The neatest thing.

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Jolly, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Louisiana
    I buy a few odds and ends from Harbor Freight.

    Yes, I know, caveat emptor, and you usually get what you pay for. Recently though, they put a little 115 V wire welder on sale for $79, and I had to bite. Several of the guys at work had bought this little monster, and all had liked it.

    Now, you have to watch the HF prices like a hawk. I found three different prices on this same welder, in the same catalog. I went ahead, and paid an extra $20, for a 24 month, full trade warranty - it breaks, they send me another, no charge.

    Had a chance to weld with it this weekend. I'm no welder, and I don't pretend to know my stuff, but within about ten minutes, I could lay down a decent working bead. The neatest thing, was that you could weld EMT, and not burn through, which could lead to lots of applications.

    The biggest drawback I see is the cost of the flux-shielded wire, which runs about $13/4 lb roll, and the fact that you really couldn't weld stuff past 1/4". But for average light repair, it seems like a really neat little rig...
     
  2. DraftFlavored

    DraftFlavored Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    California
    Jolly, you're post about sums it up.

    I own a precision heavy metal stamping/machine shop here in So. California and I buy specific items from Harbor Freight on a regular basis..... wade thru much of the junk and you can find a few winners. For example, I buy alot of the Nitrile Disposable Gloves and they provide good hand protection when you need something other than a heavy glove. For turning, machining and all general purpose close contact light machine work, they're the best disposible glove I have found in over 25 years with regard to wear and hand protection both.
    We handle alot of heavy stock here 1/4"-1" thick and they work well to protect the hands even under some heavy applications. At 6 bucks a box of 100, you can beat em. Another little unforseen gem I found at HF.... I wanted a few spare cheapy sets of vice grips and assorted needlenose and reg. pliers for the office. Ironically, I sorted thru a bin and checked a number of nice small hand tools. I found 10-12 nice straight tight tools, assorted functions. They were nice and small, felt pretty good in hand and the external grip covers felt good, in tact! As long as you check them out. All for 2.50.
    And I thought Harbor Freight was shopping at the bottom of the barrel? Not quite!
    I was shopping in my local hardware store to pick up something and I came across a cheap Chinese (actually a DeWalt Imitation ; ) Angle Grinder.
    7 Bucks. So, laughing, I bought it so I could actually see what a 7 dollar
    might do, or not do. We'll, for one, there were no bearings in the body, only aluminum bushings. That was after the smoke cleared from a hunk of 3" thick plow steel. We replaced with bearings and she's still running.
    HF can sometimes offer a few interesting finds when you don't wan't to roll out the good shop stuff. I'll say however, just because I saw a heavy duty wrench at a discount tool house for 4 bucks doesn't make it safe to throw your weight into it and break your neck! We don't use cheap tools here, never have never will. We buy quality. People so often make it dangerous for themselves using cheap tools for heavy jobs. A big NO NO!!!
    Have a great day.... Pamela
     

  3. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    South West MI
    I bought the HF 18 volt tool set after my second Dewalt set walked away. People laughed and continued to replace their Dewalts on a too frequent basis while my HF worked fine and were never stolen. Now I'm on my own and have Ryobi set that had more options than HF. Drill, circular saw,sawsall,jig saw,flashlight,chainsaw and dustbuster.Half the price of Dewalt and just as good.Gave the still working HF to a friend.

    mikell
     
  4. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    Montana
    Friend of mine was a pro bullrider sponsored by Dewalt. You should have seen all the tools he had sitting that would never get used....I was droooling!
     
  5. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Another HF item worth the money....

    They occasionally put a socket set on sale, that has 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 drives, both metric and ASE, along with the ratchets for $79. Each drive size has its own little metal box for sockets and ratchets.

    I thought they were probably junk, until a friend of mine, a superintendent of a decent sized municipal waste department, bought 40 sets to go on his trucks. The ratchets died pretty quickly, and even though they'd replace them under warranty, it was too much hassle to ship off a fresh box of broken ratchets every week. The sockets held up well.

    Solution? The department bought each truck a Craftsman ratchet in each drive size, where if they broke, they could be replaced in town.

    But those HF sockets are still going strong...
     
  6. DraftFlavored

    DraftFlavored Well-Known Member

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    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    California
    The "Pittsburgh" brand sockets (tools in general) are ok at Harbor Freight. They're not the best, not the worst, if you are looking for something real inexpensive.

    Pamela