hole goes inside the small plastic round part that the orange handle slides on.

Added the screw through the bottom

Then added the top, screwed it down and tightened the nut

The screw is slightly longer than I’d like, but not really enough that I could get away with a 3/4’’ screw. I think if I got one of those rounded top nuts that would be better. But this bag of 10 screw+nuts was about $1 so for 10 cents a clamp, sounds like a good deal to me.

On the plus side, harbor freight didn’t care that the clamp was free, and replaced the broken clamp with a new one.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

4 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4239 posts in 4187 days

#1 posted 06-27-2011 04:30 AM

Thanks for the tip Jeremy.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3920 days

#2 posted 06-27-2011 05:17 AM

I boght 5 of the same harbor freight clamps when they were on sale ofr a few dollars each. Two of them broke off at the handle when I applied pressure….pressure that is easily applied to my similar Irwin clamps. The others kept slipping with a minimum of pressure applied. I threw them all in the trash where they belong. You get what you pay for. No more cheapo clamps or tools.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3383 days

#3 posted 06-27-2011 05:56 AM

I guess it’s not possible to mention harbor freight without someone bringing in the “to harbor freight or not to harbor freight”

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3582 days

#4 posted 06-27-2011 06:07 AM

I use those when I have something to clamp outside. They work a little better when they get a little rust on them anyway. Don’t slip after they are weathered. I broke one of mine the other day as well. 1/4” bolt fixed it right up.

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