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post #1 of 9 Old 09-16-2009, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Just getting started.

Hey all, I'm new to the forums and somewhat new to woodworking. I've been assembling some tools slowly, my bigger ones have been gifts mainly, like a 10" Craftsman Table Saw, Router, corded drill and a Shop Vac. enough to get me started at least.

I'm curious as to people thoughts on Harbor Freight tools as a starter set. I know they're cheap but if I had $$ I wouldn't be asking.

My thoughts are specifically towards an air compressor and a brad nailer. I saw one on sale 3 HP, 21 Gallon, 125 PSI for $169.

Things i'm keeping in mind to purchase later are a drill press and a bench grinder.

I want to get into furniture building, but for now, i'm going to be building a router table (norm's deluxe station) and a Miter Saw Station loosely based on the router table. These are things that can get me started on joinery technique without worrying about final looks.

Eventually I'd like to redo my kitchen and make some built-ins around the house. I don't have any way of prepping wood surfaces yet and I've never used a hand plane.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-16-2009, 10:05 PM
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Harbor fright is not known for their quality. However some of their stuff is really not bad. Just google "harbor freight gems" and you'll find plenty of info on the good and bad.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-16-2009, 10:52 PM
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Welcome to the forum Darell,
Northern Kentucky? Are you near the Montgomery Rib joint?
I am not a HF fan, unless its something like a hammer or o ring kit. Better to save your money and try to catch quality tools either on sale or in a good used condition, ala craigslist. If you are just getting started, do yourself a favor and follow proper safety procedures, wear some eye protection, and if you are not sure on a procedure, ask.
Mike Hawkins
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-17-2009, 01:26 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I see lots of air compressors and nail guns on Craiglist (it seems that people buy them for one job), I'm sure you'll be able to find a deal.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-17-2009, 06:21 AM
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Welcome to the forum. The quality of HF power tools (as stated above) is not very good. However, I have purchased many of the clamps and found that they work O.K. But as I mentioned, the power tools are not very good. I agree with Mike, if you can save a little extra money, buy a better quality tool, whether it is used or wait for a sale, you'll be glad yo did in the long run.

Tom
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-17-2009, 07:15 AM
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I think that the significant gripe I most often read about Harbor Freight (HF) tools is accuracy. Cheaply built tools would, it seems, naturally have been built to less tolerances.

In the tools you have specifically asked about, a compressor and brad nailer, accuracy is not an important feature. I have bought many smaller tools from HF and got just what I expected. I have bought one powered tool, a 4 1/2" grinder. It looks a little crude comparred to a higher quality tool, but does the job. The one major shortcoming is that the on/off switch is not held on by finger pressure. It is turned on and stays on until turned off. This can be a safety problem.

Good luck.

George
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-17-2009, 08:01 AM
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NKYDarrell----Welcome to the forum. Money is an issue for alot of folks right now. I used to frame alot of homes, and do work in my woodshop. The main lesson i have learned doing this over the years is if you buy a bottom end tool you uausually get sub-par results. Also the life of a cheap tool is normally shorter "uausually because of the lack of quality material it is made out of" here is an example--when i used to frame houses i depended on my circular saw, after going through about 3 or 4, i finally bought myself an 81/4 Porter Cable CS, that was over 25 years ago and i still use it to this day, although i have replaced the trigger and replaced brushes. So i guess what i am saying is this-if you have a particular tool in mind that you know you want "TS - Jointer - planer, find a good used one,or build a few small projects, nik naks and other small things, save the money you make and before long you will have the funds to make tool purchases. Good luck.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-17-2009, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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@Fbranco Thanks for the tip on the HF Gems. it really helped sort the good from the bad and reasons for such.
@Firehawk Yes i'm near one of the Montgomery Inn locations. yummy! Thankfully I had a good enough shop teacher back in high school who emphasized safety first. I got plenty of that in the Navy too. Safety goggles and hearing protection were my first two purchases!
@Tom thanks for the info. what are any issues you've found with your clamps to make them O.K. vs good.
@George & Garry I kind of figured you get what you pay for. Craftsman isn't necessarily the best tools either but in some cases they can be worth it. Like a shop vac and such. I just was curious because I didn't want to buy a compressor or grinder that I'd be regretting later. Especially because I don't expect to be using them as often as a TS, Lathe or Planer.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-18-2009, 08:56 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

Red

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