Bad experience with HF

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Forum topic by Knothead62 posted 06-15-2010 01:28 AM 1576 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2584 posts in 2986 days

06-15-2010 01:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press tip

I bought a bench grinder stand and a drill press table this weekend when HF had a sidewalk sale. The stand had five of one leg part and three of another. I boxed it up to return this week. I then started on the DP table. Parts missing. Boxed it up and will return it. I have the receipt so I will get credit on my card. I don’t think I will be buying anything from HF anymore. Just wanted to let LJ’ers know.

15 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#1 posted 06-15-2010 01:37 AM

There are a number of tools I buy from HF but 96% of what they sell I won’t have any thing to do with.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 06-15-2010 01:38 AM

If I were a wagering man, I’d bet MOST of us have had the same experience, more than once, with HF stuff.

I still buy from them, though—for SOME things, SOME of the time.

But I generally figure that it’s up to me to buy all the nuts, washers, and bolts. I’ve built up a fair stash of HF-compatible bits, by now, so—while it’s a ridiculous thing that they can’t solve the problem—I make do.

It’s part of the reason they’re so cheap, I suppose.

If it’s anything OTHER than hardware store-available bits … I’d take it back, too.

-- -- Neil

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3328 days

#3 posted 06-15-2010 01:45 AM

I purchase a lot of stuff from Harbor Freight and have real good luck with most of it. You had a small setback and it will take a bit of your time to straighten it out ~shrug~ but if you want to pay more for the same quality stuff (if not the exact same stuff except for paint) elsewhere then nothing is stopping you from doing so :)

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2948 days

#4 posted 06-15-2010 01:55 AM

Yes a situation like this does leave a bad taste.
I buy things like, rubber gloves,paste brushes,chip brushes from HF.
I did buy a trim router that you cannot kill the D#$@ thing. It just goes on and on. Much better than a brand name router I bought that didn’t last 15 minutes(however the manufacture did make it right) and like Abbott said, you can buy the same thing elsewhere and pay more. Case in point, corner clamps 40 bucks at Rockler
8 bucks(with coupon) at HF, the difference? All I can see is the paint. I also looked at them at the WW Show here in Tampa and they were the same.
While I tend to stay with name brands for my major tools, they do have a place ..especially in my wallet, for some things.

-- Life is good.

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 2963 days

#5 posted 06-15-2010 02:57 AM

I have bought a lot of stuff from H.F not because I like they’re stuff but I can afford it.Aside from maybe having to drill a hole or buy a bolt I’ve had good luck with most of they’re stuff . I stay away from the electric stuff I don’t have very good luck with those…..........................Schloemoe

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

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3156 days

#6 posted 06-15-2010 03:00 AM

You get what you pay for….really, it’s true. I’ve ben to HF once, to pick up my $139 dust collector. I walked around for about 30 minutes. Long enough to see that I probably won’t go back, unless I need another dust collector.

-- Gerry,

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3328 days

#7 posted 06-15-2010 03:31 AM

I have returned a few things I didn’t care for but I shop Harbor Freight regularly and my shop would not be nearly as well equipped as it is without the place.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#8 posted 06-15-2010 04:05 AM

I found a great DC unit at HF for $179 and a 1-ton hoist for $39. The problem was that the DC was short 18 M8 nuts and the materials list, while listing that M8 nuts were identified as a part, the list DID NOT list just HOW MANY should one have in order to assemble the DC. I called customer service.

Adding insult to injury, “Stephen” from Bangalore was ”...very disappointed in [me] for [supposedly] not checking the materials list.” “Stephen” had a hard time understanding that the materials list was incomplete as written. Needless to say, an hour’s round trip to town and $9 USD later I had my 18 M8 (a specialty part in the USA) nuts and was able to finish assembling the DC unit. Being the anal type that I am, I am going to follow up on this until HF mails me the #%%’n missing nuts! When will businesses learn that shorting customers on assembly hardware cost way more in time and $$ than throwing in an “extra” nut or washer with their product’s assembly hardware.

NUTS to them I say! 8-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3035 days

#9 posted 06-15-2010 05:28 AM

Mike – haha, I just got the DC this weekend and have the exact same issue – missing about 16 M8 nuts and few other bolts AND the filter and collection bags! Also had the same issue with the customer service being unable to help me because I could not tell them exactly which nuts I needed and how many because of the terrible instructions.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 3319 days

#10 posted 06-15-2010 05:51 AM

“When will businesses learn that shorting customers on assembly hardware cost way more in time and $$ than throwing in an “extra” nut or washer with their product’s assembly hardware.” When we stop buying the cheap crap.

“While I tend to stay with name brands for my major tools, they do have a place ..especially in my wallet, for some things.” Well said. Good place for expendable purchases.

Of course you can buy three grinders from HF by the time you buy one from elsewhere and get the same performance out of both. Only, you never know when the HF might break down on you. Their products are not all exactly the same as good tools. 96% of their stuff is cheap crap and there is a reason for it being so cheap. Yes, there are exceptions, and that’s the 4%. If you’re new to woodworking and there is anything that will make your woodworking experience great, it’s having well made, quality tools. This doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive either, you just have to be smart about buying tools. Get informed and make wise decisions.

-- LAS,

View TheWoodsmith's profile


108 posts in 2945 days

#11 posted 06-15-2010 06:00 AM

Yeah, HF is hit and miss for me also. I have some stuff from there that has been great and some that wasn’t so great. When i moved i picked up a auto darkening weld hood there for work and its still tickin’ and i actually prefer it to my lincoln electric one that i paid four times the money for. For me, if its a staple in my shop it won’t come from HF most likely although i might pick up one of the uber-famous 139 dollar DC”s as an upgrade from my shopbuilt cyclone because i hear they work really well. You gotta trust your gut on equipment purchases.

-- I know its around here somewhere...

View m88k's profile


83 posts in 2977 days

#12 posted 06-15-2010 08:48 PM

Last week these guys were on sale online for 1.79 each. Local HF matched price, and now I have 16 of them. HD and Lowes don’t seem to carry cheap corner clamps at all, at Menards the “Tool Shop” brand would have cost me I think 4 dollars a piece, and 8 or 9 for Pony brand clamps. BTW most “Tool Shop” products look identical to HF models, and which one’s cheaper varies by product. The bar clamps are the one exception, much nicer at HF.

There are a couple guys around here that swear by buying the HF 3/8 corded drill when it’s on sale to keep a small army of drills available.

Store return policies are pretty generous these days, giving you a chance to try something iffy even if you don’t trust the manufacturer’s warranty.

-- ~Mark

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2986 days

#13 posted 06-15-2010 09:17 PM

I just deleted their email ads and will return the stuff as the local WC store, this Thursday, is having a thing about building longbows by a noted bowyer. For me, a trip to the HF store is at least 90 minutes time plus gas. I can’t afford the time or gas.
To how how mu luck runs, I bought a pool pump from California. Great price! The thing leaked; I couldn’t get anyone to call back to help. I finally got someone to authorize a return. Cost $34 to send it FedEx.
I appreciate your responses. Will look for another source. Any suggestion? I live about 30 miles north of Chattanooga, TN. We are limited- Lowe’s, HD, ACE Hardware.

View dbhost's profile


5725 posts in 3257 days

#14 posted 06-15-2010 09:55 PM

I have never bought items from Harbor Freight with missing parts. I have however, bought items from HF with EXTRA parts. Maybe your parts for the stand were those extra bits that don’t match anything related to my band saw….

FWIW, I have gotten more tools from Woodcraft with missing parts or not working as it should than from Harbor Freight, and I buy a LOT from Harbor Freight…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2986 days

#15 posted 06-17-2010 08:59 PM

Just an update; I took the stuff back to HF and got my money back. They offered to replace the items but I opted to get the cash back. The manager was very nice and marked the boxes so they wouldn’t be put on the floor again.

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