How much of your shop is Harbor Freight? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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when I first moved into my house and finally had a garage to work in I had to buy a good portion off tools from harbor freight. Since then I've slowly been working my HF tools out but there are certain tools that I think work just fine and I plan on keeping. One if my block plane! I spent a good two days tuning that badboy to be flat and sharp and it works really well considering it was ten bucks.

I've read that people really like their jointers and bandsaws, I bought my delta bandsaw and jointer off Craigslist for crazy good prices so I didn't need to go HF. My compressor is a harbor freight model I bought almost 10 years ago and it still works great although I want a bigger one now heh.

I think what I found out early on is cragslist can land you tools that would cost 2-3x as much as HF for a fraction of the price. Don't get me wrong, I still find myself wandering my local HF from time to time just not nearly as much. I live next to a rockler and woodcraft now so I tend to visit there especially since their prices sometimes beat HF with a coupon.

Last edited by afx; 02-02-2013 at 07:27 PM.
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post #2 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 02:00 PM
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The only items in my shop from HF are some aluminium blocks which I use for spreading the load under clamps.

The blocks are 1in x 1 1/4in x 3 3/4in. One side has a magnet inserted.

These were originally sold by Woodpeckers. The magnet was intended to hold the block to metal pipe clamp heads.

These must have been rejects since all the magnets are askew. At the time they were about $3 for a pair. I bought 4 pairs.

No longer sold by Woodpeckers or HF.
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post #3 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post
when I first moved into my house and finally had a garage to work in I had to buy a good portion off tools from harbor freight. Since then I've slowly been working my HF tools out but there are certain tools that I think work just fine and I plan on keeping. One if my block plane! I spent a good two days tuning that batboy to be flat and sharp and it works really well considering it was ten bucks.

I've read that people really like their jointers and bandsaws, I bought my delta bandsaw and jointer off Craigslist for crazy good prices so I didn't need to go HF. My compressor is a harbor freight model I bought almost 10 years ago and it still works great Althea I want a bigger one now heh.

I think what I found out early on is cragslist can land you tools that would cost 2-3x as much as HF for a fraction of the price. Don't get me wrong, I still find myself wandering my local HF from time to time just not nearly as much. I live next to a rockler and woodcraft now so I tend to visit there especially since their prices sometimes beat HF with a coupon.
I have quite a few hand tools from them. I think their Pittsburg line of wrenches are as good as any. I tend to avoid anything with a power cord on it. My Dad was big on their small angle grinders but he was buying one about every 3 months. A lot of people have good things to say about their pnuematic stuff but I'm 0 for 3 with them; 2 nailers DOA and a regulater that wouldn't quit leaking (replaced 3 times and gave up).
I have a couple of their aluminum racing hydralic jacks that are great. I just use them to lift a vehicle long enough to get jack stands under it though, don't try to work underneath with just the jack holding it.
Harbor Freight has a place, IMO anyway. It's a great place for someone just starting out and quantity trumps quality. As you get older and are replacing things under less duress, it is more prudent to go for the quality.

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #4 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 02:47 PM
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The lathe. It`s OK, but not great. I have to shim the tailstock to keep it in line with the headstock, but I`ve done som spindle turning on it.
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post #5 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 02:50 PM
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I have a tap and die set that I bought at one of their truckload sales. Otherwise I won't even go in a horror fright store. I was taught to buy it once and buy it right.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #6 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 02:54 PM
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Generally speaking, think of Harbor Freight tools as being like a paint brush that you will never clean. The tool will get you through one job. If the tool lasts through two jobs, you're ahead of the game.

I bought the 1" x 30" belt sander. It's a middle of the road tool, not great and not bad either. On sale and a 20% off coupon the cost was $32. It does what I need it to do.

Green plastic or fiberglass vernier calipers for $2 or $3. If they read zero when closed they are a accurate as anything for the first couple of inches. They are great when checking thickness of materials. They read to 1/128".

The "F" style (Pittsburgh brand) bar clamps are poor but can be used to pull mortise and tenon joints together. If used for cabinet carcasses, be sure to use nails first. They clamps don't exert square clamping pressure. The blue and aluminum clamps are worthless, just moderate clamping pressure will break the tip off of the ratchet tang making the clamp good for scrap aluminum.

I've not had much luck with abrasives.

Every now and then HF sells "Chip" brushes at crazy prices. I'll buy a box or two. I'll use them for finishing and throw them away rather than clean them.

Their nitrile gloves (a.k.a. Rubber) are good and at $8 a box of 100, they are great for finishing.

There are many more opinions, so have at it guys.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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post #7 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 03:00 PM
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"How much of my shop is Harbor Freight?"

None if it. I've been in their store a couple of times, it seems like the stuff they sell is not what I would call quality stuff.

"Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer, 'Am I worth dying for?'"

Eleanor Roosevelt
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post #8 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 03:56 PM
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I own an 8" digital caliper and a clamping dial indicator. Seem to work fine.

Almost purchased a bunch of those 12" quick release clamps when they
went on sale but didn't.

Even if those clamps were only good for a few projects they would have payed for themselves at what they were priced.

Not very impressed with the larger power tools. But I can see some value there for someone who can't afford better equipment.

As others have said, there are good bargains to be had on some consumable types of goods.

Have heard several in the forums rave about the spray guns.

Last edited by against_the_grain; 02-02-2013 at 04:01 PM.
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post #9 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 04:38 PM
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5%
Nothing mechanical or electrical
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post #10 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 04:50 PM
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Electric planer/jointer handheld kind and a 10in sliding compound mitre box. Planer works good for what is an what I paid for it, the saw is good too just need to lean how to adjust it an how it cuts. Can be a lot of flex in it
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post #11 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 04:56 PM
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i love harbor freight. i bought a tool from them 4 years ago and it still works great to this day. itll does everything i could expect from it. itll work all day and night if i wanted it to.

its a mallet i use to close cans of polyurethane.

build it right or not at all
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post #12 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 05:11 PM
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I've had good luck with most of the stuff I've bought from them. Just gotta do your research first. Some of the tools there are the exact same as those sold by Sears/Lowes/Home Depot/etc.
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post #13 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 05:12 PM
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Mostly clamps, angle grinder and a heavy duty belt sander. Also bench top belt/disc sander combo and the oscillating spindle sander.
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post #14 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 05:15 PM
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just some clamps, a caliper, an angle grinder, and some router bits
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post #15 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 05:23 PM
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My shop was established long before I ever knew about Harbor Freight. Now about 90% of the tools I purchase comes from them.
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post #16 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 05:29 PM
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  • DP (38142)
  • Mortiser
  • Clamps (Pittsburg bar clamps)
  • Digital calipers
  • Compressor
  • Dovetail jig
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post #17 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 05:37 PM
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4 clamps and a tool box with some standard non-woodworking tools that I bought as a set from a friend.
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post #18 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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I have to say I'm REALLY surprised how many calipers turned up here. That was actually the one thing I wouldn't buy from them. I figure if it is being used for accuracy then I need to buy it elsewhere :)

I totally forgot about the latex gloves. I bought 10 boxes of those sunsabitches when they went on sale for $3 2 years ago and I LOVE em.
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post #19 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 08:00 PM
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With the exception of my HF 2HP Dust Collector everything else in my shop that is HF are tools that see very limited use. Things like a heat gun, " pneumatic stapler, trim router, pneumatic impact wrench, pin nailer to name a few. I must say that all do work well when called upon for light duty usage.

Dave

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The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
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post #20 of 85 Old 02-02-2013, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweensdv View Post
With the exception of my HF 2HP Dust Collector everything else in my shop that is HF are tools that see very limited use. Things like a heat gun, " pneumatic stapler, trim router, pneumatic impact wrench, pin nailer to name a few. I must say that all do work well when called upon for light duty usage.
Yep. I forgot about the heat gun, impact wrench, and several nail guns (framing, trim, staple, and a pin nailer).

And those cheep glue brushes and gloves.
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