Great first post! I gotta agree with you about some of the HF stuff being a pretty good value for hobbyist duty.
The HF Pittsburg F style bar clamps are one of my favorites...they do the job very cheaply. Same with the floor mats, hearing protection, mechanic's gloves, tool bags, torque wrench, digital calipers, ratcheting wrenches, etc.
I do have some HF machines that have worked well for me....HF 13" bench DP 38142, mortiser, and small compressor have been great. My concern about recommending them is consistency from one model to the next....someone else could get the same model and not have the same luck.
For the same reason, I'm very leery about HF carbide saw blades and router bits....getting a good one in no way ensures that the next one will be the same. A good cutter is important to good results, but more importantly poorly made carbide cutters can shed carbide at high speed. I've witnessed it, and it's dangerous. Since there are so many reasonable alternatives, I look elsewhere....Freud Diablo, Irwin Marples, CMT ITK Plus, DW Precision Trim, Oshlun, or Tenryu Rapid Cut series are really decent saw blades at a reasonable cost....better to buy one good one, than a 2-pack of crappy blades. For bargain router bits, MLCS, Grizzly, Stone Mountain, Blades n Bits, Woodline USA, etc., offer compelling quality at a good price. Why chance it to save a few bucks? (especially when you consider the overall cost of your shop...it's decimal dust)
Last edited by notskot; 05-06-2016 at 08:41 AM.