New Harbor Freight Ratchet Bar Clamp - Router Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2012, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Default New Harbor Freight Ratchet Bar Clamp

The last time I visited HF in order to return three broken Ratchet Bar Clamps for exchange, I noticed that there was a different type bar clamp starting to appear in the store. These new clamps were obviously more heavy duty, so I looked at the company's web site, and sure enough they were there along with the old, weaker models. Here's what they look like compared to the old ones:

The prices for both are the same, so it is obvious that they are making a complete change-over, due to their unreliable history. This is good news, to say the very least. I have a good number of the original ones, and as they break I'm going to take them in and expect to upgrade to the newer ones.

Has anyone had a chance to buy some of the new clamps yet? And if so, how much more robust are they?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 03:28 AM
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I have a few of the four inch ones with orange plastic. I'm not sure from your post which one is older and which one is newer.

They seemed to be ok for the money, though flimsy and easy to break. I only use them for xtra light duty situations.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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The upper picture shows the newer one that is replacing the one in the lower picture. If you will note the grip of the outer portion, the neck of the old one is thinner plastic, and can not take much pressure. The newer outer grip is more buttressed, and should be able to withstand more gripping pressure.

I haven't tried the new one yet, but am going to purchase a pair the next chance I get, in order to see how much pressure it can withstand.

That one weak area is the one I have had go bad on me, several times. In the past I have just thrown the broken clamps away, but now save them, place them in my van, and trade them in on my next visit to HF.

I just use them for light duty, as you say. But the Irwin pair I have is used for exactly the same thing. The Jorgensen style clamps are the ones I almost always use anyway. And now that I am a big caul person, they are used for setting them up as well.

Last edited by jlk103144; 05-26-2012 at 07:50 AM.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 08:12 AM
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I haven't been to HF lately or seen the new clamps but anything will be an improvement over the old ones. I had a dozen and only have 3 left as they break so easily.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 08:31 AM
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Most of the clamping I do is for glue ups. The older orange grip ones never held up. I just threw them away one they broke and purchased Irwin's to replace them. I also keep a array of light duty F bar clamps in 6 and 12 inch lengths for quick jobs. I'm going to stay with better name brands on a tool that is used a lot. But would be interested in hearing about the new HF clamps.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Here's something you all are doing that is not good for long term product improvement. When these things break, you should keep them and return them for replacement. They proclaim a (quote)lifetime guarantee(unquote). If you don't hold them to this promise, you are not letting HF know just how unreliable the product is.

When I took my three back a couple of weeks ago, I got the "Good Cop/Bad Cop" routine. The cashier loudly asked if I had receipts for the broken items. I told her that they came with a lifetime guarantee. She said, "Of course, but you have to have a receipt". My response was that I didn't like being treated like a mushroom, and asked the customers standing in line if they would like to be treated to such terrible customer satisfaction.

The manager quickly came out and told me to go and pick out three replacements. Again, I am convinced it was a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" routine, in hopes that I would turn around and give up. But I never give up on these things. I am persistent as Hell. As a former Cracker Barrel manager, I know how important it is to give feedback to the management. And be relentless about it too.

All of you owe it to everyone else to demand satisfaction, or you will not get it. That is how businesses, i.e. human nature, works. So from now on, you need to get off your 'duffs' and get with the program. How do you ever expect businesses to make necessary changes if they don't have to? Remember, not all businesses go out of their way to seek the best in customer satisfaction, so they have to be held accountable by the customers.

This is just 'Customer Satisfaction 101'.

Last edited by jlk103144; 05-26-2012 at 02:26 PM.
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