Their First Tool Set: A Rite of Passage

tool box 21-inch

Last month, a friend of mine in Utah decided to buy his two teenage sons each their first tool kits for Christmas. Armed with a Harbor Freight 25% Off Friends & Family coupon, he went up and down the aisles, thinking about the chores his boys might come across, at least in their early lives, and he tossed the respective tools in the basket. Needless to say, the kids were excited when they opened their presents. They weren’t expecting anything remotely like it and, let’s face it, getting a first tool set is a profound rite of passage– for a boy or a girl.

girl with drill

Kids may appear to be smaller than they actually are…

It made me think about my own daughter, Miss D, who turns 20 this spring. For the first time in her life, she’s living away from home and starting to make her own way. Having a tool kit in the apartment surely would have its uses. So, what are the essentials for a basic first tool set for her? Here’s what I came up with, and what I plan to put together for her:

Cordless Drill

cordless drill 3-8 with flashlight

This may or may not fit in the tool box of choice, but it’s essential for the home, what with all the holes and screws in their future. Cordless, of course, so she can take it anywhere without having to drag an extension cord along. I chose this 3/8″ 18-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver and Flashlight Kit for a number of reasons. 1) She won’t be needing a 1/2″ for the tasks she’ll be doing; 2) It’s got plenty of power; 3) it’s rated at “4 Stars”; 5) It’s under $30 for the set. It’s a lightweight, powerful drill with plenty of torque for around-the-house jobs.

Socket Set

socket set 21 pc 3-8 sae and metric

 

Probably just as much as the drill, I can see Miss D running into tasks that require wrenching. A 3/8″ SAE & Metric High Visibility Socket Set makes good sense because of the ease it’ll give her to tighten and loosen nuts n’ bolts. Coupled with a closed-end wrench to hold the other side, fasteners are no chore at all. This particular set is rated at “5 STARS”, has high-visibility markings so she can locate needed sockets fast, and also costs under $30. Like all Harbor Freight hand tools, this socket set has a lifetime warranty and will probably be in her tool box for the rest of her life.

Wrench Set

wrench set SAE 9 pc

I normally like using a ratchet, but when you run into a situation where it doesn’t fit, you need wrenches as a backup. Also, as I mentioned, I think closed-end wrench sets make great companions to socket sets when tightening or loosening bolts. So I’m tossing a 9-Pc SAE Wrench Set and a 9-Pc. Metric Wrench Set— together under $20– into her tool set.

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench set

There are those who argue that if you have these, you don’t need the other wrenches. I don’t belong to that camp. You miss out on the advantageous grip of the closed end and I just like the grip of a stationary wrench more. On the other hand, if none of your sized wrenches fit, these make for mighty fine pinch hitters. I’m giving Miss D this Pittsburgh Adjustable Wrench Set of 4— it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. And I’ll tell her how, when you’re using an adjustable wrench, the movable jaw is located on the side towards which the rotation is being performed. This reduces the chance of backlash. At under $15, this does the trick.

Screwdrivers

screwdriver set 8 pc

 

Although Phillips screws have pretty much replaced slotted screws in the fastener world, 20-somethings planning on dwelling in apartments will inevitably come across older domains with slots, so it’s no biggie to get a 8-Pc. Combo Screwdriver Set, especially with comfortably soft handles and magnetized tips at under $10! The flatheads can also be improvised for other uses like light prying, scraping and nudging.

Claw Hammer

claw hammer blog

Back in the day, the Old Man used to hammer pretty much everything, not just nails. A good, solid 16-oz. Hammer with Fiberglass Handle is all she’ll need to hang her picture frames, Jamaican masks and balcony lights. And at under $5, it’s a no-brainer to throw this in the kit.

Tape Measure

tape measure 25 ft

Whether she’s spacing pictures on a wall, measuring space for a futon or cutting fabric to cover it, a dependable 25′ Retractable Steel Measuring Tape is a must. Carpenter’s marks every 16″ will also help her locate studs and the thumb lock holds measurements in place when she needs it. At under $5, it’ll pay for itself over and over again.

Locking Pliers

locking pliers set of 3

Thinking about how Miss D will often be alone at home while working on projects, I thought she could probably use some locking pliers. They come in handy when you need an extra hand, but only have your own two paws to work with. Extremely versatile, they can be used as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet or a clamp. I chose this set of 3 Curved Jaw Locking Pliers  ’cause they pretty much cover any size job she’ll be facing, and they come with soft rubberized handles which will make it easier to wrench loose the more stubborn nuts n’ bolts. Under $10.00 and also covered with Harbor Freight’s lifetime warranty.

Needle Nose Pliers

needle nose pliers

My daughter likes to work on crafty projects from time to time, which sometimes entails tiny manipulating tasks. Also, there’ll be the occasional task where she has to work in smaller cavities. That said, I thought it would be a good idea to throw these 5-3/4″ Needle Nose Pliers in the tool box for good measure. They’ll also be good for whenever she needs to strip and cut wire (in my day it would have been stereo speaker wire), etc. At only $2, I couldn’t even get a Quarter Pounder for that.

I’m sure I’ll be adding other things as I think of them down the road. Depending on your kids’ interests, talents, vocations or lifestyle, you’ll probably want to deviate from this list a bit. Where you want to follow my lead is to head on over to your local Harbor Freight Tools to gather your tool set. The quality and prices are great, and you can’t beat the warranty on the hand tools! Make sure you visit HarborFreight.com first to grab your coupons.

33 Awesome DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

merry christmas DIY

Buying any well-thought item from a store will certainly make guy or gal’s Christmas, but nothing says “wow” like the gift someone makes for you. For some reason, knowing they spent their time crafting something just for you is especially awesome. Plus, if you’re comfortable working with your hands, the homemade gifts can be made very inexpensively and help you cross several names off your list with just one project.

Over the years we’ve written a number of DIY project articles for the purpose of making something for yourself. This time we’re going to take a moment and share some DIY activities you’ll enjoy both making AND giving. Some of them are really easy take little time and are inexpensive to make. Others might challenge your skill set a bit more, as well as your budget. Whatever the case, you’re sure to find one that fits your comfort level.

Recently, the Art of Manliness came out with “33 DIY Gift Ideas For Men,” a compilation of several previous articles that they thought would make a great gift guide. We at Harbor Freight agree, but we’re pretty sure there are some craft-minded women who would also find this interesting, fun and contain at least a few great ideas for the significants in their lives.

field phone

If your hobby is electronics, how’d you like to turn a WWII field phone into a Bluetooth phone?

diy dining table

Or if woodworking is your thing, how about this rustic heirloom-quality dining room table?

altoid tins flavored toothpicks

Or if you’re looking to take care of a bunch of folks in one fell swoop, they offer 22 Altoid can kit ideas or custom-flavored toothpicks!

Those are just a few of the wide-ranging ideas The Art of Manliness offers in its comprehensive DIY Christmas Gift Ideas post. You’re sure to find at least a few that fit your skill set, timetable and budget. If I could anything myself, it would be to choose a project that will be fun and rewarding for you. After all, it’s Christmas, and where’s the joy in a project that’s gonna make you stress n’ sweat? And when you find you need a certain tool or supply to make it happen, swing by Harbor Freight Tools for quality, cost-conscious garage gear.

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10

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Whether you’re looking for a few extra stocking stuffers or you’re just on a tight budget this holiday season, Harbor Freight Tools has you covered.  You might be surprised at what you can find for under $10 with options ranging from specialty tools to entire kits! Here’s a list of the top ten most wanted items under ten bucks that are the perfect balance of practical and affordable.

  1. Multi-Use Transfer Pump (Item #: 61364) – $6.99

Transfer Pump

Need a gift for your favorite mechanic? You can’t go wrong with this handy item. The Multi-Use Transfer Pump is a versatile tool that is primarily used to fill and empty engines, change oil, and siphon gas. With the included inflation needle, the Pump can also be used to inflate tires or sports equipment like basketballs and footballs. The pump comes with a 51” long hose and all necessary attachments. Pick up this fluid maintenance tool for just $6.99.

  1. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 12 Pack (Item #: 69795) – $6.99

cloths

Listen, anyone who works in a shop or garage can never have too many Cleaning Cloths. You just can’t. They’re like clothes hangers. You always need more. These microfiber cloths are made of a dust-trapping material that makes cleaning easy. And, best of all, they also provide a clear, scratch-free shine on your vehicle as well. Stock up on this pack of 12 for just $6.99.

  1. Multi-Tool Blade Set, 3 Pc. (Item #: 61827) – $9.99

blades

Maybe you already picked up a Multi-Tool or perhaps the person you’re buying for already has one. Whatever the case may be, this terrific 3-piece blade set is a great additional gift for under ten bucks. The set comes with three blades, one for cutting and two for scraping, that make quick work of a variety of tasks. At only $9.99, this is an affordable blade set that will greatly enhance the versatility of your multifunction power tool.

  1. 12V 250 PSI Compact Air Compressor (Item #: 4077) – $9.99

AC

More of a portable inflator than an air compressor, this compact unit tackles a variety of jobs from airing up tires quickly to inflating sports equipment in a flash. With the included cigarette lighter plug, you can power the compressor directly from your vehicle, making it a must-have for certain roadside emergencies. For only $9.99, this portable and compact Air Compressor is a great gift for any mechanic, gearhead, or grease monkey.

  1. 6” General Purpose Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blade Assortment, 12 Pc. (Item #: 68045) – $9.99

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Just like with the multi-tool blades, you can’t go wrong with some replacement Reciprocating Saw Blades. This general purpose assortment comes with 12 saw blades for just $9.99, which means the recipient of these fine blades will be able to handle aggressive cutting jobs on a range of materials! With these quality blades, you’re really giving a gift that they’ll be able to use all year long.

  1. Solid Rubber Wheel Chock (Item #: 96479) – $7.99

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Here’s an important safety item that often gets overlooked. The Solid Rubber Wheel Chock is ideal for keeping vehicles in place during repair or maintenance and every automotive enthusiast should have several on hand. No matter how many someone has, they can always use more so don’t be afraid to pick one up for just $7.99!

  1. 100 Pc. Security Bit Set with Case (Item #: 68457) – $9.99

Bits

Looking for something a little more substantial? Then how about a complete set of security bits? This 100 piece set comes packed with bits for hex, hollow hex, Pozi, Torx, hollow-tip Torx, square and spline fasteners. And the whole thing comes conveniently organized in its own carrying case for easy transportation and storage. Slide this set under someone’s tree for just $9.99!

  1. 12 Pc. Assorted Length Elastic Stretch Cords (Item #: 60534) – $6.99

image_21160

Whether it’s securing tarps and covers or bundling PVC pipe or other items, these elastic tie-downs are just what you need for the task at hand. This pack contains 12 cords at assorted lengths for a variety of jobs and each include protective tips that won’t scratch surfaces. Pick up a bag of these for $6.99 and give someone the gift of security.

  1. 17 Pc. Air Tool Accessory Kit (Item #: 68236) – $8.99

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No matter if you’re buying for an experienced contractor or a novice to the DIY game, this fantastic accessory kit is both useful and durable. From connecting air tools to cleaning and dusting with compressed air, the set contains everything you need to get the most out of your air compressor. For a paltry $8.99, this terrific set will make a great gift on any budget.

  1. Automatic Battery Float Charger (Item #: 42292) – $8.99

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Here’s an item that will make a great addition to any shop or garage. The Automatic Battery Float Charger allows you to maintain the charge in a battery even while it’s in storage. This way, when you’re ready to use it again, the battery will already be charged and ready to go! Retailing for just $8.99, this is a great item for seasonal vehicles like RVs or ATVs. Keep in mind, the charger won’t charge batteries, but ensures that they maintain their current charge while not in use.

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

Most Wanted Gifts Under $50

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Ready to step up your gift-buying game to the $50 range? At most tool stores, $50 won’t get you much but at Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll be amazed at the outstanding deals available on tools, accessories and other items for a price that won’t leave you out in the cold. Take a look at this list of the Top 10 Most Wanted Items for Under $50 for a few suggestions on what’s popular this year.

  1. 7-1/4” 10 Amp Heavy Duty Circular Saw with Laser Guide System (Item #: 69078) – $29.99

circular-saw-blog

Let’s cut right to the chase. You need a cool gift for the tool-lover in your life that won’t set you back a lot of money. This Heavy Duty Circular Saw does just that and at only $29.99, it’s a price any gift budget can afford. Complete with a laser guide system for added accuracy, you can’t go wrong with this trusty cutting tool.

  1. Triple Ball Trailer Hitch (Item #: 61913) – $31.99

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This Triple Ball Trailer Hitch allows any 2” receiver to hook up to three different coupler sizes. For only $31.99, this hitch will accommodate 1-7/8”, 2”, and 2-15/16” couplers, making it the equivalent of three gifts in one! Chrome-plated and featuring a rugged welded steel shank, the Triple Ball Trailer Hitch is durable and versatile. A great gift for any mechanic, auto enthusiast or farmer.

  1. 2 Ton Compact Trolley Jack (Item #: 68783) – $24.99

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Speaking of mechanics and auto enthusiasts, this tough little jack is ideal for any shop or garage. With a 4,000 lb. lifting capacity, the jack lifts vehicles up to 13” for easy repair, maintenance, or tire removal. With smooth-rolling casters and an easy-carry handle, this portable trolley jack retails for just $24.99.

  1. Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool (Items #: 67537) – $37.99

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You’ll be forgiven for assuming this is a typo but the Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool really is under $50! In fact, for just $37.99, you can pick up a gift that is sure to be the most versatile tool in anyone’s garage, shop or home. The multi-tool lets you cut, sand, saw, scrape, and trim at up to 20,000 oscillations per minute and power through a wide variety of projects. If you really want to impress someone with a useful tool for a gift, pick up one of these.

  1. Pneumatic Roller Seat (Item #: 46319) – $ 27.99

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Not everything on this list is a tool. With the Pneumatic Roller Seat, you can give the gift of comfort for just $27.99. The roller seat features a cushioned seat that makes it easy to work for hours as well as a convenient, easy-to-reach storage tray. This is the ideal seat for the shop and is sure to light up the face of any do-it-yourselfer or weekend warrior.

  1. 6 Amp Heavy Duty Variable Speed Rotating Handle Reciprocating Saw (Item #: 62370) – $19.99

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Would you believe you can pick up such a powerful tool for only $19.99? Forget $50, this tough Reciprocating Saw is under $20! And it makes an excellent gift. With this saw, you can add precision and accuracy to any cut and the rotating handle makes it easy to get to the spot you need. With an included rubber grip for comfort, the Reciprocating Saw is a terrific addition to anyone’s toolbox.

  1. Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting (Item #: 69465) – $19.99

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This professional-quality thermometer is a safe, accurate way to measure the temperature of nearly anything. Even getting the temp in hazardous areas such as engines or other machinery is easy with this handy item. The thermometer may be high end but the price isn’t. Pick this thermometer up for just $19.99.

  1. 7” 10 Amp Variable Speed Polisher (Item #: 60626) – $39.99

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This amazing Polisher tool will clean up your vehicle’s finish or other large work surfaces without cleaning out your wallet. Retailing for just $39.99, the sander/polisher is built tough and easy to use. Six speed, easy pad changes, and an all-bearing construction for smooth operation make this a must-have for any tool hound.

  1. 40” 300 lb. Capacity Low-Profile Creeper (Item #: 2745) – $19.43

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Low-profile for getting under vehicles easily, this 300 lb. capacity creeper features a padded headrest for optimum comfort while working. It’s resistant to oil and solvents which means the creeper is easy to clean while staying durable. With built-in tool storage smooth-rolling casters for easy maneuvering around the shop, this high quality creeper is available for just $19.43.

  1. 10/2/50 Amp 12V Manual Charger with Engine Start (Item #: 60581) – $34.99

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Here’s the ultimate in Battery Chargers. This charger not only charges or maintains the charge in your vehicle’s battery, it also works as a jump-starter if you find yourself in need of some assistance. This is an excellent gift for anyone from professional mechanics to car owners in general. And for only $34.99, you’ll still have plenty left over for a few stocking stuffers as well.

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

How To Make a Rustic Party Ice Chest From Wood Pallets

pallet cooler complete

Yup, it’s getting colder and wetter, and DIY warriors are retreating behind closed doors for the winter. The LAST thing you want to do is curl up on the barcalounger and remain in a vegetative state ’til the thaw. How about a fun garage project to keep you engaged, limber and rewarded with a cool, new addition to the yard for when the sun comes back out?

This actually really is a fun project (well… minus the breaking-down-the pallets part, but it’ll keep you warm) and the effort is well worth the pleasure and admiration you’ll get for your labors. So, without further ado… the Vintage Ice Chest!

Cost:

Because most of the materials will be coming from (hopefully) salvaged pallets, the expense should be minimal. If you don’t already have one, you should pick up a 48-qt. cooler.

pallet

Materials:

  • 5 reclaimed pallets
  • Wood glue
  • 1 box 2″ wood nails
  • 1 box 1½” wood nails
  • 2 large hinges
  • 1 qt. polyurethane, non-glossy

circular saw

Tools:

Time:

  1. Finding pallets
  2. Pallet breakdown – 45 minutes per pallet
  3. Assembly – 4 hours approx.
  4. Use cooler – Every shindig, ’til sunup

Once you’ve dismantled your pallets, sort your wood: the heavy 2×3 supports, the 30” wood slats (will vary). There are an average 6 boards per pallet side. Choose the pieces you want to use for the front. As you see here, ink-stamped pieces were chosen. Using pieces of various shape is best to give it that rustic look.

pallet cooler - openpallet cooler - closed

OK, you’re ready for the fun part, putting it together! This is where I pass you on to Instructables.com, and “miamitreasure,” who shows us how to assemble our classic pallet ice chest cooler. Also, check out these other pallet wood projects on Instructables!

 

If you’re missing any tools or supplies for this awesome project, don’t forget to swing by Harbor Freight where you’ll find just what you need at low, low prices!

The $55 DIY Fancy, Functional X Desk

x desk diy

Owning a miter saw brings with it a world of opportunities for DIY home repair, home improvement and building projects that can add so much to your home. Take, for example, a treehouse or playhouse for the rugrats, a new deck for the patio or adding crown molding to the house– all for so much less than if you had someone else doing it. As one becomes comfortable with their miter saw, it soon becomes the most used power tool in their arsenal. 

Chicago Electric has an excellent 12″ miter saw (#61969) with a number of useful features: double-bevel so you don’t have to flip your work over and reset cutting angles; sliding compound so you can cut larger pieces; laser guide for more accurate cuts. And this best-selling unit can often be found on sale at Harbor Freight at a much lower price than you’ll find elsewhere.

miter saw 12 blog

Recently, this X Desk project caught my eye. Here’s a great example of a doable miter saw project, even for relative newbies who want to spread their wings, for a very approachable price: $55 in materials. I found it on Ana White’s site, a source for so many inspiring DIY projects. She re-posts a plan shared by Whitney from Shanty2Chic, but I chose to reference Ana’s site for its graphics. I also like how folks who follow her example post their creations on her site with all kinds of variations and added ideas.

What You Need

Materials:

5 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×4 @ 8 feet long
2 – 2×12 @ 6 feet long OR 4 – 2×6 @ 6 feet long
2 ½” wood screws for countersinking
2 ½” PH screws

 

Before You Start

  • Take the time to read through the whole article before you start mobilizing.
  • You want to make sure you’ve got a good working area, including a clean, level surface.
  • When you pick out the wood, make sure all the boards are straight.
  • Always pre-drill your holes before attaching the screws.
  • Use glue with finish nails for a strong, solid hold. Wipe excess glue off the bare wood so you can stain it.
  • ALWAYS exercise workshop safety!

Here’s a diagram of the X Table with the dimensions. If this looks like a project you might be interested in pursuing, take a look at Ana White’s plan. It’s extremely detailed and easy to follow– and the graphics are awesome!

Check out Ana’s site for other projects as well, and make sure to visit Harbor Freight Tools for all your tool needs!

HOW TO BUILD A CUSTOM TOOL BOX FOR YOUR EXTRA CAB PICKUP TRUCK

Extra Cab Tool Box - customer

There’s always a way to build a better mousetrap. Or, in this case, a better tool storage. If you have a pickup with an extra cab, you’re well on your way to getting there.

Trucks are the perfect vehicle for transporting tools and gear, but the storage alternatives, not so much. You can get a tool box for the back, but by so doing, you rob yourself of bed space– and expose yourself to getting robbed. You could throw them in the extra cab, but the run the risk of them getting mixed up, piled on each other and thrown around with every turn.

If you usually don’t have passengers in the back seat, then you’ve got some prime tool real estate just waiting for an apparatus of organization– in other words, a custom-made tool box behind the front seats. First thing, take out the back seats. This is usually pretty easy to do. Then, get the measurements of the extra cab space, from the floor to the top of the back of the front seat,  back of the cab to top of the seat, and then door-to-door. Using these dimensions, cut out a box from 3/4″ plywood.

If you ever need the extra cab for a group trip or you’re ready to sell the truck, you can easily remove the tool storage box and replace the seats, restoring the vehicle to its original condition.

Watch this video from FineHomebuilding for a detailed breakdown on how to design and secure your custom tool storage box for your extra cab.

You can find all the tools you need to make this simple project happen at Harbor Freight Tools!

HFT’s Your Halloween Costume Gear Headquarters

halloween harbor freight oct-2014

If you’ve haunted the aisles at Harbor Freight, you know they’ve got all kinds of great stuff for the garage. But, just for a minute, imagine how a lot of that can translate to Halloween costume gear, props and decor. Here are a few ideas for you to take with you the next time you swing by one of the stores.

Leather Welding Apron

leather welders apronWhether you’re Leatherface (the original) or a Keeper of the Pit of Despair, this Split Leather Welding Apron is a nice, low-cost touch to your infernal ensemble. At just $9.99, the rugged leather apron is double-stitched, adjustable for comfort, and comes with four pockets to store your devices of death… or Fun Size Snickers! As my yuppie zombie neighbor would say, “It’s a no-brainer!” Incidentally, the Leather Welding Gloves, at $4.99, coordinate fabulously.welding gloves

Industrial Face Masks

dual filter respiratorNothing is as unsettling as being confronted by someone wearing a respirator. Especially when they say stuff like, “I AM the League of Shadows!” or “Are you going to eat your steak fat?” Needless to say, they are cool apparatus to have as part of your nefarious costume. This Gerson Dual-Cartridge Respirator gives off a menacing look that’s sure to push the envelope on your malevolence, and will certainly come in handy if the party hostess burns the bacon-wrapped dates. And at only $15.99, it’s a far cry less expensive than that Groot mask you’ve been eyeing.neoprene dust maskAnother way to go is the Neoprene Dust Mask. Throw on a pair of black tint wraparound Oakleys and a Motley Crue wig with this bad boy and call yourself an interplanetary blue ninja assasin. Or Bane’s cousin… Blaine. Or throw on a half helmet and be an off-road zombie. What I’m trying to say is, this looks badass enough for a number of costume ideas, and for only $24.99, it’s a great accessory to keep in the costume drawer for future incarnations.

Goggles

welding gogglesVictor Frankenstein would be thunderstruck jealous. These steampunk Welders Goggles come with both permanent  and flip-front darkening lenses, and an elastic band to secure comfortably to your melon. They’d also go great with any of the aforementioned items to add that Tim Burton-esque touch to your getup.  You don’t even have to wait for Halloween to wear them., they’re so swank. And for just $6.29?? I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.

Blasting Hood

blasting hoodIf the 50’s SciFi Mars Mission motif is what you’re going for– or maybe this year you want to be HazMan– look no further than Harbor Freight’s Abrasive Blasting Hood! This space-odd chapeau offers full head and shoulder coverage with a hard hat inside. It also provides ample air circulation to stay cool, and it has a wide, impact-resistant viewing window for easy navigation of the party or neighborhood. Comes in snazzy red and is priced at a mere $19.99.

Blasting Gloves

rubber blasting glovesOur long Rubber-Coated Blasting Gloves make a great addition to the Steampunk Mad Doctor,  the Misunderstood Texas Butcher, that guy they ditched on Mars (in which case they’d be Blast-OFF Gloves) or maybe the Alien Life Form from Another Planet Whose Sole Intention is “To Serve Man” (props to those who got that reference). It’s industrial strength and is made for easy dexterity of hands and fingers. At $6.99, you might as well get two pair– one for taking over the world and the other for pretending you’re taking over the world while you clean out the septic tank.

Headlamp

swivel headlampAnother nice– and totally monetarily doable– touch for a number of Halloween getups is Harbor Freight’s popular Swivel Headlamp. Buy two and make them robot eyes shining out of a tin foil head. Strap one on your pooch’s noggin and he can be the Bionic Bowzer. Have your toddler wear a toy hard hat with one of the headlamps and– voilà!-– a Minor Miner! The Swivel Headlamp can be adjusted 90 degrees up or down and is lightweight, so it wears comfortably on the head. Only $2.99!

Spooky Ol’ Owl

owl garden scarecrowOriginally created to scare the snot out of birds and other pests from infiltrating the garden, this Great Horned Owl makes a swell prop for Halloween. Hand-painted to resemble a real predatory owl, this fowl creature stands 16″ tall and is built to endure all kinds of weather. Observe the malevolent stare, as if it’s saying, “Look kid, I know you’ve knocked on this door before. Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya… punk?” For only $13.99 it’s the best deal you’re going to find for a Halloween decoration of this quality.

Trick or Treating Lights

flashlights - two LED blogIf trick-or-treating is part of the plan this Oct. 31, then it behooves you to keep a couple of these on hand (or claw…depending on the getup). These Mini LED Flashlights are small, they’re bright, and they’ve got easy on-off buttons– perfect for the little monsters. And did I mention cheap? A pair of these lifesavers (and believe me, they will be) can be yours for a paltry $2.99. You’re welcome.

Find these and other drop-dead deals Halloween ideas at Harbor Freight Tools— If you miss out on these savings, it’ll haunt you for the rest of your life!

How To Create An Organized Stackable Parts Storage Cabinet

If you’re like me, you’ve got a kind of “Winchester House-like” system for keeping all of your screws, bolts, nuts, washers, hooks, nails, brads, tacks and parts in a place where you can get at them… usually thrown all harum-scarum in the smaller upper workbench drawers and coffee cans. I’d hate to actually audit the time I’ve spent looking for everything whilst in the middle of projects.

stackable organizer complete 2

So, what would you think of having your hardware– every single cotter pin, rivet, fuse, lock nut– sequestered in its own bin, in labeled cases stacked 12-high in a portable cart? Well, that’s exactly what Dave Wirth did with his huge inventory of parts and fasteners, employing the Storehouse 20-Bin Portable Parts Storage Case from Harbor Freight.

20 bin storage case

Made of rugged ABS plastic, each case houses 20 removable bins and has a clear lid so you can see what you got inside without opening it up. It also comes with a handle for easy toting.

sorting the bins

Dave actually got a kick out of going through his stuff, dumping everything out, sorting them into their own trays, and then deciding which trays should be grouped together in the same case.  In the process, he found things he never knew he had.  Also, it was a treat knowing he’d never have to spend all that excess time looking for just the right sized bolt.

building the cart

So, how did Dave Wirth tackle this extremely cool modern marvel? Check out his detailed “how-to” video here:

And while you’re at it, visit his Blog for a quick pictorial of how it’s done. It really is a neat project and a work of art.

As for the table saw, miter saw, wood glue, clamps, nail gun, compressor, belt sander and casters— whatever you don’t already have in your arsenal– you can find at Harbor Freight at great prices.

How To Save On Car Repairs With an OBD II Scanner

Do Your Own Diagnostics BEFORE You Take The Vehicle In

Five Ways to Save Serious Money on Car Repairs

There’s a growing popularity these days for DIY OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics, the diagnostic and reporting tech used in most vehicles 1996 and newer) scanners you can use to diagnose your own car issues. When the “Check Engine” light comes on– or your car starts beeping and/or flashing like the dickens– more often than not there’s an OBD code associated with it. The OBD-II scanners read those codes and beeps, and convert them into plain language so you can understand what’s wrong with the car. Many of them let you do your own health checks on your car, and others will even record data while you drive and help you figure out if there’s a problem before it becomes a serious issue. So, with the effort of a short learning curve, you can be diagnosing your cars for problems early and save mucho dinero.

Something to keep in mind is that there are two types of OBD II diagnostic trouble codes: generic “P0” codes and enhanced “P1” codes. All 1996+ vehicles use the same basic definitions for the generic codes, but the enhanced codes are vehicle-specific and could very well change from one model year to another. So it’ll likely be out of date by the next model year and have to be updated or replaced. What’s more, some types of faults will set a P1 code but not set a P0 code. That’s why you need a tool that can read both types of codes, not just the generic ones.

OBD-II with ABS

There are several OBD-II scanners available at Harbor Freight Tools which provide varying features, including multilingual language (English, Spanish, French). One of the more popular , the Cen-Tech OBD II & CAN Scan Tool with ABS, can also read the special diagnostics software for antilock brake systems (on most post-’96 vehicles), as well as the generic and model-specific codes– and other troubleshooting features– making this a great addition to the garage. This one can diagnose most of the issues you’ll experience.

autel

For those who want to cover all contingencies, the Autel MaxiDAS® DS708 is the Swiss army knife of home automotive diagnostic tools. Developed by a team of the best engineers and technicians in the industry, the DS708 is a state-of-art vehicle diagnostic system that delivers a more accurate, stable, comprehensive, easier and faster diagnosis and provides incredibly high performance for the DIYer. This tool offers home workshops and auto technicians an OE-level diagnostic solution rarely seen outside a high-tech professional shop. Not only does it read all 5 OBD-II protocols and all 10 test modes, it can be used wirelessly with connectivity throughout your shop. But, like I said, it IS a Swiss army knife, so it’s worth checking around automotive websites and see if this is the ticket or overkill.

OBD selection

There are a number of other OBD-II scanner models at Harbor Freight, all at great prices for the features they offer. Take the time to review each one, including reviews and even Google other sites for what they have to say about them. HFT is sure to have the right scanner for you.