HARBOR FREIGHT SLOT JOINTER

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I came accros a posting of a Harbor Freight slot cutter the other day and now I can' find it. I wonder if it was on this group? It was something about the Central Machine unit being a fair cutter. I wonder if anyone has any comments on their better unit? I had been looking for one on E-Bay and those guys are nuts. The Makita and Porter-Cable units are selling for almost the new price.
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BT98 wrote:

I seem to recall people over the years saying the HF biscuit jointer (I assume that's what you are talking about) is crap.
Personally, I'd do without one until I saved up the money to get a good one (that's what I did). You can do glue ups without one, it just takes longer. I don't think a poor quality one (like HF) is going to save you much time.
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I started out with the HF (Central) biscuit jointer, if that's what you mean...
It worked well enough to learn on and made me forget dowels forever... When I had the right project to justify the cost, I bought the Craftsman (DeWalt) model and couldn't BELIEVE the increased accuracy and ease of use..
That said, I got the HF one on sale for $19.95 and it was sort of an "offer I couldn't refuse.. one of my kids has it now and uses it once in a while.. Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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Why torture yourself with crappy HF China-made tools? Lamello is the best and very expensive. A good value is the Porter Cable 557, lists about $200.

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Second that. HF bisquit jointer is crap. Porter Cable 557 is probably a best buy. I did own that HF thing that I bought on sale and it's not worth even that sale price. So it ended up in my trash bin. And I'm very happy with Porter Cable, it is very good machine.

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I guess it depends on your budget, and your definition of torture.. *g*
I wanted the Dewalt for $140 but couldn't justify/afford it and wasn't sure that it would help my woodworking..
With a $20 investment I found out that I did want a biscuit joiner and that I'd put it on my wish list..
IMHO, the HF one is a great deal for $20 because it does work... just a matter of how well and how long.. *g*
I've been trying to kill my $15 HF recip saw for 3 years now.. it just won't die.. (It's happier now, since I got a chain saw, though)
Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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I have no sympathy for those who toss money away in the local Harbor Fright. If you use it with any frequency or have a desire for accuracy, by the Porter Cable. Its a good value for the money.
Dave
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I believe I own the biscut joiner you are talking about. It's a Dewalt knockoff. I'd buy it again any day. The only issue I have with it is that it probably has a bit more runnout than the better machines. But in form and function it's the same as the Dewalt at a 1/3 of the price. I'm just a hobbiest, so I don't use it a ton. But it's got plenty of power (whips through white oak) and does the job. The slots are probably a bit more sloppy than the machines with less runnout, but it's not a probem. The biscuts swell in just fine. Go for it
BT98 wrote:

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I've heard a lot of HF bashing and was just wondering... Is there anything they sell that *is* worth buying? Or are they just best avoided altogether?
dcm
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Devon Miller wrote:

I have only limited experience with HF. Not any that is good.
However, others have bought the same item I did without any problems, according to their responses here.
I bought 12 of the 3/4" pipe clamp parts they recently had on sale. So far (on the 6th, now--doing this on an as needed basis) I've had to retap the threading on every one of them before it would go on the (black) pipe. And if you look inside at the threading, you see that they were cast into the clamp, that there is a seam from the pattern, that they are not always correctly registered, and there even seems to be some variance to the depth and/or width of the threads moving from the inner part of the clamp to the outer (that have nothing in common with NPT thread specs.)
I didn't have a tap for this job before I made the purchase, and had to delay using them while waiting for the tap--having to tap them at all is a job I don't enjoy.
One of the clamps I've unpacked so far also had a split casting... so it's possible they were also tapped after the casting to "clean up" the threads. This would also explain the variance in the depth/width of the threads.
I might've paid twice (or more) what I did had I opted for a reseller with better quality parts... so that's a consideration too when you try to determine the value. Factor in the cost of the pipes and the overall savings may not be worth the effort involved, or the risk of effort...
Or you could walk in to a local store and test the fit before you purchase--I bought online.
er
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I've heard a lot of HF bashing and was just wondering... Is there anything they sell that *is* worth buying? Or are they just best avoided altogether?
If you have one close by, you can compare power tools. One may make a great deal of noise, while the next one will be quiet. Quality control is lacking @ HF. No, HF has it's place, just be careful, & know about what you buy.
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Devon Miller wrote:

harbor freight is like sears- they are a retailer, not a manufacturer. they have stuff made elsewhere by various manufacturers with their house brand on them. quality is all over the place, and since the same item may be made by various manufacturers you can't tell by looking at it if it's going to be any good.
some stuff works just fine and is a good value, other stuff isn't worth the effort to load it into a shopping cart.
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On 31 Mar 2006 08:33:37 -0800, "Devon Miller"

Usually, if it's got a power cord, you want to avoid it for any serious work, although there are a couple of their tools that I keep around for occasional use. Lots of other stuff is great though. Their clamps are very good and very cheap, some of their air tools are good, especially their cheap brad nailer, etc.
They are cheap, but there are a lot of things where cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad and for the price, you can afford 3-4 of their "cheap" products for the cost of a single "good" one and it lasts longer to boot.
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Devon Miller wrote:

Best is to go to a store and look at what they sell and the price. Some of the stuff they sell can be found in Lowes, Home Depot, Sears and other stores. Some is identical in all respects and other are with modifications such as color, rubber or plastic added, slight changes in shape, etc. Although the price differences between HF and other stores has come down in the past 2 years, the cost at other stores is still often 50-300% higher.
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Depending on who you ask the answers to your questions would be either "yes, no" or "no, yes". I am in the 1st category. Much of their stuff is just junk, but some is good value (IMHO). Here a some of the things I have had good experience with:
1X30 belt 5" disk sander Heat gun misc hammers 18V rechargeable drills, for $12 each, hard to go wrong here. 18 gauge brad nailer 1 3/16 max length 18 gauge brad nailer 2" max length 1/4" crown stapler 1/2" crown 20 ga stapler misc. small pneumatic tools and accessories woodworking vise (copy of Record unfortunately not currently available) 4X36" belt 6" disk sander big router (advertised as 3HP) pipe clamps bar clamps
and there's more I can't think of now. If you see more than one type of the same item there, like the pipe and bar clamps for instance, always shoose the "Pittsburg" brand. True I don't use these things every day, and I've bought some things from them that were junk, but overall they sure have been a big help to my budget.
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snipped-for-privacy@fellspt.charm.net wrote:

Amen!
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I buy a lot of stuff from them... good deals if you keep the "you get what you pay for" mindset...
I have tons of their bar clamps.. they go on sale a few times a year.. they're not the quality that you'd see in a good cabinet shop but I'm not even a good woodworker, so the quality is fine with me.. *g*
My HF compressor and belt/disk sander have been doing what I need them to do for years... not super quality, but they were very inexpensive and do what I need them to do..
I can see why folks avoid them, when I consider the turning tools that I've gotten at HF.. the only thing that I can think of is an extra drill chuck with a Morse taper, for $10... It seems that I'm a little more picky for turning stuff.. Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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But you can't beat the HF turning tools for learning to grind and for experimenting with new grinds.
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Lobby Dosser wrote:

FYI, they do, or did, have a set of HSS turning tools. Several years ago on the turning newsgroup, the consensus was that the only thing seriously wrong with them was the cruddy handles. I think I had to get them from the net, they weren't available in the store.
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wrote:

yep.. or letting the kids use em...
Actually, I recently bought their "better" HSS turning set for $30.. I think it's usually $60? Got them so one of the kids that was staying with us for a while could have his own, private, personal tools... (code for "touch my chisels and die, sucker)..
I was really surprised at HOW much better they are than the one's that go on sale for $10... A lot more steel and heft.. By the handle and basic design, I'd say that they were the same thing as "Benjamin's Best" tools, but cost less..
Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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