The recent thread "Violent Electric Drill Accident" got me wondering about
places like Harbor Freight Tools and their product liability. The local
store sells an amazing array of dangerous tools. We all know how shoddy
and defective some of them are, and notwithstanding the "electric drill
accident", surely there are many cases where a faulty tool hurts somebody.
What I cannot understand is how they can run a store and sell, oh, angle
grinders for $14.99, since they must be getting sued all the time. So much
of their stuff is obviously dangerous, and I don't mean in the usual power-
tool-requires-common-sense way, such as the toys they sell for children
(100 lb go-kart with no effective brakes!) that you can't buy anywhere else
because no American firm could survive the lawsuits. Does the Chinese
mafia come to visit if you have a "problem"? Does anyone know how HF is
organized and defends itself?
Exactly why do you think these things are so dangerous??
Is it based on personal experience, or just the assumption that since it is
a shoddy piece of shit it will also hurt you? Exactly what, for instance,
is the angle grinder going to do to you? The wheel will fall apart due to
wheel defects, maybe, but what does that have to do with the grinder? If
you put a decent wheel on it, it's going to be fine. Maybe the gears with
disintegrate, but then you will be even safer since it won't be turning.
On Fri, 18 Jul 2003 16:23:04 +0000 (UTC), the renowned Ian Stirling
True. If the tool was actually double-insulated to meet UL
requirements. If it wasn't approved, we don't know. They might have
used any number of substandard materials. Or maybe it's fine, just
they have not spent the $5K to get the approvals. I've seen both
*Surely* it's not permitted (by UL or CSA) to manufacture approved
tools with FAKE 3-wire cords.
I'd look at it and assume the exposed metal bits were supposed to be
grounded/earthed, safer than double-insulated in some situations.
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
firstname.lastname@example.org Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
AFAIK there isn't. It just helps enforce getting the hot and neutral plugged
in correctly. Sometimes the different size blades don't get the job done
because some ham handed person forces them in wrong. But with the
ground prong too, they'd have to cut it off to get the plug in wrong, and
that sort of tampering voids any claim they might have.
Three-prong plugs are far less likely to "fall out" or get bent if
stressed. The flat shape of the North American 15A live/neutral prongs
is a big mistake, I notice that most overseas plugs use no flat prongs
at all, an obvious improvement over the US design. In any event,
the poor design of the US 2-prong plug is supplemented
by a nice sturdy circular ground prong in the 3-prong version.
I do not like seeing any part of a live prong exposed under any circumstances,
but with US two-prong plugs a slight sideways pull will leave some of
the prong clearly visible. This doesn't happen nearly so readily with
a three-prong plug, and I believe that's a safety advantage even if the
ground isn't used.
On 19 Jul 2003 20:00:40 -0700, email@example.com (Tim Shoppa)
America Basher :^)!! I would agree, but then again the US doesn't use
240VAC for your kids to play with :^). So the best thing, IMO, would
be a better designed plug using only 120VAC. I can't tell you how
many times I've shocked myself with 120, hurts a little but no damage.
I imagine 240 has a bit more of a kick.
Please note that my return address is wrong due to the amount of junk email I
So please respond to this message through the newsgroup.
firstname.lastname@example.org (John Flanagan) wrote in message
That connector has existed for many decades now: the 120VAC 15A Twist-Lock.
In fact, a lot of the equipment I own has either 15A or 30A Twist-Lock
Now if the plug didn't cost more than most appliances, THEN we'd have
Is this a regional in store sale? I have seen many references to the $14.99
angle grinders and out of curiousity I visited our new local Harbor Freight.
The least expensive angle grinder was a 4.5 " unit for $39.95. They didn't
seem to know anything about $14.95 units. Where do you find them?
Nearly any "house brand" item from Harbor Freight will occasionally be put
on sale for 1/2 price. Currently I don't see any on sale but there are two
on sale for Inside Track Club members. Item # 43471 is currently $15.97,
usually $29.99 and item # 42203 is $12.97, normally $27.99.
But the best deal I've found is from Homier Mobile Merchants,
http://www.homier.com . They have a traveling truckload tool sale that comes
through the area a couple of times a year and the last two times they were
here they had them for $5.99! I bought two about a year ago and I'm still
on the first one. Of course the 2nd one may fall apart as soon as I take it
out of the box but for that price I won't complain too much. :-)
On their Web site there is a link to sign up for notification of when they
will be in your area. Since the Harbor Freight store opened here in
Charlotte they haven't actually come to Charlotte but they've been to nearly
every city around me, usually within 20-30 miles or so. A month ago they
were in the area and had autodark welding helmets for $39.99!
"The universe is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."
-Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes, 1934
I don't want to make this a bash Chinese post because they merely
exhibit the problems of an emerging economy as did Japan, Taiwan,
India, etc. And I have scored some tremendous quality bargains in
electronics and hard tools.
Along the way I learned how easy it is to get fooled. Best to look for
a product with a big name brand as they might be checking the quality
I have seen radio knobs secured with paper, tools with no heat
treating, lead paint, razor sharp edges, color that comes off on hands
or anything else, and the very amusing directions that are often
included. I consider it a challenge to inspect the products and
determine the value. The Chinese watch that I am wearing cost fifty
cents while a new battery for my old one cost $3. I don't expect to
get hurt by it because if I do catch it in the $15 hammer drill it
will rip apart before I do.
Richard, it feels odd being on the other side of a safety issue
doesn't it. ;-)
Have a home upkeep question? Try my help page.
It's sort of an alt.home.repair FAQ. http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 09:08:48 -0500, Richard J Kinch
<snip lame attempt to smear Harbor Freight>
Has anyone sucessfully sued an out-of-business American tool company?
If I chop my hand off with my non-OSHA (no belt guard) 1954
King-Seeley table saw, who can I blame?
Do some research into why the US light aircraft industry collapsed
overnight. The Chinese had nothing to do with it- it was all American
"The man who has nothing worth dying for has nothing worth living for"- Martin
Luther King, Jr.
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