Harbor Freight, my first visit

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A couple of weeks ago I had time to kill between appointments so I visited HF for the first time. It was better than expected, with some cheap crap and some fairly good items at good prices. I had a 20% coupon so I bought the variable speed multi- tool for $31 and change. A few days later, I found myself in need of a tool of that sort. It did the job and did it well. I had to cut the caulk where it was between siding trim and the first deck board I was removing. I'm replacing my 25 year old PT deck boards with tiger wood. (Goncalo Alves)
It may not perform as well as the $100+ tools, but it did what I needed at a good price. I don't see myself using the tool every day so I could not justify spending a lot.
I don't see them replacing a really good shop like Coastal Tool, but they do serve a purpose.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

What makes you think the HF tool won't perform BETTER - or at least as well - as the high-priced spread? Is your opinion based solely on price? Reputation?
Wait until you've had to undercut a door jamb or remove a piece of molding that a saw can't reach or any of dozen other jobs for which the tool itself is perfect. Then consider the price as being the reason you HAVE the tool.
It all works out.
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wrote:

I said it "may" not. I did not say "does" not.
My skepticism is based on use. It had a lot of vibration in the hand. Of course, I expected some, but this was more than expected. The cutting tool loosened up for times during the job. I thought the force needed was high.
Never having used the high priced spread, I can't say for sure if it is better or worse. It easily met my expectations for a $31 tool and got the job done. If I paid $119 or more, I'd have been disappointed in its performance. At the price, it is a good value.
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On 6/23/2012 8:09 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

If you paid $119 for it you would have an expensive tool that you use once per year taking up space in your toolbox. The HF tool will do the infrequent job well, and you will have money for the money to but the expensive tools that you use daily. I have been very satisfied with the stuff that I have bought at HF.
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Right. Like any other story you have to pick and choose. I have their upper end mult-tool. Once you realize you have to crank the blade nut down good and tight it does most of its intended work (and some other stuff) well.
I have posted here about my HF mortiser a few times. It was a guilty, low cost splurge at $99 about ten years ago. Guilty because I left the store thinking I hand just thrown the money away on a tool I would be unhappy with. The material hold-down hardware sucks. The surface of the bed is cheap vinyl covered particle board. It has good power, The plunge mechanism is good but the handle is cheezy. The four bits that came with it are actually quite good. At the end of the day, it cuts square holes and if you take care with rigging your own hold down it works quite well. If I had paid $350 - $400 for it I would be very unhappy. But at $99 I probably got a little more than I paid for.
HF is a great source for expendable gloves, wire ties, etc.. I have a couple of their cheap nail guns and they are fine. In fact my 18ga gets about as much use as its Porter Cable companion.
I wouldn't touch any of their heavy woodworking or metal working tools with a 10' pole.
RonB
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It is all about pre-selection. If it feels and looks like crap.... don't buy it!
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On 6/23/2012 8:50 AM, Robatoy wrote:

Exactly! But unless you have had the good stuff in your hands you may never realize what you are missing. LOL
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wrote:

Sure, what you say is true, but good tools make the job much easier. It does not take a lot of money either. Take that #2 Phillips screwdriver. After 100 screw, tell me if you want the $1.50 one or the $8 model with the better contoured handle.
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I want the impact one. ;-)
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On 6/23/2012 9:06 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

A $8 screwdriver is good but an electronic screwdriver is better for small jobs, for big jobs a geared down hand drill is better.
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wrote:

An impact driver beats any hand drill. ...but that's besides the point.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Beats it at what? It's easy to think of jobs where neither an impact driver nor an electric drill belongs.
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Driving 100 screws. I can't think of one, BTW.
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wrote:

I can think of one: Where the screws are tiny (0-80, 1-72, 2-56) and anything with a motor would be too cumbersome.
On the other side of the connection, some model railroad manufacturers use plastic (or plastic-like) nuts to hold screws. The time to stop tightening them is before or at the moment the pieces are snug. Something with a motor would have a hard time stopping at the right place (not to say it can't be done, just the average drill/driver will have trouble with it.)
One other place comes to mind: at or below the waterline. I don't know what you'd be fixing to need to drive 100 screws below the waterline, but an impact or electric drill would not be a good choice there.
Puckdropper
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On 24 Jun 2012 20:40:26 GMT, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

A precise clutch would be certainly offset the size.

You've never seen an powered torque wrench/driver? They're used for such assemblies all the time.

Screws below the water line? Yeesh!
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On 24 Jun 2012 20:40:26 GMT, Puckdropper

Are you into model railroading?
Mike M
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Yes, I am. I had just gotten back from a train show when I wrote that message.
Puckdropper
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On 25 Jun 2012 09:03:25 GMT, Puckdropper

You should be able to find what you want at Micromark. http://www.micromark.com /
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Sure, but Harbor Freight's cheaper. *g*
That "Mini chop saw" is a great buy at around $30. If they'd eliminate the clamp and install a traditional fence, it'd be even better.
What I needed for driving those tiny screws, though, I found at Lowes. They have a two pack of screwdrivers for around $2 I think that feel good and fit the screws quite nicely. With a couple little tangs on the metal part where it's inside the plastic, they're not likely to suffer from spinning like many of the cheaper ones do.
Puckdropper
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Make it to fit, don't make it fit.

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On 25 Jun 2012 09:03:25 GMT, Puckdropper

I still have my lionel train from when I was a kid in the 50's. Set up for xmas a few years back but haven't found a place to set it up permanetly yet.
Mike M
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