Harbor Freight/ Central machinery???? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Harbor Freight/ Central machinery????

Ok so i have never really been impressed with harbor freight tools. I have never bought any personally but some friends of mine have i didn't like them. The tools they bought weren't the central machinery brand though they were random welders and stuff like that. They do however have good prices


Like this table saw for example. Is it worth my time or money to invest in one of these saws or should i just save up and buy a jet or something with a known name?

I Basicly would like to know if anyone has any of there woodworking tools and if so are you pleased or dissatisfied. Any info would be awesome.

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post #2 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 01:05 PM
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I buy a lot of stuff at HF. I have not bought any thing
with a motor.

Router bits, very happy with them, a friend has a cabinet
shop and uses them as well, no problems.

Drill bits, work fine.

Japanese saw, works fine.

Bar clamps, work fine.

Chip brushes. same as Lowes, about 1/4 the price.

Counter sink set, very nice.

Air hose, US made Goodyear.

Plug cutter set, works fine.

Drill stop set. works fine.

Bench vice, bought two, work great.

Along with a bunch of little things, never had
a problem with any of it.

On power tools, just look it over good.

We have a store here so if there ever is a problem
it is not far away.

Also bought my boat trailer there. Have not put it
together yet, but everything looks good in the boxes.

One other thing, there is a real nice bunch of people
working there, make you feel welcome when you go
in the store. They are always helpful and cheerful.
They must be over paid??

Last edited by BHOFM; 12-29-2008 at 01:08 PM.
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post #3 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 01:58 PM
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I agree. I buy some things there. The only power tools are ones that I need for a job and may not use again for year or more. So far good luck with them.

BTW, I love the HVLP spray gun. Does a wonderful job and very cheap to boot.

Two schools of though on that tablesaw.
  1. It might be made by the same people that make the other imports and might be a good saw. Problem is who knows? I would think where it was manufactured would be important.
  2. A table saw is the heart of the shop and even though that price is attractive, if it turns out to be junk that's a lot money to risk at my house. $300 more or so you could buy a better know saw.
If it were me and trust me I am a bargain shopper, I would have to pass till it proves itself to be one of the Harbor Freight gems. And there are several with excellent reputations.

For the same money you could find a used Unisaw (given enough time) and I would rather have that any day. Even if it needed restoring, they are pretty simple machines inside. So I would either buy a proven name or shop for some used old iron and fix it if I woke up in your shoes.

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post #4 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 02:14 PM
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I have quite a bit of HF stuff and a few small CM tools. I'm happy with the sanders I have including a 6 inch belt/disk sander, and the other stuff I have. But they are what they are. I have shyed away from CM bigger stuff like saws, lathes, etc. I've looked at their lathe and other bigger tools and feel they, again, are what they are and are not for me. The price is right, but I feel you are going to spend a few extra bucks for a more reliable product. Then again, the few times I've had to take something back to HF, I've been met with great customer service and very few questions asked.

I think it depends on what you really want from a saw. If you just need something that will cut pretty straight and square every once in a while, go with a cheap saw. If you are building fancy staircases, cabinets, and fine furniture, you're better off with a higher end saw. Everything else comes in between...

I'll tell you a story about my cousin who is a major "pinch penny." He was outside putting together a riding lawn mower he purchased at something like a "Sam's Club" or similar store. His neighbor came out riding his new John Deere riding mower. They began comparing things about the two mowers and found that one "major" difference was the price. The JD had cost three times what Tommy gave for the generic brand. His neighbor said, "Yeah, but my mower will last twice as long as that one will."

To which Tommy replied, "Yeah, but I can buy two more of these mowers for the same money you gave for that one. Do the math..."

I cut that board three times and it's STILL too short!!!...

Last edited by Terry Beeson; 12-29-2008 at 02:17 PM.
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post #5 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 04:10 PM
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Sorry, just my two cents. HF for snot blocks, sanding belts, wire DP brushes, clamps, etc. Expendables. BIL and his Dad get 'lectron burners there and I've NEVER seen a tool last more than one project. They're expendable for the price. Thats how they think. For me (just me !) I save the pennies and get a good one. (cue broken record) You get what ya' pay for.
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post #6 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys thanks for all the replies. It just kinda confirmed my opinion on the whole thing.
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post #7 of 51 Old 12-29-2008, 11:12 PM
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I would be real careful with spending that kind of money on that saw. As the others have said HF is good for the small stuff, but if a cabinet saw is what you want, a hybrid or even a used saw may be the better way to go. You might want to look at craigslist for your area. There have been some good deals on there in my area. In the end the choice is all yours. Go with your gut it usually won't let you down.
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post #8 of 51 Old 12-30-2008, 09:55 AM
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Thumbs up

I've been happy with my HF mortiser and DP, but I'd really hesitate to put that much faith in my primary shop tool. It might be a great deal, but I've yet to read of someone who's tried it.

There are alot of good used saws that should serve you well.

It wouldn't hurt to post your general geographic location in case someone spots something used for you.

Last edited by knotscott; 12-30-2008 at 05:17 PM.
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post #9 of 51 Old 12-30-2008, 10:24 AM
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There's a lot of used tablesaws out there on Craigs List, quality stuff for what you would pay for a HF version; take a look and keep looking and you'll find something in your budget. Otherwise, consider Grizzly for the value proposition and of course Jet.
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post #10 of 51 Old 12-31-2008, 10:47 AM
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Believe me---- HF is NOT the place to buy Power Tools or machinery!!! They are OK for tarps. Have never had good experience...

Mike O
Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit. - Anthony Bourdain
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post #11 of 51 Old 12-31-2008, 11:45 PM
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I have a Central Machinery 32208 14" bandsaw, and it works every bit as well as my neighbors Delta. I know guys with HF jointers (6") lathes (various, the cast iron Jet clone seems best), more than a few guys use the HF dust collectors etc...

I have seen the HF table saws and I wouldn't bother, the fence is lousy, and the tables are not well machined at all...

Buy used and you'll get much more for your money...

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com

Last edited by dbhost; 01-01-2009 at 12:08 AM.
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post #12 of 51 Old 01-02-2009, 09:07 PM
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I've seen used Delta cabinet saws for sale on Graig's list for around $900-1200. I think you would be better off buying a known good quality saw in my opinion.
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post #13 of 51 Old 10-06-2009, 11:37 PM
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HF 93380 cabinet saw

Hi Guys,

I have done a lot of research of what kind of saw to get for the shop, have had HD's Rigid brand, which worked well but did not have the right "feel" I bought an old Grizzly 1022 which worked well, but used to much space(motor),thought that the grizzly 1023 cabinet saw would be a great replacement, then I saw the HF 93380 which is identical to the grizzly!, I downloaded the PDF manuals for both saws and found the same pictures in each manual, I just ordered the HF saw today and will keep you posted after I received it & set up on how it's running.

Does anybody else have this saw?

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post #14 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 12:34 AM
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I had a compressor from them and...

It did fine. I did buy the extened warranty and needed it a week before the warranty expired.
I gave my friend a new in the box compressor with no warranty. I don't believe in oil free anything. Checl out Work Shop Tools. Kind of like HF on steroids. Look on craigslist. You do find a real deal every now and then.
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post #15 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 01:16 AM
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Like a lot of you, I buy some stuff from them. I've had mixed results. If it's a tool I think I will only use occasionally, then I night go with HF. For instance, I got a right angle drill for about $28. I don't use it that much but when I do it's been great. Same with a 1/2" hammer drill.

If I was a pro and used these tools all the time I'd buy a pro brand. But for occasional homeowner use they are fine.

I bought one of those automatically darkening welding helmets for $50 and it works great (or at least it did before I went blind - just kidding!!). On the other hand, I bought some of their 'titanium' drill bits and they were lousy. The were too brittle and would break easily. I also have some of their air tools which are generally okay.

When I need to buy a serious power tool like a table saw, I look elsewhere. All my good power tools are mostly Ridgid, Grizzly, Dewalt, Hitachi, Craftsman, etc.

I also do a lot of auto work. My main hand tools such as socket sets are also Craftsman or those of similar quality. The tools that get thrown in the trunk for emergencies may be from HF.

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post #16 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 08:47 AM
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Since I live about 2 miles from a HF store I have a different outlook on it. Since I know that I can buy and if it isn't worth anything I can take it back. I did get burned once on their router and table. It didn't last all that long, but I had waited too long to use it and it was out of the store warranty. You can buy a extended warranty fairly cheap though. I got a 10 compound miter saw and it rolled like it was on rocks. Took it back and looked at the other ones and they felt the same way so I checked out the 12" and it was nice and smooth. Since I had been thinking about a12" I bought it and have been happy with it. I also have a floor drill press that has done good and a couple of air compressors. If I had to buy on line I probably wouldn't though. HF is kind of hit and miss. Some of the stuf is pretty decent and the same as others sold under a different name. Some of the stuff is just plain junk. I am glad to hear that the band saw is a decnt one though, because I've wanting to buy one.
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post #17 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 11:03 AM
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I have the 20" production drill press from HF which I paid $300 on sale including the 3 yr warranty and I'm very happy with it. That said there stuff is made in China just like Grizzley, Shop Fox Some Delta and Jet models as well. Most electric motors today are made in China and the better ones are made in Taiwan. Hardly any single phase motors are made in the USA anymore due to cost. The saw looks good and resembles allot of other good saws, however HF has a 90 day warranty and unless that saw was considerably cheaper I would look at a Grizzley. The HF saw is $800.00 plus $100.00 shipping and probably another $100.00 to get there extended warranty for a total of $1000.00 or you can get the Grizzley better customer service and already has a 1 yr warranty for $1075.00 with free shipping. Just my .02
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post #18 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 01:41 PM
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I have had several Skil cordless drills and the batteries
are terrilbe.

I purchased two HF 18v cordless drills, they were on
sale less than a replacement battery cost is the reason
I got two. Drill, flashlite, set of bit and set of drivers
included. $19.95.

I recently built a cover for my deck, 16'x16'. The entire
project was completed in three days and the drills did
the entire project without being recharged. There were
only a few nails used, mostly 3 1/2" epoxy costed
screws. Several hundred were used.

They out run the Skil's but 1000% at 1/3 the cost.

I have only had a problem with one HF product. The
plastic bar clamps! The handle broke on every one
I had.

For the part time hobby wood worker, HF is hard
to beat.

Two of the best product I have bought are the router
bits and the 8" dado blade set.

Also, the 6/12V automatic battery charger works
just as it said it would. It cuts completely off when
the battery is fully charged. Some just cut back.

I just got an 18 gauge brad nailer, I have not used
it much, but it seems to be a very nice tool.

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post #19 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 06:29 PM
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While I have a good deal of HF equipment in my shop, 14" band saw, 12x36 lathe, 2HP dust collector, huge clamp collection, and soon to be SCMS and Compressor. Each and every one of these items came with excellent reviews by other woodworkers, including what to watch out for on them. Even with the add ons that I have had to do to make the items fit the way I wanted them set up, they still represented an EXCELLENT bang for the buck. Now mind you I am a HOBBYIST woodworker, and with the amount of use I am likely to put these tools through, I honestly expect to be able to hand these except for the compressor, and even the big names I wouldn't expect...) down to my kids when I am gone... And I am 40 now... But then again, I take care of my stuff...

When you add up what the HF table saws cost to get, get shipped, and get a reasonable warranty on them, you are FAR better off with the Ridgid R4511, Craftsman 22114 (not sure I have that model right, hope folks recognize the one I mean), any number of various Grizzly models, Shop Fox etc...

Honestly, unless the HF saw was price dropped by about 50% from where it is, I wouldn't even consider it...

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com
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post #20 of 51 Old 10-07-2009, 08:04 PM
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I was trying not to chime in, because I don't know anything about the HF saw. It does look nice, but pictures can be deceiving (I can't even tell the fence? etc). I was wondering if you're able to get the #'s from it? If you could trace the manufacturing, it could help. The HF could be a good saw for a nice price.

I understand your dilemma. I've been on the fence with HF machinery, too. I slowly backed away (jointer) for the same reason's mentioned by the others. $750 with all the add-on's, puts you even with (or over) several known and well reviewed saws.

If you're planning on a production shop or running a lot of hardwood, hp could be a player. If not, I surely wouldn't let the 3 hp influence your decision, especially with your 240v (required for the HF saw).

A good (or bad) tablesaw can have a big influence on your love of woodworking.
Hope it helps,
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