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What have I been missing at Harbor Freight?

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Forum topic by muleskinner posted 06-26-2016 12:48 AM 1097 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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muleskinner

881 posts in 1901 days


06-26-2016 12:48 AM

One of the experiences that I’ve been missing in my life has been fulfilled. In all my years I’ve never been in a Harbor Freight store. Not a conscious choice, just never an opportunity. Yesterday that empty hole in my life was filled when I noticed a store had opened in a near by mini mall.

Now that I’ve been through one and looked over the things I’m interested in (BS, spindle sander, router, DP, etc) I’m fairly positive I won’t be buying any power tools or accessories that one usually expects to exhibit a reasonable degree precision manufacturing and quality control. But there might be other things that are worth venturing in for. For example I did find a pack of 36 acid brushes for three bucks. I figured that was a fair price to up grade my stick and finger glue spreading technique.

So what consumables or accessories does anybody favor HF for?

-- Visualize whirled peas


35 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3220 days


#1 posted 06-26-2016 01:37 AM

clamps and casters

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14594 posts in 2148 days


#2 posted 06-26-2016 01:57 AM

Sanding belts, angle grinders. I have been using the 5 speed drill press of theirs for quite a while now.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 982 days


#3 posted 06-26-2016 02:27 AM

I primarily use my paws as a glue applicators.

I buy the 3 mil and 5 mil nitrile gloves at HF when they are on sale/ coupon. Good buy there i think.

I use the purple hvlp guns that go on sale for $9.99. I get very nice results from them.

Lumber crayons come for HF as well.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7922 posts in 1845 days


#4 posted 06-26-2016 03:02 AM

Don’t buy their sandpaper (unless you’ve never used sandpaper before then you won’t be disappointed).
The metal clamps are flimsy but worth the price. The plastic clamps are garbage. They have a wood handled pull saw with a carbon steel blade for about $7 that is a good buy. The plastic handled pull saw is meh. The nitrile/latex gloves are okay. The link belts are a solid deal. Mechanic types seem to like their ratchets, apparently they are quite tough.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1510 days


#5 posted 06-26-2016 03:04 AM

HF items are really hit or miss. The two power tools that have yet to “fail me for the last time” are my 3 gallon air compressor and HVLP. The other two (planer and reciprocating saw) is a “good enough for what I needed it for job”, but if I were to do it all over again, I’m inclined to buy up for all 4 options.

I went through a craze when I first discovered HF and went crazy amassing my clamps (F-style, pipe, and hand screw), “consumables”, and “freebies” and have enough to last me for a while. Case in point, I have more than enough LED flashlights scattered around my house and car, that my kids routinely dismantle them for fun. True there are gems, but be warned that you have to look through the individual quality. That in turn made it extremely time consuming for each acquisition. Take for instance the F-style clamps. I wrote a review of the F-style clamps and described my hesitation in recommending them a few years back. Ultimately it depends on your objectives with HF.

-- paxorion

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muleskinner

881 posts in 1901 days


#6 posted 06-26-2016 03:51 AM

I’d wondered about the clamps. They seemed considerably less stout than the Irwins I use but for the price point they could almost be considered ‘consumables’. I’ll have to look at the HVLP gun next time I go by. That’s something I’ve been meaning to try.

I looked at a 300# rated mobile base kit with my jointer in mind. Might take a closer look next time I go by also.

The store is two businesses down from the fabric store my wife uses so it’s at minimum a diversion from buttons and bows for me.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1510 days


#7 posted 06-26-2016 01:47 PM



I d wondered about the clamps. They seemed considerably less stout than the Irwins I use but for the price point they could almost be considered consumables . I ll have to look at the HVLP gun next time I go by. That s something I ve been meaning to try.

I looked at a 300# rated mobile base kit with my jointer in mind. Might take a closer look next time I go by also.

The store is two businesses down from the fabric store my wife uses so it s at minimum a diversion from buttons and bows for me.

- muleskinner

I believe they are in the process of changing over their F-style clamps from from pot metal bars to one with a more finished black metal. The HF HVLP is the same gun as the low end HVLP Rockler sells. A few extra jars from Rockler makes a big difference in my workflow.

-- paxorion

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crank49

3981 posts in 2435 days


#8 posted 06-26-2016 04:31 PM


I d wondered about the clamps. They seemed considerably less stout than the Irwins I use but for the price point they could almost be considered consumables . I ll have to look at the HVLP gun next time I go by. That s something I ve been meaning to try.

I looked at a 300# rated mobile base kit with my jointer in mind. Might take a closer look next time I go by also.

The store is two businesses down from the fabric store my wife uses so it s at minimum a diversion from buttons and bows for me.

- muleskinner


If you like Irwins then you should love the HF clamps. Every one of my Irwins, bought when Home Depot had them on clearance before switching to another brand, were crap. They all slip. The HF clamps, the larger ones and the F style ones, are quite good, never slip. Their c-clamps are good as well.

I also have had completete satisfaction with my HF 2HP dust collector, pneumatic framing nailer, 16ga finish nailer, 12” 3/4HP drill press, 4 1/2” angle grinder, 12” disk sander and some of their hand tools. Hand tools like wrenches and rachets are just something you have to be able to look at and know the difference between polished junk and rough finished tough tools. I’ve had really poor quality tools from companies like Klein and Cresent as well because I trusted the brand name and didn’t scrutinize them as well. So, buyer beware, is always the best rule.

I don’t have a HF 16 drawer, 34” tool chest made by General , but plan to get one some day, Looks like perfectly good quality and about 25% less $ than comparable competetion.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1432 posts in 2227 days


#9 posted 06-26-2016 05:43 PM

The only power tools I have bought at HF is a right angle drill (the “expensive” one), a side grinder, and a dust collector. I went to their web site to see the breakdown and to see if they had bearings, of which they did – not sleeves. The drill finally expired after three years. The acid brushes are a real deal, since the big box stores want 25 cents a piece – no brainer. Chip brushes by the box are another deal.

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

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Jimbo4

1432 posts in 2227 days


#10 posted 06-26-2016 05:48 PM

Hey crank49, I will most probably get a lot of heat for this, think I care – hah! Your Hillary words are spot on, as I think she should be put so far back into prison sun light would have to be pumped in to her.

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

View tacky68's profile

tacky68

15 posts in 892 days


#11 posted 06-26-2016 07:49 PM

Zip-ties, any type of gloves, and tarps. They are all disposable. I had good luck with the solid(foam filled?) wheelbarrow wheel when I replaced the the original. Works perfectly.

+1 on Crank, and Jimbo.

Tim

View jbay's profile

jbay

816 posts in 364 days


#12 posted 06-26-2016 08:24 PM

You have been missing out on the opportunity to go through the return process after you have been in the middle of a project and had your harbor freight (?whatever) fail. You get to spend your hard earned extra time off and you get to spend $$ on gasoline to go back and wait in line for a full refund on that lifetime guaranteed pc of crap that was such a good deal.
(before everybody gets bent, it was just a humor! although a bit of the truth depending on what you buy)

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#13 posted 06-27-2016 12:37 AM

The drill press table is a gem and priced less than the parts to build one.

OSS sanding sleeves are good quality, the rest of their abrasives are not.

The interlocking foam mats are nice and cover most of my shop floor.

Nitrile gloves are good.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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firefighterontheside

13487 posts in 1321 days


#14 posted 06-27-2016 02:27 AM

I too bought the gloves for finishing.
I’ve bought a number of small F clamps that serve me well.
I’m having good luck with the 2 hp dust collector. Eventually I will remove the filter bag and vent fines outside.
I bought the little pin nailer and though I don’t use it often, it works well so far.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#15 posted 06-27-2016 02:38 AM

Bill, Be sure to check your air pressure with the pin nailer. 125 psi blew the seals out of mine. I know, it says don’t exceed 90 psi :(

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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