It’s always sad to see a tool die in the line of duty. Until this week, I owned eight of these 6″ mini-clamps from Irwin. It seems that a 3-foot drop with a 2×4 in its jaw was a bit too much for one of these little blue clamps to handle; it snapped like a twig and sent the smaller jaw skittering across the shop floor when it hit. So now I’m down to seven — depressing.
To be fair, the mini-clamp really wasn’t designed for that kind of thing, and had I substituted one of the bigger clamps of the same design, the issue wouldn’t have come up at all. The bright side: I now have license to go get more clamps, which is never a sad occasion.
Just be aware that the cheapo plastic bar clamps aren’t made to handle stress in key areas, like where the jaw meets the bar. It might only bite you one time out of twenty, but once is all it takes for total failure to occur. Still, $20 for a set of four is a good price point considering the two years of hard shop time I got out of it.