Harbor Freight Oscillating Tool

I have read numerous posts here and elsewhere about this tool. It is a much cheaper version of the tool offered by others but seemed to do quite well in real world situations. I have thought about getting the too a number of times, but held off. Then I was pressed into service to do some repairs around a number of doors on some storage sheds and garages. I figured it would save some time and bought the variable speed oscillating tool with some blades.
I have been working for about a week now and it has saved me at least an hour and a half each day. In addition to that, there is a couple jobs I simply could not do with another tool I have. The big job on the garage I am doing is really giving this tool a full scale test. We had to raise a sagging roof and put some beams under it. All the doors hung funny after that. So I had to "make the doors fit". I don't think you could come up with another job that shows off this little tool better than this one.
I had to cut away small pieces here and there. I had to get under layers of various materials I had to shave the edge of a threshold. I had to carve out small niches to install hasps, etc. I really honestly wonder how I could have gone this long without getting this tool. I know I will find other uses for it. My wife summed it up nicely when she said it was the tool that makes things fit. And when you have to work on things that lean, sag or just got straightened out, you need all the help you can get. I still have at least three more days or work on these buildings.. I will probably use up at least two blades.
One thing I noticed is that when one of the blades got dull, I just took a file to it and sharpened it up again. It was good for some more cuts after that. Any way, I don't really do this kind of work very often and it definitely is not my favorite thing to do. But if I have to do something like this, I know that little tool will make some things go faster and easier. This tool is one that uses up blades. So there is a cost there. But I won't be using it that much so that should not be a big expense item for me.
I know this is not news for some of you. And some of you have talked about your experiences with this tool. So I thought I would add my experiences. It seems that it would lend it self to almost any kind of repair, remodeling, installation and demolition job. I just glad I have it on the shelf. I know I can grab it and do some things much more easily now.
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"Lee Michaels" <leemichaels*nadaspam* at comcast dot net> wrote in message

The HF tool itself is very inexpensive but the HF blades are relatively expensive. Those from Grizzly are much more reasonable.
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I guess that brings up the question... For you guys who have used multiple brands of blades, which ones do you like the best? The worst?
Puckdropper
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On 10/25/2014 6:23 AM, Puckdropper wrote:

Have you looked into Imperial for replacements? IIRC they have been around for a while providing alternative blades.
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On 10/25/2014 2:40 AM, Lee Michaels wrote:

The type of tool is a great idea and it works. I bought the HF model over the high priced brands and I'm glad I did. It has gone missing and only little tears for the $25 tool versus big tears for a $200 version.
I thought the HF version was serviceable. I bought it for a particular job and it accomplished it. My question though, would have the Fein, Boxch, or other brand have done it easier or faster or not have vibrated my hand as much?
I've not decided yet, but when I need the tool again I may replace it with a different brand. Or not. Depends on how much it is needed.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/interior/the-best-oscillating-tools-we-put-9-to-the-test#slide-1
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On 10/25/2014 7:46 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Ed,
My only experience (and great ones at that) have been with the Bosch Cordless model. Vibration was no more nor less than what I expected of such a tool and I have no complaints. It has done everything I wanted it to and more.
I would not hesitate to replace the Bosch with another Bosch cordless were I in need. Charge time is quick, comes with two batteries (Li-Ion) that provide plenty of run time and even on projects where I am using it a lot, I have yet to find myself waiting for a charged battery to continue my work.
Then, too, and perhaps more importantly... you already realize how handy this tool is for doing "the impossible" Think how much more versatile it will be without a damn cord.<g>
Bosch products are available as "refurbs" through a number of outlets. About half my stock of Bosch portable tools came from refurb stock and I've yet to have any problems. Great tools in my estimation.
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I purchased the Fein tool several years back and see now that many companies have come in with versions of their own, and so Harbor Freight has done this also. Yes, they are the most useful tools, and in a pinch, solve many issue's otherwise not easily addressed. Now if I can keep my tool in my repertoire of items that I can easily access, I would love it! My brother-in-law has borrowed the tool on a remodel, and I never see it again...... Funny, it is one of those tools that when not there it is needed..... I had to buy a new Jig Saw, since my (b-i-l) borrowed mine also..... anyway, I am trying to help him out, with a rental remodel, and in the process am missing arrows in my quiver. I may have to buy some knock off tools to either give him or keep on hand when needed.... Borrowing, lending tools is a nasty process....... john
"Lee Michaels" wrote in message
I have read numerous posts here and elsewhere about this tool. It is a much cheaper version of the tool offered by others but seemed to do quite well in real world situations. I have thought about getting the too a number of times, but held off. Then I was pressed into service to do some repairs around a number of doors on some storage sheds and garages. I figured it would save some time and bought the variable speed oscillating tool with some blades.
I have been working for about a week now and it has saved me at least an hour and a half each day. In addition to that, there is a couple jobs I simply could not do with another tool I have. The big job on the garage I am doing is really giving this tool a full scale test. We had to raise a sagging roof and put some beams under it. All the doors hung funny after that. So I had to "make the doors fit". I don't think you could come up with another job that shows off this little tool better than this one.
I had to cut away small pieces here and there. I had to get under layers of various materials I had to shave the edge of a threshold. I had to carve out small niches to install hasps, etc. I really honestly wonder how I could have gone this long without getting this tool. I know I will find other uses for it. My wife summed it up nicely when she said it was the tool that makes things fit. And when you have to work on things that lean, sag or just got straightened out, you need all the help you can get. I still have at least three more days or work on these buildings.. I will probably use up at least two blades.
One thing I noticed is that when one of the blades got dull, I just took a file to it and sharpened it up again. It was good for some more cuts after that. Any way, I don't really do this kind of work very often and it definitely is not my favorite thing to do. But if I have to do something like this, I know that little tool will make some things go faster and easier. This tool is one that uses up blades. So there is a cost there. But I won't be using it that much so that should not be a big expense item for me.
I know this is not news for some of you. And some of you have talked about your experiences with this tool. So I thought I would add my experiences. It seems that it would lend it self to almost any kind of repair, remodeling, installation and demolition job. I just glad I have it on the shelf. I know I can grab it and do some things much more easily now.
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On 10/25/2014 9:07 AM, jloomis wrote:

I have a list of tools I check off to insure they make it onsite, or when I'm too far away from the shop to easily go get something
That tool is one of them. If for some reason it is does not make it into the toolbox, that is indeed a guarantee it will be needed.
Like a defense strategy in combat, I'd rather have one and not need it; than need it and not have it.
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I hear you. One of my strategies is to take the tool borrower down to Harbor Freight. And treat it like a foray into a strange land with tools to match their budget. There I will buy them a tool and encourage them to buy a tool. And now the closer. Have some of those famous HF coupon sheets with you. Give one of them to your guest. When he gets a free flashlight or set of screwdrivers, it is a life altering experience.
Freebies!! Some people will crawl over broken glass to get to the freebies. This guy I have been working on these building with is in desperate need for some flashlights in these buildings. I brought him to Harbor Freight 3 times so far. Gave him a coupon sheet that can be used over and over again. He ended up with three free flashlights. I ended up with a free headlamp, flashlight and a parts tray. All useful items. And he is now a convert. He even bought me a new blade for my oscillating tool.
Remember, these guys need some encouragement. If you can sell them on the Harbor Freight philosophy, it cuts down considerably on your tools not being there when you need them.
I am very aware that many tool I need will not be available there. But, pick and choose. You buy the appropriate tool at the convenient venue at a livable price point.
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I've got both the HF version and a Bosch. I've "donated" the HF to my local model railroad club, so use it once in a great while. The Bosch is much quieter and much calmer. With the HF version, I feel like I need hearing protection while with the Bosch there's no need. The Bosch also vibrates much less at the tool body and has soft-start so it doesn't jerk on.
As a plus, the Bosch has a holder for the hex wrench on the cord. Nice to be able to find it when you need it.
There's a noticable quality difference, and I feel it's worth the 4-5x difference.
Puckdropper
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2014 02:40:11 -0400, Lee Michaels wrote:

I bought one a few years ago and couldn't keep the blade from coming loose. I finally returned it. Posts at the time indicated I wasn't the only one with that problem. Have they fixed it?
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On Saturday, October 25, 2014 11:51:31 AM UTC-5, Larry Blanchard wrote:

Cheaper is a vast understatement. I bought mine on sale for $16 !! When I was at HF purchasing the tool I bought a nylon tool bag to fit it for $5, so my investment was $21 with the carry bag. Note in the link Ed posted ab ove they are comparing the HF tool to others that cost (literally) 5 to 13 times as much! I would hope those other tools would do quite well against it, but especially if I was a casual user, I wouldn't pay more than I had t o for a serviceable tool. Like I said earlier, mine has been in the job fo r years now, same one, and has worked very well in practical application.

It's fixed. Mine never comes loose. I remember those threads well, and ap parently they needed a stronger hold down washer to get the blades secured. Locking the blade in with a hex key, I like the fact I have tactile feedb ack when attaching the blade so I know it is tight.
As far as blades go, I can usually find a set on sale at Lowe's when I make my every 3 months journey to that store. They sold their own flavor of os cillating tool under the "Blue Hawk" brand (may not be exclusive) and for a long time they had frequent sales of blade sets at 15 pieces for $20. I u se the tool often enough that I usually buy one of their blade kits whether I need them or not, just so I will be ready with the blades on hand. Thes e blades last me well, but not so much for some of my contracting colleague s.
They have a tendency to over stress this tool, not keep the blade straight, and push the blades hard enough to not allow them to cut. Most of them do n't allow the blade to have any open areas to allow the cut wood to clear, so they wind up resawing the sawdust they have already cut. Many is the ti me I have lent mine out, only to have the borrower come back to me and anno unce "I couldn't get it to work". I look at the blade on the tool when the y return it, and they have cut or two pieces of wood and the blade teeth ar e ground down or off, and the blade has blue streaks in it from the heat. They would have trouble with an oscillating tool regardless of maker or bla de manufacturer. They don't know how to use the tool and have a tendency t o think if it as a saw, not an oscillating tool.
Robert
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On 25 Oct 2014 16:41:25 GMT, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

Yes, and there is a difference between the Bosch and the Fein, too. I agree with you, though. I like my Bosch cordless. I also have a Dremel corded twitcher, for larger jobs. At today's prices, I'd probably have bought the Fein instead of the Dremel, however.
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On 10/25/2014 2:40 AM, Lee Michaels wrote:

I've got the variable speed HF, trouble free. Haven't found blades I love, as you can not push them if you want to keep teeth on them. What I love is not the power but the control you get and that you can use it where no other power tool has room to work.

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