Harbor Fright - Are you just a cheapskate? Tool Snob?

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wrote:
>>I'm talking about tools you love to use. Tools that make a difference when >>used. Just try to plane a piece of curly maple with the $25 Chinese plane, >>then grab the Lie-Nielson or the Knight smother. The whole point will all >>become quite clear.
Leuf wrote: >When you ask a tool to do a job it wasn't intended to do, guess what, >it doesn't perform well. If you take a cheap a tool to an expensive >piece of wood and wreck it you're an idiot, not for buying the tool >but for having happen exactly what you'd expect to happen and then >blaming the tool. If you feel like your tools are holding you back >then by all means get a better tool for the task at hand. But don't >insinuate that anyone who doesn't spend as much on tools as you >doesn't care about the quality of their work as much as you do. > > >-Leuf
When I was a kid my father and one of my uncles as amateur woodworkers made some of the most beautiful and durable furniture pieces using what I would consider Harbor Freight quality tools. They did buy what *they* considered at the time the *Cadillac* of power tools - Craftsman (table saw, band saw, drill press, etc.). I still have and use some of those old tools and they work just fine. In fact, I would pit my Craftsman tablesaw against most other table saws I've seen until you get up into spending thousands. It cuts as well with its 3/4 rated horsepower as any 2 to 3 HP saw I've seen, and is just as accurate after I finally got it all tuned up. The old Craftsman hand plane works well after tuning, and even the old Stanley Block plane with the big open crack down the side works really well. And that plane was not one of the better Stanley's. My father's chisels and plane irons were always sharpened with a file. So I guess for *most* hand tools and power tools, if you take care to tune it and use it properly, it will usually work just fine. Hell, I've got a toolbox full of metal tools I've made by hand, frequently with a file and hacksaw that work just fine, so you don't always need high-cost store bought tools to do high quality work. In fact when I buy tools, whether hand or power tools, I *expect* to spend some time to tune it before use. But then, *many* expensive tools are not much better, as evidenced by the responses here. Just one case in point - When I purchased one of the ubiquitous 14" Chiwanese bandsaws, I wanted to tune it, so off came the top wheel to shim it. That's when I noticed 2 things - a. the mounting shaft was a shouldered shaft (the nut runs up onto the shoulder of the bolt rather than the bearing), and b. the bearings did not have a compression sleeve between them. This of course is not good for the bearings, and is a design flaw. So out comes the bearing and whip up a small metal compression sleeve, back in goes the bearings and sleeve and bolt together with the shims. (BTW, if anyone here has shimmed their top wheel and has not checked this, they may be putting significant side load on the bearings which may result in premature wearout)
BTW, forty to fifty years after those pieces of furniture were built, most are still in daily use in the homes of my siblings and cousins (and some were handed down to their kids) and are as beautiful and as strong as when they were new.
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FWIW . . .
ever been to Williamsburg, or 'Old Sturbridge' ?? In a lot of cases the pieces on display have that time frame beat by a good bit. If memory serves, some may even be original.
ALL of the pieces, 'reproduction' or not, were/are made with exact copies of the same tools that were used in the 1700's. 'Power Tool' then meant the strength of the Artisan's arm.
Regards, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

SNIP
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Ron Magen wrote: FWIW . . .
ever been to Williamsburg, or 'Old Sturbridge' ?? In a lot of cases the pieces on display have that time frame beat by a good bit. If memory serves, some may even be original.
ALL of the pieces, 'reproduction' or not, were/are made with exact copies of the same tools that were used in the 1700's. 'Power Tool' then meant the strength of the Artisan's arm.
Regards, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop
>> When I was a kid my father and one of my uncles as amateur woodworkers >> made some of the most beautiful and durable furniture pieces using what >> I would consider Harbor Freight quality tools.
SNIP
>> BTW, forty to fifty years after those pieces of furniture were built, >> most are still in daily use in the homes of my siblings and cousins (and >> some were handed down to their kids) and are as beautiful and as strong >> as when they were new.
I've been to Williamsburg, but not Sturbridge. I have always admired the level of craftsmanship those people got/get using what looks like pretty crude tools. So yeah, cheap tools sometimes aren't worth the paper used to wrap them in for shipping, but sometimes the problem is the operator.
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Ron Magen wrote:

I seem to remember water (wheel to belt) and animal powered stuff at OSV, but it's been a while...
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I keep two of their $20.00 18 gauge nailers in my van for tacking on base and trim. One of them is over a year old and the other is there as a back-up. They do a great job. If my van is broken into or a helper steals one there will be no tears shed. I'll just spend another $20.00. I have bought other tools because it was cheaper to buy one at HF than to rent one. I rarely use these tools but I have them if needed.
I do have good quality guns in my workshop for my personal use.
Craig

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When I see a beautiful piece of antique furniture I know the tools that went into creating it were crude and far from perfect. It doesn't make the beauty or quality any less in my eyes, actually I'm quite envious. The beauty isn't in the tools, it's in the final product...and always will be. I have a few chest-thumping SNAP-ON apes for friends and their rants get old fast. They're basically knuckle dragging neanderthals with an inflated opinion of their true disposable income and alot of grease under their fingernails. I'd rather get the job done with a tool I can afford and that can perform the task it is meant for. Whether it be Craftsman, PC, DeWalt or HF. Being a 'snob' and brow beating others because you spent 4x more than what a tool is worth is really stupid.
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My brother has a decent collection of Snap-On tools. He bought them from the mentally challenged semi-minimum wage "mechanics" at the car dealership he used to work for. These folks would regularly go bankrupt and, just before doing so, sell the Snap-On's for pennies on the dollar, as long as it was cash. The Snap-On truck would start selling to these folks shortly after they came out of bankruptcy. "Hey, buy this $30 screwdriver and just pay $2 per week for the next 2 years". The truck was always there on pay day to collect - and sell more tools.
Dave Hall
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I agree with you. As they say "You get what you Pay for". I have bought "cheaper Router Bits" In order to make myself more familiar with how they work. I bought a cheap Rail & stile bit, spent a couple of hours fine tuningg them with a shim washer kit. I did make a very decent hutch and the doors worked perfect. I am sure that if had purchased a higher end rail & stile set, I would not had to spend so much time fine tuning them. When I feel better at using these type of bits, I will be purchasing a very high end product. Teamcasa wrote:

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<...snipped...>

And a pretty good troll too! :)
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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[snipped for brevity]
Hello, my name is Rob. I'm a tool snob.
To me, there are four classifications of tools:
1) The 'I hope it will last till the end of the job' tool. I have a few like that.
2) I need this tool for this job, but I can see that once I have this tool, I will be using it more often so I better get a good one. Most of my tools fit this category.
3) I have NO idea what I will do with this tool, I have no way to rationalize its cost, but it sure is cool and I want it. A few tools start here and then get moved to the category 2 column.
4) Small hammers. I have a thing for small hammers. I don't want to talk about it.
r
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Robatoy wrote:

you sound like me, right down to the small hammers bit....
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Robatoy wrote:

As am I. I've learned the hard way over the years that the only day I'm happy with a really cheap tool is the day I pay for it. Every other day is filled with accomodation and regret. Regret that I didn't buy enough tool for the job. Accomodation to make up for the tool's shortcomings.
I bought a 4" Craftsman jointer when I was young and stupid because it was cheap. I later found that it was incapable of jointing anything much bigger than a pencil. I traded up to a 6" table top Delta. That still lacked capacity. I ended up with an 8" North State that I wish I had bought when I got the first one.
I've had to deal with two POS jointers for all these years. Why? Because I was too cheap to lay out the cash required for a decent tool.
Are there better jointers? Sure. But what I look for these days is the most bang for the buck. I generally are attracted to what the magazine ratings refer to as "Best-Buys".
I finally put my money where my mouth was when I went looking for my first band saw. I bought an 18" Rikon and am completely satisfied with it. Fine Woodworking declared it a "best buy" about three years ago and so I bought one when Woodcrafter first started carrying them.
I don't want any more crappy tools. Harbor Freight is suitable for buying magnets and clamps...
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
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Well said. Dave
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Teamcasa wrote:

disposable paint brushes and bench bruches(foxtail brushes to the ex- navy). And their 2# brass/copper hammers make nice carving mallets with the handle cut off. Joe
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On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 13:30:43 +0000, Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

My personal rules of thumb for HF:
1) Never buy anything whose failure could cause injury. 2) Never buy anything whose failure could ruin a project.
That doesn't leave much.
--
-Joe Wells

"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."
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Teamcasa wrote:

I don't think I'm the person to ask this question. It made me realize, I'm to good for an L-N dovetail saw.
8-o
er
--
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I doubt if I can add much to this marathon. You get what you pay for.
However, I have had a couple of fairly good experinces with HF. In a weak moment I paid $99 for one of their mortising machines about five years ago. Know what? It cuts square holes. The hold-down hardware sucks but that is true of some of the much more expensive machines. It probably is not my last mortiser but it works fine for what I do.
Some of their $12 to $25 nailers are amazingly durable. I know a finish carpenter who is almost ashamed of them but can't wear them out.
RonB
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Nope. You pay for what you get. Matching it to the task and the wallet used to be your job. Now, it would seem, it's the job of those "greedy big industrialists" to look out for your interests and provide whatever you want for the price you're willing. Or else you call your lawyer.
Should be a sign over the door - "lower your expectations, all ye who enter here." That way you'd remember that it was price and availability that brought you.
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How true that is! Dave
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Yup, their cheap brad nailers are amazingly good, especially for the price. Everyone raves about them, I haven't been able to break one yet and for the price, I could buy a dozen of them for the price of one Paslode or Senco.
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