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.

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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

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.

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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!

 

DIY Book Jewelry Box

jewelry box book 4

As Mother’s Day is only a week away, if you haven’t thought about what to get Mom, now is probably a good time. As we all know, moms love to get homemade stuff for presents– and if it has some sentimental slant to it, so much the better. Here’s a great idea that takes very little time and money, and one that your mom is sure to love: A Homemade Jewelry Box Made Out of an Old Book!

So, the first thing to do is choose the old book. If you really want to get Mom excited, make it one that has significance for her. For example, if you have a lot of wonderful family memories about Oyster Bay, NY, find an old book on Oyster Bay. Or, if she loved the Anne of Green Gables or a Jane Austen book, go to the used bookstore and find an old print copy of one of those. You could also pick out a book on a particular hobby she likes, or a movie star who she’s always had an iconic appeal for. You get the idea.

Next, get the following supplies:

  • Small hobby knife set
  • Mod Podge
  • Small paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decor of your choice – silk flowers, buttons, ribbon. Here are a couple of examples:
    • If the book is Julia Childs’ “The Joy of Cooking,” you could get tiny kitchen utensils.
    • If the book is “Secret Garden,” you could find little little rake, clippers, etc. A Michael’s, or similar craft store, would carry stuff like that.
    • Amazon also has good ideas.

jewelry box book 3

Steps: 
1. Open the book and draw a rectangle on the top page, leaving a 1/2-1″ border all the way around the book.
2. Next, using your sharp hobby knife, cut the rectangle using the lines already drawn. Don’t force it too hard. You will be doing this several times, depending on the thickness of the book. Also, don’t cut down to the very bottom; leave 1/4-1/2″ of pages to serve as a cushioned bottom.
3. It’s OK that the cut pages don’t line up exactly.  A little bit of roughness can really add to the vintage look.
4. Once you’ve cut as deeply as you want to go , leave the book cover up and start Mod Podging every few pages together as well as the outside of the page,s and all inside the new” box.”
5. Then using your Hot Glue Gun, you can decorate the “lid” with little kitchen tools or gardening tools, silk flowers or ribbon, bedazzle, etc.
6. Once the Mod Podge is dry, you might want to go to the thrift store and find a couple of beautiful old jewelry pieces to put in the box for added decoration!

jewelry box book

 

Harbor Freight Tools carries all sorts of great crafting tools and aids to help make your special products awesome! We also have wood burners, rotary tools, rock tumblers, airbrush kits, chisel sets, hot knives, and more!

You can find this and other fun, creative ideas on the blog, Eat. Sleep Decorate.

Five Must-Have Cosplay Emergency Repair Kit Items from Harbor Freight Tools

Intricate Cosplay Costume

You’ve put countless hours into your cosplay costume and it looks great! You arrive at the event only to find that a tentacle has come loose or your armor is becoming unhinged… It’s a cosplayer’s nightmare but all is not lost if you’re prepared. Here are five must-have items for your cosplay emergency repair kit from Harbor Freight Tools.

 

Industrial Strength Super Glue

  1. Super Glue

Super glue is the go-to for bonding foam, plastic, metal and more. Harbor Freight’s Industrial Strength Super Glue (item #: 68347) bonds materials in just 30 seconds and won’t drip or run. When your costume is literally falling apart, fix it quick with super glue!

 

Multipurpose Scissors

  1. Scissors

Getting rid of loose threads or taking care of some last-minute wig trims? A good pair of scissors will do the trick! Harbor Freight’s Multipurpose Scissors (item #: 47877) feature durable PVC handles, heat-treated stainless steel blades and serrated edges to help accurately cut through a variety of materials.

 

160 Piece Sewing Kit

  1. Sewing Kit

A good sewing kit is mandatory when putting together an emergency cosplay repair kit! It’s so easy for your costume to get snagged on a car door… or another cosplayer for that matter! Harbor Freight’s 160 Piece Sewing Repair Kit (item #: 95777) has everything you need to make short work of fabric repairs. The kit comes with standard sewing supplies, including needles, pins, buttons, snaps and a plethora of different colored threads. Though it comes in a beautiful solid wood box, the kit also includes a high impact storage box so you can just consolidate the specific items that you may need to fix your particular costume.

 

Quick Stitch Sewing Awl

  1. Sewing Awl

Here’s an item that you won’t see on other recommended cosplay repair kit lists but one you should definitely consider—the Quick Stitch Sewing Awl (item #: 91812). This sewing awl is ideal for repairing leather and canvas items. It comes with four durable needles and 180 yards of heavy duty polyester thread. Please do not attempt to repair items while wearing them! Repairing leather or canvas is one thing. Repairing human flesh? Quite another…

 

8 in. Black Cable Ties 100 Pk

  1. Zip Ties

Fix a costume or prop in mere seconds with zip ties. Harbor Freight offers a variety of zip/cable ties but you can always start with the tried and true 8 in. Black Cable Ties 100 Pk. Each tie has a 58 lb. working load with a maximum loop diameter of 2 inches. They’re made from durable UL66 DuPont nylon material and for you regulation sticklers, they meet UL flammability 94 v.2 standards—thank goodness for that!

Now that you have your five items, you’re going to want something to put them in. Try the compact and lightweight 12″ Polypropylene Toolbox (item #: 96602) from Harbor Freight. It has easy-access top compartments with transparent lids and a durable lift-out tote tray. The toolbox is made from rugged polypropylene that won’t dent or rust and also features a heavy-duty lockable latch.

12 In Polypropylene Toolbox

 

That’s just five items (technically six with the toolbox) to get your started. Check out a Harbor Freight store near you or the website and let us know what items you’d include in your cosplay emergency repair kit!

Remember that Harbor Freight Tools carries a wide variety of materials not only for cosplay repair but for putting together your costumes in the first place! In case you missed them, check out TOP 10 MUST-HAVE COSPLAY TOOLS/ACCESSORIES FROM HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS and ANOTHER 10 MUST-HAVE COSPLAY TOOLS/ACCESSORIES FROM HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS.

Happy cosplaying!

Upgrade Your Lawn Mower with the 5.5 HP Predator Engine!

If your mower is on its last legs, you don’t have to throw the whole thing away! You can take your lawn mower to the next level with a 5.5 HP (173cc) OHV Vertical Shaft Gas Engine (Item #: 69731) and even save some money in the process. With this high-powered replacement engine installed, your mower will cut like new so you can handle your yard work with ease.

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This Predator engine model is designed specifically for lawn mowers with upgraded engineering and gas-saving overhead valves that provide cool, clean performance in even the dirtiest of lawns. No more endless non-starting, or smoky emissions while mowing! And best of all, it’s easy to mount to your mower in a snap so you can get to work right away. Durable, easy to use, and reliable, the 5.5 HP Predator engine is the cost-effective solution to your lawn mower woes. Just ask a few satisfied customers:

“I cut grass and mixed a few leaves with no problem. This motor has the power to get the job done. Only take a couple of pulls to start and it kicked butt. Not heavy either; therefore, you can pick it up easily if necessary. The throttle system actually works too unlike some motors I’ve purchased in the past. Ability to use ethanol 10% is a plus as well.” – by Mason from Baton Rouge, LA

“My original mower had multiple issues after several years of use. A choice between a new mower or an engine was easy to make, especially with a 20% off discount. Filled with oil and gas and the engine started on the third pull. Runs smoothly and I did not notice any motor stutter as I plowed through some deep grass that would have been a struggle with the old motor.” – by LRoy the Tool Collector from Torrance

“This well-designed, well-built engine was a direct replacement to the Tecumseh on my Yard Machine mower. (5 minute INSTALL)! The cables took less than a minute to connect, Snap! This upgrade saved me $200.00 towards a new mower that I instead applied to hobby money…” – by Bladerunner from Washington

The 5.5 HP Predator Engine is just one of many that Harbor Freight carries in a variety of displacements for a wide range of uses. Take a look to see which one serves your needs best and get down to your local HFT store to pick it up today!

BUILD A TREEHOUSE!

treehouse

Building a treehouse is a cool family activity and a source of lifelong memories. But it doesn’t have to cost yout a lot of dough, especially when you go to ‪#‎HarborFreight‬!

We found a simple and solid HOW-TO that we like from Instructables.com

And here’s a bare minimum list of tools you’ll need:

Hammer
Saw
Level
Square
Tape Measure
Adjustable Wrench
Cordless Drill
Jigsaw
Ladder

Some other useful tools that might make your life easier, but aren’t crucial, include:

Miter Saw
Table Saw
Router

If you want to try something different, there are plenty if ideas to find in a Google search. Most importanly, make it a fun, learning experience for the family!