Miter Saw Tips For Beginners

miter saw glam shot

You recently started woodworking and totally love it. Now you’re ready to take your mad DIY skillz to the next level? Well, the miter saw is an awesome tool to have in your workshop arsenal. This is the go-to tool cuts for crown molding, picture frames, door frames, window casings, decks, furniture, flooring  — and that’s just a fraction of what it can do. When asked what their favorite tool in the shop is, a lot of folks say, “My miter saw! I love it!”

miter saw angle

The miter saw is designed to cut different kinds of angles.  If a board is flat on saw’s base, the cut across the wide part is called a miter. Hold the board vertical and set it against the saw’s fence,  you’re cutting a bevel. Most saws cut from 90 to 45-degrees, but some can cut even steeper angles, up to 55 degrees.

miter saw 10 non slide

Before you go to the store, know this: miter saws are NOT created equal. There are three types of miter saws on the market: miter saw, compound miter saw, and sliding compound miter saw. A compound miter can cut a bevel and a miter at the same time. It’s great for cutting things like crown molding. A sliding compound miter cuts multi-angles like a compound miter, but also has a sliding action that lets you cut even wider boards.

miter saw cutting angle

Miter saws also come in two sizes, 10″ and 12″, based on the diameter of the blade. The size you get depends on the work you anticipate doing, but know that the 12″ blade is able to cut thicker and wider than the 10″. For example, a 10″ miter saw will cut a 2×6 at 90 degrees and a 2×4 at 45-degrees, while the 12″ can cut a 2×8 at 90 degrees and a 2×6 at 45 degrees. A laser marker feature is also nice! So, before you lay down your money, think carefully about all the things you might use it for. It also stands to reason that a 12″ sliding compound miter saw will cost more than a 10″ compound.

Miter saws can take your DIY skills to the next level, but it’s important to make sure you follow some basic safety tips before starting your cuts.

miter saw CU laser

Before You Cut! Safety Tips:

  • Before the switch is thrown; safety glasses, ear buds, gloves, dust mask!
  • Remove all distractions (kids, pets).
  • Remove scraps and other foreign objects from the machine before operating; also remove loose chips along the way, after the blade stops.
  • Keep a firm grip on the saw handle and on the work piece; make sure it is firmly up against the table and fence before cutting.
  • Anticipate flying pieces– getting startled with a spinning blade in front of you could be bad.
  • Never work with a dull blade.
  • Don’t operate a saw without a blade guard.
  • Never leave the machine until the blade comes to a full stop.
  • When the board is cut all the way, release the trigger and allow the blade to come to a complete stop, then raise the blade. If the blade is still spinning when you lift, there is more apt to be flying pieces.
  • Never start the saw when the blade is touching the wood; allow it to be at full speed before cutting.
  • Never put your body in the path of the blade (sure, you say “duh” now); never let your arms cross while cutting.
  • If the piece you’re working with is short, use clamps; don’t get your hands too close to the blade, stay at least 6″ away.
  • Make sure your work piece is supported before cutting. More than half the length should be resting on the saw. You need to focus on your cut, not balancing the wood.
  • Go slow when cutting knots; they can break up and shoot pieces.
  • Make sure you’re not cutting through metal (nails and staples).

And if that weren’t enough, here are some more tips in FineWoodworking.com’s Miter Saw Safety Manual.

miter saw handyman

Tips On Operating a Miter Saw

  • When working with small pieces of wood, cut with a chopping motion; when cutting a large piece, slide blade out, cut down and push back in.
  • When marking your board, draw the line all the way across the stock, then drop the blade to the wood to check your alignment. Adjust the piece as needed before cutting.
  • Go slow with bevel cuts, especially if you’re chopping with the blade as opposed to sliding.
  • When first cutting your miter cuts, purposely cut slightly long and just a little at a time so you can readjust as you go. If you try to get right on the line, chances are good you’ll cut short.
  • Always cut the factory end from a board before measuring for your final cut. This ensures better fitting parts.
  • Let the saw do the work; don’t force the blade through the wood.
  • More teeth means better quality cuts: Use a blade with more than 50 teeth for construction cuts, and with more than 90 teeth for fine cuts. For treated lumber, use a lower tooth count, even for fine cuts; the open spaces between the teeth clear the debris and puts less strain on the saw’s motor.
  • If possible, cut one angle end of a part first, then mark the cut on the opposite end after you test fit the first cut.
  • When making repetitive cuts, set up a stop block. For long boards, set the stop up next to the saw. For short cuts,draw a line on the saw. Use masking tape and a pencil to make the line. Then remove the tape when done. This is much more accurate and efficient than individually measuring each part.
  • To speed up the cuts and increase their accuracy, cut a piece of 1/4″ plywood the height of the fence and the length of the saw. Attach it to the fence on both sides of the blade with double-face carpet tape. Then make a cut through the plywood. This will show you exactly where the saw blade will cut. Then move your marked board up to the edge of the cut for a perfect result.

As this is a serious purchase for a serious tool, I encourage you to surf operational videos, blogs and forums to get a well-rounded understanding of miter saws. When you’re ready to pull the trigger and shop for yours, be sure to make your first stop Harbor Freight Tools. They have all types and sizes of saws, safety gear, blades, stands and more!

How To Soundproof Your Garage or Workshop

Insulated Garage Wall

It doesn’t matter if you’re a recreational DIYer or a serious garage guru, you make noise. It can’t be helped, especially with power tools. And if you’ve got close neighbors, you probably always think about that noise when you’re switching on a machine. Soundproofing your garage/workshop is the key to maximizing your freedom.  Imagine being able to cut lumber anytime–late night or early morning– without fear of wrath or reciprocity.

orange block soundproofing

There are, of course, a number of methods to soundproof. For the “whatever” DIY guy, it might be hanging moving blankets on the walls and ceiling. There’s another method called “resilient channel” which is what a lot of the nicer recording studios use, and which is great… if you’re building a nice recording studio. An approach I like a lot more is the “cleat” method, suggested by “Mobile Rik” on Instructables.com. With a lot of easy-to-follow steps and lots of pics, Rik shows us how hanging drywall panels on a pair (or more) of wooden “cleats” can contain a great deal of sound. Compared to the “resilient method, the “cleat method is:

  1. Much cheaper
  2. Much sturdier (if you decide you want shelves or other heavy things hanging from those walls)
  3. Is removable for tweaking if necessary
  4. Uses ordinary 2 x 4 lumber and not some fancy-shmantzy materials that need to be special-ordered

insulated garage wall vertical

But, be warned, the “cleat” style is based on different– even contrary– principles to conventional soundproofing methods. But this is the cornerstone of every blue-blooded DIYer: Build A Better Mousetrap! Be sure you read Rik’s “Be Willing To Break The Rules” section to understand the high-fidelity physics behind his approach and why he’s going this route.

Take a look at Mobile Rik’s “How-To” and see if this is something you could do in your garage!

cleat drywall

But first, here’s a quick (short) list of what you’re gonna need:

Tools Needed:

table saw

*If you don’t have a table saw or band saw (although this is as good an excuse as any to get one), you could skip this tool by going to the lumber store and have them rip your boards per your specifications.

Materials:

Polyurethane Tube Insulation

  • 2-1/2″ Nails
  • Drywall Screws
  • Closed-Cell Foam Tape
  • Polyethylene Pipe Insulation Tube
  • Drywall 1/2″ (you may even consider 5/8″; besides killing even more sound, it’ll add fire protection and be more gouge-proof)
  • Acoustical Caulk

Other Tips To Deaden Sound In The Garage:

rubber washers

  • Buy a pack of rubber washers and apply them to machine cabinet fasteners as long as it’s not a critical connection for precision alignment
  • Retrofit all of your tool stands to include rubber-wheeled casters, and look at using rubber grommets on the plate holes where you bolt them to the stand legs
  • Buy those square rubber vibration isolation blocks and use them to separate the tool from the mobile base or tool cart
  • Spray sound-dampening material on the insides of metal machine cabinets
  • Add sound insulation lining to machine cabinets, router table chambers
  • Use baffle-like sound shields made of sound-absorptive materials near motors and other noise sources without restricting heat dissipation for the motor. 
  • Add additional sound absorbing material (perhaps backed by sound reflecting material) directly behind noisy machines that are against the wall
  • Safety guards around blades and bits do help with both dust collection and noise isolation, so it’s not a bad idea to use them when you can, especially over the table saw blade.  Maybe make your own, and incorporate some sound-deadening strategies in addition to dust collection efficiency strategies.

Remember that a lot of little things will add up to a much quieter shop.  You’ll feel much more free knowing that you won’t get complaints about your late night or early morning dust-making activities. And remember Harbor Freight Tools when you need a quality tool at a very low price!

Make a Hidden Wall Compartment In Your House

hidden compartment complete open

As kids, we always had a thing about secret compartments and hidden spots. Somewhere to hide money (from light-fingered siblings) or special treasures that held significant, personal, intrinsic value. Somehow, hiding them made them even that much more special. So, why would that change when we become adults?

It came as no surprise, when doing a search on DIY hidden compartments, that I would get a plethora of results. Hidden doors, drawers, a “safe” in a tree, a fake head of iceberg lettuce… I don’t think there’s an end to the list of hiding places and secret compartments folks have in their homes or on their properties.

secret floor

So, I decided to focus on ideas that were practical (even though climbing into a bunker through the hood of a car was cool in “Red”), convenient (in the house), but not too simple (so the old hollowed-out book trick was out). Eventually, I found this wall unit on Instructables.com, which is the perfect combination of doable and clever, and the lock is kept in plain sight! If you’ve been thinking about creating a hidden compartment, check this out and see what you think. Then maybe look around your place and see where you could put it!

hidden compartment complete closed

FYI, here are the things you’re going to need to make it happen:

Tools

Besides the common woodworking tools, here are a few things you’ll need…

Materials

  • Tot Lok with extra key
  • 2 @ 3-1/2″ square rosette block moulding
  • Cabinet hinges
  • 1″x8″ shiplap board
  • 1″x8″ tongue and groove boards —  to cover the wall(s) that have wainscoting
  • 1″x2″ boards — spacers between the pairs of the 1″x8″s. You should have the same number of these as the 1″x8″
  • Nails, construction adhesive, caulk, paint, other wood needed for baseboards and for plate rail at the top of the wainscoting, etc.

If you’re short on any of the tools, swing by Harbor Freight Tools! You’ll find them at great, low prices!

How To Make Your Very Own MAN TABLE

man table

So, up ’til now you’ve proven your manhood through food dares, awkward school fights, asking-a-girl-out dares, changing your own oil, jumping in a frigid lake with your bros, peeing in a soda bottle whilst driving through the night, crying at the end of “First Blood”… but lately, you’ve been getting a growing hankering to MAKE something– something COOL. If this is uncharted territory for your ever-emerging MAN within, here’s a DIY project worthy of bragging rights and endless sprees of fist and chest-bumping: The Man Table.

The Man Table, by definition, should be rugged, solid, rough-hewn and indispensably usable. Something that takes a beating and just smiles back at ya. This isn’t a beauty contest, bucko. We’re talking about a baptismal exercise of Man and Tool. I actually stumbled on this “how-to” quite by accident on Instructables.com by a guy named “Pointy” in the Netherlands, and I’ve been thinking about little else for future garage activity. Just be warned, this project is “metric-centric,” so get used to using the other side of your tape measure.

So, here’s what you’re going to need:

Tools and Materials

Power Tools
Angle Grinder with Cutting Discs and Abrasive Discs

angle grinder
Welder (in this case a stick welder)

stick welder
Jig saw

jigsaw
Power drill with 2, 5, 8 and 10mm drill bits (our numbered bits will work!)

power drill
Hammer

hammer
Clamps

clamp
Angle Finder

angle gauge
Marking tools (pen or painters tape)

Center Punch

center punch

 

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench

Materials:
– Steel angle 30x30x3mm, total 4,6 meters
Measurements 700mm (2x), 1600mm (2x).
– Steel angle 40x40x4mm, total 4,2 meters
Measurements 700mm (6x)
– Steel plate 15x15x4mm, 6 pieces
– MDF board 160x70cm
– Reclaimed wood for the inlay (Meranti is used here). Bear in mind that the thickness of the MDF + inlay = 27mm MAX when using 3mm steel. Otherwise, the wood will be too high above the tabletop.
– 18xM8 Nuts and bolts
– Box of nails
– Black spray paint

About the Steel…
If you can get the steel angles at a metal shop that will cut them for you (45 degree angles), go for it. Your world will suddenly get so much easier. Use regular steel, not stainless, for two reasons: One, you’re using it inside and it will be painted. Two, stainless is harder to weld (and for paint to stick on it. and regular is cheaper.. so, four reasons).

Table Top Frame

table top frame

Tools needed
Angle grinder with both discs
Welder
Angle gauge

First step,  lay out the four pieces of 30×30 into a rectangle. If the steel isn’t cut in angles yet, do that now, using the grinder with the cutting disc. Take your time measuring out the angles, using the angle gauge, always measuring twice before you cut. If you cut them at the wrong angles, you might be forced to to shorten the whole thing to make up for the mistake. You can only fix so much with the welder. After cutting the angles, lay the pieces together. Do they fit? Are there any obvious gaps? If not, then sweet! A trick the tutor used with his stick welder was grind a small angled edge of the materials to be welded. By doing that he created a ‘path’ to drag his welding rod on.

Get out the welder and tack-weld it first. That way you can fix and prevent mistakes before the whole thing is welded solid. As said, this isn’t a beauty contest, so don’t worry about having photogenic welds. The primary goal is only that they’re tough and can take a pounding.

Switch the grinder to the grinding disc now and clean up the welds. Fill in the gaps with the welder and grind it flat again. Don’t sweat any grinding marks you might leave. This is all about badass Man personality, right?

(If, for some reason, you have to clean the stuff up between steps, be sure to mark the corners so you don’t forget what goes where later (see bottom photo above)

Legs

Legs

Tools needed
Angle grinder with both discs
Welder
Clamps

First you need to cut the corner braces. Stick a piece of painters tape diagonally from corner to corner, making a 45 degree angle.

An unwanted result of welding flat objects is the risk of them curling up when you’re just welding one side. To prevent this, tack the corner braces on and then flip it and weld the other side, too. That way you make sure the brace is flat and flush against the tabletop’s frame. Use the clamps to keep it from curling and keep them clamped until they cool. By tacking and flipping you can work a lot quicker. Just make sure to add the corner braces before welding the legs. Be sure to suspend the legs in mid-air before welding the braces on. This is why you see bolts in the above photo.

After welding the corners, then grind and clean them up.

Drilling the Bolt Holes

bolt holes

Tools needed
Power drill
Steel drill bits for 2,5,8 & 10mm
Center punch

Now to drill the bolt-holes. Three bolts per side are sufficient– and it looks good. The corners should be 15.5 cm. The first bolt goes in dead center in the corner profile and the rest space out + 5CM.

Center punch it first to prevent your drill from slipping. To save time, drill all the holes before moving on to the next bit size up. When you get finish with the 2mm holes, put the tabletop frame upside down and line up the legs flush with the top. Then insert drill bit in each hole and give it a little spin. This way you don’t have to centerpunch the legs and they all fit nicely to their corners. Then do 5mm, repeat, then 8mm, repeat. Finally, span your 10mm bit and give each hole a quick spin. This will remove any burrs left.

Putting Together the Frame

table frame

Tools needed
Adjustable Wrench

This is a pretty straightforward step. Legs + top + bolts: First bolts go in with the table upside down, then flip the frame and do the rest of the bolts. Sit on it to test the weight. As the pride floods you, feel free to let out a Tim Taylor grunt.

Painting the Frame

paint the frame

 

Tools needed
Black spray paint

Paint…

Putting On the Top

putting on the top

Tools needed:
Jig saw
Hammer

Either cut your MDF board to size yourself, or have it done at the local home improvement store. You won’t lose Man Points if you do the latter. There’ll be some small cuts you need to make to accommodate the bolts; just measure how much the bolts protrude, and maybe a 1/2 cm extra, and saw. It doesn’t need to be precise, the wood will be covering it.

Finally, the last step is to drop in your reclaimed wooden top. As I mentioned earlier, this DIY guy used reclaimed Meranti. You may have your own ideas. Just lay it down, mark off any protruding stuff and cut. Then nail it down to the MDF.

I’m a Man, Yes I Am

final man table

Now just let the Man within take over and do what you do with your magnificent creation. Maybe run your hands over the perfectly imperfect surface and watch the end scene of First Blood again.

 

RUNNING COMPRESSOR AIR LINES IN YOUR GARAGE

air line installment

Wouldn’t it be great to have access to compressed air throughout the garage or shop without having to haul and set up your compressor everywhere you need it? Well, it doesn’t take as much as you think to make it happen. Here is a simple, rudimentary way of setting up the workshop to do just that.

What Kind of Pipe?

If you’re considering PVC pipe, don’t. If the PVC broke under pressure, the plastic would burst and send a salvo of splintery shrapnel all over the place. For a home shop, we recommend copper– 1) you won’t run into the same problem; 2) it won’t corrode; and 3) it’s readily available at the local home improvements stores. For the fittings, you’re going to want to find a refrigeration solder designed for 200+psi working pressure, such as Stay-Brite #8, which installs easily with a standard Butane or Propane Torch, as well as the Stay-Clean flux to spread it out (don’t cross fluxes).

(If you don’t want to solder, use black steel pipe. Measure the pipe runs and buy exact lengths– the home improvement stores will cut and thread them for you. The nice thing about air compression lines is, unlike water or gas lines, they don’t need perfect joints, so it’s OK if they leak a little. For the purpose of this article, we’re going with the first choice– copper)

Tools Needed

Here are the necessary tools you’ll need to do this project:

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench

 

Air Compressor

21 gal vertical air compressor

 

Air Hose

air hose

Tube Cutter

tube cutter half-inch

Butane Torch

butane torch You will also need a wire brush handy for cleaning the copper joints.

Materials

  • 1/2-inch copper pipe and fittings
  • Solder
  • Flux

We recommend you run your main line high, but exposed, up near the ceiling, with a drop anywhere you think you’ll want an air hose. At the bottom of the drop, install a TA ball valve at the top and bottom of the T, and a quick coupler on the 90 (facing, of course, away from the wall).

There are plenty of sites that go in greater detail regarding connections and PSI, etc. We would advise you to look for the most authoritative direction (if you find multiple sources that concur, even better!). The subject is diverse and there are lots of possibilities for configuration. Good luck with your installation!

HOW TO MAKE A HAMMER HEAD COAT RACK

Hammer Head Coat Rack

Instructables.com

As Father’s Day is upon us, we at Harbor Freight thought we’d share this DIY project idea that we stumbled across recently: a relatively low-cost, low-time-consuming enterprise, creating a snazzy coat rack out of hammer heads. It occurred to us that this would make the ideal gift for that someone who likes to spend copious amounts of time in their garage, shop, cabin, studio or ice fishing shanty. While the claw hammer seems to be the predominantly popular hardware, you can use a number of different types of heads and styles. What we’re offering here is a suggested “how-to” “carpenter-style” rack that we liked. If you’re comfortable enough with your tools, by all means, have at any deviation you’d like to take:

hammer head coat rack multi 1

LumberJocks.com

Materials:

hammer head coat rack 3

thechroniclesofhome.com

Cutting the Wood

  • Cut the red oak rack boards 9 in. wide x 3 ft. long
  • Using your 1/2″ roundover router bit, bevel the edges
  • Measure 3/8″ from the top of the board and draw a straight line across
  • Drill eight 1/8″ holes equal distant from each other across the board and, using the #8 wood screws, assemble the rack
hammer head coat rack cut heads

Instructables.com

Sizing Up the Hammer Heads

  • Get a feel for the right height, length and angle you want your claw hammer. Do you want it straight, or at a slight angle? Do you want 2″, 3″ or 4″ of handle? Here’s one at a long, heavy angle:
hammer head coat rack 5

LumberJocks.com

  • Mark and cut one hammer handle.
  • Hold the hammer head  to the board and make sure it’s the angle and height you want. When you know, cut the other four hammer handles exactly the same way.
hammer head coat rack mount heads

Instructables.com

Mounting the Hammer Heads

  • Pre-drill holes in the base of the handle stub with a 7/32″ drill bit
  • Pre-drill holes on the board with a 1/4″ bit
  • Mount the hammer heads on the board with the 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ tap con screws
hammer head coat rack mount angles

Instructables.com

Mounting the Rafter Squares

  • Mark and drill four 3/16″ holes in each square, two holes on either end
  • Mount the squares to the either end of the board (as shown)

miniwax polycrylic

Protective Finish

  • The Miniwax Water-Based Polycrylic is a good coating because it can go over bare wood as well as water, and oil-based, stains. It dries quickly, doesn’t have an odor and leaves a durable shell against scuffing, etc.
  • If you prefer, you could sand the hammer handles and boards and stain it with a richer color before adding the Miniwax.
hammer head coat rack 4

thechroniclesofhome.com

Happy Father’s Day!

Once the coating is dry, your coat rack is ready to mount– or wrap for Father’s Day! If you want to scan other methods and ideas, we’ve linked each of the above photos to their respective sources. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a hammer. Meanwhile, keep in mind that Harbor Freight Tools has whatever tools you’re missing at low prices, making this project even easier!

HOW TO PAINT INTERIORS LIKE A PRO!

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!

 

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

steak

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

Things You Will Need:

barrel - found

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

barrel - taped

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

barrel - cut

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

barrel - mesh

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

barrel - stands - relief cuts

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

barrel - stand - relief welded

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

barrel - stands welded on

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

barrel - hinges

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

barrel - on legs

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

barrel - complete

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

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!

 

HARBOR FREIGHT GIFT GUIDE: GIFT IDEAS FOR REMODELERS WITHIN ANY BUDGET

Remodeling isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life! Considering the high costs of goods and services, do-it-yourself remodeling is the best way to save money while turning a home into a castle. For the remodelers on your holiday gift list this year (including yourself) we’ve put together a list of must-have remodeling items from Harbor Freight Tools!

Stocking Stuffers Under $10

Titanium Nitride Coated High Speed Steel Drill Bit Set 13 Pc

Titanium Nitride Coated High Speed Steel Drill Bit Set 13 Pc
item#: 1800

A good set of drill bits is a must for all remodelers. From building shelves to installing a magnifying mirror in the bathroom, drill bits are the go-to item. This particular set of titanium nitride coated drill bits lasts up to six times longer than standard bits. Plus, the 1/4 in. hex shank is specially designed for cordless screwdrivers, enabling you to quickly change drill bits. The set includes 13 fractional sizes ranging from 1/16” to ¼” by 64ths.

Folding Lock-Back Utility Knife

Folding Lock-Back Utility Knife
item#: 62358

A utility knife is a staple in the remodeler’s tool belt. Crafted of lightweight aluminum, this utility knife features simple one-hand operation that allows you to cut swiftly with ease. Other great features include a quick-change mechanism for easy blade changes and removable clip so it can be carried on a belt or in a pocket when safely folded.

25 ft. x 1 in QuikFind Tape Measure

25 ft. x 1″ QuikFind Tape Measure
item#: 69030

Before remodeling, you’ll probably spend more time with a tape measure than your family! During remodeling, you’ll be double-checking your progress with a tape measure. Basically, you’ll become BFFs with your tape measure, so make it a good one! This QuikFind Tape Measure is just the ticket! It features a durable ABS rubber-wrapped case, easy-to-read fractional markings, thumb lock, belt clip and wrist strap, plus an extra thick blade for taking longer measurements without the frustrating “kink factor”.

3 Pc SAE Metric Torx Folding Hex Key Set

3 Pc SAE/Metric/Torx Folding Hex Key Set
item#: 94905

I have this reoccurring dream—I’ve won the lottery only instead of being paid out in cash, I’m given an IKEA gift certificate and I decide to furnish my entire home with their furniture. The packages arrive and I open each one and take out the parts to assemble. The hardware is included but there are no hex key wrenches. NOOOOOOOOO! I wake up in a cold sweat, then run out to my tool box and locate my 3 Pc SAE/Metric/Torx Folding Hex Key Set from Harbor Freight Tools. I gently pet it in relief… but I digress. This set of compact hex key wrench can handle SAE, metric and star fasteners. They’re constructed from durable chrome vanadium steel with a black oxide finish to resist rust. Each set features color-coded handles for easy identification and rubberized comfort grips. They’re a dream to use—the good kind of dream.

16 oz. Fiberglass Rip Hammer

16 oz. Fiberglass Rip Hammer
item#: 47873

A good hammer is crucial for remodeling—and the world’s best nutcracker, though a bit messy. The professional quality 16 oz. Fiberglass Rip Hammer features a drop-forged polished steel head and comfortable, shock absorbing fiberglass handle for continuous use. The claw can be used to remove nails but is ideal for ripping lumber when framing or performing other large-scale remodeling jobs.

Still under $10 (but tough to fit into a stocking)

Bi-metal Reciprocating Saw Blade Assortment 12 Pc

Bi-metal Reciprocating Saw Blade Assortment 12 Pc
item#: 68045

When using a reciprocating saw, you’ll need replacement blades at the ready. Look no further than the Bi-metal Reciprocating Saw Blade Assortment 12 Pc from Harbor Freight! Designed with a 1/2” universal shank, these reciprocating saw blades provide fast, aggressive cutting on a variety of materials and are made from heat-treated, shatter-resistant bi-metal that keeps an edge longer compared to conventional blades.

Split Leather Work Gloves with Cotton Back 5 Pr

Split Leather Work Gloves with Cotton Back 5 Pr
item#: 66287

If you like splinters, callouses, lacerations and punctures, avoid these gloves at all costs! On the other hand, actually both hands, they do a pretty darn good job of keeping you protected. These split leather work gloves feature leather finger tips with a full leather index finger for added protection. Canvas backing provides breathability and comfort. An extended 1-1/2” cuff protects the wrists. They come in a pack of five—keep one pair in the tool box, one in the garage, one in the back pocket and keep two pair handy for your friends and family members who are helping you remodel but forgot their gloves… One size fits most remodelers!

12 in. Tool Bag

12 in. Tool Bag
item#: 61467

Tools rule! But they can get a bit unruly when they’re all over the place… Keep your remodeling tools under control with this 12 in. Tool Bag. The heavy-duty polyester bag features a zippered closure with a gatemouth design that stays open when you want it to so you can find tools easily. The bag also boasts 15 inside pockets and 6 outside pockets to hold tools, hardware, you name it. But under $10? It’s too good to be true. Must be a holiday miracle!

5 Pc Pliers Set

5 Pc Pliers Set
item#: 69351

During remodeling, pliers get a lot of use! This 5 Pc Pliers Set is a great general purpose set to have on hand. The pliers are constructed of heavy-duty drop forged and hardened steel with a polished finish to withstand frequent use. Comfort grips mean less user fatigue during long projects.

Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set 12 Pc

Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set 12 Pc
item#: 61344

Try remodeling without screwdrivers and you’ll be screwed! I worked for hours on that pun so please enjoy it… This complete screwdriver set includes slotted, Phillips, square and star drive tips to accommodate most screwdriving tasks. Each screwdriver in the set features a chrome vanadium steel shaft and magnetic tip. A ribbed cushioned grip provides total control and comfort during operation.

Under $25

18 Volt 3 8 in. Cordless Drill Driver With Keyless Chuck, 21 Clutch Settings

18 Volt 3/8 in. Cordless Drill/Driver With Keyless Chuck, 21 Clutch Settings
item#: 68239

When it comes to power tools, a good cordless drill is mandatory. This high performance Drill Master cordless drill driver has the versatility of 21 torque clutch settings to handle a variety of drilling tasks. A built-in lamp with LED bulb provides visibility even in dark corners. Additional features include a keyless chuck and electric brake, plus the battery is interchangeable with other 18 volt Drill Master tools.

Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool

Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool
item#: 68861

This multifunction power tool is the Swiss Army knife of power tools! With a comprehensive selection of attachments, you can use this tool to cut through cable, air ducts, downspouts, plasterboard and pipes, sand down cement, concrete, stone, plaster, tile adhesive, paint and wood—and even saw through wood up to 2 in. thick! It can even tutor your kids on their SATs so they can get into a good college—try that with competing brands… (Claim based on lab rats who did really well on their SATs after being tutored by the Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool; actual human results may vary.)

Titanium Nitride Coated Drill Bit Set Pc

Titanium Nitride Coated Drill Bit Set Pc
item#: 61637

High speed steel titanium nitride drill bits run cooler, drill smoother and last up to three times longer than standard drill bit sets. This drill bit set features regular 118° tips for drilling in wood, metal, plastic and most other materials. Bit sizes range from 1/16 in. to ½ in. by 64ths.

18 Gauge 2-in-1 Nailer Stapler

18 Gauge 2-in-1 Nailer/Stapler
item#: 68019

Get two great tools for the price of one! Load the 18 Gauge 2-in-1 Nailer/Stapler with brad nails to work on household trim, paneling, bookcases, drawers and cabinets. Insert staples and it becomes an effective air stapler for furniture upholstery! Features include a quick-release nosepiece to clear jams quickly and a lightweight design for less user fatigue on long jobs. The combination air nailer/stapler also features a 360° rotatable exhaust.

350 lb. Capacity Folding Sawhorse

350 lb. Capacity Folding Sawhorse
item#: 69446

When working with 2 x 4s, plyboard, drywall or any otherwise unwieldy material, sawhorses corral the issue. This saw horse weighs in under 4 lbs. yet holds up to 350 lbs. Storage is also a breeze—the sawhorse folds flat to 1-3/4 in.

Under $50

6 Amp Heavy Duty Variable Speed Rotating Handle Reciprocating Saw

6 Amp Heavy Duty Variable Speed Rotating Handle Reciprocating Saw
item#: 62370

Once you start using a reciprocating saw for remodeling, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it! For cutting PVC pipe, embedded wood, plywood and even sheet metal, a reciprocating saw makes the job quick and easy. Features include a pivoting shoe plate for increased stability and a rubber grip for comfortable operation. The handle rotates completely through 180° with five positive stops at 0, 45° and 90° left, and 45° and 90° right for cutting from any angle.

18 Volt 3 8 in. Cordless Drill Driver And Flashlight Kit

18 Volt 3/8 in. Cordless Drill/Driver And Flashlight Kit
item#: 68287

Here’s another great cordless drill but with an added bonus, a swivel-head LED flashlight with 3-position tilt to illuminate your work in dim areas. The drill itself features 21 torque settings, electric break, keyless chuck and an interchangeable 18 volt battery compatible with other select Drill Master tools.

Variable Speed Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool

Variable Speed Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool
item#: 67537

Compared to the Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool, the variable speed feature provides added precision control over tough jobs and detail work. Delivering between 10,000 to 20,000 OPM (oscillations per minute), the Variable Speed Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool is designed with a die cast aluminum gear housing and sealed bearings for durability. An overmolded grip provides comfort for long jobs.

1 2 in. Heavy Duty Variable Speed Reversible Hammer Drill

1/2 in. Heavy Duty Variable Speed Reversible Hammer Drill
item#: 68169

When remodeling, you may need more than a drill—you need a super drill! The ½ in. Heavy Duty Variable Speed Reversible Hammer Drill features a 7.5 amp motor that delivers the power to drill through concrete, wood and steel. With the comfort grip handle, hand fatigue is greatly reduced during tough jobs.

7-1 4 in. 10 Amp Heavy Duty Circular Saw With Laser Guide System

7-1/4 in. 10 Amp Heavy Duty Circular Saw With Laser Guide System
item#: 69078

The built-in guide laser on this powerful circular saw ensures straight, accurate cuts. And don’t let the lightweight aluminum construction fool you—this circular saw is designed for tough jobs while also providing the versatility for bevel cuts in wood. Other features included a dust chute and protected trigger with safety lock.

Under $100

10 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser Guide System

10 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser Guide System
item#: 61973

A good compound miter saw is indispensable for remodeling! Harbor Freight’s 10 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser Guide System features a 45 degree tilting blade for precise bevel, miter and compound cuts. Make quick work of wood moldings, PVC pipe and other materials thanks to the powerful 15 amp motor. Additionally, the integrated laser lines up the cut when accuracy is a must!

1-1 8 in. 10 Amp Heavy Duty SDS Variable Speed Rotary Hammer

1-1/8 in. 10 Amp Heavy Duty SDS Variable Speed Rotary Hammer
item#: 69274

This heavy duty power tool is really three remodeling power tools in one: use it to drill precision holes, for heavy-duty drilling and as a demolition hammer for cutting and breaking! The 10 amp motor delivers powerful performance while the anti-vibration handle reduces fatigue. This rotary hammer also features a quick-change SDS system, adjustable 360° side handle and these words from Mr. T: “I pity da fool who don’t use the 1-1/8 in. 10 Amp Heavy Duty SDS Variable Speed Rotary Hammer from Harbor Freight Tools!”

11 Gauge Coil Roofing Nailer

11 Gauge Coil Roofing Nailer
item#: 67450

Roofing, vinyl siding, upholstery panels, fiber cement siding… big jobs demand a nailer that’s up for them. That nailer would be the 11 Gauge Coil Roofing Nailer from Harbor Freight Tools! This air nailer drives nails fast and hard while its lightweight design prevents user fatigue. It also features an adjustable roofing gauge for accurate tile spotting and steel contact safety with dual carbide inserts for less wear and tear. A 360 degree exhaust prevents that wind-blown look, so it’s a great nailer for everyone except Fabio.

18 Volt 1 4 in. Cordless Variable Speed Hex Impact Driver

18 Volt 1/4 in. Cordless Variable Speed Hex Impact Driver
item#: 68853

The powerful motor of this hex impact driver delivers 1050 in. lb. of torque to handle heavy duty driving in a variety of tasks. This cordless driving tool features a 1/4 in. quick-change shaft for quick and easy bit changes, onboard bit storage, all-metal housing for strength and durability, and an ergonomic overmolded cushion grip for comfort and less user fatigue. An included one-hour quick charger means less downtime during remodeling jobs.

14 in. 3-1 2 HP Heavy Duty Cut-Off Saw

14 in. 3-1/2 HP Heavy Duty Cut-Off Saw
item#: 61481

With its high performance 15 amp motor, this cut-off saw will have you cutting through metal and other hard substances with ease! The wide D-handle grip has a full-width trigger for comfort and control while the quick-release vise lets you position your workpiece quickly. This cut-off saw also features fully shielded bearings to ensure smooth operation over a long service life.

Over $100

If the person on your gift list has been extra good this year, we’ve got some things that’re sure to ring their sleigh bells (not legal in all 50 states). Starting with…

12 in. Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw With Laser Guide System

12 in. Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw With Laser Guide System
item#: 61969

This compound miter saw has all the great features of the 10 in. version but can provide smooth, accurate cuts in larger work pieces – up to 12 in. wide.

17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder

17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder
item#: 67646

You may think all ladders are the same. The 17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder is sure to change your mind. Supporting up to 300 pounds and constructed from strong aircraft grade aluminum, this ladder can be used in 23 possible configurations—step ladder, wall ladder, scaffold, workbench and many more! For remodeling, this ladder is a step up compared to standard ladders. Pun completely intended. Don’t forget to tip your waiters and waitresses on the way out.

8750 Peak 7000 Running Watts, 13 HP (420cc) Generator EPA III

8750 Peak/7000 Running Watts, 13 HP (420cc) Generator EPA III
item#: 68530

Powered by a reliable Predator engine, this generator is ideal for countless remodeling projects. It features an electric start with recoil backup, 12-hour run time at 50% capacity, low oil indicator/shut down and a heavy duty 1-1/4″ steel roll cage. It’s also great to have on hand for emergencies between remodeling projects.

5 8 Horsepower Airless Paint Sprayer Kit

5/8 Horsepower Airless Paint Sprayer Kit
item#” 60600

Paint decks, exterior walls, ceilings, doors, frames—and save countless hours and hassle compared to brush/roller painting with this powerful airless paint sprayer. The 5/8 Horsepower Airless Paint Sprayer Kit features a stainless steel paint pick up that won’t rust or corrode. The spray gun can also pump straight from 1 or 5 gallon buckets for easier cleanup! Comes with a No. 517 nozzle for 12” to 16” fan width and an integrated filter and trigger-lock for easy flushing and cleaning.

10 in. 2.5 HP Tile Brick Saw

10 in. 2.5 HP Tile/Brick Saw
item#: 69275

The two-position cutting head on this professional tile saw enables the user to adjust the blade for a variety of tiles or bricks. The saw also features a powerful dual capacitor motor with sealed bearings and thermal overload protection plus a heavy-duty cast alloy column and cutting head for reduced vibration.

 

There you have it, a wide variety of incredible gifts in all prices ranges for the remodeler on your holiday list! If you’re still undecided, you simply can’t go wrong with a Harbor Freight Tools gift certificate! And don’t forget to check out harborfreight.com or any one of Harbor Freight’s 500+ stores nationwide for the latest deals and even more tools and accessories for remodeling.