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Rate the Harbor Freight Tools Thread- Pass or Fail?

Ken from ontario

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We don't have HF here in Canada but we do have similar type of stores selling inexpensive( I was gonna say cheap:)) Chinese tools ,the name of the place is Princess Auto, they sell exactly the same stuff as HF but in different colors., I don't know if any of you experienced the smell but as soon as you enter the store you get a whiff of rubber mixed with I don't know what. you just can't ignore that odor.
Anyhow, the best deal I got from our HF here is their welding blankets ,amazing deal, these blankets are fire resistant up to 1000F and they are great if you do a lot of welding or grinding.
The second deal I got was their 220v welding cable, you can't make it any cheaper if you bought the plugs and wire and built it yourself.great deal.





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ewkearns

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Re: Harbor Freight, I have always thought one got what they paid for.... so, I tended to buy hand tools and small motorized tools. (Discovered that I'd need to chuck the tool, if battery powered, since by the time I needed the battery, it would be priced 2-3 times what I paid for the entire tool. Lesson learned: last battery powered tool was a Milwaukee.) I bought an HF ATV winch a few weeks ago to install inside a trailer and for $69 it was OK, even though I had to rewire with end terminals of adequate quality and buy a separate cover for the unprotected circuit breaker. Lately, though, I have been put off by the prices. My latest acquisition pitted Harbor Freight against American branded makes. I bought a 5500# pallet jack made by Clark for $219. HF catalog price was/is $269 for a 5000# model. 500# capacity for $50 less and the very real possibility that I can buy parts, if needed.....

Caveat Emptor, in this brave new world.....
 

intjonmiller

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A number of years ago I bought a Harbor Freight carbon steel fractional tap & die set specifically for an aluminum project. It has served me very well. I've done far more mild steel work with it than I expected to be able to do.

Unfortunately this week I broke the die wrench. Cheap pot metal construction, so it's not surprising that the set screw stripped. Now I need a replacement. I've been trying to search on here to see if anyone has plans for one, but I've had a little trouble since the silly search function won't let me use the term "die" because it's too short.

die wrench search.JPG

Wasn't sure where else to put this, but I figured it's a good mixed review of the HF carbon steel tap & die sets, and the poor wrenches (both tap and die wrenches are frustratingly bad).

So, does anyone looking at this have plans drawn up for a good die wrench? Or know of a good thread on the subject here in this forum? I can obviously just order a better one, but I want it tomorrow (literally) and I like making my own tools. Thanks!
 

intjonmiller

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I have been wanting to make one of those, but I was thinking of something simpler for now (which could just be the end of it sliced off). Maybe I should just go ahead and make the full thing...
 

ebolton

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As a hobbyist, I like Harbor Freight. I'll give them a 'Pass'. The prices are very good for tools I'm not going to use a lot anyway. If my living depended on the tools I buy, I would probably be more critical.

My most recent 'big' purchases from HF are an air compressor and an angle grinder. Both have been better than I expected.

-Ed
 

wawoodman

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I have been wanting to make one of those, but I was thinking of something simpler for now (which could just be the end of it sliced off). Maybe I should just go ahead and make the full thing...

That's what I figured you could do. Just make the front end ring to hold the die, and thread in handles.
 

ewkearns

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Try a search for "Die Stock," that really is the proper term.....
Yes, it appears that the word "die" returns no results, however, if you search for "die stock," you *do* get results....

IMHO, a three letter search is valid. The webmaster apparently doesn't concur....
 

Rick Berk

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I recently bought a lot of bungee cords from HF, found out they stretch about 1/2 as much as the good ones and they do not have the tension of the good ones.
 

Bill Rosselot

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I use HF tools quite a bit. I have a couple of the 4.1/2" angle grinders and a chop saw. I find that HF tools are good for the price. With one exception that I've found 12" Compound Miter saw bought it for 134.00 and I also own 2 Dewalt saws that were 475 each and the HF saw hands down cuts better a lot more accurate so for me that was a good buy. I've even looked at their precision tools and yes they are not a smooth as my starrets but they do work well and I'm not afraid to give one to my grandsons because if they drop them I'm out 10 bucks or just pick them up and keep using them. I've been on a budget for a long time now so HF has helped me out. Oh yes one other thing Tool boxes they are a box that holds tools dont see the need to spend 2500 on a snapon box because my snapon tools and my craftsman tools fit real well in that HF tool box for 395.
 

kd4gij

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Include the quotes when you type into the search box: "die stock"
You can also use Google to search a specific web site.
Type "die stock site:www.hobby-machinist.com" (this time without the quotes)
into Google's search box.
Another good tip for the search function on this site or any site, is go to advance search and click the box for " In title only" makes it easer to find what you are looking for..
 

Kroll

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Guys I am in need of a floor jack,anyone tried this one out?
 

coherent

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I've bought a lot of HF tools and products over the years. Unless you are using them daily in a business most of the hand tools are ok. Especially now that many have a lifetime warranty with free exchange. The little seldom used things that you only need once in a blue moon are usually fine and serve their purpose (usually even cheaper than renting). Power tools... do some research, some work well for the price, some are simply junk.
Here's a few that stand out good, bad and in-between.

- 50' retractable air hose & reel. Great reel, ok hose. Item #62344 Thumbs up!
- Trailer Tongue Box. Item #62344 Very well made. My only minor issue is you can't remove the key while unlocked but otherwise Thumbs up!
- Wire Strippers/Cutter Item #61586. Can't beat the price. Work great. Thumbs up!
- Cable Ties (Any I've tried from HF) Break easily. junk. Thumbs down!
- Air Shears. Item # 98833 Keep your money no matter how cheap. Thumbs down!
- 4x6" Horz Band saw. Item #93762. Lots of info and users. A few mods make it a great saw. Thumbs up!
- 3/8" Torque Wrench. Item #93762. Worked a while then quit. But returned months later and replaced with new one for free. 1/2 Thumb!
- 12 Ton Press. Item #60604. Always works for what I need to do with it. No complaints. Thumbs up!
 

jpfabricator

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The electric Tachometer item # 66632 seems to work ok. Iv checked the speed on everything in the shop!

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
 

intjonmiller

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#61737 electric metal shears (the kind that doesn't take out a kerf of material) work great. Labeled for 18ga mild but I've used them on up to 16ga without an issue. There is a slight trick to holding them on the correct angle (twist of the wrist type angle) so they will feed smoothly. Once you figure that out they just zip through the metal. Priceless for installing seamless metal roof panels with, say, 30 foot long runs that need to be trimmed to length for the last panel. $40 any day of the week before coupon. Invaluable, and live full time in my sheet metal tools bag.
 

ACHiPo

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Guys I am in need of a floor jack,anyone tried this one out?
I haven't--it was too heavy for my application, but it gets great reviews. It's widely regarded as HF's best jack by far. I ended up getting the 2.5 ton racing jack, which is ok for my needs, but I would have rather had the longer reach of the Daytona.
 

alloy

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I picked up one of the open side HF hose reels this weekend and mounted it up. I put 50ft of hose on it, supposed to hold 100ft but that would be pushing it.

As other reviewers have said on the HF site the hose tends to goo off to the side of the reel when winding it up. One guy got some pizza pans and put on the side of the reels to stop this. For me it's easy to guide the hose on with my other hand. Now it only takes a moment to reel my hose up instead of coiling up by hand. So far it's air tight, no leaks at all.

For $18 I give it a pass. I looked at the more expensive one that self wind, but was afraid the spring would go bad after time. With this being manual I don't have to worry about it.

http://www.harborfreight.com/100-ft-steel-air-hose-reel-46342.html
 

intjonmiller

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alloy

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Looks like I made the right decision then on not buying the automatic one.
 

darkzero

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I have the auto retract one. They come in 25ft & 50ft. I've had the 50ft'r for quite some years already. I don't use it everyday but I do use it often, in my home garage. I've never had a problem with the spring or latching mech & never even thought to worry about those parts.

Hose that is comes with is absolute garbage. I replaced the hose with my Goodyear hose from HF immediately. Gave the unused hose to a friend & he said it didn't even last him 2 weeks before it sprung multiple leaks. I did have to replace the orings in the fittings some years back, other than that it has been trouble free.

I'd give it a pass for home shop use. I mainly use it for all my automotive tools when wrenching on cars on the driveway. Note sure how it will hold up to daily shop use but it does seem to be of pretty decent quality aside from what I mentioned.

Edit: To add, I only replaced the orings not cause they completely blew out, but because one had a very small leak. Could have just been damaged when my particular reel was assembled. I'm anal, I hate air leaks in my air supply. If it drops pressure over one night I'll fix whatever is causing it. Luckily my air supply is not complex. I keep it pressurized all the time.
 
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JimDawson

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I have had my HF 50 ft retractable hose reels for 10 years, both were in daily commercial use when my son was running his auto shop out of my shop for 3 of those years. Still working fine and still have the original hoses on them.
 

roadie33

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I have one of the 50' retractable hose reels for 15 years, and have had no problems with it.
I just recently bought one of the 25' retractable hose reels for the basement shop, time will tell if it is as good as the one in the outside shop.
 

ACHiPo

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I took the plunge on a 44" General Tools roll-around tool cabinet--big time pass! I'd read the reviews and found them hard to believe, but this is a very well built cabinet. Highly recommended!

I also took advantage of the shipping to get a 4x6 vertical/horizontal band saw. While I'm sure I'll be able to tune it up and make it run great, it is an absolute POS out of the box. The tension knob was broken, one of the legs were bent, the stop pin chains were broken, the blade guard hits' the casting and won't open. Oh, and unlike the tool chest, it has that used-motor-oil HF smell.:disgust: Not that I was surprised by any of this, but still I'd hoped for better. I need to contact HF and hopefully they'll have replacement parts, as there's no way I can get it back into the box to ship back.
 

fradish

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When you say the blade guard hits the casting and won't open, do you mean the large cover that covers the entire
blade? If so, there is a thumb wheel next to the drive wheel which you have to loosen and then you can slide part
of the guide up away from the hinge rod. I didn't notice that at first and couldn't figure out why they would make
the cover hit the hinge... :)

I think like a lot of people I found that the worm gear on mine wasn't deburred. A few minutes with a file took
care of that. Overall I like my 4x6 bandsaw, but I have only had it a few months...

One of my favorite buys from HF is the 1000lb hydraulic lift table. I use that a lot to move machinery (a bench
mill and a lathe) and also use it as a sawhorse or a portable table. I made a small plywood and 2x4 top for it that
makes it easy to clamp things down to the surface. I can also bolt things down to the wooden surface if I'm moving something heavy and I don't want it to shift or fall. It has been very useful.

I think like a lot of other people have said, if I had a business and needed to rely on the equipment to make my living, I
would probably look for something better, but for what I do as a hobby, most of the HF stuff I have bought is fine.
 

ACHiPo

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When you say the blade guard hits the casting and won't open, do you mean the large cover that covers the entire
blade? If so, there is a thumb wheel next to the drive wheel which you have to loosen and then you can slide part
of the guide up away from the hinge rod. I didn't notice that at first and couldn't figure out why they would make
the cover hit the hinge... :)
That's the one. I found the knob last night, loosened it, but it didn't seem to do anything. I ran out of steam last night so gave up before I messed something up. Will give it another shot tonight. It also looks like the motor alignment is off, as the motor sheave rubs against the belt guard.

I think like a lot of people I found that the worm gear on mine wasn't deburred. A few minutes with a file took
care of that.
I'll check that out as well tonight. The casting seems ok from what I can tell, but won't really know until I try to line things up.

Overall I like my 4x6 bandsaw, but I have only had it a few months...
I think I'll like it once I get it tuned up. That seems to be the general consensus. I did find myself questioning my decision last night, however.

One of my favorite buys from HF is the 1000lb hydraulic lift table. I use that a lot to move machinery (a bench
mill and a lathe) and also use it as a sawhorse or a portable table. I made a small plywood and 2x4 top for it that
makes it easy to clamp things down to the surface. I can also bolt things down to the wooden surface if I'm moving something heavy and I don't want it to shift or fall. It has been very useful.
I built a Noden Adjust-a-bench with a Silestone top. It's not hydraulic, but is really useful as a low finishing table, bench-height, or even outfeed for my band saw.
 

visenfile

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This thread is so long I imagine this HF tool was mentioned before, even by me. But I just finished an interior door project and want to mention the HF hand planer. I had used it many years back, but forgot how well it performed. (yes , wood, sorry). Mine is green plastic and aluminum, SKU 32222, Chicago Electric. I removed and just touched up the blades on a fine wheel. This thing reduced excess wood on the mating doors in no time and laughed at the end grain portions. I tried looking up the SKU on the HF site, but nothing. HF does show a unit in red resembling mine with more power. This tool looks rather cheap, but it is a pleasure to use.
 
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