Quick Grip style clamps, Shmamps, etc.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by chinjazz, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hey All,

    Wondering what you all use for quick grip style clampage?

    The Irwin quick grips with the yellow pads seem to be widely used, but they're $$.

    I've never checked out these Harbor Freight ones:
    12 in. Ratcheting Bar Clamp/Spreader
    Seen some mixed reviews....

    I could use 6 of the quick grip style clamps without breaking the bank.
    Bank? What bank? That's what you call a bank?

    I have a bunch of their 6" quick release bar type:
    6 in. Quick Release Bar Clamp

  2. I've got about a half dozen of the Irwin quick clamps, and 4 knock offs. The knock offs are Menards' "Tool Shop" brand, which I'm guessing is probably equivalent to the Harbor Freight clamps.

    They're decent enough. The Irwins are nicer in the fit and finish and feel categories, but they do the job adequately for the money. Quick clamps, regardless of the maker, aren't designed for clamping situations where heavy amounts of pressure are needed. So for light clamping needs the Irwin knock offs I have work just fine.
    Beej and chinjazz like this.
  3. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    chinjazz likes this.
  4. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Thanks! I’m mainly looking to clamp up peghead wings and caps for this need.

    For positioning only at first then, to follow up with stronger clamps.
  5. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Yeah, I hear you :).

    I want and want.
  6. I have a couple of the Harbor Freight ones and, like @TundraMan said, they only clamp so tight. It’s probably enough for headstock wings but you should probably test them before you commit.
    chinjazz likes this.
  7. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    they're "ok". i use them mostly for light duty quick stuff. they'll flex for anything else that a Bessey or a Jorgenson is better suited for.

    fwiw, i took a walk over to our wood "shop" at the day job where they have those Pittsburg clamps and make a fair amount of specialized shipping crates. every one had cracks and pieces missing but it's hard to say if they were missued (it's likely though). they have a number or Irwins as well and they seemed intact. they also have some of the "make your own length from a piece of pipe" style clamps and those looked like they are still holding up.

    imo, good tools are actually worth it if one factors in the work-arounds needed and the frustration that often comes with cheap stuff. but, econo tools have their uses as well as long as you understand their limits and are ok with that.

    some builders make a gang of parallel clamps with 2x2 wood stock and threaded rod and misc. from the hardware store.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
    chinjazz likes this.
  8. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    When 30% of the reviews give it a 1 star, well you know.
    chinjazz likes this.
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I have about 16 of the Irwin Quick-Grips, mostly the standard size, and a couple of the mini's. I've had most of them for 15-20 years. They've held up well; I haven't broken any yet. I like them. Like the others have said, they are kind of a special purpose clamp; I don't use them that much. My main clamps, that I use for almost all heavy clamping of glue-ups, are the classic orange Jorgenson bar clamps. The Quick-Grips aren't very powerful, and are kind of awkward and in the way. But they are very handy for many things, because you can operate them with one hand. Holding things together for a few minutes while you position the big clamps. Keeping a workpiece still on the benchtop. That kind of thing.

    Keith and Jon have some of the Harbor Freight versions. They seem to work okay, as long as you don't overload or abuse them.
    chinjazz likes this.
  10. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Thanks everyone!

    I got by without grip clamps today gluing on some wings - just used 2 of these red clip on jobbies today.
    Just did a few placement "rehearsals" before hand. Quick-Grips would have made the operation go smoother.

    I'll definitely get some Irwin's or HF ones in the future. If I have more $ I'll go for the Irwin's for sure.

    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  11. Biggest problem I have with the HF bar clamps is the "springs" (and I use that term loosely) are just no good. I'm always picking them up, re-streching them and putting them back in the clamp :rollno:
    rwkeating likes this.
  12. I use a multitude of the harbor freight flat bar clamps and they work very well. i take care of my tools.
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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