Harbor Freight Bremen Parallel Clamp 4-Month Review

I’ve seen (and read) a lot of clamp reviews over the years. Most of them cobble together a series of pseudo-scientific testing parameters and torture tests that seem important but actually do very little to tell you how the clamps will perform over the course of years in your shop. So when I decided to conduct a review of the Harbor Freight Bremen Parallel Clamps (https://sovrn.co/qarzz1w), I knew I had to approach this with a common sense frame of mind. We won’t be testing the flatness of panels, the squareness of the heads, or the clamping force available (watch this video to see why – The Truth about Parallel Clamps https://youtu.be/FwXVJusqv0s). Instead, we’re going to do something incredibly ground-breaking: we’re going to use the clamps for a few months.

The least expensive parallel clamps on the market: https://sovrn.co/qarzz1w
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00:00 Intro and disclaimer
00:43 First impressions
02:12 Smooth or Serrated
02:57 Foot and Standoffs
03:40 How to open and close the clamp
04:20 Free falling head hand crushers
05:35 Reversible head
06:01 Closer look at the screw
06:44 Closer look at the handle
07:24 Closer look at the heads
08:22 Head-Toeing
08:58 New Shirts at twwstore.com
09:17 Cost comparison
10:08 Real-World Test Setup
11:13 2 Months Later
12:09 A Problem
13:52 Let’s Open it Up!
15:11 Respectfully Disassembled
16:01 Comparing it to a working clamp
16:29 Dissecting a Bessey Clamp
17:50 Adding more time to the test
18:31 Two more months later
19:35 Jason gets a replacement at Harbor Freight
20:13 Pros and Cons Conclusion
21:01 Pricing as of 5/22/23
21:49 Hobbyist perspective
22:30 Don’t Leave Yet!

#harborfreight #bremen
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13 Replies to “Harbor Freight Bremen Parallel Clamp 4-Month Review”

  1. Hey Marc – It's worthwhile noting that pressure is not the same as force. I know that we tend to use these terms interchangeably, however there is an important reason to make the distinction. Pressure is the acting of a force per a unit of area. 1000lbs of force through a 2" x 2" pad is 250PSI of pressure….exactly why we use cauls to distribute clamping force for less concentrated and more even application. That "1000lbs of force" distributed over a 2" x 5" glue surface area drops final pressure to a mere 100PSI, which is about the bare minimum for a cosmetically-clear glueline with PVAc in hardwoods, ideally double that. Soon that layup of 100" of 2" thick wood lamination needs these clamps at least every 5" (>20 clamps) to dial in adequate clamping pressure through the joints. By this point for practicality, we're talking heavy I-beam clamps with the rear pad retained by a steel pin, which are usually rated in the order of 2500lbs, plus a nice caul either face to create good overlapping triangles of distribution. The numbers these manufacturers throw around about their clamps are pretty meaningless until you run them and see what they mean in the real world, even then the type of clamp may not function at these values without there being things like scarring on the bar and losses through bar bending, etc. I'm certain that you're 100% aware of this, but thought it useful to voice for those that may not be, especially since those numbers seem more to function as a comparative sales tactic than a specification. For reference, industrial manufacturing woodworker in marine and architecture where these aspects are handled more like engineering than woodworking..

  2. The bigger question should be, why does 2lbs of plastic and 4 lbs of aluminum cost as much as $75.00 in the first place ?….Harbor Freights version is still too expensive for what it actually consists of..

  3. I didn't read all of the comments, so this might have been mentioned already…. When It comes to the handle/grips, the trick I learned from Rob Cosman, is to hockey tape the grip. Pretty much everything in my shop that has a "grip", gets hockey taped. Thanks for the video, always looking forward to the next one.

  4. 17:30 yes you can turn the screw to fix the grip issue. I had this exact issue it’s my Bessey clamp and that was the fix. I don’t use them a ton so for me that screw wore out quickly. Easy fix but irritating for such an expensive clamp.

  5. That’s interesting that they asked for any information when you swap them out. My stores just ask what’s wrong and that’s it

  6. Hey Marc. That first link is broken. I'm pretty sure it's the second parenthetical mark. That was exceptionally helpful and a deep cyclical explanatory! Very thorough! Very well done! Thanks a bunch! Hey, I can now replace my "Toe-In-Less" Ehoma's for a clamp so designed and do it on the cheap! ???? All the best!

  7. I think the Harbor Freight lifetime guarantee is legit. I worked at a metal shop for a while and they used Harbor Freight angle grinders that cost about $25. They only lasted about two weeks in our shop and we had a trash can we'd toss the dead ones in. One of my jobs was to go to Harbor Freight every few weeks and replace the grinders. I probably took in 5-10 each time and nobody batted an eye. It's not something I'd recommend doing and I felt a little scummy doing it, but it seemed within their policy. I'd say each grinder had been replaced 20+ times over a few years.

  8. I like reviews that actually test the product and don't just try it out a couple of times. 🙂 Are the bars and/or serrated bits in the jaw hardened? If they are, a sloppy heat treating process could explain the failures. That and/or inconsistent composition of the steel.

  9. Excellent video! I've got a bunch of these and a few Jorgensons. The hand crushers are good, but annoying. I like these clamps and the price is right!

  10. My Bessey clamps have seen countless glue ups, drops and glue. They’re still perfect in function and I’ll never buy another brand. That said, I’m glad there is a viable, affordable option that with few compromises doesn’t suck! That warranty is great too. Reminds me of Craftsman. Not the best but I’ve never been denied a replacement, ever.

  11. I have thoroughly enjoyed the "medium" level Harbor Freight stuff as a beginner
    decently cheap.. and lifetime warranty with no questions

    I haven't had anything break yet (including the stuff I use for car repairs) and they're a steal when you realize some of their stuff is made in the same factory as the name brand stuff (just with worse quality control it seems)

    I sanded my entire project of hickory using the HF Bauer $20 sander and when I thought it would break it's still going strong even after dropping it a couple of times by accident!

  12. Thanks. Useful for someone like me who doesn't use them really hard or often, but would be grateful to have them around when I do need them.

  13. Glad I watched this. Just ordered a pair of jet parallel clamps for 80. Can’t beat that price!

Comments are closed.