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.

Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

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Gift_Guide_LP_25b Gift_Guide_LP_50bGift_Guide_LP_100b

 

 

 







 

Shopping at Harbor Freight Tools for gifts has become a time-honored holiday tradition, especially when you have tool lovers on your list. But just because those special people have been extra good this year, it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to reward them. Here are ten gift ideas for under $100 from Harbor Freight.

10.

3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump®

3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump®

With a lift range from 2-7/8″ to 19-3/4″ and load capacity up to 6000 lbs., this jack is sure to lift the spirits (and vehicle) of the recipient. The 3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump® also features a dual parallel pump system that lifts higher with less pumps compared to other brands and universal joint release that provides precise load control in any handle position.

 

9.

3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Pancake Air Compressor

3 gal. One Third HP 100 PSI Oilless Pancake Air Compressor

This compressor has a compact design yet delivers the power you need for inflation, nailing, stapling and more! With its built-in accessory storage, easy-to-read gauges and convenient carry handle, the 3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Pancake Air Compressor proves that big things come in small packages.

 

8.

2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control

2500 lb. ATV Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control

When a sleigh or ATV gets caught in a snowbank, this gift will be a real lifesaver! The 2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control features a single-stage planetary gear system for fast line speed, aircraft grade wire rope and a permanent magnet motor that draws less current making it perfect for ATV use.

 

7.

3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel

Three Eighths in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel

Hose for the holidays! The 3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel is ideal for the DIYers or contractors on your gift list who like to keep the garage or shop in ship-shape. The mountable hose reel features a ratchet system to set the perfect hose length while four direction non-snag rollers reduce hose wear. Plus, the spring-loaded release makes rolling up the hose a breeze. A 50 ft, 3/8 in. diameter hose is included.

 

6.

3-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Starter

3-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Starter

Anyone on the receiving end of this gift is guaranteed to get a charge out of it! The high-output, sealed battery can easily jump-start any weak or dead 12 volt car battery. No more waiting on the side of a cold, dark road for help to come. The 3-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Starter also features a built-in 3 LED work light and two 12VDC outlets to power other devices.

 

5.

1/2 in. Professional Air Impact Wrench

Half In. Professional Air Impact Wrench

The 1/2 In. Professional Air Impact Wrench delivers more power with better weight distribution, lighter materials and a more compact housing compared to competitive brands. Additionally, premium grade components with close tolerances prolong the tool’s lifespan. It’s simply the most powerful wrench in its class but available at a price that will make you merry.

 

4.

4 in. x 36 in. Belt/6 in. Disc Sander

4 in. x 36 in. Belt 6 in. Disc Sander

The 4 In. x 36 In. Belt/6 In. Disc Sander is really two gifts in one! The adjustable belt sands inside and outside curves while the 6-inch disc removes stock fast. This combo sander also features a miter gauge for sanding workpieces at angles and a cast aluminum table that tilts up to 60 degrees for use with the belt or disc.

 

3.

1500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies 2 Pc

1500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies 2 Pc

Deck the shop with vehicle dollies, fa la la la la… you get the point. Each dolly can hold up to 1500 lbs. and features four swivel casters to allow easy movement of the project. The rust-resistant 1500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies 2 Pc is the perfect gift for the automotive enthusiast and professional auto worker alike.

 

2.

3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Hotdog Air Compressor

3 gal. One third HP 100 PSI Oilless Hotdog Air Compressor

This maintenance-free compressor will make the holidays even happier for the lucky gift recipient. Features include an oilless pump, easy-to-read gauges and thermal overload protection. The 3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Hotdog Air Compressor stores easily in the trunk of any vehicle and provides a convenient compressed air supply for brad nailing, stapling, air brushing and other related jobs.

 

1.

Multipurpose Workbench with Light

Multipurpose Workbench with Light

Rumor has it this item is a favorite for the big man at the North Pole who has several of these workbenches in his workshop. But any tool lover or craftsman on your gift list will absolutely love the Multipurpose Workbench with Light from Harbor Freight. The sturdy workbench has a built-in cabinet light to illuminate projects and a 120V outlet for tools. The workbench also features a full-width peg board and two sliding drawers plus upper and lower shelves that provide ample storage for materials, tools and accessories.

 

For more great gift ideas in all price ranges, be sure to check out Harbor Freight’s website or with over 600 locations, visit a Harbor Freight Tools store near you.

Happy holidays to you and your family from Harbor Freight!

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50

Most Wanted Gifts Under $25

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Gift_Guide_LP_25bGift_Guide_LP_50bGift_Guide_LP_100b

 

 

 
 

  


 

 

 

 

You don’t have to spend a fortune for the tool lovers on your holiday gift list this year. There are a ton of great items available at Harbor Freight. Here are ten gift ideas for items under $25 dollars from America’s favorite tool store!

 

10.

400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc

400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc

These ratcheting tie downs are easily adjustable to secure loads to truck beds, roof racks and trailers. Vinyl covered S-hooks prevent marring while ratcheting handles make it easy to adjust the length on the web straps. For the gift recipient who’s always on the move with loads in tow, you can’t go wrong with the 400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc.

 

9.

3 Ton Steel Jack Stands

3 Ton Steel Jack Stands

Any gift recipient who likes to work on or store his or her sleigh will love the 3 Ton Steel Jack Stands. Though the combined weight of this pair of stands is only 13.2 lbs., they can support most cars and trucks safely off the ground. Other features included welded steel bases for strength and self-locking ratchet handles.

 

8.

3/8 in. Variable Speed Reversible Drill

Three Eighths In. Variable Speed Reversible Drill

Good cheer will find its way to the gift recipient of this versatile power tool. The 3/8 in. Variable Speed Reversible Drill offers variable speeds up to 3000 RPM, making it ideal for woodworking, metalworking and home repair. It features a durable and smooth running ball-bearing motor designed for heavy use, keyless chuck and a built-in level.

 

7.

Mechanic’s Shop Towels 50 Pk

Mechanic's Shop Towels 50 Pk

Cut directly from Santa’s long-johns… well, maybe not, but these shop towels are so absorbent and durable, the gift recipient will swear they’re magic! Made of 100% cotton weave and machine washable, they’re perfect for picking up dirt, grease and liquids.

 

6.

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Giving the Oscillating Multi-Tool is like giving dozens of gifts in one! This powerful tool can be used to cut through cable, air ducts, downspouts, plasterboard, pipes and wood up to 2” thick… sand down cement, concrete, stone, plaster, tile adhesive, paint… Optional attachments are easy to switch out. For remodeling, automotive repairs, hobbies and more, this one tool does the job delivering up to 21,000 OPM. Yet, its low vibration design means less fatigue during tough jobs.

 

5.

3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc

3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc

For the gift recipient who hauls serious loads, look no further than the weather-resistant 3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc. With this nifty tool, one can quickly and easily cinch up cargo and keep it locked down tight with the ratchet tie-down system. Additional features included durable J-style hooks and a rubberized handle and release.

 

4.

16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables

16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables

Walkin’ in a winter wonderland is one thing but driving through a winter wonderland is an entirely different matter and one that can easily lead to a dead battery. Here’s a great gift that keeps on giving, the 16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables. The cables features heavy duty vinyl coated steel clamps and copper coated jaws. Used once and the gift recipient will thank you forever.

 

3.

4-1/2 in. 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder

4 and One Half Inch 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder

Popular among professional contractors, do-it-yourselfers and Santa’s elves, the 4-1/2 in. 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder makes a great gift! The grinder has a durable 4.3 amp motor that delivers up to 10,000 RPM for fast stock removal. It also features a rugged cast aluminum gear case, wheel guard and two position auxiliary handle.

 

2.

Wireless Security Alert System

Wireless Security Alert System

Security makes a great gift! With the Wireless Security Alert System, an alert chimes when a person or vehicle comes within a 400 ft. range. The system is easy to install with included mounting hardware and features a powerful weather-proof infrared sensor. The entire system is powered with just one 9v and three C batteries (sold separately).

 

1.

1000 lb. Capacity 1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4

1000 lb. Capacity 1 and one-half  in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4

For mid-sized loads, the 1000 lb. Capacity 1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4 is ideal. Ratchet handles make strap adjustment a cinch (pun intended) and hand levers make it easy to ho ho hold down the load tight.

 

For more great gift ideas, be sure to check out harborfreight.com or visit a Harbor Freight store near you!

Happy holidays to you and your family from all of us at Harbor Freight Tools!

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50
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 Tough is the Storm Cat 900/700 Watt Generator?

What’s the best way to test a product you’re considering to buy? Why, throw it in the deep end, of course (that’s how Dad taught me). Throw everything at it, challenge the HECK out of it– which is exactly what redneckcomputergeak did to the Storm Cat 900 Peak/700 Running Watts, 2-HP (63cc) 2-Cycle Gas Generator (EPA/CARB) from Harbor Freight in a strenuous 16-minute video review. The Storm Cat may be the runt of the Harbor Freight generator litter, but this little dynamo (38 lb.) delivers the robust, reliable power you need when you need it.

900 watt generator testing

Referred to as a “recreational” generator, the Storm Cat is the perfect companion for camping, hunting, tailgating, family reunions, ice fishing, treehouse building, emergency preparedness and countless remote activities where there’s no power’s around. To further illustrate its abilities, though, redneckcomputergeak took it to task “at the job site” with a grinder, impact driver, chop saw (with a 60 hz motor), cement mixer and welder. Now, I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I will say if you’re in the market for a small portable generator, and you’re reading this now, it’ll be well worth your while to spend a few minutes more and watch the video.

Chances are, seeing what the Storm Cat is capable of– not to mention the low price!– gives you a few ideas on what you could use it for. And if you’re looking for more wattage to power, say, an RV, appliances or multiple large power tools, check out Harbor Freight’s selection of other gas-powered portable generators, all with great quality and prices.

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 Choose a Circular Saw

circular saw intro pic

The circular saw is the loyal mutt of power tools. It’s the go-to for everything, from houses, decks, garden sheds and tree houses, to smaller things like furniture and shelves. You’re also more likely to spot a circular saw at a construction site than other power tools. From cutting 2×4’s to ripping sheets of plywood, a good circular saw will tackle all types of jobs and wood.

Corded vs. Cordless

cordless circular saw

Like most of the other power tools, circular saws come in both corded and cordless models. It was just a few years ago when you couldn’t find a cordless circular saw that could keep up with a corded model on a job. That said, technology has surged forward and now the choice isn’t so cut-and-dry. Cordless (above), of course, gives you a greater freedom of movement without being dependent on a plug, while the corded ones never run out of juice.

corded circular saw

What it boils down to is, it depends on how you use the tool and what projects you’re more likely to be working on. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of each, though, is great for anyone shopping for one. My two cents, if you can get both, even better!

sidewinder circular sar

Circular saws are divided into two primary categories: Sidewinders (shown above) and worm-drive units (below). On a sidewinder, the “spur-gear” motor sits directly next to the saw blade which makes them small, lightweight, and great for jobs around the house. It’s especially good for jobs overhead. Worm-drive saws generate more torque because of a beefy spiral gear that dispatches power to the blade more efficiently, and it is notably heavier. Also on the worm-drive, the motor sits behind the blade. Advantages of a worm-drive saw include its line-of-sight visibility and its power.

worm-drive circular saw

So, which one to get? The truth is that one saw isn’t better than the other, it just depends on what kind of work you’re doing. For example, if you’re working on the rafters or stairs, the worm-drive would probably suit you better, while on the other hand you’d reach for the sidewinder for the opposing bevels. If you do a variety of light and more involved DIY projects, you’re eventually going to own both. Of course, the worm-drive will be more expensive, but the added torque and heft will carry you through the toughest jobs.

There is one other alternative for small jobs, too. Compact saws like the Chicago Electric Double Cut Saw (as seen below) provides ample cutting power for minor jobs around the house. They’re lighter and easier to maneuver in limited spaces.

double cut saw

Before buying a circular saw, make sure you actually pick each up and heft it. Take note of the weight, balance, grip and motionability. Do this with different models and you’ll get an idea of which is the most comfortable for you. In the case of the cordless models,  do this exercise with a battery attached, as that changes the weight and balance significantly.

As with any power tool, safety comes first. Always wear proper eye protection and read through the safety manual that comes with your saw. And in your journey, be sure to visit your local Harbor Freight Tools where you’ll find great deals on circular saws, blades, gloves and more!

How To Cut Metal Bolts With Your Angle Grinder

angle grinder product artLet’s say you’re in the middle of a project and a bolt you’re working with is too long, stopping you dead in your tracks. You could make a run to the local big box store (and then the next one), hoping they’ve got the right size. You could hacksaw it (you weren’t doing anything else for the rest of the afternoon, were you?). Or, if you’ve got an Angle Grinder with a metal cutoff wheel, you can make quick work of it. An angle grinder is the best tool in the arsenal for trimming bolts. Here’s how.

1. Mark the Cut Line

Measure and mark the length of the bolt with a Sharpie.

mark bolt with sharpie

 2. Add Nuts

Screw a couple of nuts onto the bolt all the way to the head (or base). This will make it easier to clamp the bolt to the work table as well as lining up the threads again after you cut it.

nuts and vice

3. Cut the Bolt With the Angle Grinder

Turn on the angle grinder and approach the bolt at a flat angle. Cut right through the bolt.

cutting bolt

4. Deburr Bolt

Clean and smooth the cut end of the bolt with a bench grinder or an abrasive pad.

deburr bolt with bench grinder

5. Try the Thread

Unscrew the nut to the top of the thread until it offers resistance, then use a wrench to back it completely off the bolt. This will reform the thread and leave you with a working bolt.

wrench the nut

6. Moving On

You can now resume with your project!

clean cut bolt

SAFETY!

Remember to always wear Safety Glasses when using your angle grinder, taking note where the guard is to catch the flying sparks. Also remove anything flammable or easily ignited such as dirty rags.

chicago electric grinder in action

When it comes to cutting, grinding or polishing, you won’t find a more versatile power tool than the angle grinder. They’re indispensable for jobs that can’t be done any other way, and heaven-sent for the jobs that otherwise could only be described as excruciating ordeals. 

For a great deal on a powerful angle grinder, we recommend the Chicago Electric 4-1/2″ 4.5 Amp Heavy Duty model from Harbor Freight. It has a powerful ball-bearing motor that can tackle the hardest metal cutting, shaping and slag removal jobs, and the price is VERY doable. They also make a great pneumatic model. You can also find great deals on extra metal cutoff wheels and wire brush wheels for a plethora of automotive and shop projects.

 

How To Clear a Clog With an Electric Drain Cleaner

50 ft electric drain cleaner 68284

I was all set to draft a long, detailed How-To on operating a powered drain cleaner, and then I came across this video. Not only does this guy cover all the bases, he shows you how it’s done. Kudos to “megalodon1” for putting together a quick, concise demonstration on how (and why!) to use a Pacific Hydrostar Drain Monster 50-ft. Commercial Power-Feed Drain Cleaner #68284.

You can find this– as well as all your other quality household DIY tools at Harbor Freight Tools for great, low prices.