HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN 55-GAL. BARREL BBQ*

steak

There’s nothing better than the high octane performance of a flaming charcoal barbecue– and there’s nothing cooler than manning your own 55-gallon barrel grill, made with your own hands. Here’s a cool tutorial we found on the Super Chevy website. Hey, summer’s coming, dude. Let’s talk about how you can make this a reality.

Things You Will Need:

barrel - found

  • Find a 55 gallon drum. Sometimes you can avoid buying a new one by checking out Craigslist or other local classifieds, pet shops or weed n’ feeds. The best kind of 55-gallon drum barrel to get is food related. Try to avoid one that housed toxic chemicals, but if you’re not sure what it contained, you’re going to want to burn it clean when you cut it open. 

barrel - taped

  • Rather than cutting the barrel in half, we’re going to show a clam shell it with a quarter cut. With the masking tape and a level, set all your lines ready to cut.

barrel - cut

  • The next step is to use the trusty cut-off tool and cut down the side of the barrel along the blue tape. The cut off quarter is going to be the BBQ grill’s lid. When you’ve cut out the quarter section, build a large fire inside of the barrel to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool,  dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
  • Next, take some angle iron and weld a rectangular shape out of it. Then weld it into place in the middle of the drum. This will provide as a rest for the grill.

barrel - mesh

  • Find a good mesh that can be used as the grill surface, preferably a heavier gauge metal, and one where the edges are flattened so there are no sharp points sticking up. If you need to flatten the sharp edges yourself, that’s what the grinder is for. Here they welded 1/8″ metal rod all along the edges and eventually added some cross bars as well. Besides not getting gouged every time you BBQ, it also makes it easier to scrub after grilling. 

barrel - stands - relief cuts

  • Take two lengths of 1/2″ box tube and make relief cuts every two inches so you can bend them to the shape of the barrel. Then bend it around the barrel.

barrel - stand - relief welded

  • Once you’ve got the shape you desire, weld the cuts smooth with your 70 amp stick welder. This creates a sturdy cradle on which you’ll be attaching the legs.

barrel - stands welded on

  • Then weld the half moon shapes to the ends of the barrel. They should make a nice snug fit.

barrel - hinges

  • Attach hinges to the barrel and lid, and reinforce it with steel plates on the inside to ensure a long-lasting, sturdy hinge.

barrel - on legs

  • Determine how high you want your grill to be (3-ft. is good) and accordingly cut the 2×1 square tubing into legs. Cut relief marks about 6″ down the legs so you can bend them outward for greater stability. Now weld on the legs, and you have your very own, cheap and efficient 55-gal. drum grill!

barrel - complete

Of course, you’ll probably want to add handles, a couple of vents, a hole on the bottom for dripping. If you came this far, though, I trust you can take it from here.

How To Wax Your Car the Right Way

Get in the habit of polishing your car routinely and you’ll have a sweet looking ride for years.

firebird - polishing

It’s no great secret that waxing and polishing your vehicle will prolong the life and beauty of its appearance. But, knowing how to wax and buff your car properly can save you a chunk o’ change over time.

The Tools

First, you’ll need a competent electric polisher. These can range from $40 into the hundreds and, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, the highest price doesn’t necessarily mean the best. We like the Chicago Electric 7″ 5.7 Amp HD Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher #66615. It’s a real workhorse and its variable speed and oscillating head eliminate swirl marks like magic.

You’ll also need buffing pads, buffing compound and a car kit, which usually includes car polish, car wax, and microfiber cloths in kit form.

Before you do anything, wash the car first. You want your vehicle to be clean and dry before you start.

Buffing

Apply a liberal amount of buffing compound to the car surface, particularly to the rough, scratched and weathered areas. The whole point of buffing is to make a rough surface a smooth one. It works by stripping away a fine layer of tired paint and exposing the fresh paint underneath; in essence, the compound serves as a paint stripper. When you wax your car immediately after buffing, the wax will restore the protective armor of its original clear coat.

Spread the compound evenly across the area with the buffing pad, while the buffer is OFF, so that it doesn’t splatter onto surrounding surfaces. For example, keep the compound off the chrome, glass or rubber.

Turn the buffer on and work the area in circular motions, holding the pad completely flat at all times. Turning the buffer at an angle or applying too much pressure can burn the paint surface and cause swirling. Work one quarter of a panel at a time until you get a bright gloss. The surface should feel smooth and look new.

firebird - polishing 2

If the paint’s in decent condition and only needed some TLC, follow the same steps as above, but this time use car polish instead of buffing compound. You won’t need as much polish as compound because polish can cover a greater area and strips away less paint. Follow the process across the vehicle’s entire surface until the paint is restored.

Buffing should be done about once a year, and if you keep the car in the garage and the paint still looks decent, just use the polish instead of the compound. If, on the other hand, you live on the coast (or you’re in an area where salt is used to melt ice) and the car’s kept outside, you may want to buff more than once a year. Or, if you keep it parked under a tree where sap and bird poop reside, you should make it a habit to buff the car 2-3 times a year.

Waxing

Wax in conditions between 55° and 85° F, preferably on the cooler side. In hot weather, the wax dries as soon as you apply it to the surface, making buffing difficult. It can also make the wax hard to remove once applied. In colder weather, the wax is hard to move around and apply as well. In a perfect world, you’ll be able to wax your car in the garage or under cover, away from the sun’s rays. Sunlight can heat the car up and leave a waxy residue which can be a bear to remove.

The wax you choose is important, too. The best wax for your car contains carnauba; we like Meguiar’s.

Replace the buffer pad with a new, clean one. Spread car wax evenly over the car’s surface, gently pulsing the polisher’s trigger (as opposed to keeping it running continuously) running the pad over the surface in circular motions with about 3-5 lbs. of pressure. By doing this, you make sure the car wax doesn’t clump or cake on the surface. Only cover a quarter of the panel at a time before removing the wax. Don’t let the wax sit too long on your car. This will cause it to dry to your car and leave obvious marks. Some waxes will require a set time before removal, so refer to the directions on the bottle. Use a soft microfiber cloth to remove the wax, using circular motions to get that spiffy high gloss.

Repeat the process across the entire surface of the paint.

firebird - polished 3

Because the rule of thumb is to wax your car every three months (but don’t buff every time you wax), you should become a master at it in no time. Your car will look great, your cul-de-sac’s property value will go up and you’ll finally be able to punch that bully on the beach (“Thanks, Harbor Freight!”)

A REAL WORKHORSE—THE 10 IN. SLIDING COMPOUND MITER SAW

10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Whether you’re a DIYer or professional contractor, a sliding compound miter saw is a must-have for making cross, bevel and miter cuts. Take the 10 In. Sliding Compound Miter Saw from Harbor Freight—it features a powerful 15 amp motor, easy access brushes and dual linear slide rails which provide stability for making smooth, precise cuts. Plus, the saw makes miter cuts up to 12 inches wide and has a 45 degree tilting blade. Thanks to Harbor Freight’s Quality Assurance Team and feedback from customers like you, Harbor Freight has made this workhorse even better. Here’s what actual users are saying about it:

[Harbor Freight] has apparently been listening.  Fence and arm were perfectly aligned. Laser was easily adjusted and aligned to the blade. Laser now has a separate on/off switch. Came with a lumber hold down clamp, batteries for the laser and a hex wrench for the blade. Cuts great.  — Smoke, NC

Well worth the money. Comes with replacement brushes. Cool! — David, Sacramento, CA

I used this saw for a home improvement project and it worked so well. The measurements were right on and I love the laser light. Helped make the job more professional. — randyc, Charles Town, WV

I bought this saw because I was not able to cut anything over 6 inches with my other miter saw. After using this saw, I don’t even use the other miter saw anymore. — elvoiles, KY

For the garage, shop or worksite, the 10 In. Sliding Compound Miter Saw will be your go-to time and time again! And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices and 600+ stores nationwide, it’s time get one!

10 In. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
item #: 61971

How To Use a Magnesium Fire Starter To Make a Campfire

campfire

Here’s some good info everyone should have at their disposal, whether it be for camping or emergency situations. In fact, it’s so stinking easy, you’ll wonder why you never picked it up before.  That strange, cheap little hunk of magnesium and flint steel will save your bacon and pay for itself several times over in just one dire situation.

What’s magnesium, anyway? Magnesium is the seventh most common element in the earth’s crust. During WWII it was used to make fire bombs employed in European missions. It was also a main ingredient for flash powder in early photography. Today, magnesium is still used in fireworks and pyrotechnics. And, of course, fire starters.

magnesium firestarter

Here’s how to use your magnesium fire starter to make a fire:

  • Find an area where you can have a fire, hopefully a spot protected from any present elements like high wind and rain. Clear the area of dry grass, twigs, etc.
  • Gather up the tinder. If you’re a “Be Prepared” type of person, the best tinder would be a ziplock full of petroleum jelly-saturated cotton balls. But, if you just happend to have left those at home, dry moss, pine cones, dry pine needles, tiny twigs, dry grass and thin shreds of wood all make great tinder. Leaves can work too if they’re really dry. Even newspaper, or a paper napkin. Make sure the fuel is as dry and dead as possible.  If the leaf litter is wet from rain or dew, carefully lift the top layers to see if the lower layers are still dry — or check under thick foliage, which may have protected tinder from rain. You may also be able to find dry moss, pine needles or tiny twigs in these protected areas. Hollow logs are good, too. Or, if you’re not having much luck doing that, put the least damp tinder in your pocket for a while and let the heat dry it out. If you see any larger sticks or wood that looks useable, grab that aw well so it’ll be ready when needed.

tinder

  • Build your structure. The three go-to designs for a campfire are Teepee, Log Cabin and Lean-to (or variations of any of the three). For the sake this tutorial, we’ll be using the teepee build. Construct a teepee of twigs and small branches (like the picture below on the left), evenly distributing so it can bear additional wood after the fire takes.

campfire builds

  • Prepare the tinder. Once your structure is built, make a bundle out of your tinder that will catch the sparks from the fire starter. Place it as close to the structure as possible without going all the way in– in the “doorway” is best. On top of the tinder bundle, place a dry leaf or an old receipt to contain the magnesium shavings. In the best of worlds, you’d have some duct tape handy to keep the shavings from blowing away, but the structure and “container” (leaf or receipt) should do the trick.
  • Keep a bucket or other container of water nearby in case, for any reason, you need to put the fire out.

campfire magnesium shavings

  • Hold the magnesium block down, pointed at the tinder bundle. Then with the other hand, hold the serrated metal blade that came with your HF Magnesium Fire Starter at a slight (45º) angle against the block and shave tiny flakes downward onto the bundle. If the fire starter you have didn’t come with a blade, use the backside of a knife. Smaller shavings and pieces work best. Keep going at it until you have a pile of magnesium shavings on your tinder bundle about the size of a quarter.

campfire ignite magnesium

  • Using your serrated blade or backside of a knife, strike a spark to ignite the magnesium on the tinder bundle. But instead of sliding the blade down the flint toward the tinder, hold the blade stationary, down with the tinder bundle, and slide the flint up toward you. This keeps the spark close to the tinder. Keep scraping until a spark lands on the magnesium shaving and ignites it.
  • When a spark catches the magnesium, the shavings will burn bright, hot and fast. The generated heat will then spread to the tinder, catching it on fire as well. This is a crucial moment. You may have to urge the young flame on by very gently blowing on it and giving it additional oxygen. You may also need to adjust it a little here and there it to allow the young fire to spread.

campfire tinder goes in

  • As the tinder fire grows, you’ll need to carefully slide it– in tact–  into the campfire structure. You might want to use a couple of sticks to push the bundle under if it’s too hot to handle. Then, as you prepare for the next phase, maybe feed it some more leaves and grass to keep it stoked.
  • Another crucial moment. Fire needs a proper blend of oxygen, fuel and heat. As your structure starts catching on fire, blow on it and feed it by gradually adding slightly larger and larger twigs and sticks. Don’t get carried away, give it time. If you drop a log on it too soon, you’ll be back to square one, rummaging for dead grass. Don’t be that guy.

campfire successful

  • And while you want to be patient, you also want to keep feeding. Find larger sticks and logs to keep the fire growing and happy for the endurance you need to stay warm, dry and protected.

Practice Using The Magnesium Fire Starter

I’ve already said it before, but I’ll say it again: be prepared. It’s not enough to have your magnesium fire starter, you should be ready in an instant to know how to use it. Whether you’re stranded in the cold and wt woods or the arid, desert wilderness, knowing how to make a fire in a SHTF situation will give you life, comfort and security. So practice at home– when the need isn’t there– until you’ve got it down cold (or hot).

And, one last thing. You might want to rethink taking that baggie of petroleum jelly cotton balls.

 

Powerful & Portable, the Perfect Compressor

Portability and power are two major considerations when looking for an air compressor. Luckily, Harbor Freight has an air compressor unit that is the best combination of both! With the 8 Gal. 2 HP 125 PSI Oil Lube Air Compressor (Item #: 68740), you’ll be able to handle tough jobs both on the job and at home. With built-in wheels and a sturdy handle, you can easily transport the unit to wherever the work is. And when the job is done, you can take it right back home until it’s needed again.

image_20969

Along with convenient portability, this air compressor unit comes with plenty of features that only make your job easier. Featuring a powerful direct drive induction motor for optimal performance as well as a durable ABS shroud for protection, this compressor is able to withstand even the harshest of work environments while you concentrate on the task at hand. Plus, with thermal overload protection and a clear view oil window, maintenance is a breeze too. Why settle for anything less?? If you still need more convincing, here are a few actual customer reviews:

“I have three different compressors that I use all the time. This compressor is by far the easiest to use. Light weight and simple. I use it to build lumber projects, in the garage for auto repair, and art projects from air brushing to painting structures. I bought one for each of my sons to have at their homes too.” – by Durk the DIY Guy from Mesa, AZ

“Never had a problem with this compressor and it performs top notch! I did perform the break in just like the manual says (and yes this is very important for longevity) and I can’t complain one bit.  I could easily fill up all four tires on my car from a dead flat with all the air in the tank if I had to. Also, the drain valve at the bottom for extra air release is easy to use and assembly was easy to follow. Very portable and the wheels are solid rubber so no need to inflate them! This is my first oil compressor and although some people say you can’t use it on certain things, I find that it can be used on anything as long as you have the right attachments. Overall great product and great price.” – by Car Guy from Pheonix, AZ

“I’ve had this compressor for 5-ish years now and I’ve not had a single problem with it. It’s perfect for sitting in the corner of my shop for the little things. It works okay for small nails or brads. I use it mostly for airing tires, running my small wheel grinder, and blowing debris from the shop counters.” – by Alex from Portland from Portland, OR

While Harbor Freight has air compressors in a variety of capacities and sizes, you want to make sure you have the right one for your needs. The 8 Gal. 2 HP 125 PSI Oil Lube Air Compressor is the ideal choice for big jobs or long projects in just about any location. If you can get this air compressor to the job, it’ll handle it. And if you can get yourself to your local Harbor Freight store, you can pick it up for a fraction of what other retailers charge!

HOW TO MIG WELD: PREPARING AND WELDING BUTT JOINTS

170 Amp-DC, 240 Volt, MIG Flux Cored Welder

If you’re new to welding and don’t plan on joining the Olympic Golden Gate Bridge Repair Team right away, the 170 Amp-DC, 240 Volt, MIG/Flux Cored Welder (item #: 68885) from Harbor Freight Tools is the ideal welder for you. The hassle-free welder comes set up for flux core arc welding and only requires adding shielding gas with other necessary components for full MIG welding applications. The MIG flux wire welder features constant voltage, thermal overload protection and a welding cable with gun. Note: a 240-volt outlet is required.

There are a myriad of projects you can perform with this welder—and first learning some basic joints will put you well onto your way to venerable welding mastery. Today, we’ll focus on the basic butt joint. Stop snickering. This type of joint is best for joining two flat pieces of metal together to form a larger piece. Simple but effective. Below, we found these two videos that cover how to prepare your work pieces for a butt joint using an angle grinder and how to weld a butt joint using a MIG welder.

Please be sure to exercise all safety precautions and utilize all necessary safety equipment, including a welding helmet, before welding.

Videos:

How to MIG Weld : How to Prepare a Butt Joint for a MIG Welder

How to MIG Weld : How to MIG Weld a Butt Joint

 

4 IN. RATCHETING BAR CLAMP/ SPREADER

4 in. Ratcheting Bar Clamp Spreader

The 4 In. Ratcheting Bar Clamp/Spreader is a light duty tool that’s perfect for delicate woodwork or scale modeling. The clamp features a pistol grip for easy one-hand operation and a quick-release button that works with the touch of a finger. The bar clamp easily converts to a spreader by simply removing the fixed jaw and placing it on the opposite end of the bar. Pick up half a dozen or more for your garage or shop—you can never have enough of these clamps… and be careful who you loan them to because you’ll probably never get them back!

These clamps have been upgraded from their predecessors thanks to feedback from customers like you. Here’s what one customer had to say about the 4 In. Ratcheting Bar Clamp/Spreader:

These have been redesigned, nothing like the earlier ones, I believe these can put as much pressure as the old foot-long ones. HFT listened and corrected ALL the previous problems. Try a pair, you will be happily surprised – I was!!! I have been using these for over a year now with NO problems. – Jim, Estacada, OR

Pick up the 4 In. Ratcheting Bar Clamp/Spreader at any one of Harbor Freight’s 550+ stores nationwide or visit harborfreight.com.

4 in. Ratcheting Bar Clamp/Spreader
item #: 68974

How to Season Your Cast Iron Pans

cast iron fry pans

For camping and emergency gear, you can never have too many cast iron pans. Some of them come preseasoned, but factory finishes eventually strip. Whether you buy the pans unseasoned or preseasoned, it’s good to know how to season your cast iron pans so they can remain non-stick, easy to clean and stored for long periods of time without threat of rusting. A well-seasoned pan can give you a lifetime of faithful service.

Before you start, if your pan is used, scrub any rust and gunk out of it with fine steel wool. If that doesn’t work, stick it in your self-cleaning oven for the shortest time period and wipe clean. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, spray it with oven cleaner, stick it in a plastic bag overnight and wipe clean the next day.

The process of seasoning is pretty simple. First, spread oil or fat on the inside of your pans, not a lot, with a paper towel. There’s some debate as to what kind of coating to put on, particularly when you factor in the non-meat eaters who lobby for vegetable oil.  What we have found, however, is that animal fat does the best job. So you could fry up a big batch of bacon (ooohhh, yeah…) and then leave the grease in there to harden and then spread around. Or, you could just grab some lard.

cast iron pan lard

Set your oven for 450° and spread a sheet of aluminum foil on the lower shelf. Set the greased pan on the upper shelf upside-down, so the foil can catch the excess drips. It would probably be a good idea at this point to open the windows and turn on the exhaust fan, ’cause the place is gonna get smoky  real soon. Bake the pan for 2 hours.

When the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the pan in there, leaving the oven door open a crack. The cast iron pan needs to cool slowly; a sudden change from hot to cool temperature might cause it to crack.

cast iron pans seasoned

The end result should be a nice, even, black finish. You may have to do it a few times in a row to get the desired result.

DO NOT WASH! When the pan has cooled enough to handle, take it out and wipe it down with a kitchen “J-cloth” or sturdy paper towel, making sure it’s dry to prevent rusting. And for future cleaning, don’t scrub it too hard or you’ll ruin the finish– and don’t use soap or detergent! Just hot water and a plastic scrub brush should do the trick.

And that’s it! Over time you’ll want to repeat the seasoning process to keep your pans in prime shape, and you’ll find they cook more evenly and last longer than the other pots and pans.

Harbor Freight has an extremely affordable, quality 3-piece set of Cast Iron Frying Pans #44707, ready to go along on your family trips and excursions! They also have a nice 12″ Cast Iron Dutch Oven #44705 for your camping trip Mountain Man breakfasts, stews and cherry cobblers!

dutch oven tailgate

Hello, Vehicle Dollies!

There was a time when moving your vehicle around without turning it on was a superhuman feat that would require the strength of the Gods. No mere mortal could maneuver their car or truck without turning the ignition key first and if your vehicle wasn’t working then it was time to call in the professionals. But now, you don’t have to be a professional OR a Greek God to accomplish this task. All you need are the 2 Pc. 1,500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies (Item #: 67338)! Well, actually you need two sets, but with the low prices you’ve come to expect from Harbor Freight Tools, even buying two sets is still an amazing deal compared to other retailers.

image_23946

With these amazingly convenient and easy-to-use dollies, you can move your vehicle forwards, backwards, and even sideways with ease. Tight spaces are no longer a challenge and as long as there is room for your car or truck, it’ll fit with the help of these awesome vehicle dollies. Each dolly can hold up to 1,500 lbs. individually and are rust-resistant for a long life and years of service. Just ask some of these satisfied customers:

“Just bought two pairs of these to move my Chevelle around the garage. Lowered the car onto the dollies and easily pushed it around by myself. Easy win for these dollies. Buy them!” – by Nick H. from IL

“I bought a set of these for use on my 67 Mustang. These are nice quality dollies with sturdy construction. The wheels are metal. I can move the entire form of my car with just a single hand, by pulling the handle on the dolly. If I’m feeling especially lazy I can just put my foot on the tire or dolly and give a little shove.” – by Josh from MI

“I transport cars and trucks on a 3 car trailer, and 80% of them are inoperable. These have been a life saver. I use them daily and have probably unloaded close to 2,500 cars with them. I have 3 sets in my trailer box and 2 sets at home. Excellent Product!!!!” – by Lewis Transport Service from KS

Whether you’re a DIYer or a professional and from moving one car to 2,500, the Vehicle Dollies get the job done so you don’t have to! Get down to your local Harbor Freight store and pick up a set (or two) today!

5 Tools: Build the Perfect Lemonade Stand With Your Kids

lemonade stand

You’ve heard the old saying, “Build a Better Mousetrap.” You can certainly apply that to a lemonade stand, ’cause as much as your heart goes out to the kids hawking their punch in hundred-degree weather, if they’re standing behind a card table with a flapping poster board taped to the front, you’re probably going to be less apt to pull over and buy a cup. If you want your progeny to get a taste of making something of themselves in the world, at least give them a fighting chance. Here’s a great way to not just show them how to run a business, but how to build a business! Building a lemonade stand is fun way for them to learn some basics about construction. And if you take the time to build a sturdy Lemonade Stand, they could also use it down the road as a puppet theater, a “fishing game” stand at a fundraiser, or even as the “register” at a yard sale.

The 5 Tools

Another great reason to build a lemonade stand is, you probably already have the tools to make it. Here are the five things you’ll need:

lemonade stand 2

Detailed steps on how to build the perfect lemonade stand- including illustrations!- can be found on Instructables.com. It even provides extra steps if you want to convert the stand to a home garden “wishing well!”

Projects such as this are easy and fun for all the family. Even more, they build memories that can last a lifetime. And the tools to make them happen can be found for extremely low prices at Harbor Freight Tools!