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View Full Version : Another One Done Gone: Pony/Jorgensen clamps OOB



Nicholas Carey
05-31-2016, 10:59 AM
https://blog.lostartpress.com/2016/05/30/pony-tools-suspends-operations/

"Pony Tools, which has made clamps in the United States since its founding in 1903, closed its doors earlier this month in an announcement that surprised woodworkers and other toolmakers.

However, the Easy Wood Tools subsidiary that Pony purchased last year, is continuing to operate and fill orders, according to company officials.

Details about the closure are scarce. The phone number for Pony’s public relations officer is no longer functioning and calls to the Chicago headquarters have been unanswered."

That means both Pony and Jorgensen clamps are gone.

ljb5
05-31-2016, 11:09 AM
Drat.

Keith Wilson
05-31-2016, 11:22 AM
Not too surprising. Clamps are simple iron castings, with easy machining, and can be made just about anywhere. The functional difference between a Pony clamp and one from Harbor Freight is very small. The price difference is not.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 11:24 AM
As far as I can tell, they never farmed out production to China.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 11:26 AM
Not too surprising. Clamps are simple iron castings, with easy machining, and can be made just about anywhere. The functional difference between a Pony clamp and one from Harbor Freight is very small. The price difference is not.

I disagree.

We're talking the difference between a smooth-running, modern V-6 making 140 bhp, and a more primitive large V-8 with a dead miss making 120 bhp.

Furthermore, the Pony clamp is made of sterner stuff. The HF clamp will succumb to 'over-exertion', distort (maybe even beyond use) and never be the same.

The Pony will bend the danged pipe, first.

Keith Wilson
05-31-2016, 11:29 AM
We're talking the difference between a smooth-running, modern V-6 making 140 bhp, and a more primitive large V-8 with a dead miss making 120 bhp.No, we're talking about simple iron clamps. Sure, the Pony ones are better. But honestly, I'd rather have three from China than one Pony clamp.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 11:31 AM
No, we're talking about simple iron clamps. Sure, the Pony ones are better. But honestly, I'd rather have three from China than one Pony clamp.

See edit.

Tom Wilkinson
05-31-2016, 11:32 AM
No, we're talking about simple iron clamps. Sure, the Pony ones are better. But honestly, I'd rather have three from China than one Pony clamp.

Not, I. I have both and I never reach for the harbor freight versions. i'll spent the extra, and have. The harbor freight ones i have came from a shop I bought out and they are junk. Broken three of them and never broken a pony or jorgensen.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 11:33 AM
No, we're talking about simple iron clamps. Sure, the Pony ones are better. But honestly, I'd rather have three from China than one Pony clamp.

Yes, we're talking about simple iron clamps, the difference is as stark as the example I used.

I have ruined some clamps in my day, Mr. Wilson, and the 'functional difference' between the two companies' products could not be greater.

About the only thing I will buy at HF are grease rags.

robm
05-31-2016, 11:34 AM
If only the HF ones were as good. They may be a fraction of the cost, but there is a huge difference. I have a bunch of HF quality clamps, and a few made by Record that I managed to buy for very little as they were going under. The HF ones are at the back of the rack, and rarely get used. The Record clamps work better in every conceivable way: the screws are easier to turn, they apply more force, more easily, the fixed jaws are machined flat, plumb and square to the body, the floating pad doesn't fall off the ball on the end of the screw, and the bodies distort less under load.

Quality clamps are a joy to use. Cheap ones are a PITA, like the difference between real power tools and "homeowner" junk.

Hugh Conway
05-31-2016, 11:36 AM
No, we're talking about simple iron clamps. Sure, the Pony ones are better. But honestly, I'd rather have three from China than one Pony clamp.

the Harbor freight bar clamps suck, and don't function particularly well for clamping. they bend under load, jam, stick, just generally bad

the pony ones are much better for using as, well, clamps

I own and am happy enough with the HF c-clamps but to suggest hf bar clamps are functionally the same is to not do an analysis on function

Keith Wilson
05-31-2016, 11:37 AM
One Jorgenson 12" bar clamp is $21.54 from Amazon.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31j3-VyUxnL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg

One HF 12" bar clamp, which does just about the same thing, is now on sale for $3.99. No, it's not as good, and won't tolerate as much abuse. You can buy five for the price of one Jorgensen clamp.
http://mlm-s1-p.mlstatic.com/herramientas-manuales-prensas-construccion-19846-MLM20178330885_102014-Y.jpg

Normally I'm all for quality tools. Clamps, there's less difference in function and more in price.

Hugh Conway
05-31-2016, 11:43 AM
you've made a profound argument that people will buy low quality tools because they perceive them to be cheaper Keith. we've never encountered that before. if you keep repeating to yourself they are the same you'll believe it, hopefully others don't and get better value and utility from their tools.

I can and do buy used Pony clamps for not much more than the HF crap. Because the market is awash in used tools. which is probably the bigger business problem.

Tom Wilkinson
05-31-2016, 11:43 AM
One Jorgenson 12" bar clamp is $21.54 from Amazon.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31j3-VyUxnL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg

One HF 12" bar clamp, which does just about the same thing, is now on sale for $3.99. No, it's not as good, and won't tolerate as much abuse. You can buy five for the price of one Jorgensen clamp.
http://mlm-s1-p.mlstatic.com/herramientas-manuales-prensas-construccion-19846-MLM20178330885_102014-Y.jpg

Normally I'm all for quality tools. Clamps, there's less difference in function and more in price.

Until you clamp down on it and it breaks. Then it's completely worthless and you wish you spent the extra. Been there and done that and the difference is worth it.

Hugh Conway
05-31-2016, 11:49 AM
Then it's completely worthless.

and worse, your project might be too.

Pony/Jorgensen had a range of clamps far beyond the cheap end that HF copied.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 11:53 AM
Keith has posted pics of his excellent work on this forum, to a well-deserved chorus of ooohs and aaahs.

I believe that, if he were to try to make a living at it, he'd be buying the Ponys.

Dan McCosh
05-31-2016, 11:58 AM
If you make stuff that doesn't break or wear out, you drastically limit your market. Rust keeps the auto industry going. Look what happened to boat makers after they eliminated rot.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 12:02 PM
If you make stuff that doesn't break or wear out, you drastically limit your market. Rust keeps the auto industry going. Look what happened to boat makers after they eliminated rot.

Yup.

The curse of consumerism.

We have gotten so good a making stuff in large quantities that we can not afford to make GOOD stuff in ANY quantity.

We are completely trapped in a lie that the only good economy is a growth economy.

Too Little Time
05-31-2016, 12:04 PM
One Jorgenson 12" bar clamp is $21.54 from Amazon.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31j3-VyUxnL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg

One HF 12" bar clamp, which does just about the same thing, is now on sale for $3.99. No, it's not as good, and won't tolerate as much abuse. You can buy five for the price of one Jorgensen clamp.
http://mlm-s1-p.mlstatic.com/herramientas-manuales-prensas-construccion-19846-MLM20178330885_102014-Y.jpg

Normally I'm all for quality tools. Clamps, there's less difference in function and more in price.
I have a large number of those Harbor Freight clamps in various sizes. I have never found them lacking. I also have a small number of those Pony clamps in the smaller sizes. I am certain there are some people who work in a manner that they would destroy either brand of clamp.

Today I am doing brake work on my van. I think I will use one of the Harbor Freight clamps to retract the brake cylinders.

Tom Wilkinson
05-31-2016, 12:13 PM
Keith has posted pics of his excellent work on this forum, to a well-deserved chorus of ooohs and aaahs.

I believe that, if he were to try to make a living at it, he'd be buying the Ponys.

I agree. I've never regretted spending money on quality tools. I have regretted spending money on cheap ones.

Keith Wilson
05-31-2016, 12:15 PM
Until you clamp down on it and it breaks. Then it's completely worthless and you wish you spent the extra. Been there and done that and the difference is worth it.I have a bunch of the HF clamps, an earlier edition, even cruder. (See the wall behind the LFL.) I've never broken one, despite tightening them many times with slip-joint pliers until the bar bends. Again, normally I'm 100% in favor of spending more money on good tools, but the price/value ratio on clamps seems quite different
https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a5ce08b3127cceea2ff48f19e600000030O00BYsmzNu4aMQ e3nwE/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00104873621020151030041010607.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D720/ry%3D480/

Jim Bow
05-31-2016, 12:27 PM
Side note: some day I'll visit DeWitt Nebraska. The town that used to produce all the ViseGrips used throughout the world.
I once met a man who clamped some ViseGrips on his broken GMC shift lever, and there they remained for 35 years.

David W Pratt
05-31-2016, 12:39 PM
Didn't you ever choose a tool because you liked using it?

Canoeyawl
05-31-2016, 01:14 PM
I suspect the vendor has more to do with it than anything else.
"Pony" should market directly to the consumer.

Dan McCosh
05-31-2016, 01:20 PM
Philosophy aside, I can't think of another woodworking tool where quantity is more important than quality than a clamp. Harbor freight, rubber bands, whatever.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 02:22 PM
Philosophy aside, I can't think of another woodworking tool where quantity is more important than quality than a clamp. Harbor freight, rubber bands, whatever.

As a person who owns close to 400 clamps of various descriptions, I will say that the 2 dozen or so of the crappy ones just gather dust.

These are particularly obnoxious:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/Pipeclamp.jpg/1920px-Pipeclamp.jpg

Dan McCosh
05-31-2016, 02:37 PM
Actually, that's one style I use when you need six feet between the jaws. The end piece like to slip, but mainly it works fine. (mine are cheezy at both ends)

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 02:42 PM
Actually, that's one style I use when you need six feet between the jaws. The end piece like to slip, but mainly it works fine. (mine are cheezy at both ends)

A seven-foot piece of pipe will accept the Jorgies just as well.

Yes those slip, so I give the little toothed cam a rap with whatever's handy. Then, when you really rock up on them, the cam tends to crush the pipe. they don't stand up on the bench very well, either.

mmd
05-31-2016, 02:48 PM
Horses for courses, guys. When you want to merely apply pressure across a few edge-glued planks to make a blank, a cheap clamp will do. However, when you want to bend a recalcitrant piece of rapidly-cooling steamed oak around a complex jig, reach for a good 'un.

I have a few good-quality bar- and c-clamps, right beside a whole whack of lesser ones.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 02:53 PM
Horses for courses, guys. When you want to merely apply pressure across a few edge-glued planks to make a blank, a cheap clamp will do. However, when you want to bend a recalcitrant piece of rapidly-cooling steamed oak around a complex jig, reach for a good 'un.

I have a few good-quality bar- and c-clamps, right beside a whole whack of lesser ones.

:d



http://assets.suredone.com/1938/media-photos/sc00057-ingersoll-rand-2707-2707p1-1-2-heavy-duty-impactool-air-impact-wrench-1300-bpm-2.jpg

mmd
05-31-2016, 02:56 PM
"Don't force it... get a bigger hammer!"

Osborne Russell
05-31-2016, 03:02 PM
I bought a cheap bar clamp once. I think I de-commissioned it to use the pipe. I've got, I think, six pony bar clamps.

As for the F ones, I probably have 16 Jorgensons, various lengths, and some cheap ones that are an aggravation, an irritation, and a pointed regret every time I use them, which is only when I have to, and even then, only for fill-in spots, not the main clamping.

john welsford
05-31-2016, 03:33 PM
I'm gradually replacing my cheap clamps with Bessey brand ones, there is a huge difference in use and my life is not long enough to put up with crap tools of any kind. Clamps included.

John Welsford


Not, I. I have both and I never reach for the harbor freight versions. i'll spent the extra, and have. The harbor freight ones i have came from a shop I bought out and they are junk. Broken three of them and never broken a pony or jorgensen.

john welsford
05-31-2016, 03:35 PM
Philosophy aside, I can't think of another woodworking tool where quantity is more important than quality than a clamp. Harbor freight, rubber bands, whatever.


I'm told that its possible to have too many clamps, but I've never known anyone who's actually found that limit.

John Welsford.

robm
05-31-2016, 04:04 PM
Dave Bradford of Alder Bay Boats has a whole room full of clamps. I mentioned to him once that he had "almost enough clamps'. He looked back and said straight-faced that he wasn't even close!

Too Little Time
05-31-2016, 05:00 PM
I'm told that its possible to have too many clamps, but I've never known anyone who's actually found that limit.

John Welsford.

I have always had enough clamps for the work I had to do.

oznabrag
05-31-2016, 05:06 PM
Underachiever. :d