Buyer Beware!

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Review by Topapilot posted 04-08-2009 04:10 AM 4850 views 0 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Buyer Beware! Buyer Beware! No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

A store called “Big Lots!” moved into town this winter, and since I’d heard about clamp deals there I went to find out. They do have “deals”, F-type clamps for $6, parallel clamps for $10. I’ve purchased three types of clamps, the first put to the test were these 24” F-style bar clamps.

At the store I was carefull to check that they all worked properly, then bought 10 for $60. When using them I found two problems, and one is a show stopper. First, the clamp pads ooze some type of oil, which you can see has left a nasty mark on my cherry plywood. I tried to hot-melt glue wood pads onto the clamp pads, but they didn’t last. I’m sure there is something that could be done about this that is more permanent, I just have to figure it out.

The real killer is that of the 10 clamps that I tested in the store, only 8 would hold pressure when I needed them at home. At the store I closed up the clamp and gave the handle all I could to make sure it would hold and not break. All held. Some weeks later when I needed a clamp, two would not hold no matter what I tried. They went in the trash.

So, no real deal here. I guess if I toss 20% of these clamps every time I use them, the problem will go away soon enough!

View Topapilot's profile


172 posts in 4687 days

34 comments so far

View ajosephg's profile


1887 posts in 4408 days

#1 posted 04-08-2009 04:24 AM

Wow, remember when Stanley was a trusted name?

-- Joe

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 4288 days

#2 posted 04-08-2009 04:30 AM

Thanks for the heads up on the stanleys. I had these on a shopping list, now I will look else where.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4527 days

#3 posted 04-08-2009 04:35 AM

I haven’t had a problem with the ones that I have from Big Lots, but then again, one of them didn’t even have the rubber pads on them. Could be bad clamps all together, or could just be the ones at your store. There’s really no way to tell for sure.

Joe, I remember when a LOT of big names were trusted names.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View ajosephg's profile


1887 posts in 4408 days

#4 posted 04-08-2009 05:09 AM

Ric, sad but so true.

-- Joe

View newTim's profile


622 posts in 4453 days

#5 posted 04-08-2009 06:41 AM

I too remember. Oh well, who is John Galt?

-- tim hill

View Greg's profile


221 posts in 4305 days

#6 posted 04-08-2009 07:49 AM

It’s a shame that a very trusted name in tools such as Stanley has gone down the toilet like they have. I have some Stanley items that I inherited over 20 years ago that are still in great shape, but the stuff they produce now, well no thanks.

-- Greg S.E. Ga.

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 4540 days

#7 posted 04-08-2009 02:08 PM

Guys I just want to verify that you aren’t just now noticing that Stanley hasn’t made tough tools for many years. it will be interesting to see how it goes as they try to make a comeback.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4443 days

#8 posted 04-08-2009 03:00 PM

I have found that big lots is truely a get what you pay for store. Some stuff is good other stuff is junk.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Mike67's profile


97 posts in 4183 days

#9 posted 04-08-2009 03:33 PM

BigLots also recently had Columbian brand clamps and those are pretty nice. I got a bunch and have been very happy with them. If you see any, give them a try.

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 4201 days

#10 posted 04-08-2009 05:29 PM

There are a few tools you can get a big lots that you pretty much can’t screw up. In my experience these include my rubber mallet and a pair of C-clamps.

View Chris's profile


340 posts in 4204 days

#11 posted 04-08-2009 05:49 PM

A few of the tools I inherited from my grandfather are Stanley, and are good quality. Of course, none of them have moving parts (hammer, screwdrivers, and a couple of chisels). I haven’t bought anything else by them in 20 years, however.

-- Chris

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 4508 days

#12 posted 04-08-2009 05:54 PM

Same thing happened when I bought a no-name pistol grip bar clamp. $3 vs $16 for Irwin. One way I found to test it, it might be hard to pull them apart, but loosen real quick when you clamp it on some stationary object and jiggle it (rotate it along its clamping axis). Completely useless, go back to store afterwards and ALL those cheap types cannot clamp. Bought Irwins and those actually work as intended.

At least 8 of your 10 Stanley’s worked. On the other hand, I’ve bought cheap F-Clamps before and they’re ok, only the threads are a bit loose.

As for your clamp pads, maybe PLASTI DIP will do the trick

-- Ed

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4575 days

#13 posted 04-08-2009 06:37 PM

i noticed the same thing as you with the clamp pads. I just wiped it down with mineral spirits really well and it seemed to get rid of the marks on my walnut. Maybe that will work for you too. as for the clamps, not holding, try scuffing the bars with some 150 grit sandpaper. Hopefully these ideas help.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3467 posts in 4284 days

#14 posted 04-08-2009 06:38 PM

I purchased their 24 inch and 60 inch flat opening clamp. The ones that look like the bessey’s with a wide flat opening that closes the entire depth of the clamp. They’ve been wonderful. They came from big lots for 10 and 15 dollars. I’ve been looking at their trigger fat max clamps for about $10 there too. Maybe I’ll buy a couple and see what develops. I know that purchasing good clamps is a good idea but I’d rather purchase them at a lower price if possible. IF they do end up working well then I can up my clamp anti. Never enough of them. I do have a set of Jet bar clamps but find them no better than less expensive ones of that type. I hate doing glue jobs in pieces that lasts from one day to the next. I did purchase three trigger clamps awhile back really cheap from a salvage store. They lasted just long enough to let me know that I want some like them that will last. They are very handy.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View WoodSpanker's profile


560 posts in 4239 days

#15 posted 04-08-2009 10:29 PM

Big lots is an interesting place… sometimes you find stuff that is really good, and you found out about the other times. I actually have a no name air compressor I bought there almost 10 years ago, it works like new… but a paint scraper I bought there last week (coincedentially, it a Stanley product) fell apart after I scraped ONCE! so go figure.

-- Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A Woodworker craves not these things!

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