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Posted: 9/18/2009 10:43:30 AM EST
First, I want to give credit to a fellow ARFCOMer for pushing me to go check the place out. Thanks Luis.

Now I realize that many people consider Harbor Freight to sell 'disposable' tools, which is one of the main reasons I've always avoided them. But today, I decided to stop in for something I thought would be pretty hard to screw up - Clamps and JB Weld. (I'm glueing a microwave handle that snapped off back on)

After roaming the aisles for a few minutes, I picked up a few other things I wasn't expecting:
JB Weld ($5) - What I originally came for
Digital Multimeter/tester ($4) - I've always wanted one of these $4 units from HF, but I've never wanted to spend the $10 to ship it.
Bag of shop rags ($4)
2 Socket Wrench strips ($1 each) - I actually needed these b/c my socket heads are all sitting in a little parts bin
2 x 4" clamps ($1 each) - What I originally came for
2 x 12" clamps ($3 each) - For $3 each I figured why not
Magnetic Wrist Band ($2) - I have no idea why I bought this. It just seemed like a cool idea.

I think I did alright for under $25.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 10:45:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 10:48:39 AM EST by capnrob97]
Those digital mulitmeters are a good deal. They go on sale for $2.99 all the time and I have about 5 or 6 or so around the house.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 10:47:42 AM EST
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 10:54:35 AM EST
Finest Pakistani craftmanship.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:00:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


+1... I got some basic steel punches when I ordered my brass punches ($7 in-stock vs. $20 perpetually-out-of-stock at Sears). Tapped on one of the steel punches with a hammer; bent at a 45 degree angle Was able to bend it straight with my bare hands. "Hardened" steel punches that are marginally harder than brass... great.

HF isn't bad for those tools you'll only ever need once (because they'll only last once!)

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:01:32 AM EST
I buy things like shop rags, glue and clamps there whenever I need them. I might not want to buy a lathe from there, but smaller, cheaper 'expense' items like that from Harbor Freight are great!
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:03:52 AM EST
Harbor China Freight
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:04:04 AM EST
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


Which is why I dont shop there.

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:12:35 AM EST
I bought my 4" angle grinder to notch the van's tie rod ends to get them to break loose. It's still going strong 3 or 4 years later, sharpens the mower blades every other time I mow.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:15:24 AM EST

Originally Posted By doggscube:
I bought my 4" angle grinder to notch the van's tie rod ends to get them to break loose. It's still going strong 3 or 4 years later, sharpens the mower blades every other time I mow.


Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:15:36 AM EST
I bought a brad nailer from China Freight for $24.99 and planned on using it once and throwing it away afterwards. I forget how many years I've had it now...and I use it a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I would.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:17:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By SevenMaryThree:
I bought a brad nailer from China Freight for $24.99 and planned on using it once and throwing it away afterwards. I forget how many years I've had it now...and I use it a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I would.

Yep, I am leary of anything they sell electric tool wise, but they are ok for filling out holes in the tool collection that get little use.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:25:37 AM EST
Originally Posted By AzSteven:
I buy things like shop rags, glue and clamps there whenever I need them. I might not want to buy a lathe from there, but smaller, cheaper 'expense' items like that from Harbor Freight are great!


Their lathes are really not all that bad for the price. Same exact thing you buy from Grizzly, minus the better motors, a good cleaning and paint job, and nicer buttons. We have one of their mini lathes and it runs just great. Its been used so hard it needs some work, but it has done a hell of a lot of work in the last 10 years. It still cuts straight.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:26:36 AM EST
I bought a 10" miter saw about 5-6 years ago, still running strong, I use it all of the time. I bought it with a gift card, the saw was free.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:31:34 AM EST
My HF parts washer, engine hoist, and angle grinder are all awesome.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:35:01 AM EST
I have a low profile "race jack" from HF and it rocks...
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:38:47 AM EST
I've got a Harbor Freight engine hoist, lathe, drill press, calipers and some other stuff. No problems with any of it.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:38:48 AM EST
Not sure I'd tryst my life to a $4.00 meter.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:39:31 AM EST
I know a lot of the AK guys like them since they have something like a 2 ton press on sale for $80 sometimes. Throw your jig in there, make your bends, and sell it.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:46:46 AM EST
Originally Posted By TurdyDingo:
I know a lot of the AK guys like them since they have something like a 2 ton press on sale for $80 sometimes. Throw your jig in there, make your bends, and sell it.


Actually, its the 12 or 20 ton H frame presses that work well for it (I have a 12 ton one and it works great.)

I think I paid 100 bucks or so a few years ago.

Their body hammer kit sets work well for hammering over the top rails also. lol.

I also have a tabletop Micromill that does pretty well once it had some tweaking done to it and bought more in tooling than the cost of the mill. lol.

Get on their store email list and they throw around 20% off single items quite a bit.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:58:02 AM EST
Every magazine I get seems to have HF coupons in them, including a 20% off one
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 11:59:29 AM EST
The local ones in Jax are having a weekend sidewalk sale in a couple weeks, plenty of things 50% off.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:22:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By doggscube:
I bought my 4" angle grinder to notch the van's tie rod ends to get them to break loose. It's still going strong 3 or 4 years later, sharpens the mower blades every other time I mow.


I have one as well.. Picked it up for about $12 and is a great value for sharpening mower blades 3 or 4 times a yr..

b
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:26:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By GTwannabe:
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


+1... I got some basic steel punches when I ordered my brass punches ($7 in-stock vs. $20 perpetually-out-of-stock at Sears). Tapped on one of the steel punches with a hammer; bent at a 45 degree angle Was able to bend it straight with my bare hands. "Hardened" steel punches that are marginally harder than brass... great.

HF isn't bad for those tools you'll only ever need once (because they'll only last once!)



I got some pin punches there a year or so ago to put some lowers together, and I've ended up using them for a multitude of other projects.They've held up just fine.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:45:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By thatguy:
Originally Posted By doggscube:
I bought my 4" angle grinder to notch the van's tie rod ends to get them to break loose. It's still going strong 3 or 4 years later, sharpens the mower blades every other time I mow.


I have one as well.. Picked it up for about $12 and is a great value for sharpening mower blades 3 or 4 times a yr..

b


That angle grinder is the best electric tool they sell. It is strong and last a long time.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:48:39 PM EST
As an engineer, mechanic and all around collector of tools, I REFUSE to step foot in that chicom fail factory.

Every HF tool I have ever seen on a jobsite ended up causing damage and more work.

I refuse to let my crew buy shit from that place.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:50:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By Triptech:
As an engineer, mechanic and all around collector of tools, I REFUSE to step foot in that chicom fail factory.

Every HF tool I have ever seen on a jobsite ended up causing damage and more work.

I refuse to let my crew buy shit from that place.

Yeah, it not usually professional grade.

For Harry Homeowner, some of it is good enough.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:53:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By Triptech:
As an engineer, mechanic and all around collector of tools, I REFUSE to step foot in that chicom fail factory.

Every HF tool I have ever seen on a jobsite ended up causing damage and more work.

I refuse to let my crew buy shit from that place.


All your cars are BMW's?
All your food is caviar and top sirloin?
All your kids go to MIT or Harvard?
Everything in your house is gold-plated top-of-the-line?

Must be wonderful to be you. Makes me wonder why you would spend any time in GD at all.

Did you miss the part where most folks recognize HF is for odds and ends, or seldom used tools?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 12:57:37 PM EST
...Magnetic Wrist Band ($2) - I have no idea why I bought this. It just seemed like a cool idea...



My dear sweet wife bought me one. Took me about the third time on top of a ladder trying to screw some brackets to a joist to REALLY appreciate having the screws REAL handy.
For the right hand dominant, just strap to your right wrist, stick magnet in box of screws, shake the loose ones off & VIOLA screws right there & not in your mouth or dropped onto the floor.


7mm
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 2:08:00 PM EST
I picked up a pretty kick-ass 60psi compressor with hose and fairly nice airbrush bundle for just $60 bucks at the last sidewalk sale.

Performed great for duracoat projects I was working on.

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 2:15:19 PM EST
TOOLS FOR FOOLS.

That said I buy a lot of misc stuff from them and haven't had any problems.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 2:23:53 PM EST
Pick up a couple of those Super Siphons... the ones that you put the valve end in the liquid and shake it a few times.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:10:48 PM EST
Make sure you coat those socket strips with oil or they will be rust strips in a month.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:25:56 PM EST
I've got a few pneumatic impacts and an 10 gal oiled air compressor from HF. Had the tools for about six years and the compressor for two. They all work great. Chicago Pneumatic is the brand on them.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:39:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 3:40:35 PM EST by Dave_A]
By now, pretty much everything I have except my cordless tools (Ryobi) and compressor (Sears) is HF...

Never had a problem with tools - some of their 'gadgets' break too damn easily though...

As for 'soft' punches...

Heat them with a torch & dunk in motor oil...


Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:45:01 PM EST
I use my spring punch I bought from there all the time (I build things out of metal.) At $7 its by far the cheapest and the best one out there. It is kind of hit or miss with them.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:45:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


+1.

Not to mention their tools are crap. The sockets will break the first time you wrench on a stuck nut.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:47:04 PM EST
I've had good luck with everything in there. I steer clear of electric tools and hand tools however.

the cutting wheels are good-made in russia. I buy those everytime. They last the longest.
I got a drill bit set that worked good, holds a good edge. My dad bought these other cheap ones from Northern tool and the bit unwound the first time we drilled in some steel!!
We got the $30 chain saw sharpener 2 weeks ago and it sharped our few chains to decent condition. So now its been paid for and we can now do it ourselves in about 10min.
I have used plenty of the addortment packs that have e-clips, o-rings, and such to do many jobs,

Decent stuff for a tool or something that you don't need to use often or really isnt avaliable made in the USA anyways.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:51:59 PM EST
I have had better luck and service from them then I got from Sears.

They never had a problem taking stuff back either.
Other then hair clippers everything I have gotten from HF has worked well
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:54:55 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:00:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 4:05:55 PM EST by Triptech]

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Originally Posted By Triptech:
As an engineer, mechanic and all around collector of tools, I REFUSE to step foot in that chicom fail factory.

Every HF tool I have ever seen on a jobsite ended up causing damage and more work.

I refuse to let my crew buy shit from that place.


All your cars are BMW's? - Actually, Mercedes Benzes, thanks.
All your food is caviar and top sirloin? - Dont like Caviar, but I do Filet Mingion every night
All your kids go to MIT or Harvard? - Yup, as did I
Everything in your house is gold-plated top-of-the-line? - Gold is for pussies. All my shit is platinum plated.

Must be wonderful to be you. Trust me, IT IS!!!! Makes me wonder why you would spend any time in GD at all. To look down upon all you poor people.

Did you miss the part where most folks recognize HF is for odds and ends, or seldom used tools? Did you miss the part where 95% of it is shit made in china?



I LIVE by my tools, they are what makes my income happen.

Without them, I just know alot of shit, but cannot do any of it.

When you buy shitty tools and they break on you over and over, you spend 10x more in gas and time replacing the 'bargain' tool than if you just bought the premium one to begin with.

Unlike your Harbor Freight JUNK, my tools have VALUE that does not depreciate, they have lifetime warranties (my grandchildren will be using my tools), and I consider them an INVESTMENT.

You probably have Harbor Freight tools that you use to work on your Lorcin and Jennings "firearms".

Good luck with that, tool.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:01:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 4:13:09 PM EST by SHIPSNIPE1]
I bought all my work tools from there when I started out doing work on deck equipment.

Figured what use is a lifetime warranty when that wrench gets kicked over the side of the boat.

Also knew from experience that regardless of the quality of the steel it was gonna rust eventually.

On top of that I wasn't going to try to dupilcate my personal tool chest with all new Craftsman, Snap-On, etc.

That was expensive enough when I worked part time at Sears Hardware and bought them with my Craftsman and Employee discounts.

For the most part the hand tools have held up to the abuse and HF actually honors their warranties as long as you have the receipt.

Can't say the same for Craftsman nowadays. I guess they leave warranty policies up to the managers...

The you're better off buying HF power tools than some of the crapola Craftsman has been re-branding.

My personal 'Chicago Electric' 18v ($30.00) drill outlasted the Craftsman one my company bought at $149.99.

ETA: Nice personal attack above. Very classy...

What's next? Snap-On groupies cursing at the Mac snobs?

For fourteen years I had to make do with whatever the .gov bought with joe-taxpayer's money and work on equipment that people's lives
depended on. Had some good tools and had some shitty ones, had to get the job done with them and I did. FWIW...
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:07:31 PM EST
My Dad bought one of their rotary tools for me. It's held up fine polishing small parts.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:09:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By Triptech:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Originally Posted By Triptech:
As an engineer, mechanic and all around collector of tools, I REFUSE to step foot in that chicom fail factory.

Every HF tool I have ever seen on a jobsite ended up causing damage and more work.

I refuse to let my crew buy shit from that place.


All your cars are BMW's? - Actually, Mercedes Benzes, thanks.
All your food is caviar and top sirloin? - Dont like Caviar, but I do Filet Mingion every night
All your kids go to MIT or Harvard? - Yup, as did I
Everything in your house is gold-plated top-of-the-line? - Gold is for pussies. All my shit is platinum plated.

Must be wonderful to be you. Trust me, IT IS!!!! Makes me wonder why you would spend any time in GD at all. To look down upon all you poor people.

Did you miss the part where most folks recognize HF is for odds and ends, or seldom used tools? Did you miss the part where 95% of it is shit made in china?



I LIVE by my tools, they are what makes my income happen.

Without them, I just know alot of shit, but cannot do any of it.

When you buy shitty tools and they break on you over and over, you spend 10x more in gas and time replacing the 'bargain' tool than if you just bought the premium one to begin with.

Unlike your Harbor Freight JUNK, my tools have VALUE that does not depreciate, they have lifetime warranties (my grandchildren will be using my tools), and I consider them an INVESTMENT.

You probably have Harbor Freight tools that you use to work on your Lorcin and Jennings "firearms".

Good luck with that, tool.

Get over yourself.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:12:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 4:12:45 PM EST by Atomic_Ferret]


H-F 4in grinder. I have one with each kind of media on them. Have not managed to kill them (and I have tried).

Knock off Unibits. Damn near killed myself when one of them shattered. No thanks, I will keep buying the real ones (not cheap).

Jackstands... Have a flock of them from little to OMG huge. No problems (almost got killed by a craftsman jack stand that folded up on me).

punch set... Shattered two of them trying to get an AK rivet out. Found one of my "good" punches and knocked it out no problem.

Spot welder... It welds...

Stubby wrenches. Work good for the price.

"Vice grips" Not the best quality tool compared to the real ones but it is nice to have a whole pile of them around for lighter duty jobs.

Welding magnets.... Not very magnety (How the Chinese manage to screw up a magnet is beyond me)



Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:13:47 PM EST
Originally Posted By mattja:
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


+1.

Not to mention their tools are crap. The sockets will break the first time you wrench on a stuck nut.


I disassembled an entire rusted to shit Jeep pickup with mostly Harbor Freight tools. Only thing I broke was a Craftsman screwdriver. (Using it as a prybar. )

Sometimes Harbor Freight's shit can be like that though, you buy two identical tools, one shatters if you look at it wrong, and the other lasts forever. It was $6 though, so who cares.


They aren't for professionals, but for weekend warriors or guys building a project vehicle on a budget, they work just fine. If I wasn't a broke college student would the majority of my tools be Harbor Freight? Nope...but I am for now, so they serve me just fine working on my Gladiator.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:15:31 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:16:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 4:47:15 PM EST by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By mattja:
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


+1.

Not to mention their tools are crap. The sockets will break the first time you wrench on a stuck nut.

So far, my HF impact wrench & HF impact sockets have held up just fine...

The old Craftsman compressor I got off CL will die before those do....

My view for 'work' tools?

Since my work (IT) mostly relies on cheap hand tools when tools are needed (think about it... How much in 'serious' tools & equipment is needed to work in info systems?), it's best to stick to HF & WallyWorld shit, since it's more likely I will leave it behind & thus lose it, than I will break it at work...

The one tool I tend to break - drill bits & hole saws - break just as 'good' if they're Milwaukee or DeWalt.... So I'm gonna break 'em anyway, and might as well use the cheap shit....
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:21:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By fenderfreek:
Originally Posted By GTwannabe:
Originally Posted By MakemineanRRA:
The Communist Chinese thank you for your patronage.


+1... I got some basic steel punches when I ordered my brass punches ($7 in-stock vs. $20 perpetually-out-of-stock at Sears). Tapped on one of the steel punches with a hammer; bent at a 45 degree angle Was able to bend it straight with my bare hands. "Hardened" steel punches that are marginally harder than brass... great.

HF isn't bad for those tools you'll only ever need once (because they'll only last once!)



I got some pin punches there a year or so ago to put some lowers together, and I've ended up using them for a multitude of other projects.They've held up just fine.


The smaller diameter pin punches don't hold up well to the abuse an AK parts kit demill can dish out. You can really beat the hell out of the small pin punches trying to punch out rivets and things like that. I'd be pretty unhappy if I was breaking more expensive punches though.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:23:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By Triptech:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Originally Posted By Triptech:
As an engineer, mechanic and all around collector of tools, I REFUSE to step foot in that chicom fail factory.

Every HF tool I have ever seen on a jobsite ended up causing damage and more work.

I refuse to let my crew buy shit from that place.


All your cars are BMW's? - Actually, Mercedes Benzes, thanks.
All your food is caviar and top sirloin? - Dont like Caviar, but I do Filet Mingion every night
All your kids go to MIT or Harvard? - Yup, as did I
Everything in your house is gold-plated top-of-the-line? - Gold is for pussies. All my shit is platinum plated.

Must be wonderful to be you. Trust me, IT IS!!!! Makes me wonder why you would spend any time in GD at all. To look down upon all you poor people.

Did you miss the part where most folks recognize HF is for odds and ends, or seldom used tools? Did you miss the part where 95% of it is shit made in china?



I LIVE by my tools, they are what makes my income happen.

Without them, I just know alot of shit, but cannot do any of it.

When you buy shitty tools and they break on you over and over, you spend 10x more in gas and time replacing the 'bargain' tool than if you just bought the premium one to begin with.

Unlike your Harbor Freight JUNK, my tools have VALUE that does not depreciate, they have lifetime warranties (my grandchildren will be using my tools), and I consider them an INVESTMENT.

You probably have Harbor Freight tools that you use to work on your Lorcin and Jennings "firearms".

Good luck with that, tool.




BTW, what kind of MIT engineer uses hand tools to generate his income?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:24:27 PM EST
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