With the advent of Harbor Fright, it seems like expectations
in hand tool quality has gone into the toilet. Aside from the
freebies (which are, now, no longer free), I think I've purchased a
utility knife, some blades for it and some tools to repair a damaged
car door (i.e., chunks of shaped metal).
Tonight, I was in need of a tap wrench (Al is just too damn soft to
try to tap "by hand"). A friend suggested buying a T&D set from
HF -- which had me struggling to contain my laughter (the taps and
die don't appear to be properly hardened -- nor the threads "clean"!)
The idea of buying a cheap set just to salvage the T&D wrenches
might make sense -- but, even their cheapest set is more expensive than
buying "better" parts a la carte.
[As my friend loaned me a tap wrench, my immediate need has been
This got me to thinking what other tools I *might*
consider buying from HF. I.e., the "possible buy" list is considerably
shorter than the "wouldn't buy" list!
[We'd looked at a drywall lift and I cringed thinking *that*
be holding the sheetrock while I worked BENEATH it!]
Utility knife (disappointed that the blade was retractable; the
quality of a non-retractable one would probably have been better!)
was small expense and largely disposable. Blades weren't particularly
hard but, again, disposable. Auto body tools are little
more than blocks of steel so kinda hard to go wrong, there.
OTOH, I wouldn't put much faith in their power tools -- at least,
not as "investments" (note that I don't consider a YEAR to be
an "investment"; most of my hand tools are as old or older than I!)
So, the question is, what tools to avoid, consider and criteria
used in making those decisions? And criteria to use in "broad brush"
dismissals of whole categories of tools?
[E.g., the drywall lift we considered as a "one time use" so
didn't mind the "loss" if it broke. OTOH, I wasn't keen on
it breaking while I was *under*
it! Hence the reason to avoid
Of course, no right or wrong answers, here. I've inherited a
fair number of HF discards (jack stands, torque wrenches, etc.)
but don't think of them as "cherished" tools...