Can be made to work, but not all that great...

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Review by dbhost posted 08-26-2009 09:36 PM 4958 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Can be made to work, but not all that great... No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I am posting this so all the LJ-ers out there won’t start thinking I drank some kind of Harbor Freight Cool Aid or anything like that…

A while back I acquired a Drill Master 94203 1” to 2-1/2” Hole Saw Set from Harbor Freight Tools to bore some large holes after my old Ace Hardware set was discovered missing. (Long story, problem since solved). As often as I have been using a hole saw, I figured a cheapie wouldn’t be a bad thing. I was wrong.

The good.

The steel cups are nice and straight, and if it was completely up to the cup, this would drill nice, perfectly straight holes exactly where you want them.

The injection molded case is nice for keeping your bits and pieces organized.

Everything you need is included, however…

The bad.

The set screw threads in the arbor were stripped out from the factory, making it impossible to tighten the set screw onto the pilot bit.

The pilot bit was bent from the factory, meaning once the set screw problem was taken care of by rethreading the hole and adding a new set screw, the saw still wouldn’t drill a straight hole.

The solutions to the bad.
Using a machine tap, rethread the hole for the set screw, and replace the set screw with the new larger size. Pick your tap size and set screw size carefully, there isn’t a lot of material to work with here.

Replace the pilot bit with a decent quality bit. I matched up the bit with a same size old mismatched Ace Hardware bit I had in a toolbox. I ground a flat spot for the set screw to tighten down to, and installed it. NOW the hole saw set works fine.

Long and short of it, don’t waste your time, unless money is really that tight, and you have a tap set handy, and even then it is a pain to deal with… You will be far better off with a better quality set…

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View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4007 days

8 comments so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4159 days

#1 posted 08-26-2009 10:04 PM

I guess I got lucky. Mine wasn’t stripped out or bent and works just fine. I was happy since I knew I was taking a chance buying from HF. It seems like they sell some good products but are lacking quality control and consistency.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4797 days

#2 posted 08-26-2009 10:14 PM

I used mine on the weekend because, like you I put my 2-1/2” Milwaukee saw in a safe place where I can’t find it.
I bought mine for $2.00 at a clearance and it is still no bargain.
I practically had to stand on it to get it through 3/4 MDF.
It also didn’t have a hole in the side to remove the plug necessitating taking the whole thing apart .
just another nail in the Chinese manufacturing coffin.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4239 days

#3 posted 08-27-2009 02:24 PM

i must be lucky too. mine is fine, for the 1 time i used it. i expect to use it maybe 1 day out of the year, so its a good value to me.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4661 days

#4 posted 08-27-2009 03:13 PM

I have the large and the small sets. Found each size good for about 1 hole each and then they’re useless. But there are times when I’d give the price of a set just to drill one hole.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4061 days

#5 posted 08-27-2009 03:38 PM

Once again Harbor Freight proves their worth.

Thanks for sharing


View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4007 days

#6 posted 08-27-2009 03:41 PM

In all fairness, I haven’t found any problems with the cups. They stay relatively sharp through repeated use in wood. They are NOT hole saws I would use for metal applications though….

After tapping, and replacing the set screw, I also replaced the bent drill bit with the same size (I forget now what size that thing is) bit from an old mostly missing bits Ace Hardware set. I simply knocked a notch into the shaft with my bench grinder so the set screw had something to bite on… It works fine now, and I don’t hesitate to use it, it is however a good example of why it was so cheap…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View dustyal's profile


1319 posts in 4250 days

#7 posted 09-03-2009 02:50 AM

Yeah, I picked this up on one of my browsings through the store… real cheap. I’ve cut a couple of holes… worked fine. May not last… but I use hole saw soooo infrequently that it’ll do for me. No problem with stripping set screws or bend drill bit. Not high quality stuff, but for occasional weekend woodworker it isn’t a bad deal.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3884 days

#8 posted 11-24-2009 06:52 AM

I picked up the small and the large diameter set. I am guessing these are about in every workshop in some corner somewhere. I had no issues with mine. I wouldn’t recommend it for anything thicker than 3/4” nor any hardwood or MDF. I did find the 5” handy for a roofing project recently. I had to put a hole in for some new flashing and the saw worked fine on the thin OSB. I will probably spring for the better bi-metal blades in the future, but this set does alright for my limited use.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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