How To Turn a Harbor Freight Trailer Into a Kayak/Camping Trailer

I’ve showcased customer Harbor Freight Tools kayak trailer mods in the past, but this article cannot be ignored– a step-by-step pictorial of how to turn a Haul-Master 870 Lb. Capacity 40″ X 49″ Utility Trailer into a full-functional 3-kayak-plus-camping-gear trailer!

Recently, an author bearing the moniker “Frkzila” posted an article on Instructables.com, aptly titled, “How To Turn a Harbor Freight Trailer Into a Kayak/Camping Trailer.”  Brilliant! The writer starts out:

“This is my first instructable, but I have posted this on some kayak forums with positive feedback. I wanted a trailer I could haul our three kayaks on and our camping gear, but all the trailers I found for purchase were $1,000 plus. Here is how I built mine for $363. I started with the Harbor Freight Kit and turned in into exactly what I needed.”

870 utility trailer2

He starts out, of course, with the trailer– as one reviewer observed, “For the money you can’t beat these little rascals!”– and then collects the following material:

10’ 11-ga 2” square tube
14’-1/8” 2” angle iron
2 @ 6’ pieces of 1.25”od round tube
4′x8′ sheet of 1/2” treated plywood
2 @ 12’-5/4” deck boards
2 @ 8’-5/4” beck boards
4 @ 10’ 2×4′s for bunks
7 @ eye bolts for tie-downs
6’ wire for harness extension
3/4” steel bar that was already bent which he got from a scrap pile

He then proceeds to build an awesome trailer.Kayak Trailer How-To 2

Not to steal thunder from the gentleman’s nicely detailed presentation, I won’t recount each step. Read the article yourself. But let me just say, it’s a great read, especially if you’re looking for ideas to build a trailer of your own.

Referring to the picture on the top of the article, Frkzila concludes:

“Here is the finished product all loaded up, I have three kayaks on here (my daughter’s 6’ sits in the bed) a grill, firewood, tent and other camping stuff loaded.

I am very happy with how this project turned out. I pull it with my 4-cyl Escape and have had it to 70 mph+ on the interstate with no problems. Since it is so lightweight I can hardly feel it behind the car, and I have less invested than most put into converting a jet ski trailer, and everything is new. The only thing I might change is making the bunks movable so I can put 3 full size yaks on top.”

Hats off to you, my good man! Nicely done.

You can find all of Haul-Master’s high-rated utility trailers at your local Harbor Freight Tools or at www.harborfreight.com, affordably priced every day!

Building the Ultimate Greenhouse

Congratulations on purchasing your new One Stop Gardens 10’ x 12’ Greenhouse!  Growing vegetables, cultivating flowers or starting your botany experiment is now close at hand but did you know that you can get even more out of your greenhouse with some extra time, materials and patience?  I recently came across a great article that highlights a few ways to expand your greenhouse in ways that you might not otherwise think of at http://hfgh10x12.blogspot.com/2007/08/this-is-greenhouse-we-bought-link-it.html.  Let’s take a look at how you can take your greenhouse to the next level with just a few adjustments.

The greenhouse kit comes with a steel base that you would generally just place on the ground.  The author of this article explains how to add some extra stability to your greenhouse in order to resist any weather conditions you may encounter like strong winds and heavy rain.  “The popular solution is to build a wooden foundation, anchor it into the ground somehow, and mount the steel base on top,” she says.  “Everyone finds their own way to do this, but most use at least 4 x 4 sized timbers for the base.”

 

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You’ll also want to add a couple of diagonal beams at each corner before mounting the greenhouse base itself.  With your greenhouse secured to a foundation, you can keep the base square and tight for years to come.  And once you’ve got the steel base mounted to the wooden foundation, just apply some clear silicone caulk between the wood and the base to keep rain water from seeping in.  In order to maintain the integrity of you greenhouse, you’ll need to plan for all types of unforeseen weather and environmental conditions.  You can choose from a few different caulks on Harbor Freight’s website too, from Painter’s Acrylic Latex Caulk to Acrylic Latex Caulk plus Silicone.

Now you’re ready to start putting up the walls of your greenhouse.  The article has a little tip to keep your frame and posts straight during construction as well.  “As you put the corner posts up, temporarily attach the [included] diagonal braces for stability.”  You’ll have to remove them before moving on to the next step but this way you can work with a bit more peace of mind and keep the aluminum frame straight and accurate until you add the vertical wall studs.  It’s a good idea to check that the base is still square before moving on and make any necessary adjustments.  It’s much easier to make minor adjustments as you go rather than a big one later.

 2

 

Once you’ve got the greenhouse frame constructed, there are a few things you can do to upgrade it for stability in windier areas.  The article advises to add horizontal braces at the tops of the walls to prevent the side walls from pulling away from each other.  You can do the same for the front and back walls.  Just attach a solid piece of material all the way across each wall to reinforce the structure and keep the elements from potentially warping the frame.  The author explains how you can also keep the steel base from flexing:  “This can be done by bolting small plates of some type to the top and bottom lip of the base at regular intervals, or by covering the inside of the base entirely with wood that’s also attached to the top and bottom lip of the base.”

 

 3

 

It’s also easy at this point to add insulation to your frame, she continues.  “We used ¾” thick expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) insulation, cut into strips about 4 ¼” wide. We also stuffed some foam sill insulation in there first to remove as many air pockets as possible.”  You can protect that insulation and further reinforce the base by attaching boards with screws to the top and bottom lips of the base.  As the author says, “Now the base is insulated and stiffened by the attached board…and it looks a little dressier, too.”

 4

 

Well, at this point, you’ve got yourself an extra strong frame of a greenhouse and you’re ready to move on to inserting the panels.  The author of the article sealed the ends of each panel with aluminum tape to help keep dirt, condensation and bugs out.  “I bought one roll of 1 ½” wide aluminum tape (not duct tape) and cut it into thirds, so I only have a small taped rim visible on the panels.  On the bottom edge, it’s apparently good to have small holes in the tape to allow moisture to escape. You can buy special breathable tape from greenhouse supply websites for this purpose, but others have mentioned using a large pin to poke holes in the tape in each chamber on the bottom edge of each panel.”

 5

 

How about weather stripping?  Well, the author has a suggestion for that as well.  “Instead of caulk, I used 3/16” thick closed cell foam weather stripping in each panel opening. Closed cell foam is waterproof so rain can’t soak in.”  The larger gaps on the tops and bottoms of each panel are also mentioned.  “I found some packages of ¾” wide weather stripping.  I used that, cutting each strip in half with scissors, so it was 3/8” wide. It worked fine and turned out to be a soft gray color that was hardly visible under the panels after installation.”

 6

 

Okay!  So now that you’ve gotten your greenhouse constructed and ready to withstand those heavy winds, you’re ready to add even more awesomeness!  That’s right, there’s still more you can do to enhance the greenhouse to make it more attractive and convenient.  The author added long benches to each side of her greenhouse along with several peninsula-style benches.  “Each long side bench is supported by two pressure-treated 4x4s, buried 24″ deep and set in concrete.  [Then] two horizontal Douglas Fir 4×4′s were clamped to either side of the two pressure treated posts. The horizontal 4×4’s were attached by using a 12″ long 3/8″ drill bit to drill a hole through all three 4×4′s. A length of 3/8″ all-threads rod was inserted in the hole and capped on each end with a washer and nut.”  This addition will provide plenty of shelving space plus ample free space underneath for tools, equipment and supplies.

 7

 

If you want to get really fancy, the author even added a sink to her greenhouse and explains how it can be used for added benefit.  “The sink drain isn’t connected to our house plumbing. It drains into a gravel pit we dug in the floor, and the soil beneath the gravel is the coarse sand of our yard. Another option for the future would be to route the drain water through the wall of the greenhouse and outdoors to water a planting bed.”

Still want more enhancements to your bodacious greenhouse?  The author of this article really decked hers out to include some pretty cool additions to improve functionality.  She added electrical outlets with plastic covers to keep out moisture, Aluminet shade cloth screen panels to keep temperatures down and even an exhaust fan as a way to let air out.  These are obviously more advanced enhancements but the possibilities are there for those willing to put in some extra work.  And for those hoping to use their greenhouse continuously, they can be a real help, as the author states, “Without this fan I wouldn’t be able to keep plants in the greenhouse year round…our summers would be far too hot. With this fan in place, as well as some additional small fans for HAF (Horizontal Air Flow) and generous amounts of shade cloth, I’ll have a fighting chance.”

As you can see, getting your Harbor Freight greenhouse built is only the beginning of your journey and you’re limited only by your imagination!  I don’t know about you but I would love to have benches, a sink, air conditioning and weather stripping in my little home garden.  For anyone who wants to get serious about their plants and flowers without spending serious money, this is the way to do it.

HellDorado! Lowrider Covers a Custom Job Using the HFT English Wheel

In their upcoming May, 2013 issue, Lowrider magazine will feature a Project HellDorado installment, covering the creation of a custom dashboard and console for a ’68 Cadillac El Dorado (say that three times real fast). After the factory dash was removed, the top of the new dash was made in sections and then, using a Central Machinery English Wheel Kit With Stand from Harbor Freight Tools, the auto artisan sculpted the contours to precision.

Great choice! The 28″ throat capacity on Harbor Freight’s English wheel kit offers plenty of room to fabricate compound curves on large pieces with ease and efficiency. It’s also great for shaping, fabrication, and smoothing dents and welding seams in fenders, hoods and trunk panels. The 4” all-steel frame is more than capable for handling sheet steel to 16 gauge as well as copper and aluminum to 14 gauge. It’s easy to level and easy to use. And at $299.99– $239.99 with a 20% Off Coupon!–  it’ll do what the expensive units will do at half the price!

Whether your fashioning your ride to be a lowrider, a hot rod or just a customized thing of beauty, the Central Machinery English Wheel Kit is the perfect companion in your shop.

Gnarlatious Tips on Building Your First Bitchin’ Surfboard

Summer’s almost upon us– in about a hundred days– and if you’re like me, you’re probably asking yourself, is this the year I finally realize the dream of building my own surfboard? It may seem like a daunting task, especially for those of us who aren’t exactly Bob Vila, let alone the Big Kahuna. But, with a few swipes of the keyboard, help manifests itself once again:

Not too long ago, Stephen Pirsch, a visionary in board construction, released a book entitled,How to Build Your First Surfboard, an easy-to-follow, detail-rich DIY paper on the subject. Written for first-time builders, this guide was created to lessen problems and save money– especially to prevent the typical board-ruining mistakes.

“This book is for the garage or backyard builder who has few tools and little money.  The following information has been tested, and is the result of  friends building their first surfboard with me.  Also,  thousands of  interesting people have emailed their questions and results.”

Turn to the Equipment chapter, and there you’ll find a list of tools and supplies needed to get the project going. As this tutorial is geared towards the O Mighty Ones of Little Cash, however, Surfer Steve is careful in recommending his tools:

“Hundreds of dollars can be saved by using the following tools compared to industry standard tools. The following has been extensively tested (on 6 boards in 2012) by the author, the expense and labor solely for the benefit of you, the reader (The author already owned the industry standard tools). Be aware these tools are not designed for heavy duty, continuous production use, but will work well for the occasional garage built board.”

Drill Master 5.5 Amp 3-1/4″ Electric Planer (#91062)  (or, similar, for a few dollars more, the Chicago Electric 3-1/4″ Heavy-Duty Electric Planer with Dust Bag – #95838)

 “1. This planer has a 1/16″ maximum cutting depth. The depth can be doubled to 1/8″ by loosening the cutting blades and extending them 1/16″(the tools for this are included). The depth can be tripled to 3/16″ by grinding the front plate (the plate on the bottom which adjusts up and down). Put a 3″ abrasive cutting wheel on your drill, or a 6″ abrasive cutting blade on your sander/polisher (this tool mentioned below) and slowly grind the plate with the wheel almost parrallel to the plate – this will take one to two hours. If you over grind or grind unevenly, it can be filled with 5 minute epoxy. After modification this planer works very similar to the industry standard Hitachi

2. In contrast to surfboard foam planing shown in youtube videos, a planer is designed to be used parallel to the direction of work (not 45 degrees), Holding at 45 degrees reduces the cutting area by 1/2 which doubles your labor, and increases the possibility of an error.”

 

Chicago Electric 7″ Polisher/Sander with Digital RPM Display (#66615)

“1. (Shop for) assorted 6″ hook and loop sanding disks… if you buy from industrial suppliers you will have to buy an absurd amount of each grit.

2. Initially run sander at lowest speed, and practice on a scrap piece of foam that has been laminated and hot coated. Very slowly sand into the cloth and through the cloth, so you can see what to avoid.

NOTE 1: This purchase is worth it for the accessories alone.

NOTE 2: Hook and loop sandpaper is the best type because it is the easiest, and fastest to change and can be re – used. Hook and loop usually costs more initially (although not with this purchase), but costs less in the end, especially in cost of time.”

 

Drill Master 1/4″ Trim Router (#44914)

1. You will need a router bit with 1″ long cutter for Fins Unlimited Boxes – 1″ bits are rare.

2. A 12″x 6″x 3/16″ template can be made out of 3/16″ panel board (get 4′x 4′ piece at Lowe’s. To achieve 5 degree lean on twin or tri fins, an additional 1″x 12″ piece of 3/16″ panel board can be duct taped to the bottom edge of the template. The entire template can be held in place with Gorilla brand duct tape.

NOTE: By the time you adjust the router and bit, and make a template, you could cut out about 5 boxes by hand. After making template (and practicing) it is faster and more precise with a router. The Harbor Freight cutout tool can also be used as a router.”

 

Additional EQUIPMENT LIST:

Respirator with dust and vapor cartridges
Tape measure
Magnetic torpedo level
Drill preferably with two handles, variable speed and, 2000 to 3000 rpm.
Hand saw (wood)
Sharpie fine marker pen
Block plane (smallest)
Pocket Plane
5″ rubber/plastic back-up pad with 1/4″ shank (for sanding disks on drill)
Hacksaw blade (coarse)
Optional 1″ paddle bit to match optional 1″ leash cup

“You might be asking yourself, do I really want to do this? Is saving half the money of a showroom surfboard, buying the tools, pouring sweat, blood and time into this little venture going to be worth it? Surfer Steve has an answer for that:

“Building a board can be very rewarding.  Everyone who follows the directions manages to finish somehow, and almost everyone who makes one will make another.  Much of the work and expense on the first board (such as racks, blocks, and tools) won’t have to be duplicated on following boards.

Kowabunga, baby.

 

Dirt Biker’s Review: The 2.5 Liter Ultrasonic Cleaner

Recently, a forum member on the Honda dirt bike site XR650RForum.com, calling himself Master_E, shared with his buddies his experience with the Chicago Electric 2.5 Liter Ultrasonic Cleaner.

“So I bought this thing because I took my carb to a buddies house the first time I was taking it apart and we used his. My carb had gunk all over and was generally dirty from being used. This ultrasonic gizzmo cleaned my carb to the point where it looked fresh out of a hot tank, inside and out. I was very impressed.”

When he took it home, he tried different cleaners with it. One different work. Another was so sotrong, it would tarnish. Finally, he found the perfect “solution”:

“I went back to Harbor Freight and bought a gallon of this business they use in their regular parts washers for only $9.99. I run a 50/50 mix with water and it cleans fantastically. Straight out of the jug is pretty concentrated stuff. I really recommend diluting it some.”

And once he figured out the formula, he threw everything he could find into the cleaner.

“Since, I’ve used it on all kinds of things. Most useful to me has been on fasteners but greasy nuts, bolts, washers, brackets, spacers, sprockets, clutch and brake perches, cleaning up my tools, my carburetor components, suspension components and even a whole chain. Yes, the whole chain.”

Besides motorcycle and automotive parts, the 2.5 Ultrasonic Cleaner is great for cleaning gun parts and brass, jewelry, coins, brasswind parts, pinball machine parts, e-cigarette tanks, medals, eyeglasses, tattoo tubes, grips and tips, bionic parts, coffee ground cups, and so much more! It works with our without heat, and is programmed for five cleaning cycles. At only $74.99, it’s a great machine at a great price.

Now, back to Master_E:

“So I thought I’d share a couple before and afters. I actually struggled to find things that needed cleaning, but I did find a couple things. These parts were never prep’d or polished after coming out of the cleaner. They went straight in, ran a cycle then brought out and dried off. Thats it. No scrubbing, no brushing, no scraping, no wiping down with a rag at all.”

(Click on the pics to enlarge)

Wheel Spacers: Before…

…and After!

 

 

Upper Triple Bearing: Before…

… and After…

… and More After!

 

 

Upper Triple Clamp: Before…

… in the Cleaner (didn’t quite fit)…

… and After…

… and After!

You can’t argue with the evidence. The Chicago Electric 2.5 Liter Ultrasonic Cleaner is a perfect addition to any workshop or home where parts  and pieces get dirty. Go get yours now– and don’t forget to take a 20% Off coupon!

To quote Master_E’s parting remark:

“Cheers! Now go clean some stuff!”

The Legend of the Double Cut Saw… and How to Build a Grill Out of a 55-Gallon Drum

Billy Kulakowski was a mean griller, everybody in the cul-de-sac agreed. Every block party weekend, Billy was given a wide berth as he worked his magic on his meats and wood chips and butt rubs. When he was in the zone, Billy was like a wild-eyed chainsaw juggler jacked up on Pepsi Max. Head down in the smoke and sizzle, flipping tongs, spatulas, sauces, spices… his little water spray bottle keeping the furious flames at bay… no one dared approach him, not even to offer him a cold one. Story’s told, one time somebody did, and there was an incident. Something about a misheard word, a scuffle and– things getting out of hand like they oft times do– an airborne super-duty wiener fork took out a bounce house. Three kids were never found. It took a while (a couple of months, I suspect), but the cul-de-sac moved on, and so did Billy’s grilling.

Yeah, Billy Kulakowski was a mean griller. A man’s man. Word had it, Kenny Rogers was even writing a song about him.

Then one day, a family of five bought the old Johnson split-level– the Kleeburgs from Huntsville, Alabama. When the father, Joe Kleeburg, heard about the block party coming up, he peeled out of his driveway and some time later returned with three 55-gallon drums, some angle iron, mesh metal and a Chicago Electric 5″ Double Cut Saw from Harbor Freight Tools. Ducking into his garage, he wasn’t seen again for the rest of the week.

Nine o’clock the morning of the block party, everybody was setting up their usual station. Billy took his designated double-wide spot; 10 aluminum charcoal starters filled to the brim with cooking coals lined up on the sidewalk in front of him. No sign of the new neighbors. But then at 9:22, the Kleeburgs’ 3-car garage came to life and the doors slowly rose…

Billy didn’t have a chance. And, after considerable effort, Kenny Rogers managed to fit “Joe Kleeburg” into “Billy Kulakowski”… but, that’s another story.

 

The Chicago Electric 5″ Double Cut Saw cuts through plywood, sheet metal, galvanized pipe, flooring, plastic, paneling, Formica, and so much more, without burning, chipping or melting. Its portability makes it great for tight spots and on-the-fly work, and it’ll save you hours from having to cut steel with a grinder. Packing a powerful 7.5 amp motor, this saw cuts forward or backward with the same power and precision– with no kickback! And for just $59.99– even less with your 20% off coupon!– it’ll be a lifesaver around the house and garage over and over, again.

 

Bare Bones Method of Building a Grill Out of a 55-Gallon Drum 

Things You Will Need:

  • 55-Gallon Drum
  • Masking Tape
  • Chicago Electric 5″ Double Cut Saw
  • Angle Iron
  • Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder
  • Mesh Metal
  • Metal Rod
  • 1/2″ Steel Box Tube
  • Two Heavy-Duty Hinges
  • Steel reinforcement plates
  • 2×1″ steel ro
  1. 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. Try to avoid one that housed toxic chemicals, but just to be sure, when you cut off the lid, build a large fire inside of it to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool,  dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
  2. Next, you’re going to want to divide the drum into quarters. Use the masking tape along the sides and ends of the barrel, make sure all the quarters are even. Lay the drum on its side and, using the double cut saw, carefully cut one of the quarters about 3 to 3/12″ from the barrel’s edges– this is going to be the lid for the grill.
  3. Build a large fire inside of it to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool,  dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. This will also make it easier to scrub after grilling. Weld metal rod along all the edges, and add cross bars so the mesh will retain its strength and shape. Cut out a piece 1/8″ smaller than the opening of
  6. 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. Once you’ve got the shape you desire, weld the cuts smooth. This creates a sturdy cradle on which you’ll be attaching the legs. Then weld the half moon shapes to the barrel.
  7. Attach hinges to the barrel and lid, and reinforce it with steel plates on the inside.
  8. Determine how high you want your grill to be (3-ft. is good) and accordingly cut the 2×1 into legs. Cut relief marks throughout the legs, too, to allow the grill to have a little bit of give. This will make the legs bend outward and, ultimately. give it more stability in the long run. Attach the legs and you have your very own, cheap and efficient 55-gal. drum grill.

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.

Happy New Year! Now Get Down to Zihuatanejo

I hope everyone had as nice and relaxing holiday as I did. Besides getting lots of badly needed downtime, we managed to see old friends, family and haunts, and accumulated new memories to add to the ol’ mental scrapbook.

Over the last few days, as I was dreading the end of my vacation and return to the real world, I pondered resolutions for 2013– both the realistic ones and the “not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell-but-I-should-probably-make-them-anyway” ones. Typically, these goals are exercises in futility. This time, though, it occurred to me that it isn’t so much what you resolve to do as much as how you plan to make it happen. As I’m sure many of you are, I’m a big fan of The Shawshank Redemption. That whole “get busy living, or get busy dying” rant impressed me like, “yeah… that’s it. That’s how it is.” In the movie, Andy Dufresne determined his “get busy living” was finding a way out of Shawshank and escaping to a little Mexican village called Zihuatanejo. It’s the perfect metaphor for anything we truly want.

So you need to first ask yourself, what more than anything would you like to do. It could be turning the garage into a man cave or craft studio, fixing all the broken things around the house, restoring your dad’s dead Olds 442 or finally overhauling the backyard. But, before getting lost in your fantasy and dreaming of neat that would be…

…immediately follow up with, okay… how do I make it happen? In other words, you can’t just think about what you need to start doing– do it. Do it now. Even if you just devote 10 minutes a day, moving boxes or trimming hedges or removing engine parts, the very act of doing something motivates you to get moving, add more time and effort. and get it done. This year for me, it’s not just about losing weight (yeah, I’m original), it’s about walking, power-walking, doing stairs or hiking every day. NOT jumping into a gym membership– that’s just setting myself up for disaster (not to mention thwarting my budgetary resolutions). Also, choosing the types of food I eat by imagining what kind of hell my body goes through processing what I feed it (reality check: sweet potato fries is NOT a healthy alternative to regular potato fries). Again, not what you do, but how you do it.

On a sort-of related note, but not really, I have a brother-in-law who’s a total Tim Taylor (Home Improvement), grunts and all, and whose name I had for Christmas. I gave him a Harbor Freight gift card (of course), but, for me, just giving a gift card’s a cop out; it has to at least be accompanied by something that requires personal thought and consideration. So, I gave him a copy of Sequoia Publishing’s Pocket Ref.

Super handy info for tool hounds, craftsmen, landscapers, mechanics, technicians, cooks, stagehands, maintenance workers, carpenters, installers, fabricators, testers, designers, rodeo clowns– anyone who works with tools or does general troubleshooting– this comprehensive, pocket-sized reference book is for anyone who does anything. It’s perfect for when you use a math formula infrequently enough to forget it– and it’s better than the Internet ’cause it goes places where you get no bars! The little book is 768 pages of charts, tables, conversions, constants, facts and figures on everything you’d want to know. Covers air and gasses, automotive, carpentry and construction, chemistry and physics, computers, general science, geology, electrical circuits, electronics, drilling, cutting, adhesives, bolts, fasteners, pipes, ropes, tools, weather, welding, time zones, bunches of tables. and tons more– AND it fits in a pocket, glove box or tool box! Excluding Taco Bell, I can’t think of a better way to spend $9.99.

My brother-in-law flipped after he scanned through it for the first time. “Hell,” he said, “I can see myself just sitting and reading this for fun.” I recommended the bathroom.

Not for nothing, but an interesting aside,  Jamie and Adam on MythBusters whip this book out from time to time and use formulas from it. Well… I was impressed.

 

How to Deal with the Problem Girlfriend

Most guys have had at least one impractical girlfriend in their lifetime: gorgeous, exotic, passionate, exciting to hold… but at the same time, expensive to buy for and hard to please. I’ve had mine for about a year now, and though my wife of 23 years is aware of her existence, she doesn’t feel threatened. It IS, after all, just a gun– a Remington 788 rifle customized to a .358 Winchester caliber, to be exact– and I love her. Unfortunately, the .358 is a more expensive round than a .30-06 (about $45 for a box of 20) and vastly harder to find, as the number of suppliers continues to dwindle. On the other hand, she feels oh-so sweet to shoot and aims true. Like I said, the impractical girlfriend. I’m telling you this because I’ve resolved to tackle my dilemma with her by taking up reloading. I’ve already got the brass, the dies, a reloading kit and (thank goodness) a buddy who knows how to use it. The only thing I need now is a workbench. Leave it to Harbor Freight Tools to have just the ticket– the Windsor Design 60″ 4-Drawer Hardwood Workbench.

This workbench has a rock-solid lacquered wood top and its four drawers are felt-lined to protect your finer tools. There’s also a bottom shelf for larger tools and containers, and a wood block vise for sanding, drilling, etc. So, lots of work space, lots of storage.

Check out this sweet set-up a customer posted on 1911Forum.com. This is something like what I have in mind:

 

The Windsor Design 60″ Hardwood Workbench (#93454) is fast and easy to assemble (takes about 2 hours, if the consensus of customer reviews is to be believed). As the above picture demonstrates, it offers a certain amount of flexibility, like installing two drawers instead of four. Going through the reviews, I’ve seen guys add lockable casters for mobility– or even a Trailer Jack on one or both sides to completely eliminate any shimmy.

There are so many uses for this workbench, I can only scratch the surface. Whether you’re into woodworking, crafts, electronics, metal projects, jewelry-making, repairing, have an art studio, micro-brewing. etc., it’s the best deal out there.

Thinking Outside of the Box: In my research I was impressed to find people who purchased Harbor Freight’s workbench for other than its obvious purpose. For example, in one of our customer reviews:

“This will sound silly, but a few people might spot this review and love the idea: My wife and I needed a baby changing table. All the ones we found were flimsy, had little storage, and were ridiculously over-priced. Then we spotted this bench on sale. It’s an incredibly perfect changing table, and once the kids are done with diapers I’ll get a nice workbench out of the deal! (An actual changing table would end up being gifted or donated and the investment is lost. This one will be around for years).” Workbench Daddy – Pasadena, CA

Another customer converted their workbench into a kitchen island:

Still another bought TWO hardwood workbenches, mated them end-to-end, and now uses them as an outfeed table for their table saw.

The subject of casters came up several times. Some guys love the mobility that casters give the workbench, but others complained that even locking casters have a little sideway shimmy which can be a pain when you’re doing precision work. Their solution (and I loved this) was to either put two casters on one side of the table with a Trailer Jack mounted on the other… or affix trailer jacks on BOTH sides. Genius!

There’s a wealth of insight: usage ideas, assembly tips and other information in the Windsor Design Workbench product page customer reviews, and through Google searches. Treating the wood with wax from time to time can add to its lifespan and resilience, too.

The 60″ workbench from Harbor Freight is the ideal solution to help solving my girlfriend problem, but I’m sure I’ll be using it for a lot of other things, too. If only all relationship problems were so easy.

 

Firebird Restoration Project Part 9 – Finale

Well, it’s been a long road, but we’ve finally come to the end of our journey. Behold the final video installment of the ’67 Firebird Restoration Project, executed exclusively with Harbor Freight Tools.

As I shared last week, the fully-restored ’67 Firebird pulled into our office parking lot, and let me tell you, it was a sight to see. Ever watch the Mecum Car Auctions on the Velocity Channel? (love that show!) This car would have summoned a pretty penny on their auction block. Before it was whisked away to who-knows-where, a handful of us slowly circled around it, transfixed, muttering “wows” and “oh yeahs” under our breaths. The original interior was pristine– black bucket seats and carpet looking like new. Under the hood, the same. In fact, the guy who did the restoration, Jeff Tann, said the ‘bird’s engine was better now than when it was new.

Imagine the same kind of results with your favorite Mopar or Mustang… maybe an old Apache pickup or Landcruiser. Whatever your poison, Harbor Freight Tools has got the power, air and hand tools you need for a lot less moolah than the other guys– and they’ve got the fans to prove it! Get their catalog, shop their deals, clip their coupons… you won’t be able to help grinning with all the cool stuff you’ll be taking home for so little.

So, what’s to become of the Firebird? The rumors abound. A Saudi now sheikh has it. It’s in the next Bourne movie. Elvis was seen in it at a drive-through in Lubbock, Texas. No one can say for sure… I only know I offered to take it off their hands, but haven’t heard back yet.

Firebird Restoration Tools: Harbor Freight vs. The Competition – Part 4

The Underbody

If it’s going to be done right, every phase of restoring a vehicle is important. I mean, you wouldn’t just rebuild or replace the carb, throw on some new paint and upholstery, and call it done (although, that’s exactly what a lot of guys do). That thinking will bite you in the butt down the road– literally. That’s why the underbody gets the same attention as everything else. So… let’s talk tools:

Last month I started a series illustrating how much more bang for the buck a wrencher can get from  Harbor Freight Tools than they could the competition. Using the ’67 Firebird Restoration project as my example, I’ve been breaking it down phase by phase, comparing the prices of tools used in the project with similar (if not exact) products that the competition advertises. The competitors I chose were Sears, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Grainger. Exact matches weren’t always found, so I substituted the closest product available. As I’ve said before, I don’t think this compromises the test because we’re only talking about differences in size and shape, not power or function.

In the first segment, we looked at Harbor Freight’s tools used in the vehicle’s disassembly video. In the second, we explored price differences on the engine removal phase. In the third installment, we featured the tools employed in the stripping and priming process. This time we’re only featuring two tools for the underbody:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using a heavy-duty industrial de-greaser, this powerful 2000 PSI gas pressure washer is unstoppable against old, caked-on grease, oil and dirt that’s accumulated on your vehicle’s underbelly. Pumping out 1.6 gallons a minute, the machine is EPA-certified and easily portable on two rubber wheels. It’s got a mighty four-stroke 4 HP gas engine with a cast-iron cylinder for maximum durability, pump-overheat protection, overload protection and low-oil shutdown for extra safety.

  • Sears – Craftsman 2200 PSI Gas-Powered Pressure Washer – $249.99
  • Northern Tool – Wel-bilt 2500 PSI Gas-Powered Pressure Washer – $249.99
  • Home Depot – Simpson MegaShot 2200 PSI Gas-Powered Pressure Washer – $269.99
  • Lowe’s – Simpson MegaShot 2200 PSI Gas Pressure Washer – $269.99
  • Grainger – Generac #5987 2500 PSI Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer – $499.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t beat the quality and value of this great, little blaster! In the video they used it for blasting rust from the undercarriage, but that’s just one of a zillion things you can use this tool on. Car restoration, firearm parts, tool cabinets, barbecues, metal beams, aluminum wheels, tools, to name a few. Use slag media, silica, walnut or pecan shells, sand, glass bead, steel grit and more. The portable abrasive blaster kit comes with a blast gun, 15-ft. material hose and a hopper than can hold up to 50 lbs. of abrasive media. Just hook it up to a 1 HP or larger compressor and easily remove paint, rust, graffiti, corrosion and scale.

  • Sears – Sears Portable Sand Blaster – $119
  • Northern Tool – ALC Suction Abrasive Blaster – $49.99
  • Home Depot – Powermate Air Sand Blaster – $55.99
  • Lowe’s – N/A
  • Grainger – ALC Siphon Blaster – $171

Check out The Video to see the tools in action during the underbody stripping procedure.

In the next installment, we’ll take a look at the tools used for the Engine Rebuild, and compare them to the competition’s. Until then!