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You get what you pay for...and in this case, less

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Review by cmacnaughton posted 11-01-2019 01:25 PM 818 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
You get what you pay for...and in this case, less No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought these clamps based solely on the price. I have longer Dubuque bar clamps which are fantastic. These Wood River clamps were half the price of the 24” Dubuques at Woodcraft, so I figured how bad could they be?

Pretty bad, actually. Having now tried to use them twice, if I saw them for $5 each at a garage sale I would not buy them. The cast iron heads are poorly machined to the point where I had a pile of metal shavings beneath them after trying (unsuccessfully) to tighten them down for a panel glue-up (cutting board).

The handles/tension bars on these clamps have cap nuts on both ends that do not stay tight, so when you’re spinning the bars, the nuts have a tendency to come loose and roll under the nearest bench or cart. Yeah, I know I can add locktite or super glue, but I shouldn’t have to.

Lesson learned. I’ll stick with Dubuque bar clamps or pipe clamps.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice




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cmacnaughton

124 posts in 180 days



11 comments so far

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mnguy

290 posts in 3934 days


#1 posted 11-01-2019 06:29 PM

It is always frustrating when retailers choose to include these types of low quality / poorly designed items in their owned-brands. Woodcraft diminishes their entire brand with stuff like this.

I have very similar clamps that I got from Lee Valley ~15 years ago, and they have been rock solid. The only annoyance was the jaw pads kept falling off, which I fixed with a dab of latex caulk under each pad. Too bad the Wood River versions of today aren’t similar in quality.

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cmmyakman

249 posts in 3192 days


#2 posted 11-01-2019 07:53 PM

”...so I figured how bad could they be? Pretty bad, actually.” That was pretty funny. Thank you for the review.

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

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BurlyBob

6615 posts in 2801 days


#3 posted 11-04-2019 04:06 PM

Thanks, good to know where not to waste my money.

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WoodenDreams

791 posts in 446 days


#4 posted 11-06-2019 01:32 AM

Personally I like this style clamp. Because of the weight, these aluminum U-bar clamps are easier to handle verses the steel pipe clamps. I have quite a few of the 24”, 36” 48” and 60” aluminum U-bar clamps.

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cmacnaughton

124 posts in 180 days


#5 posted 11-06-2019 01:36 AM



Personally I like this style clamp. Because of the weight, these aluminum U-bar clamps are easier to handle verses the steel bar clamps. I have quite a few of the 24”, 36” 48” and 60” aluminum U-bar clamps.

- WoodenDreams


I love this style of clamp as well. This particular brand, however, is absolute garbage. I am returning 4 of them to Woodcraft this weekend and getting 2 Dubuques in exchange. The Dubuques are fantastic.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

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WoodenDreams

791 posts in 446 days


#6 posted 11-06-2019 03:52 AM

All of mine are from HF. same as the clamps your disappointed with.

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cmacnaughton

124 posts in 180 days


#7 posted 11-06-2019 04:38 AM



All of mine are from HF. same as the clamps your disappointed with.

- WoodenDreams


These are not from Harbor Freight. They are from Woodcraft as I mentioned in my review. If they are the “same” then I got FOUR lemons. What are the odds of that?

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

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Ramma

11 posts in 394 days


#8 posted 11-06-2019 12:05 PM

I too bought two of these at my local Woodcraft about a year ago. I snapped the cast clamp head clean in two whilst gluing up pieces for a cutting board. I will say though, I called the 1-800 number for woodcraft customer support and they were fantastic. No questions asked other than my transaction number on my receipt. Mailed me a new one and received it in four days. Great customer service.

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Ken90712

17781 posts in 3724 days


#9 posted 11-06-2019 01:12 PM

I bought two of these from Rockler yrs ago, I agree waste of money and flimsy. Sorry you went through it as well. Jet are my go to clamps now.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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jimintx

926 posts in 2120 days


#10 posted 11-11-2019 06:59 PM

I am not sure what some of the above posts are trying to say about the HF version of these very clamps.

I have several of those from HF, and a few of the same design, Sure-Foot aluminum bar clamps from Rockler. I think they are all equally useful, and can’t see any reason to complain about the ones I have. They are light weight, low-to-mid pressure clamps, which is exactly what I expected them to be.

Of course, compared to some big, pricey Bessey K-body parallel claps they aren’t the same.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

124 posts in 180 days


#11 posted 11-11-2019 07:07 PM



I am not sure what some of the above posts are trying to say about the HF version of these very clamps.

I have several of those from HF, and a few of the same design, Sure-Foot aluminum bar clamps from Rockler. I think they are all equally useful, and can t see any reason to complain about the ones I have. They are light weight, low-to-mid pressure clamps, which is exactly what I expected them to be.

Of course, compared to some big, pricey Bessey K-body parallel claps they aren t the same.

- jimintx


I can only review products I have specifically used. In this case, the clamps noted, from Woodcraft with the Wood River branding. While I cannot say with any degree of certainty that these are the same as the clamps sold by Harbor Freight, can say with absolute certainty that the clamps I purchased are substandard in manufacture and quality. They are demonstrably inferior to the same size clamps made by Dubuque, albeit for half the price of the Dubuques. I stand by my assertion that I would have been better served by spending twice as much on the Dubuques. As for Bessey or other parallel clamps, I plead ignorance. They are even more expensive than the Dubuques and I do not own any. Now I’m realizing I need to write a separate review of those OUTSTANDING Dubuque clamps.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

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