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View DocSavage45's profile

A good word for Harbor Freight!

by DocSavage45
posted 08-22-2016 07:55 PM


39 replies so far

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

482 posts in 1422 days


#1 posted 08-22-2016 08:01 PM

I have 2 water pumps from HF that I bought over 10 years ago and have used them and got my moneys worth. Never tried to deal with repairs or returns…but I am glad to hear they handled your issue correctly

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

View CharlieK's profile

CharlieK

594 posts in 4273 days


#2 posted 08-22-2016 08:10 PM

Congratulations, Tom. I am glad to hear that they are beginning to stand behind their stuff.

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans http://www.Jack-Bench.com

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5661 posts in 3723 days


#3 posted 08-22-2016 08:13 PM

I trust HF before Sears.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3711 days


#4 posted 08-22-2016 08:39 PM

I am a HF clamp guy! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#5 posted 08-22-2016 08:46 PM

Greg, Charlie, MrRon,

I have a few of their big machines now DC’d And newer isn’t better but this was a pleasant surprise

Charlie with your great luck re: Rigid I’m thinking their oscillating sander price and warranty.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#6 posted 08-22-2016 08:49 PM

MY_Stringer,

Me too. Buy them on sale. I have some that mirrored the Jorgenson clamps. Chrome plated etc. I don’t have them in a nice box though. LOL! Good idea.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

769 posts in 1182 days


#7 posted 08-22-2016 09:18 PM

HF sells junk. But they also sell some good stuff. If you use some common sense you can save a bundle on lots of things. Its a really nice place to have around. Think ill try some of those clamps, are you guys saying their a good deal.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View woodworkerguyca's profile

woodworkerguyca

30 posts in 1524 days


#8 posted 08-22-2016 09:22 PM

So here’s the deal: Harbor Freight for the most part makes all their own tools, or at least contracts with manufacturers to make their own brands. Some other brands such as Sears sell the some of the exact same products, probably from the same manufacturer, as their own brands.

I think the key phrase is “emerging manufacturing” some of their products they get right and are great quality for a bargain, and others are a waste of money. Solid bar clamps, terrible squeeze hand clamps (compared to say DeWalt). Some things work really well with some effort. If your time is worth money, then you’ll be better off spending more for something that works for you out of the box.

Given the time and feedback, it is likely that their catalog will continue improve. Some bad products have been discontinued, others replaced by newer properly functioning versions.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

960 posts in 1699 days


#9 posted 08-22-2016 10:24 PM



HF sells junk. But they also sell some good stuff. If you use some common sense you can save a bundle on lots of things. Its a really nice place to have around. Think ill try some of those clamps, are you guys saying their a good deal.

- jwmalone

i ripped some maple to fit inside mine and have used the crap out of them. without some type of wood to fill the inside they twist real easy.
imo, a very good deal

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8598 posts in 2523 days


#10 posted 08-23-2016 12:09 AM

I never had a bad experience with HF but I choose cautiously what I buy there. I bought two 4 1/2’’ grinders from them 15 years ago and the one keeps on going. I never checked the other. LOL Maybe I should. Good to hear Tom.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3596 posts in 2337 days


#11 posted 08-23-2016 12:15 AM

Love their clamps my sister gave me 10 of the old 2’ f style clamps I have some of the new style 18” ones and 4 of the aluminum 60” and a single 36” one. They only had one of the 36” when I was there so only one. My local store is straight junk poor service, no organization and like to argue over the warranties on the clamps even though it says lifetime on the side. Now the Louisville ky store is the greatest I have been in clean, well stocked, helpful and knowledgable staff. We went in they asked how our day was as soon as we came through the door then asked what we was looking for and took us to where the stuff was.

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2695 days


#12 posted 08-23-2016 12:43 AM

Talking about clamps, I probably have about a dozen of the toggle clamps about evenly mixed between the horizontal and vertical style. For guys who make up a lot of jigs, these are super handy and so far (knock on wood) I haven’t had one fail. Though I have had them pull the mounting screws out of plywood if I didn’t adjust them to well.

HF toggle clamp

Thanks,
Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1866 posts in 2797 days


#13 posted 08-23-2016 01:01 AM



Talking about clamps, I probably have about a dozen of the toggle clamps about evenly mixed between the horizontal and vertical style. For guys who make up a lot of jigs, these are super handy and so far (knock on wood) I haven t had one fail. Though I have had them pull the mounting screws out of plywood if I didn t adjust them to well.

HF toggle clamp

Thanks,
Mike

- MikeDS

For those that don’t have a nearby Harbor Freight, Menards carries them for just a dollar more. With all those 11% rebate sales they run, the price difference can be as low as 23 cents.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2695 days


#14 posted 08-23-2016 01:12 AM

The first round I needed 6 clamps and I also saw that Amazon lists the Powertec brand clamp for a reasonable price ($6.99) and it seems to get ok reviews.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#15 posted 08-23-2016 01:13 AM

JWMalone,

Yep They are knockoffs off Jorgenson Bar clamps. Menards has sales on their version and the 11% covers sales tax. HF charges a flat 6.99 with a deal in shipping from Fed ex but handed off to USPS. I purchased 16 f bar clamps of different lengths. Came in two shipments for one rate.

If I were running a commercial shop I’d purchase Milwaukee , Dewalt, Makita.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#16 posted 08-23-2016 01:14 AM

Dave,

I think you might be pushing it? LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Tugboater78's profile

Tugboater78

2788 posts in 2672 days


#17 posted 08-23-2016 01:16 AM

Have sasaome of those alum blue ended clamps, and love them, filled the inside with some scrap plywood to stiffwen them up.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5974 posts in 2889 days


#18 posted 08-23-2016 01:41 AM



Have sasaome of those alum blue ended clamps, and love them, filled the inside with some scrap plywood to stiffwen them up.

- Tugboater78

Thanks for the tip. I have several I got on sale and with coupons. I make my own bases so all clamps line up on the table at the same height.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30428 posts in 2818 days


#19 posted 08-23-2016 03:00 AM

I have had good luck with some items also.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#20 posted 08-23-2016 03:48 AM

So HF has a place for us all?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3060 posts in 2505 days


#21 posted 08-23-2016 04:10 AM

I have abused the hell out of their cheap single speed multi tool. I’ve run it for hours scraping adhesive off a kitchen floor, and it never got hot. Carved out a TP holder recess in a solid stack of 2X4s. The blade smoked but the tool never faltered. When it quit one time, I pulled off the plate covering the cord connection, and found a loose wire, which was easy to correct (pinch the female connector to make it a bit tighter). Bought another one to have as a spare, as the $15 cost was pretty painless. Handy to have 2 of them, with different blades in each. Sure it’s noisy, but so are all the other tools of that type that I’ve used (including the Fein).

Years ago, my first set of HF wrenches (ratcheting box wrenches) were junk—some didn’t work right out of the box.. That was back when HF was strictly a mail order place, unless you lived in California. Since then, they’ve improved to the point where I find their wrenches as good as anyone’s. I especially like the ratcheting set that uses through sockets, so you can turn a nut anywhere along a long bolt or all-thread. Seems solidly made, and the fine toothed ratchet is very smooth.

There seems to be a gradual improvement overall in HF’s tools. You still have to check stuff out pretty carefully, but there are some worthwhile bargains there. I’m waiting for a clone of the Domino. Expect to pay about $79.95 for it.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5338 posts in 2789 days


#22 posted 08-23-2016 07:01 AM

I’m going bookmark this thread and post it the the next thread about “why nothing is made in the USA”.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12890 posts in 2860 days


#23 posted 08-23-2016 07:04 AM

Domino patents should have a few years left on them then look out!

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

694 posts in 1220 days


#24 posted 08-23-2016 11:46 AM



Love their clamps my sister gave me 10 of the old 2 f style clamps I have some of the new style 18” ones and 4 of the aluminum 60” and a single 36” one. They only had one of the 36” when I was there so only one. My local store is straight junk poor service, no organization and like to argue over the warranties on the clamps even though it says lifetime on the side. Now the Louisville ky store is the greatest I have been in clean, well stocked, helpful and knowledgable staff. We went in they asked how our day was as soon as we came through the door then asked what we was looking for and took us to where the stuff was.

- diverlloyd

+1 for the Louisville store (Westport Rd), and not just because it’s a mere 15 minute drive for me. I wanted to get into turning pens, so I went there to pick up a set of their medium quality lathe tools and the mini 8×12 variable speed lathe. Tools were in stock, lathe wasn’t. Lady at the counter checked another store for me, and also when the next shipment arrived. Put one on hold for me for the following Monday (this was Saturday) and took my number. I bought the lathe tools and left.
Sunday I get a call that it’s in if I want to pick it up…so I got it earlier than expected, and having to make two trips let me use their 20% off coupon on both the tools and the lathe. And everyone was super friendly all 3 or 4 times I’ve been in the store, even the younger employees.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

411 posts in 2447 days


#25 posted 08-23-2016 12:32 PM

Could do with a few companies like that down here, even if you get a guarantee they never honour it! Glad to hear you managed to get it sorted, even without the guarantee!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View 01ntrain's profile

01ntrain

259 posts in 1550 days


#26 posted 08-23-2016 01:25 PM


+1 for the Louisville store (Westport Rd), and not just because it s a mere 15 minute drive for me. I wanted to get into turning pens, so I went there to pick up a set of their medium quality lathe tools and the mini 8×12 variable speed lathe. Tools were in stock, lathe wasn t. Lady at the counter checked another store for me, and also when the next shipment arrived. Put one on hold for me for the following Monday (this was Saturday) and took my number. I bought the lathe tools and left.
Sunday I get a call that it s in if I want to pick it up…so I got it earlier than expected, and having to make two trips let me use their 20% off coupon on both the tools and the lathe. And everyone was super friendly all 3 or 4 times I ve been in the store, even the younger employees.

- Dustin

The Westport Rd store is, by far, the best in the area. I live across the river, but my S.O. lives in that area and I will go there instead of the store in Clarksville. Cleaner, more open, nicer people….

View PaulHWood's profile

PaulHWood

456 posts in 2733 days


#27 posted 08-23-2016 01:46 PM

Not sure I would buy anything with a motor from them, but they do have some good items.

I buy sets of wrenches and screwdrivers to keep as seconds in my shed or truck where you need to use it a little. The squeeze bar clamps are literally garbage as I bought four 36” to just temporarily hold projects while I get my real clamps on it, and they just don’t hold.

The mobile machine base is high quality, although not dirt cheap. Casters and wheels appear to be much cheaper than other sources and are about equal in quality.

-- -Paul, South Carolina Structural Engineer by trade, Crappy Woodworker by choice

View marvinlee's profile

marvinlee

37 posts in 2669 days


#28 posted 08-23-2016 02:30 PM



I have abused the hell out of their cheap single speed multi tool. I ve run it for hours scraping adhesive off a kitchen floor, and it never got hot. Carved out a TP holder recess in a solid stack of 2X4s. The blade smoked but the tool never faltered. When it quit one time, I pulled off the plate covering the cord connection, and found a loose wire, which was easy to correct (pinch the female connector to make it a bit tighter). Bought another one to have as a spare, as the $15 cost was pretty painless. Handy to have 2 of them, with different blades in each. Sure it s noisy, but so are all the other tools of that type that I ve used (including the Fein).

Years ago, my first set of HF wrenches (ratcheting box wrenches) were junk—some didn t work right out of the box.. That was back when HF was strictly a mail order place, unless you lived in California. Since then, they ve improved to the point where I find their wrenches as good as anyone s. I especially like the ratcheting set that uses through sockets, so you can turn a nut anywhere along a long bolt or all-thread. Seems solidly made, and the fine toothed ratchet is very smooth.

There seems to be a gradual improvement overall in HF s tools. You still have to check stuff out pretty carefully, but there are some worthwhile bargains there. I m waiting for a clone of the Domino. Expect to pay about $79.95 for it.

- runswithscissors


-- Marvin, Kiger Island

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#29 posted 08-23-2016 06:30 PM

PaulHWood,

I have several big item floor tools and they have some issues but for a non commercial shop….great so far. I’m less impressed with small motors but they were pretty good. The old oscillating sander was much better than the new one .

Routers compare with the old craftsman.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#30 posted 08-23-2016 06:33 PM

Phil,

Yep! I used it yesterday to complete my rehab of the mower deck. Worked great. I did a search on Porter Cable and found some bad reviews since purchased by Black and Decker.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#31 posted 08-23-2016 06:36 PM

Dustin,

I think HF is doing well with their franchises. Sometimes new guys don’t know what they are talking about? LOL! do your homework. I have the floor mouted lathe. Have yet to use it. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#32 posted 08-23-2016 06:43 PM

Alaskaguy,

It’s a new world. Sad to say. People would buy local if the steel mills hadn’t shut down. some have reopened with new equipment. The bottom line now days is not quality but the market?

The HF stores are owned by folks like us.

Cheap tools are CHEAP TOOLS but if the standards of the company have good quality controls and enforce them you get a good tool.

I can’t afford a new Pickup. I’m buying and rehabbing old handtools. I was just complementing HF on the way they treated me.

Thanks for checking it out.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3711 days


#33 posted 08-23-2016 06:43 PM

Motorized? I have the 2hp dust collector and the oscillating sander (which is also rebranded by other manufacturers). No problems from them. Or the 4 inch hand held grinder.

Never a problem with the cheap F Style clamps. I have 6 inch, 12 inch and several 24’s. They flex a bit (the 24’s).

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5661 posts in 3723 days


#34 posted 08-23-2016 06:51 PM

I’m happy with some of the things I bought at HF and not so happy with some others. I bought 2 of the 6” digital calipers a year ago and they both bit the dust. Fortunately I bought them on sale.

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 1323 days


#35 posted 08-23-2016 07:34 PM

Harbor Freight is a mixed bag. Some of their stuff is junk and some of it is cheap but an excellent value.

It might be worthwhile to start a thread on the good, the bad, and the ugly at Harbor Freight.

Personally I buy all my foam paint brushes from HF. They seem to equal the quality of the more expensive foam brushes but are a fraction of the cost.

Their casters and their pneumatic wheels are very cheap too and seem to be holding up very well. We also bought two 8” solid wheels for our hand trucks at the factory and they are holding up very well too.

But the Allen wrenches I bought easily twisted out of shape and were not satisfactory (but cheap).

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#36 posted 08-23-2016 09:45 PM

Cooler,

There are YouTube critiques of exactly what you are talking about. ghostses is my favorite. His knowledge and fixes have been invaluable to me. He did a recent critique on the compund miter saw and he went through three of them and decided the new stuff was not like the display models in the store.

There are some others and of course it’s one persons opinion?

I bought the dill bit set waaaaay back. It’s going strong.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3060 posts in 2505 days


#37 posted 08-23-2016 10:01 PM

Ah, the drill bit set. I bought the HF set (29 bits, I think) of cobalt drills. I use these a lot, and the cobalt are the best (really, the only) bits for stainless steel. There are ways to drill stainless with ordinary high speed drills, but they involve solutions that lubricate and cool simultaneously. Canned milk is one example). Cobalt is much better, as it can withstand high heat.

So, anyhow, they have held up as well as the expensive sets at my local hardware store, though I do continue to buy those when I need to replace an individual bit. Cobalt bits tend to be somewhat brittle, so there is breakage, but that seems to be about the same with both drill sources.

I had read a review of the HF drills on this site which denigrated them. I shrugged off this review, thinking to form my own judgement. I have found them to be equal in quality, as well as much cheaper

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8856 posts in 3322 days


#38 posted 08-23-2016 10:32 PM

Runswithscissors,

Thanks for adding. LOL!

I bought the BIGGG set. Had money back then. They have small increments that allow me to use a digital caliper (HF) and get close tolerances. Pretty gold color too. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3596 posts in 2337 days


#39 posted 08-24-2016 01:27 AM

Train I’m glad I’m not the only one that think the Clarksville store is junk. At least I can cross the road and have a good steak before I go home. I have had good luck with the psa sand paper also. It doesn’t last as long as the 3m but it lasts long enough for the price. I seem to use them up as soon as it’s time to switch grits so that’s a good thing I’m not wasting them like the 3m.

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