Dubuque Bar Clamps vs. Harbor Freight Bar Clamps

I needed two more 48″ clamps on my current project and because it’s just a simple carcass I thought I’d give Harbor Freight’s a try.  I already have some Dubuque clamps so I’m able to compare the two.

Sidewall Thickness Comparison

As you can guess, the Harbor Freight clamps are a lot shittier, just look at the sidewall thicknesses above.  On the HF clamps the whole assembly twists while you’re putting them in place and none of the other components are as well-made.

However for the purposes of this particular project they work just fine.  Once you have them lined up and tightened they can hold a cabinet together just as well as much nicer clamp.  And their light weight makes them really easy to maneuver into place unlike my heavy 48″ Jorgensen Cabinet Masters.

So while I don’t think I’ll buy any more of these they can service lightweight assembly jobs just fine.

Tormek SVD-186 Gouge Jig Review and Comparison to the 185

I just got Tormek’s SVD-186, the newest version of their gouge jig.  Having both the SVD-185 and 186 on hand I was able to compare them and weigh in on if it’s worth the $100 upgrade.

Some highlights:

  • The wider body would nice if you have really wide gouges but unless you’re doing hand-carving with bowl gouges this probably isn’t an issue
  • The fixed clamping bar is appreciated, no more having to hold the spinny brass one in place with your thumb.
  • Shame on Tormek for not using detents on the 185!  They make switching jig settings as easy as you would expect
  • The casting metal is different, it has a textured surface and is heavier.  The new jig weighs 12oz as opposed to the 185’s 7oz weight.

Here’s a video review where you can the two jigs.

But in the end if you already own a 185 I don’t think it’s worth the cost to upgrade.  The 186 is certainly easier to use but $100 could likely be put towards more useful shop upgrades.