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  • Harbour Freight Tools

    I just had to share this regarding harbour Freight Tools. Generally I regard HF tools as mostly junk, but I do feel that some of their tools have some value/use and buy some of their stuff occasionally. Ten years ago I bought a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder from Harbour Freight. I have given that tool a lot of use in 10 years and cut a lot of rock, stone, steel etc, gone through loads of cut off discs, diamond wheels and wire cups, and except for a touchy on/off switch, its performed great. Today I was cutting pavers and the grinder just stopped. So you finally quite on me eh? I thought. So I went into the house and got out a brand new Makita 4 1/2 grinder that I bought for when the HF one packs up. I put it all together, went outside, plugged it in, and nothing! For some reason I had tripped a GFCI breaker. So my trusty old HF grinder lives on! But it was nice to feel the quality of the Makita!!

    Cheers Dennis

  • #2
    Re: Harbour Freight Tools

    LOL! That's a good post, Dennis. Thanks for the grin.

    My philosophy on tools is that there are some tools I can stand to be cheap, and some I can't. My 4½" angle grinder and 3" belt sander were both cheapos, $20 or so. I've been pleased with them both and they've served me well. My router, on the other hand, is the Bosch 1617EVSPK, $225. And I'm pleased with it, too. I'm sure I could get by with a cheaper router, but it's the kind of tool I feel is worth the extra money.

    I stop in Harbor Freight every chance I get, just to look around. I've snatched up their bar clamps when they run them on sale, like this one for $2.

    - djb
    sigpic

    A Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

    Restore the Republic.

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    • #3
      Re: Harbour Freight Tools

      Funny you should mention this right now, DW! I'm in the market for a cheap 4.5" angle grinder. Looks like HF gets the nod. I don't need one often, and I don't want to spend a lot. It will help with some paver duty and light metal cutting and such. Thanks for the post!!!
      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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      • #4
        Re: Harbour Freight Tools

        You can feel the quality difference. I had a co worker once who used to buy the sawzalls all the time, he had 2, when one went dead on a job, he would use the other until he was able to return it to Harbour Freight for an exchange. His secret was to purchase the lifetime warrenty when he bought the power tools. I like the quality feel of the makita and ridgid, but HF is a fun place to shop.
        sigpic

        Robert

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        • #5
          Re: Harbour Freight Tools

          Sandy

          Be sure it has a 5/8-11 thread spindle so you can use it with normal wheels and accessories. The ones with a M14 or 1/2" spindle are a real PITA.

          Another thing a friend that's bought a few angle grinders from H F found was the gear case had NO grease at all in it. We took care of that real quick. For light use they seem OK but not near as good as the top name brands.

          If anyone wants a good 4-1/2 angle grinder and can find old stock of the Ridgid R1000, but not the current R1001 you'll do well. The R1000 was a good German one where the R1001 is TTI from China.
          Last edited by Woussko; 09-20-2007, 12:26 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Harbour Freight Tools

            As long as you know their limitations and can live within those limitations there are many great buys available at Harbor Freight for the hobbyist. I have many items that I've gotten there that do the job and saved me a lot of money too. For not a whole lot of money Harbor Freight has enabled me to have quite a few more tools in my arsenal that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to have. Generally speaking, my rule of thumb is that if I want a tool that I know I'll be using more than once a month I don't consider a HF tool but there are exceptions to that such as their 2HP Dust Collector, a great buy for the money.

            On the other hand, I think anyone whose paycheck depends on using their tools would be wise not to depend on HF tools.
            Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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            • #7
              Re: Harbour Freight Tools

              There wood hand screw clamps are a good buy.
              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
              attributed to Samuel Johnson
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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              • #8
                Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                DWfromUK, thats was a good story. Glad to hear that sometimes a cheap tool can last, possibly a lifetime too....
                Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                http://www.contractorspub.com

                A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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                • #9
                  Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                  My dad purchased 2 of harbor frieghts 4 1/2" grinders i am guessing 5 years ago. our good makita one broke and he was up in des moines and grabbed them since they were cheap. neither one of them will quit working so far and they do get used regularly.
                  honestly i dont like them, but only because of the vibration that they give while using them. but hate to buy new ones when these seem to last.
                  now the 120V impact that he bought a year ago there it didnt last long before it quit hammering. still spins but wont hammer so it got replaced with a dewalt.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                    I think grinders are simple enough at their task that if it's not a tool you will use frequently, and it isn't frustratingly underpowered almost any kind will do the trick. I got by for the longest time with a cheapo Ryobi I got for free and it was good enough for my use. Later I got a free Dewalt given as a promotion with a rotary hammer. It sure did feel a lot nicer and had plenty more power. In the end I can't complain. My grinders have been the cheapest tools I've ever owned, spending a grand total of $0 for them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                      Agree with all of you, If I needed it for a business, I would buy the best. For home or hobby use, some of the HF stuff is OK.

                      Two years ago I purchased their 3/8" battery operated drill only for spinning on/off the wing nuts used for attaching hurricane panels. (You Northerners probably don't know about these). Now I seem to use it for almost everything. If it burns out, I will pick up another for less than $20.00 on sale.

                      The 1/4" trim router, at under $20.00 on sale, is kept handy with a round over bit installed. It saves getting out my Bosch or old B&D for this common task. I also made a new base plate for it to hold PC style guide bushings. Now the bushings can be used in all my routers.

                      I also have accumulated an inventory of bar clamps and hand screw clamps.

                      If you have a Harbor Freight in your area it may be worth a look.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                        One sad excuse for a close quarters drill if there is one. This really is a POC tool.
                        http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=92956

                        If I had the extra $$$ to risk, I would buy one of these and work it hard. For $100 if it's any good, that's not a bad deal. Have you priced the real thing Milwaukee 1675? We know they are great, but they do cost some good $$$. There's just no way I'm paying the normal Home Depot price for the Ridgid one. I'll pay the little extra for the real Hawg.
                        http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=44790
                        Last edited by Woussko; 09-20-2007, 09:03 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                          Before I continue, I want to stress that I have no affiliation with HF and seem to have the same feelings as most on their tools. Possibly more negative as I don't like to buy made in China stuff if I can avoid it. After my post on the angle grinder, I decided to go check out another HF tool.....

                          About a year ago or more I bought an 8in stacked dado set from their clearance rack for about $9, or was it $12? I didn;t even have a table saw at the time, but new I'd probably get a TS in the not too distant future. I thought even if the dado if rubbish, I'm only out $9-12 and can use for things that don;t need precision or on tough engineered wood. Now at this stage in my woodworking "life" I had no clue about quality blades and what quality blades can do.

                          So back to the future, or rather present day. This afternoon I thought I'd pull out that $9 dado and use it for the first time, in fact first time using a dado at all. I quickly read the manual, put on the two outer blades and one 1/8 chipper as I wanted a 3/8in wide dado as per the manuals instructions.

                          I ran a peice of hard maple through and cut to a depth of about 3/8in. The first cut I made had some burn, just a little. The second cut I made had no burn. I was shocked at the quality of the cut. Maybe maple is an easy wood to dado, I don;t know. But I'm really pretty pleased with the cut. See the pictures. In the close up there is distortion from the lens. The walls of the dado are really true, straight and square. I don't even really mind the slightly deeper grooves in the corners of the cut. I figure they will fill up with glue??

                          I measured the dado width and got a width of 0.350 of an inch which macthed the width of the dado blades. 3/8 of an inch is 0.375 of an inch, so its about 0.025 off. I guess thats what the shims are for?? Although maybe then I'll get less than a flat bottom??

                          Anyway. Just thought I'd share this : )
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                            Bought a 3/8" VSR Drill from HF and toasted it in one hour of driving screws into 1/4" Durock. First drill I have seen smoke pour out of when put under a good laod. Eh! [shrugs] what do you want for $14?
                            “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace” - Thomas Paine

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                            • #15
                              Re: Harbour Freight Tools

                              Originally posted by djb View Post
                              LOL! That's a good post, Dennis. Thanks for the grin.

                              My philosophy on tools is that there are some tools I can stand to be cheap, and some I can't. My 4½" angle grinder and 3" belt sander were both cheapos, $20 or so. I've been pleased with them both and they've served me well. My router, on the other hand, is the Bosch 1617EVSPK, $225. And I'm pleased with it, too. I'm sure I could get by with a cheaper router, but it's the kind of tool I feel is worth the extra money.

                              I stop in Harbor Freight every chance I get, just to look around. I've snatched up their bar clamps when they run them on sale, like this one for $2.

                              - djb
                              I just owned and sold 6 36" long aluminum clamps. There the light aluminum style with corkscrew tighten. They were really bad. The feet when gripping didint line up flat and also the crank was nearly impossible on 1 out of 6 and one other was real bad. I only paid $5.99 but I will stick to a better one now. They have Blue heads on em.

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