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!


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.



  • 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



  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, 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!

Paranormal Activity Gear at Harbor Freight

simpsons paranormal

You may be surprised to hear that Harbor Freight Tools is a favorite “haunt” among paranormal investigators. Strange but true, bonafide ghost chasers stalk our shelves to find many of their tools of the trade. What, you say, could a paranormal investigator possibly want at Harbor Freight? Camo blankets? Variable speed jig saw? Glad you asked. As Armando Nunez, co-founder of the Paranormal Research Organization Of Fayetteville (PROOF) said more than once. “HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS IS YOUR BEST FREIND.” Here are just a few of the items we found among the arsenals of active apparition artisans:

The West Houston Paranormal Society, a dedicated group of otherworldly investigators who hunt and engage the eerily unknown, use the Predator 8750 Watts Max/7000 Watts Rated Portable Generator to power their exploits:

“We are West Houston Paranormal Society and this is our official generator. Running power where we need it in powerless buildings and houses that we investigate. It runs our equipment (cameras, audio, trip sensors, monitors, DVRs, computers, recharging packs, etc) throughout the house, as well as our trailer base command/review center. Fist pull operation, no drain or surges and super quiet…. the last thing we need is a loud generator interfering with our EVPs and video evidence, that is why we chose this one because that was high on our list of NEEDED features.” Caps included.

Why the Predator generator? Could it be it resonates with entities from across the veil? Or, is it the high-quality performance and low prices? Perhaps it’s all of the above… or perhaps it’s something far beyond mere mortal understanding.

The Predator generator isn’t the only Harbor Freight product of choice among paranormal investigators. The Southeastern Paranormal Society, located in Salisbury, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC, and the good folks at, favor the motion-activated Bunker Hill Security 4-Camera Surveillance DVR when looking into poltergeists and sundry presences. A representative at the SPS commented:

 “I bought this package to do surveillance for our paranormal research group. The cameras perform great in near pitch black conditions. Considering buying another system for our group.”

dvr 8 channel

Everyone who’s seen those paranormal movies knows why this is an important contribution to the investigative process. On the other hand, do you really want to know what’s hovering over you while you’re sleeping?

creepy dummy

Among the most popular Harbor Freight products in spook-seeking circles is the Cen-Tech Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer, which is used in the measuring of ambient air around “cold” and “hot” spots. While so-called “professional” ambient air thermometers cost around $130, Harbor Freight’s is under $40. BOOOOoooOOOOO-yaah!!

ir thermometer 61894 blog

Self-proclaimed “paranormal enthusiast,” Jocelyn S. Mackie, also takes a Pittsburgh Non-Contact Pocket Thermometer with her, for “ambient” temperature gauging.

non contact temp gauge customer

Another cool (as in cold spot) tool for the phantom finder, according to Paranormal Adventure Radio , is the Bunker Hill Motion Detector as “good for basic investigations.” As opposed to über-intense investigations, we suppose, like flying cutlery.

 Other paranormal investigators have testified about the value of a wireless inspection camera ” for “tight spaces” and “a very good idea for a room that has noises coming from it with the door closed.” A ghost hunter who recommended the Cen-Tech Digital Inspection Camera was using his to check out a mausoleum he’d been curious about. We’ve been curious if he’s been seen since.

 Research:Paranormal recommends keeping an RF detector on hand to weed out “false” radio frequency hits on the EMF (electro-magnetic field) detector. That way you can know it’s not a spirit from beyond infringing on your comfort zone, probably just your daughter calling, wondering when you’re going to pick her up. One of the Research:Paranormal followers volunteered that they duct-taped their Bunker Hill Wireless RF Detector to their EMF for prime detection.

wireless RF detector

Finally, as Ghost Journeys advises in its Investigation Guidelines:

“Shop smart – save money. Check… Harbor Freight for mini LED flashlights, batteries and hard cases to tote your equipment.”

The Ghost Hunter Outlet took it one step further and provided a link on their site to our Storehouse 18″x6″x13″ Aluminum Case, admitting,

“We don’t sell cases to protect the gear you buy because Harbor Freight has a great case for about $30.”

aluminum case 69138

So, when it comes to quality tools at incredibly low prices… who you gonna call?


Sanding has got to be my least favorite part of any project. Manual sanding is a long, excruciating ritual with relatively little payoff. Using sanding blocks isn’t much better. The paper’s a bear to get on and, maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t want to stay on, either.

hand sanding

Maybe you’re lucky enough to still have your dad’s old vibrating sander. That’s an improvement, sure, but you can still do better. When the dust settles, when it comes to stripping paint from furniture, preparing new molding or cleaning up between finish coats, you won’t get more bang for your buck than with a random-orbit sander. It even smooths and cleans metal and composite materials like solid-surface counter tops. Use a random-orbit on your next project and I’ll bet you a Buffalo nickel you’ll be using it over any other sander from then on.

random product pic

1. Smoothability

A random-orbit sander performs by moving in “random orbits” (ironic, I know) or ellipses,  and also spins in circles. Unlike disk and orbital finishing sanders , the random-orbit leaves behind no swirls or curlicues. It can move across different grain directions without leaving so much as a scratch.

2. Diversability

Another reason why this type of sander makes sense is, it can be used for all types of sanding chores, from the tougher stuff like stripping down paint, to more gentle tasks like smoothing contours.

random pic furniture

3. Maneuverability

Random-orbit sanders generally come in 5″ or 6″ sizes, based on the size of the sanding disk. The 5″ models tend to be more popular with DIYers, though, as they’re capable of being more nimble on the contours. They’re conveniently controlled with the light touch of your palm and with just a little urging, you can let the sander do all the work. Sweet, no?

random product dust bag

4. Suckability

The most desirable models come with a vacuum system. A vacuum sucks away virtually all the dust through holes in the disk pad while you’re sanding–keeping the surface of the sandpaper cool and clog-free– and deposits it into a detachable container. However, even with the vacuum system there’s bound to be a marginal amount of airborne dust, so it’s still advised to wear safety goggles and a respirator mask.

5. Affordability

 Prices for random-orbit sanders can reach upwards of several hundred dollars. The Chicago Electric 2 Amp 5″ model (#69857) featured in this article is rated at 4.5 out of 5 stars and can be had for under $30.

Belt/Disc Sander Tips – The SOP Checklist For All Your Belt/Disc Sanding Projects

belt disk sander 1

Last week I talked about How To Turn Your Garage Into The Ultimate DIY Workshop and as part of the arsenal, I recommended a belt sander. This time, I’m going to add the stationary belt/disc sander, and if you do a lot of projects with wood and metal, you’ll immediately get why. Whether you’re making razor-sharp miters, shaping precise  contours on a model, making knives as a hobby, sharpening lawn mower blades, smoothing down welds or putting a silky smooth finish on a project, a belt/disc sander can be your best friend in the workshop.

This time, though, I’d like to talk about some guidelines

belt disk sander 2

Safety Tips

1. As with most all power tools, always wear safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles while operating the belt/disc sander.

2. Always be on guard when switching on this tool. A sanding disc or belt cuts quickly and aggressively. Failure to anticipate that may result in the loss of skin or digits.

3. Check yourself for loose clothing, jewelry, hair or other things dangling loosely from your person, and secure them  so they are NOT caught in the machine.

4. Sanding on wood or plastic will cause heat buildup due to the friction and may cause the product to burn.

5. A power-driven sander can do some serious damage to the skin. Avoid any contact with the belt and disc when powered up.

6. A filtered face mask is always recommended when working with these sanders.

7. Check the integrity of the sanding belt tracking as well as the integrity of the disc. Any ripped belts or discs should be replaced immediately.

8. Contrary to other the operation of other power tools, do NOT wear gloves while operating the sander, as they can get pulled in by the belt or disc.

9. Let the machine to get to full speed before feeding it material. Also, be aware that it takes time for the disc or belt to stop moving. You just can’t stop it on a dime.

operating belt disk sander

When Operating the Belt/Disc Sander

1. Always approach the belt/disc sander with safety on the brain!

2. Make sure the gap between the sander’s table and the spinning disc or belt is as small as possible.

3. Make sure the distance between your fingers and the spinning disc or belt is no closer than 3”.

4. Absolutely do not sand pieces that are too small to be safely supported.

5. Always hold the piece securely when sanding.

6. Use the backstop, fence, table or other supports as you’re sanding.

7. Always hold the piece on the downward rotation side of the disc when sanding.

8. Avoid putting your hands in awkward positions. A sudden slip could cause a hand to move into the spinning belt or disc.

9. Do not sand with the work piece unsupported. Support the work piece with the backstop or table.

10. Clear scrap pieces and other objects from the table, backstop and belt before turning on the sander.

11. Don’t push hard on the sanding media. Both the belt and disc perform best and safest when they’re allowed to remove material at the rate for which they were designed.

12. Never adjust the belt while the sander is on.

13.Turn the machine off and unplug it before installing or removing belts or discs, or when making adjustments.

14. Never leave the machine when it’s running or before it comes to a complete stop.

15. Shut the sander off, clean it off and clear the work area before leaving. If there are rugrats about, unplug it, too.

Central-Machinery Belt/Disc Sanders

belt disk sander art

Harbor Freight Tools offers an excellent 4″ x 36″ Belt/Disc Sander (#97181) for most (small-to-medium) home projects with a cast aluminum table tilts to 60°.

9 x 6 belt disc sander

Or, if you anticipate larger projects– or want the flexibility for them– we also offer the 9″ x 6″ Combination Belt and Disc Sander #61750 with a 45 ° tilt.

Both of these are great buys as well as great additions to your workshop.

How To Build a Teardrop Trailer

teardrop trailer complete

In the March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft an article ran– along with detailed plans– for a new, cool oddity called the “Honeymoon House Trailer.”

It was built in the late 30’s by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California, a guy who literally saved his dimes for the little traveler so as to take his new bride on their wedding trip. The 8’x4’ floor plan had tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis, a Chevy front axle with 28” wheels and 1926 rear fenders.  The mini trailer slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for a rear kitchenette, complete with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosure outside the starboard entry served as the “dressing room.” The whole project set him back about $60 ($1,026 today). This may or may not have been the very first teardrop trailer, but it was certainly in the ballpark.

DIYers went crazy. They followed Rogers’ plans and soon added touches of their own. After World War II, subsequent models morphed even more, sporting Jeep wheels and exterior skins made from bomber wings. After the 50’s, though, their popularity waned as big RVs appeared. Then, once again, the teardrops returned with a vengeance. Today you can find a number of websites for plans (some free!), photo galleries, forums and clubs. Teardroppers believe that creating, renovating and modifying unique, personalized models are what give the little campers their timelessness—and the most rewarding way to own a teardrop!

vw teardrop

The coolest part of all this is, you don’t have to be a master builder to make your own drop-dead gorgeous teardrop trailer. If you’ve got just a basic knowledge of woodworking and some tools, you’re already ahead of the game.

First thing, how to go about it? On a recent Google hunt, I found this most EXCELLENT “HOW-TO” tutorial on building a teardrop trailer on with extremely detailed steps, TONS of pics (man, you gotta have pics!) and a comfortable daily planner. Building it on a Haul-Master 1720 lb-Capacity. 4’x8′ Super Duty Trailer

HF super duty trailer…the author created this beautiful camping capsule, complete with aluminum siding, wiring and lights, vent fan, sink-&-stove kitchen area, windows on the sides and front, and a roomy bed with a second kid-sized bunk, all for under two grand!

teardrop beds

Necessary Tools:

teardrop camping

While it’s not exactly a 2-weekend project, the finished product will leave you buzzed with such sublime satisfaction, and give you years of fun and memories that you just can’t buy.

Of course, most of the tools necessary to make this dream a reality can be found at Harbor Freight Tools. Make sure you check the ads for specials and coupons for even greater savings!


4 in. Professional Paint Brush

Summer is upon us and a great time to tackle those painting jobs we’ve been putting off due to inclement weather, scurvy, my dog ate my painting supplies and whatever other excuses you can come up with. With these 10 tips from The Family Handyman Magazine and ridiculously low-priced painting supplies from Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll be able to paint those interior surfaces quickly and easily while cutting your clean-up time in half—so you’ll have plenty of time leftover to paint the town red…

Tip 1: To avoid lap marks, roll the full height of the wall and keep a wet edge
Featured item:
9″ Paint Roller, item #: 60672, only $1.99

Tip 2: Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent color throughout the room
Featured item:
5 Gallon Bucket, White, item #: 47523, only $4.99

Tip 3: Let the paint dry, then cut the tape loose for a perfect edge
Featured items:
2 In x 60 Yds Blue Painter’s Tape, item #: 95512, only $6.49
13 Pc Precision Knife Set, item #: 32099, only $2.99

Tip 4: Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls
Featured items:
Paint Trimmer, item #: 97830, only $1.99
24″ multipurpose Trim Guard, item #: 96301, only $3.99
2 In. Sash Brush, item #: 67009, only $1.99

Tip 5: Prime and texture wall patches to avoid a blotchy finish
Featured item:
11 Piece Professional Paint Roller Set, item #: 60684, $8.99

Tip 6: Clean dirty surfaces so the paint can form a strong bond
Featured item:
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths 4 Pk, item #: 69678, only $2.59

Tip 7: Roll paint along the edges for consistent texture
Featured item:
Pack of Six 4″ Mini Paint Roller Covers, item #: 97810, only $4.99

Tip 8: Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic
Featured items:
9 Ft. x 12 Ft. Canvas Drop Cloth, item #: 69308, only $16.49
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths 12 Pk, item #: 69795, only $6.99

Tip 9: Feather out paint where you can’t keep a wet edge
Featured items:
9 in. Paint Roller Cover with 3/8 in. Nap, item #: 61260, only $1.99

Tip 10: Sand trim between coats for an ultra-smooth finish
Featured item: 3-7/8 in. x 2-3/4 in. x 1 in. 150/250 Grit Aluminum Oxide Sanding Sponges 10 Pk, item #: 46753, only $5.99

For the full selection of Harbor Freight Tools’ painting supplies, visit one of Harbor Freight’s 600+ stores nationwide!



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


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.


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

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

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

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 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!