Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #12: What in the world IS THAT SMELL??????????????

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 03-17-2012 02:07 PM 2587 reads 0 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Who says dust will hurt you? *cough* It'll be fine *cough-cough*... Part 12 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 13: Is it ok to laugh at wood? It is unless you live on a creek... »

I walked through the door and it hit me like a punch in the face from that girl I used to pick on in grade school. It was a pungent odor, something reminiscent of verbena with a touch of death and decay. All around me I saw people holding their noses, one or two old ladies sat wheezing on the floor. I made my way over to a boy who was vomiting in a bucket, just to inhale the air around him for relief. From there I noticed a curious thing. The cashiers seemed totally unaffected by the noxious fumes.

There is a strange breed of people in this world, a race of individuals with senses so dull that they can be hired as Harbor Freight workers. No, I’m not calling them stupid. I’m saying that only a person with no sense of smell can work day after day in that store. I mean, have you ever walked through those doors and taken a whiff? WHAT IS THAT?

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out where the smell comes from. It’s the sweet smell of Chinese plastic, and it’s the lifeblood of the store. That bright orange mix of chemicals flows through the isles like the blood in a man’s veins, and without it, Harbor Freight couldn’t exist. That’s because they cater to those who want a tool cheap. And you’re a liar if you deny being one of those people from time to time.

When I decided to change my breaks myself, I went to Harbor Freight and bought one of those special spring tools for a couple of bucks. When I decided to install my own carpet in a bedroom, I bought their ten dollar stretcher. I didn’t care if it broke after the first use, I may never use it again anyway, and for what I was saving I could afford for it to break a dozen times. Paint brushes are a dollar, not the type you’d clean and reuse, but for that price you can get 15 of them and skip the messy cleanup. Want a set of wrenches and sockets in the trunk of every vehicle? For a quarter of the price of Craftsman you can do it, and they have the same lifetime guarantee. Admittedly, you’ll need to use that guarantee if you try and do some ultra-heavy duty work with them. But that’s not what that stuff is for. Harbor Freight tools are for the guy who wants something fast, cheap and moderate in quality. It’s the McDonald’s of the tool industry.

Of course, we could go on and on about the surprisingly high quality tools to be found there. I own several that I love (band saw, drill press, dust collector, lathe, mortising machine, stationary sander, welder, etc.) But I can tell you this… I would buy a lot more if they could do something about that smell!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

30 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 03-17-2012 02:13 PM

I have only experienced the “Virtual” HF, up until yesterday that is. It truely is a special place for SPECIAL people. It’s a place for me, as I’ve been told that I am “Special”!!!

Funny stuff there Stumpy.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2838 days

#2 posted 03-17-2012 02:19 PM

Great minds think alike. HAHAHAHAHAHA! You may have an experience I will never know, No HF stores around me. I’ll have to go to one of the local box stores, Menards, my second home and pretend. :)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2835 days

#3 posted 03-17-2012 02:23 PM

Wait for the parking lot sale and you don’t have to smell it. I am telling you guy its the smell of Chinese grease. I love to take 50 or 60 bucks and just pick up test tools.
Thats it I am going today.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View StumpyNubs's profile


7590 posts in 2796 days

#4 posted 03-17-2012 02:24 PM

I consider myself very fortunate to have a Harbor Freight and a Woodcraft right next to each other within reasonable driving distance from my house.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2835 days

#5 posted 03-17-2012 02:27 PM

Mine is 20 miles away, as far as any other type of quality wood store, I am out of luck. Internet.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#6 posted 03-17-2012 02:27 PM

Some may say ahhh I love the smell of Chinese plastic in the morning.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3286 days

#7 posted 03-17-2012 02:37 PM

I’ve never noticed a smell there, but then again, I like the aromas “bowling alley” and “fresh asphalt”.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2799 days

#8 posted 03-17-2012 03:44 PM

mine is bout 24 miles away, and if the wind blows in the right direction, I get a whiff o that aroma now n then. lol
somedays are worse than others. It is worse than being in a tire shop lookin at tires

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 2933 days

#9 posted 03-17-2012 03:54 PM

I ve tried to get my shop to smell like that. but it never lasts. I think its a conspircy to make us have to keep coming back for a cheap tool fix. There ought to be a law. LOL….................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View geoscann's profile


258 posts in 2275 days

#10 posted 03-17-2012 03:56 PM

Stumpy i,ll bet you didn,t realize that we have two hf stores one south and one north a woodcraft store and a menards right in the back yard. and the smell from that is over whelming. no wonder all that we do is WOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yea.

-- BIG geo ---Occam,s razor The simplist answer is often correct

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#11 posted 03-17-2012 04:43 PM

I wandered around HF yesterday. It’s hard to beat 29 drill bits with brad points for $13.99 You can’t sharpen them anyway and someone is always losing one or five. So I need to pick up a complete set ever so often.

I wish they had a set of them in Metric sizes for those just a little smaller. 1/64th of an inch sometimes is too much. I really need 1/128th of an inch size.

I never buy the extended warranty. You buy an air gun, Shoot 75 nails and in a year you pick it up again. It usually works, but if it doesn’t then buy another one.

Buy one of the $125.00 ones and you will have to keep getting it fixed if it breaks.

Foolish economy, I don’t think so. I don’t use it every day and I don’t make my living using it.

It’s kind of like my dad said when they cut up steaks on the farm. If the meat isn’t on one piece it’s on the other. If the tool doesn’t work today there is always tomorrow.

My HF is about 30 miles, & 80 miles (Woodcraft 80 miles) and 110 miles (Baltimore). But my Delaware ones are tax free. It’s nice buying something for 13.99 and giving them $14.00 and getting change.

Of course every issue of my AARP magazine has a 20% off coupon for 1 item at HF

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Gabe C.'s profile

Gabe C.

288 posts in 2336 days

#12 posted 03-17-2012 05:14 PM

Casters and drill bits, casters and drill bits…

Oh, and that cute chick that always seems to have her register closed when I am ready to get rung out…

-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#13 posted 03-17-2012 05:31 PM

I live in Vermont, the closest HF is in Albany, NY, about a 4 hour drive one way. In the last couple of years, they have opened 4 HF on Long Island, NY, where family lives. Now I can travel to purchase new or return broken tools and while there, visit with family.

Notice that the reason for my trip is HF & not to visit family!!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Borgmc1's profile


157 posts in 2312 days

#14 posted 03-17-2012 05:41 PM

Harbor Freight, Lowes are both about 15 min from my place just in opposite directions from each other. Woodcraft or Rockler are 4 hours east or west from here. I love going to Harbor Freight they have some woodworking tools that nether of the Big Box Stores carry.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3877 days

#15 posted 03-17-2012 06:23 PM

Love their spongy floor mats – the kind that are 2ft x 2ft and interlock. I think they are like a $1 a piece. But WOW – do they stink. I mean it is the worst thing I have ever smelled. They come wrapped in plastic which traps the odor. I unwrap them and let them sit outside for a couple of days. Then it is gone.

So maybe some of this is slowly leaking into the store and causing children to throw up. (?)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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