Chicago Electric 2.5 hp 10-in. Tile-Brick Saw – Pays For Itself Over and Again!

I can’t believe it’s already March. It was warm and sunny this weekend, and all the garages in the cul-de-sac were open, shop tools howling and humming on new projects as kids took to the street with bikes and razors, and wives clustered in yards, catching up on all those mysterious lady-topics. I love this time of year.

A good friend of mine recently moved into the neighborhood and, for one of his initial projects, he wanted to re-tile his three bathrooms. He also talked about renovating the patio. On my advice, he picked up a Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10″ Industrial Tile/Brick Saw #69275 at Harbor Freight– with a 20% off coupon, the price dropped to $204. The tool would pay for itself, plus some, after just one job!

Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10-inch Tile-Brick Saw

While you may be thinking the price is so low, you’ll be happy it lasts long enough to finish the one job, think again– this beast is a keeper! Built in an over-sized steel frame, it comes with a precision linear bar system for smooth operation. The two-position cutting head lets you easily adjust the blade to handle tiles or bricks of various sizes. A built-in 3-gallon-per-minute water pump and a removable, high-impact ABS water tub are also included. Designed with a heavy-duty cast alloy column and cutting head for reduced vibration, this professional grade tile saw cuts tile up to 24”. The head pivots to allow for 22.5 and 45-degree bevel cuts, and the blade is adjustable for standard tiles or bricks up to 3-1/2″ thick.

I came across this video on YouTube this morning, submitted by a customer in 2010 who bought his tile saw back in 2006, and I thought it’d be a good way to show the machine in action. (The guy who shot it uses the handle, “jojuma91″. Out of gratitude, I included a link to his YouTube page)

Strange music compilation aside, this is an excellent illustration of the saw’s consistent, stellar performance.

In the DIY forum GarageJournal.com, the topic of “wet saws” comes up from time to time. Naturally, Harbor Freight is talked about– sometimes not flatteringly, but notice how those comments are from guys who didn’t actually own them. Here are a few I thought were worth mentioning:

“I have no complaints with my HF 10 inch wet saw. I cut all the bricks at crazy odd angles for my wood fired pizza oven and then cut a ton of bricks for my patio. It’s still going strong – and was quite accurate. I then got a new blade and used it to cut my granite counter tops. I bought it on a 20% off coupon when it had already been reduced in price. It looks bad but still runs great. I normally expect HF stuff to last me a single job. The saw has exceeded that expectation.” Chris

This next comment is so full of praise, I think the guy deserves a kickback (but you didn’t hear that from me):

“Another vote here for the Harbor Freight 10″ wet saw. A buddy of mine purchased one in 2003, for $279 I think it was. We have used this saw more than we ever thought we would. He tiled about 1400 square feet of porcelain floor tile with it, and a set of marble steps, lots of diagonal cuts, border, etc. The thought was, “Hey, if it lasts through this job, it will have paid for itself, vs. renting a saw”. Saw worked great.

He then did his whole brick driveway (curved borders) with it. Came through like a champ. I then borrowed it from him, and tiled the entire main “public” area of my house, around 2,000 square feet, in porcelain, with a border stripe, all tile set on the diagonal. It took me about 2 months of evenings and weekends. The saw kept on working like a champ. When I was done with that job, I gave it back to my buddy with $100 and a case of beer.

I just borrowed it from him again last month, to tile the shop bathroom (porcelain, pics at link below). Friggin’ thing is still working great. Keep a good diamond blade in it (as with all wet saws) and it won’t let you down.

My buddy (co-worker) and I were in HF the other day, and noticed that they sell the same saw now, 8 years later, for the same money, and now, it comes with a folding stand, which his did not. We had a good laugh. This saw certainly doesn’t owe us anything, at this point. When it finally dies someday, it will receive an appropriate viking funeral.”  Rob

One more…

“Another vote for the Harbor Freight 10″. I can’t even add up how much tile, brick and concrete it has cut in the last 5 or 6 years since I’ve had it. Just a belt and blade had to be replaced after I made the mistake of loaning it to a friend.”  incubus2432

Central Machinery Mobile Power Tool Table

Also, if you’re looking for mobility with your projects, you might want to consider the Central Machinery Folding Power Tool Stand #40612, also at Harbor Freight.

For more insight into the Chicago Electric 2.5 hp tile-brick saw, check out the customer reviews on our site!

Car Craft Tests Torque Wrenches: Guess Who Won!

It’s not enough just to claim having the lowest prices around. A Scion is a lot cheaper than a Lexus, but, well… Now on the other hand, if you can claim lowest price AND the same quality (or better) than the high-priced brands, now we got ourselves a ball game.

In the April 2013 issue of Car Craft (not online yet… I guess it goes along with the whole “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” philosophy), in the Hands On section, I stumbled across an article entitled, “Testing Torque Wrenches”, by Jeff Smith. The gist of it was to compare the performance of 1/2-inch drive click torque wrenches from Craftsman ($240), Snap-on ($323) and the Pittsburgh model (#239 – $19.99) from Harbor Freight.

“Then we discovered a digital torque adapter sold by Harbor Freight (#68283). This small unit fits in between a standard 1/2-inch drive breaker bar and the socket, and using a digital strain gauge, it converts the torque applied through the adapter into a digital readout. At a typical Harbor Freight price of $39.99, we decided to include it in our test. We frankly didn’t expect this little unit to be very accurate. But the testing proved otherwise.”

After running the torque adapter through five consecutive applications of 70-lb.-ft. of torque, the average came out to be an “amazing 70.1 lb.-ft. In fact, when they tested it against a Snap-On digital torque wrench “costing far more,” the readings from the two tools were generally within 0.20 lb-ft.

As for the drive click torque wrench…

“… we also tested Harbor Freight’s 1/2-inch clicker torque wrench, and it was also very close. It also has a range of 20 to 150 lb-ft and a lifetime warranty. Accuracy after five consecutive tests at 70 lb-ft ranged from 68.8 lb-ft (-1.2) to 70.3 (+0.3), with an average error of 0.30 ft-lb over five tests. It doesn’t get much better than that for a mechanical torque wrench.”

Bottom line: You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get precision performance– and with your 20% Off Coupon, you can have the drive click torque wrench for just $16! For so much less than the competition, Harbor Freight’s 1/2-inch drive click torque wrench is the clear winner!

For a more detailed coverage of the tool test, get the April 2013 issue of Car Craft today.

Hot Rod, Mustang Monthly & Super Street Bike Reviews: The Earthquake Impact Wrench

 Hot Rod magazine gave generous props to the Central Pneumatic Earthquake 1/2″ Impact Wrench (#68424) in the Parts & Stuff section of their January 2013 issue:

“This is the Cadillac of ½-inch impact wrenches. From Harbor Freight, known for great tools and cheap prices, the Central Pneumatic Earthquake ½-inch Impact Wrench is rated at 700 lb-ft and has three forward speeds plus reverse. It has twin hammers inside that help to make more torque easier. It has less vibration than the competition and, according to Harbor Freight, is the most powerful wrench in its class. One other cool feature is that the exhaust port is pointed away from the user, so no more blowing air in your face when using the tool.”

While I do love Hot Rod for being a renowned mag, full of informative articles, how-to’s, showcases, etc., they’ll have to go to the back of the line on this one. Harbor Freight’s Earthquake 1/2″ impact wrench is already a well-documented legend for, not only its power, durability and performance, but also the great price– just $94.99 (around $76 with a 20% off coupon)!

Back in October, 2012, the Mustang Club of America’s online magazine, Mustang Monthly, had this to say:

 “Do we really need any excuse to go buy new tools for the garage? Of course we don’t, but the new Earthquake air tool from Harbor Freight gives you 700 reasons to pick one up when you need to get those stubborn, rusty fasteners off your Mustang!

“This professional class wrench (Item# 68424) delivers more power with better weight distribution, lighter materials and a more compact housing. Premium grade components with close tolerances give this tool a longer lifespan than conventional air wrenches.”

 Motorcycle enthusiast magazine Super Street Bike also had a few choice words regarding the Earthquake impact wrench in their January, 2013 issue:

“Harbor Freight returns with another price-conscious tool that should be in every garage: the Central Pneumatic Earthquake half-inch impact wrench. You may not need this tool for everyday wrenching on the bike, but when upgrading or replacing worn out sprockets requires the removal of a countershaft sprocket nut that will not loosen by hand, you’ll appreciate this tool’s power. The Earthquake Impact Wrench is an affordable way to get the job done with a torque range of 50-500 LBS.-FT., a working pressure of 90 PSI and three forward speeds. Make dropping a tooth or two with an aftermarket front sprocket easier with this tool.”

And it’s not just the magazines. Tool hounds at home also like the Earthquake impact wrench. For example, on this thread in GarageJournal.com’s forum, several members admitted their fondness for the air tool:

“I’ve had one for a bit over a year and have used it quite a bit. I have yet to come across something that I was unable to get off with it…”  strizzy

“I bought one a couple of years ago and couldn’t be happier with it. Incredible power and comfortable grip…. It’s been used and abused and just keeps on going. I’m sure keeping it lubed properly helps too. With an adapter and a Budd socket it even removed nuts from a truck that someone had swaged on with a cold chisel to make sure they NEVER came off. This thing had enough power to take them off right through the bunged up threads. I like it so much I’m thinking of buying their 3/8″ Earthquake…”  Curmudgeon

“I got the 1/2″ one too. I use it every once in a while to remove some rusty hardware on my 20 year old sports car (read: bolts that have not been touched in a long time) and the Earthquake does it without any trouble. Its a great purchase even if it was double the price. But since its not…stop typing and go buy one!”  sunshineFC3s

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Earthquake impact wrench comes with:

+Precision machined to master-mechanic standards
+Most powerful wrench in its class
+Variable speed reversible
+Less vibration and lighter than the competition
+Handle-vented to direct exhaust away from user
+Twin-hammer delivers more torque to the anvil
+Three forward speeds

I know… you’re heading out the door. Don’t forget your 20% OFF COUPON!!

What About Harbor Freight? An Introduction

I had no idea what kind of following Harbor Freight Tools had when I joined the company. Now whenever I mention where I work, though, I hear, “I LOVE Harbor Freight!” Always with a big grin, as if they’re happily admitting a guilty pleasure– like watching the Ice Road Truckers marathon, or when the family goes on a trip and leaves them behind. It didn’t take long surfing the Internet to see just how widespread the love really is– way beyond the weekend tinkerers or ‘burb Dads with their “honey-do-ready” toolboxes. I quickly found a slew of niche websites whose members rely on HFT’s low priced, hard-to-find and odd hardware– not to mention the huge selection of essential tools and supplies. Numbered among these groups are survivalists and emergency preppers, solar energy enthusiasts, BBQ trailer builders, teardrop trailer builders, Pinterest crafters, RC model builders, paranormal investigators, AR builders… as well as your garden variety woodworkers, welders, car restorers, four-wheelers, motorcycle wrenchers, compulsive DIYers and all manner of tool-wielding madmen building better mousetraps.

In all of these blogs and forums the question inevitably always comes up: “I need to get a _____________.What about Harbor Freight?” Someone informs their group about a proud purchase they made of a tool cabinet, a winch or an abrasive blaster. Another member posts a photo of their latest DIY project (like the one above). A full-blown discussion ensues, more photos and links are posted, and ultimately others get inspired to “go and do likewise.” These sites also serve as war drums for whatever Harbor Freight Tools sale or coupon comes out and, truth be told, they spread the store’s advertising as much as the store itself.

It struck me that Harbor Freight Tools’ fan base, all spread out across the Internet, is like a big, open secret– each niche group sequestered from the others, each possessing information the others could use. Wouldn’t it be great if they could all come together to one forum, to exchange questions, views, projects, etc.? Dare to dream.

In the meantime, we’ll be looking at these niche groups and websites. What is it they get at Harbor Freight? What do they do with the products? What, if any, innovations have sprung from their purchases? The first group we’ll start with– the Survivalists– will be explored next week.

Stay tuned!

For The Guy Who Has Everything: A Place to Put It!

You may know someone who has every tool known to man (including some old, scary things you can’t identify). Venturing into their garage is like stumbling into a flea market– their workbench, walls and drawers all cluttered with hardware– and they spend about as much time looking for tools as they do using them. OK, I wasn’t going to say it, but… yeah, I’m talking about you. It’s time to end the madness!

When toofun (forum handle) decided he had outgrown his old tool cabinet, he shared his journey for a trade-up with fellow Pro-Touring.com members:

“So I have outgrown my start-up Craftsman 26-inch double-tiered toolbox and need to get something else for my HOME GARAGE– Snap On, Husky, Matco, Cornwell, etc… all HUGE money. And then I came across the 44-inch wide multi-drawered U.S. General tool box from Harbor Freight. I know it is not professional garage mechanic quality like Snap On, but COME ON. When I saw this in person, I was very impressed with it. For the two top and bottom “middle parts” pictured below, 21 drawers and it runs $689– that’s less than HALF all the big name brands charge for a similar set-up. Anyone have one they care to comment on? They also sell the add-ons and I am considering buying the side drawer add-on for another $200 so in total I would have 28 drawers all for $889??? Am I missing something here?”

No, toofun, you’re not missing a thing. In fact, you could get the entire ensemble pictured above, out-the-door (tax included), for under $1,200! I challenge any competitor to offer as much– with the same high quality– at such a low price.

Here’s a breakdown of the individual pieces:

It wasn’t hard for toofun to make his decision:

“Yeah, on my way to buy one for sure today! Can’t beat the price and Harbor Freight is killer in the deals department. I also like the fact that they have just about everything put together and set up for customers to touch and feel. The drawers really do slide in and out with ease. I have a Craftsman box right now and I would say they slide in and out better than those do. I also saw a video on YouTube of a guy STANDING on the top drawer of the lower cabinet with the drawer full of tools! Not crazy enough to do that but I though it made a good point, even though I probably would have chosen a different way to show it!”

In the end, toofun did go for all the three pieces he had been considering: the 44″ 13-drawer tool cabinet, the top chest and the 7-drawer end cabinet.  To say he was happy with the shopping experience would be an extreme understatement:

“Well, picked up the top, bottom and side pieces today. Worked out a deal with the store and got an even better deal– PLUS, they signed me up for the Customer Rewards, or-something-like-that (Inside Track, heh-heh…) program. Basically you get coupons every week that are discounted even lower than the regular coupons they send out to the regular mailings. The discounts are on average about 10%-15% lower than what they offer the general public, so it really adds up if you buy a lot of tools. Also, I was worried about the (upcoming) sale and they said that within 45 days if I see a better price than what I got it for, to bring in my slip and they would give me the difference back! MAN, I LOVE HARBOR FREIGHT. Always liked their online store, but now that there is a physical location 2 miles from my house, it’s like going into a strip joint to see what’s new! LOL! “

I couldn’t have said it better. When it comes to tool storage and organization, there isn’t a better deal out there than the heavy-duty, industrial-quality US General series, exclusively at Harbor Freight! Come into the store like toofun did, and try the cabinets out yourself– and don’t forget the countless other deals throughout the store. You’ll love the place, too!

OC Weekly: Best Hardware Store 2012 – Harbor Freight Tools!

OC Weekly, a news publication with a readership of around a quarter-million in Orange County and Long Beach, California, just released their annual Best of 2012 issue, covering the best and brightest of local restaurants, galleries, local bands and more. This year, under of the category of Best Hardware Store, Harbor Freight Tools was the recognized favorite:

“Whenever a business advertises its opening year, it’s usually a good sign. Harbor Freight Tools has been selling to your granddaddy since 1977. The company began as a mail-order catalog and has since grown into a significant hardware retailer, with stores all over the U.S. Yet it’s not this charming attainment of the good ol’ American dream that makes Harbor Freight the best—it’s that it feels like a neighborhood store right off Main Street. It’s small enough to be manageable, but established enough to carry almost everything you need at ridiculously low prices. Need welding tools, miniature drill bits, bandsaws, jigsaws, lawn gnomes or something you never thought you needed with the American flag on it? Harbor Freight stocks it all.”

Thanks to OC Weekly and all the good people of Orange County and Long Beach who have done business with Harbor Freight!

Chevy High Performance: 13-Drawer Tool Cabinet

Opinions are like hand tools: everybody’s got them.  But while they vary when it comes to which Harbor Freight tools customers have on their wish lists, one item seems to make ALL the lists– the wildly popular US General Pro 44″ 13-Drawer Roller Cabinet.

How many times did you have a ‘honey-do’ fix, or faced a weekend auto project, and didn’t know exactly where your needed tools were? They used to be in that drawer… or was it in that one spot on the workbench? I think it’s safe to say, I’m not the only one who goes through that hellacious routine from time to time.

In the December 2012 issue of Chevy High Performance, Henry De Los Santos shared that, since his team finally graduated to a “real toolbox” (the 13-drawer cabinet), they now enjoy being able to find any particular tool right away when they need it. And since this tool cabinet is modular, he gushed, it can expand even more, with the industrial-strength US General Pro Top Chest

 

…and the super-tough 7-Drawer End Cabinet.

 Whatever your work or hobby, the US General tool cabinets and carts are the best values you’re going to find. A lot of folks try saying that about their cabinets, but they don’t quite live up to the combination of solid construction and low prices you’ll find at Harbor Freight. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, or even the testimony of a magazine. Just go on the site and read the dozens of reviews given by the customers who use them every day. They pretty much all say the same thing as this owner of the 13-drawer cabinet:

“I have shopped around for a new tool cabinet for quite some time, and this is by far (very far, actually) the best value I have found. The reviews confirmed what I had already seen in the stores, so buying this beauty was a no-brainer.

The cabinet is very well built, and the sheet metal is a much heavier gauge than the competition. The large top drawer and the two deep bottom drawers have a double guide set-up to carry some extra weight, which is a very nice touch when you have to store heavy tools. They’ll load it for you at the store, but you better ask a friend to come over and help you unload this sucker or you might get hurt! When I unloaded mine, I had to remove all the drawers to even be able to slide it to the tailgate.

I bought it to put my mini-mill on, and I was a bit worried about how the 44″ span above the top drawer would do with a 150 lbs mill on it. I cut a piece of 3/4″ plywood as a bench top, put the mill on it, and the cabinet didn’t budge one bit. I had planned to bolt the cabinet to the wall to make the setup more rigid, but I didn’t have to, it was solid as a rock after locking the casters. However, it does have threaded holes (for the handle) on both sides, so it would be very easy to add wall brackets if I ever decide to do so.

The handles have paper labels with plastic covers, a nice feature for us who want to keep things organized.

I’m pretty picky with everything I buy for my shop, and usually try to stick with the “pro brand” stuff. However, this cabinet blows the competition plumb out of the water. A similar unit from the big brands would run at least three times more, and would still not be the same quality. Granted, I haven’t compared with the top-of-the-line professional brands, but it sure beats everything I have found in the department stores and home improvement stores.”  TN Gunsmith

Air Supremacy

Car Craft Tackles the Central Pneumatic Air Compressor

Air tools are convenient time-savers, and can be fun when performing tasks like whizzing off lug nuts with an impact wrench. But, when doing bodywork, it’s not just convenient to have an air compressor on hand, it’s essential.

In the November 2012 issue of Car Craft, John McGann shared how, while working on a past project, his team’s home air compressor couldn’t keep up the air demands of their spray gun.

“We could spray for about a minute before the air pressure began to drop, and when that happens, the spray pattern changes and becomes inconsistent, and we’d have to stop and wait for the compressor to charge back up. When spraying a solid color enamel, painting the car panel-by-panel is possible, but metallics and pearls need to cover the car all in one coat. If not, the pattern of the effects will vary from one panel to the other.”

John concluded that, to do the job right, get the biggest air compressor you can afford.

“Compressor horsepower ratings and tank volume are good selling points, but the real spec to be concerned with is the CFM rating. This rating refers to the volume of air the compressor can deliver at a given pressure, usually 90 psi.”

Although the compressor he was using had a 9 CFM rating, it wasn’t able to maintain enough air volume and pressure to power a sander or grinder for more than 30 seconds. Because it couldn’t keep up, the pressure dropped to around 60 psi and the motor continuously kept running. Consequently, moisture from the air got into the tank and water began to spray out of the air line.

“You don’t have to know a thing about painting cars to know that water in the paint will will ruin the paint job.”

After careful research, the team decided upon the Central Pneumatic 5 Horsepower, 60 Gallon, 165 PSI Two Stage Air Compressor (the manufacturer recently changed its name from U.S. General). With a 15.8 CFM rating at 90 psi, this reliable two-piston compressor’s got capacity to spare for a pro auto paint job, where the spray gun (the most demanding air tool) usually requires 12 CFM at 45 psi for proper performance.

The Car Craft team also installed a Central Pneumatic Industrial Air Filter Regulator, which manages air pressure and separates foreign matter and water, maintaining a steady 90 psi of dry, clean air, as well as Central Pneumatic 3′ Lead Air Hose, capable of 200 psi working pressure.

Now the latest of a long list of car enthusiast magazines, Car Craft affirms the value and performance of the products at Harbor Freight Tools.

 

Auto Enthusiast: Harbor Freight Transmission Jack

In their October 2012 issue, Auto Enthusiast magazine featured a transmission upgrade for a ’68 Camaro. The new tranny, a modified T56 Magnum– called a “Tranzilla”– was converted by Rockland Standard Gear. As AE reported:

“What they do is take the Magnum from Tremec, upgrade to carbon rings on gears one through four, and slap on a Viper tail shaft.”

This conversion allows the car to run up to 1,000 lbs-ft. and 1,200 horsepower.

In the process of switching out the transmissions, the techs at Auto Enthusiast noted how pleased they were with the Central Hydraulics 450 Lb. Capacity Low Lift Transmission Jack:

“We have to wrench on our stuff just like everyone else, on the ground. We found this helpful scissor transmission jack at Harbor Freight for $65. Trust us, it was the best $65 we ever spent. It made this job almost too easy.” (from slide #4 on the article)

It should be noted that the $65 price came with the use of a Harbor Freight 20% coupon– so make sure to clip one of those before you shop!

The 450 lb. transmission jack is perfect for removing trannies on small-to-mid vehicles. Riding on smooth, easily-maneuverable 3″ swivel casters, this tough jack was forged for rough, long-term use in the shop or garage. The saddle tilts for easy positioning during repair, making it the right tool for any professional auto garage or hobbyist.

And while you’re at it, pick up your copy of the October 2012 Auto Enthusiast and check out that great article, Bang, Shift, Zoom about the transmission switch.

Truckin’ Magazine: The Ultimate Work Truck– with Harbor Freight Tools

The Ultimate Work Truck Stocks Up on Harbor Freight Tools

If you thought “ultimate work truck,” how do you envision it might be outfitted? The staff at Truckin’ magazine recently took up that challenge, and in their October and November 2012 issues ran a 2-part series on creating the “Ultimate Ford F-150 Work Truck”– with a little help from Harbor Freight Tools!

Taking a 2012 F-150 SuperCab in Part 1, they installed a cool bed slide, a monster ladder rack (capable of holding 1,000 lbs) and a sweet commercial-grade diamond-plate toolbox.

In Part 2, they went on a shopping spree at Harbor Freight Tools and picked up a Predator 4000 Watt Portable Generator– to which they installed a shock/motion-activated alarm in the back of the truck, lest any covetous individuals think bad thoughts– a 17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder as well as a full stock of tools for the toolbox:

Then to fortify their heavily-equipped new rig, they installed a ladder lock, and secured the toolbox and everything else with a myriad of cables and locks, including the hitch. The end result: a “certifiable worksite on wheels.”

Take a peek at Truckin’ magazine’s drool-inducing articles– with lots of pics– and while you’re at it, check out the low prices and great reviews of the aforementioned tools on Harbor Freight’s website!