Worst tool I have ever owned

  • Advertise with us
Review by Phil277 posted 05-26-2012 02:15 PM 8294 views 0 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Worst tool I have ever owned No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought two of these bar clamps for $8.99 ea at a Harbor Freight store. On one of them the tab on the movable jaw rounded over after a few uses to the point where it would not engage the slots in the bar. The casting on the fixed jaw of the other clamp broke under moderate pressure.
I bought them because i liked the design, the length is adjustable. i wrote to Harbor Freight and they offered to send replacements if I returned the broken clamps, they would pay postage. i had already tossed the clamps so there would be no return. i’m OK with that since they likely wouldn’t last any longer than the first ones.

-- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. From a sign on a surfer bar in So. Calif.

View Phil277's profile


223 posts in 3124 days

30 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4378 days

#1 posted 05-26-2012 02:34 PM

I’m a little surprised at 4 star rating for the worst tool you have every owned ? when shopping at HF you have to know two things #1 that a large percent of their tools are low quality #2 they have a great return policy.
thanks for your review.


View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3819 days

#2 posted 05-26-2012 02:44 PM

When you buy at Harbor Fright it is “BUYERS BEWARE” and you have to thoroughly check the products out before purchase or you will end up here, complaining. I have always thought everyone knew the inferior quality that HF typically carried and that they should have been aware of this! I’m sorry this happened to you and hope that in the future you will be a more savvy shopper! The cheapest prices are not always a bargain and often is costlier in the long run.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View REL's profile


84 posts in 4457 days

#3 posted 05-26-2012 03:06 PM

Come on now! What do you expect for the price! I own a bunch of Harbor Feight clamps. I can buy four HF clamps for the price of one “prime” clamp. They work and what I’m clamping is not smart enough to know the difference.

When I break one or a couple, I exchange them at HF for free.

I’ve been woodworking long enough to collect alot of clamps including a large inventory of the expnsive brand names, and sometime too heavy clamps.

Harbor Freight tools have their place.

-- REL, North Jersey

View ChuckV's profile


3318 posts in 4328 days

#4 posted 05-26-2012 03:18 PM

It looks like you rated this as five stars. It was the best of clamps, it was the worst of clamps.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3991 days

#5 posted 05-26-2012 03:35 PM

Don’t feel bad, I bought a craftsman clamp similar fo 20 bucks…and it sucks :)

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3494 days

#6 posted 05-26-2012 03:52 PM

Unless they’re Besseys or Jorgensen pipes, I don’t expect to get much from a clamp. If I pay the premium for the Besseys, I’ll damn sure make sure they perform flawlessly. I think there are one or two HF clamps with a good reputation (for the price) but I don’t think these are them. Sounds like you paid a few bucks for a bad experience. Not a terribly expensive lesson, I guess.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3276 days

#7 posted 05-26-2012 03:58 PM

You paid $9 for a clamp and you are surprised it didn’t last?

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 3437 days

#8 posted 05-26-2012 04:59 PM

I have a few of those clamps. One of the ends broke off and the others are clumsy to use. I understand that 1 out of 4 probably won’t work well, and the others will work mostly ok. As long as you know HF will leave you somewhat unsatisfied, there are instances where they can help you get by in a big glue up. There are some HF gems, but you should know that most of the stuff is a very temporary solution.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4109 days

#9 posted 05-26-2012 05:06 PM

A few years ago I bought 5 of the HF squeeze clamps that were on sale cheap. About 6 months later I threw them in the trash can…didn’t want to give this crap to anyone else. I now only buy bessey, Jet or irwin clamps.
I bought some HF wrenches and sockets also when i bought the clamps…needless to say they strip easily with the slightest pressure.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4031 days

#10 posted 05-26-2012 05:09 PM

Thanks for the heads up on these clamps. I had looked at them and now, I think I will pass. I have a number of items bought from HF. When the cashier asks if I want to get the extended warranty, I usually tell them no, that if it makes it through the weekend, I will be good to go. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Phil277's profile


223 posts in 3124 days

#11 posted 05-26-2012 05:33 PM

I’ll chalk the $20 to tuition at the school of hard knocks. I didn’t expect them to perform like an expensive tool but I also didn’t expect to be a trash item with moderate use either. This is the 1st tool I ever bought at HF and definitely the last. The 4 star rating was not intentional, I didn’t even notice the star thing.

-- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. From a sign on a surfer bar in So. Calif.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3723 days

#12 posted 05-26-2012 08:39 PM

Greg,their handtools have a lifetime warranty just like Husky,Craftsman, Kobalt and a few others.

I’ve got a few of these clamps I’ve had for 3-4 years. Never had a problem with them. I’ll admit I only use them on boxes etc where light pressure is all that’s required.

a1Jim hit the nail on the head along with some others. I buy some of their stuff but I’m well aware that it may not be the best of quality. If I am shopping for quality,I go somewhere else.

-- Life is good.

View poopiekat's profile


4771 posts in 4535 days

#13 posted 05-26-2012 10:05 PM

Does ANY Harbor Freight tool actually deserve a review in the first place? At the very least, I might have considered drilling a few holes across the aluminum channel, and putting a pin or bolt thru. That would have worked, until the headstock gives out :)

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View bandit571's profile


26103 posts in 3484 days

#14 posted 05-26-2012 10:28 PM

There is one up there at H-F that does rate a review. In fact, it was even a “Star” on a Stumpy Nubs show awhile back…

@ $8-10 each, not a bad little plane. Better yet, it CAN be made into a very good scrub plane…

It’s iron is a bit thicker than your “normal” irons, and the adjustor can angle the iron for a bevel cut, IF you don’t grind it as a scrub. Seems to be on a level with a Stanley #40. The wood being scrubbed in the picture? Beech!

A 3” radius on the camber, and you have a wicked little beast of a scrub plane. @ $8-10, one can afford to have a second one set up as a “normal” #3. Buy two, that = one Stanley #40….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3902 days

#15 posted 05-27-2012 03:58 AM

I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly at Harbor Freight. I do have to admit that every time I am in one of thier stores they have more customers per square foot than any box store I have been in….................

-- mike...............

showing 1 through 15 of 30 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics