A Hex-ceptional Hex Key Set!

Fasteners come in different shapes and sizes and you never know what style of hex key you’ll need to get a project completed. Luckily, you can solve all of your hex key woes with one quick purchase from Harbor Freight Tools. The 3 Piece SAE/Metrix/Torx Folding Hex Key Set (Item #: 94905) contains three hex key wrench sets for the low price of just $6.49. That means you can now handle SAE, metric, and star fasteners in a variety of sizes with ease.

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Not only are these hex keys conveniently color coded for easy identification, they’re also comfortable to use thanks to rubberized handles. Plus, with a rust-resistant black oxide finish, they’re built to last so you can rely on these hex key wrenches for many projects to come. Whether it’s building furniture or handling certain automotive repairs, this hex key set is a fantastic addition to any handyman’s toolbox. Don’t be caught without the correct hex key!

“Used these a few times for your everyday job. Then I was replacing a tire rod and had to use this for some funky set up. I cranked this hard. I though the plastic would break for sure. Nothing to lose since there’s a lifetime guarantee, but it held up and still works fine.” – by Greg P from Boston, MA

“Another quality product from our friends at HF. Yes they are a little bulky, but the comfort of the grip is totally worth the tiny bit of extra space taken up in your tool box.” – by Dokey Man from Boulder Creek, CA

Compact and reliable, these hex key wrenches fit in your pocket just as easily as your tool box or tool belt. And they’ll likely fit just about any hex key fastener you come across. So get over to your local Harbor Freight and pick this set up today!

THE 12 MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS IN YOUR TOOLBOX

handy andy tool set

So, up until now you haven’t had much call to for bunch of tools (and you’re sticking to that story). But then things start happening. The bathroom faucet is dripping. The Mrs. decides it’s time to install new light fixtures. It’s the night before a birthday and you need to put a bike together. The cute divorcée next door needs a pair of big, strong hands. It’s time to be self-reliant. With just a handful of tools– and some elemental know-how that you can pick up from your dad or YouTube– believe it or not, you can personally handle most of the basic household projects that speed bump into your personal time. So, as you embark on this new journey of self-reliance, we’re here to share with you you the 12 simple-yet-powerful tools you need to have in your arsenal. No doubt, others will chime in with suggestions of their own because, well, that’s what tool guys do. The great thing about these tools is, they’re all affordable, so you can be all locked and loaded after one quick trip to Harbor freight. Here they are:

 

claw hammer

Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

The hammer could be your favorite go-to tool. From driving in nails (or yanking them out), to starting screws and aligning holes, to full-scale demolition detail, the 16-ounce claw hammer packs just the right punch you need for the job. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself pulling it out for projects you don’t even need it for. You know, just in case. Instead of the “old school” wooden handle, we recommend you go with a fiberglass one: they absorb impact a heckuva lot better and they don’t crack or splinter. Also, when you go buy one, try a few different hammers out and feel the heft and balance in your hand. Like a bat or a bowling ball, if it feels good, it makes all the difference. Just watch out for passing patrons when you start swinging it in the store.

 

pro screwdriver 8 pc set blog

Flathead & Phillips Screwdriver Set

Screwdriver Set

Contrary to popular belief, the slotted flathead screwdriver is not dead, not yet. Therefore, it’s inevitable that you’ll need both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers in your journeys. Start out with a basic set of both. Besides slotted screws, the flathead screwdriver is also excellent for lifting the lids off paint cans, scraping off old paint and epoxy, nudging things and emancipating personal items locked in briefcases with lost keys. The Phillips screwdriver has gained more popularity, though, because it’s designed to give a user more torque than is possible with a flathead screwdriver, so when possible, go with Phillips screws.

stripped screwAlso, the last thing you want to have in the middle of a project, is a screwdriver or a screw that starts stripping before you can loosen or tighten, so make sure the following things are true:

  • Make sure the pilot hole is approximately the same size as the inside diameter of the screw threads.
  • Make sure the screwdriver head fits the screw nicely.
  • Put some weight into it when you’re turning the screw, so that it holds its place and isn’t tempted to slip its grip.
  • Make sure the screwdriver is in line with the screw as you turn. Coming at it from an angle is a sure method of stripping.

This Pittsburgh Pro screwdriver set is an excellent starting point for your tool arsenal. As jobs come your way, you may need to acquire either a larger or smaller one, but these will tackle most household projects.

 

tape measure blog

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

Whether you’re building a workbench, seeing if a big screen TV will fit on a wall, verifying the diameter of a pipe, or measuring a room, a trusty 25′ retractable tape measure is a must. In fact, since they’re so inexpensive, we’d go as far as to say buy four: one for the toolbox, one for upstairs, one for downstairs, and one for the car. I mean, who likes fetching a tape measure on the other side of the house? It also goes without saying, throw a pencil in the box as well. If you’re grabbing the tape measure, you’ll probably be grabbing one of those, too.

 

crescent wrench set blog

Adjustable Wrench Set

Adjustable Wrench

Of all the tools in your arsenal, besides your hammer, this baby will probably see the most action. Because one adjustable wrench can handle different sized nuts and bolts, it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. So you could literally be walking around the place, tightening your kid’s trike wheels, the BBQ’s frame, the microwave cart and the Gatling gun tripod without ever going back to the toolbox. When using an adjustable wrench, adjust the jaws to fit precisely over the nut, rocking the wrench slightly as you tighten, to help secure a firm fit. Also, for added strength, make sure the nut is positioned as deep as it will go into the throat of the adjustable wrench. As with the aforementioned screwdriver set, the crescent wrench set shown could take on most of whatever your honey-do list can throw at it. There may an occasion to get a bigger one along the way, but those kind of jobs are rare and far between.

 

socket set blog

Socket Set

 Socket Set

If you’re dealing with a lot of nut-n-bolt action– usually on an engine or other machinery– then it’s time to put aside the crescent wrench and pull out the “big guns”– the socket set. Socket sets can exponentially speed up a project like an ordinary crescent wrench never could. They’re so convenient and effective, in fact, you’ll actually get giddy over the chance to pull it out. This is because of the ratchet that comes with it, a mechanism that eliminates the need to remove and refit the socket on every stroke. Also, because the tool will turn the bolt when swinging in one direction, but won’t pull it back when returning.  A good basic household socket set with about a dozen or so sockets, a ratchet and an extension will prove almost always sufficient for household jobs, such as driving in lag bolts, tightening bolts or other occasional repairs, builds or tasks. Like all guys, you will love your ratchet, and will probably look for excuses to buy several. Which brings us to the Husband’s Litmus Test: If she says, “But, you already have a ratchet,” then you know, she doesn’t understand you.

 

vice grips blog

Locking Pliers

Locking Pliers

Locking pliers are designed to provide maximum locking force and come in handy when you need an extra hand to work with. Then, when the job is done, a quick release disengages the tool for the next step. Extremely versatile, you can employ this multitasking tool as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet, or a clamp. The three shown here can take care of most stuff around the house and garage.

 

needle nose pliers blog

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

An valuable tool for electrical work, this little guy can be a lifesaver for projects that require you to cut, bend, re-position, grip or strip wire. They’re also used for crafts, jewelry making, computer repairs, bomb defusing and other functions . Because of their long and skinny shape, they’re particularly useful for getting into tight spots. You can also use them to pinch your bratty nephew.

 

cordless drill blog

Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill

Power tools are awesome, but most are unnecessary for the garden-variety shtuff around the house. That said, a cordless drill is a must-have component in your toolbox arsenal. It can be used for drilling holes into sheet rock and driving screws into a 2×4. So, if you’re “earthquake-proofing” furniture, installing towel bars or sawing holes in the back of your entertainment center, this is the go-to tool . When choosing a cordless drill, you want one with lots of power, which is measured by the amount of voltage in its battery. An 18v is a good size for home use, and make sure it’s got variable speeds for different jobs, and is reversible. The reversible feature will come in handy if you need to take some screws out when you realize the outhouse door needs to swing out, not in.

 

toolbox saw blog

Hand Saw

Hand Saw

Now, let’s turn to Old School. A great misconception is the idea that you need an electric saw to make cuts. All you really need is a simple hand saw in your toolkit. You don’t have to run an extension cord, you don’t have to recharge a battery, and you can catch yourself alot faster if the cut’s going awry.The image of a wooden-grip hand saw has long been the iconic symbol of the DIY craftsman. A good general-purpose hand saw is the go-to tool for trimming branches or cutting lumber for a DIY project. It’s also the one tool you want to make sure you’ve got a good pair of work gloves to wear while using.

 

magnetic torpedo level blog

Magnetic Torpedo level

Level

Whether you’re hanging pictures, putting up a curtain rod,  or affixing shelves to a wall, a straight line is absolutely crucial. You don’t want to put a bunch of nails in the wall, only to step back and see your family portraits are all askew. To get the job done right the first time, you need a level. There are some hoity-toity laser levels out there, but you can’t beat the sweet satisfaction of getting that bubble in the middle. Of course, if you enjoy getting the stinkeye from certain cohabitants,  go ahead and just keep doing it by eye. ‘Cause you’re so good at it. Seriously, get this tool, you’ll be happy you did. On the level.

 

utility knife blog

Utility Knife

Utility Knife

This tool might not put out the sexy like other tools, but we bet it’ll never gather dust at the bottom of your toolbox. You’ll find the utility knife to be a stupendous sidekick with every project: Stripping wire, cutting rope, rubber hose or plastic strapping, snipping the sealed tips off epoxy tubes, scraping paint… you get the point. When nothing else in the arsenal can help, the utility knife steps up to the plate.

 

toolbox blog

Toolbox

Toolbox

Well, duh. As time goes on, you’ll probably graduate to a tool cart, then a tool cabinet, and maybe even a wall of tool chests. In the meantime, the humble shlep-around toolbox is the perfect receptacle for carrying your basic tools to any household project. Keep it simple and solid, and it’ll never leave you, even when you need more storage.

 

No doubt, some of you think we overlooked some items you think are crucial to the ensemble. Duct tape. WD-40. The InSinkErator tool. Everyone’s needs could slightly deviate based on their home situations, but we’re standing by this list. So? Go thou, get thee tools and be useless no more.

 

A Versatile Tool Kit to Handle Nearly Any Job

There are a bunch of different kinds of Mechanic’s Tool Kits out there but not all are created equal.  Sure, you might find a measly 170 piece tool kit or maybe a laughable 206 piece tool kit, but what all of these are lacking are like… a hundred other tools!  Check out the Professional 301 Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit from Harbor Freight Tools if you’re tired of messing around with incomplete tool kits.  Obviously, these other, lesser tool kits will contain all of the obvious tools that you’ll need most often but what about those specialty tools that will get you out of a jam when you’re in the middle of an important job?  That’s where those other hundred pieces come in.  And at just $187.99 (or roughly $0.62 a tool), there will be less of your hard earned cash going out.

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This kit is pretty much like having an entire garage in a portable, easily storable case.  With a comprehensive collection of the most used automotive and mechanic’s tools, you’ll have adjustable wrenches, pliers, and sockets at your fingertips with both SAE and metric options included.  What more could you ask for??  How about ratchets, breaker bars, extensions, and universal joint adapters?  Maybe some hex keys and screwdrivers?  There are so many pieces in this jam-packed tool kit that it would probably be easier to list what it doesn’t have.  But then I’d have to make up fake mechanic’s tools because this kit has everything.

“I bought this tool set to be able to drive out to repair a vehicle or to have tools when going to car shows and long hauls. It has just about everything you would need for most jobs on any vehicle. I recommend this tool kit for anyone who also wants to start off as a mechanic or for someone who just needs a bigger set for the house.” – By Matt from Copperas Cove, Tx

“This set is awesome! I was very impressed with everything it included. You definitely get more than you would anywhere else. I would recommend this set as a gift for yourself or friends/family. My brother is going to fill his shorts when he sees this set for his birthday!” – By Everyone’s favorite fix-it-up guy* from Littleton, Co

(*We at Harbor Freight Tools cannot confirm the validity of this reviewer being everyone’s favorite fix-it-up guy)

“I purchased this set 2 years ago as a “cheap set for the house”. After moving my shop to my house, I decided to unpack it from its case and organize it in larger tool chests. When organizing it, I was amazed at what I actually bought!! This set is complete and high quality. If you’re looking for a professional set at a “cheap set for the house” price, this is the set for you. Although this set is complete, you might want to scroll around the hand tool section and check out the ratcheting wrenches. They’re an awesome compliment to this set.” – By Louis from Jessup, Pa

So while a 200 piece tool kit might sound impressive (especially at the price some places charge), it pales in comparison to the 301 Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit from Harbor Freight.  And best of all, it’s a great kit even if you’re not a mechanic.  Home repairs, workshop projects, hobbies and more can all be tackled with this tacklebox of a tool kit.  …Okay, that one wasn’t very good but you get the idea!  Check out this great kit and be ready for anything!

Fan Friday Review – 64 Piece Socket Set

Welcome to the inaugural Fan Friday entry!  Each week we’ll feature some of the hard work our customers and biggest fans have done with and about their Harbor Freight tools.  To kick things off, here’s a look at the 64 Piece Socket Set by Frank Oedeloam.  This great kit is already available for just $29.99 but as Frank mentions, don’t forget to pick up a 20% off coupon to save even more!

Performance Metrics

It’s National Metric Day… so, let’s measure up and celebrate by taking advantage of the great metric tool deals at Harbor Freight!

deep wall socket set - metric

 

Take, for example, the Pittsburgh 13-Pc. High Visibility 1/2″ Drive Metric Deep Wall Impact Socket Set (say THAT three time real fast!). There’s a reason why customers gave this high-quality socket set 5 STARS! The deep wall design allows you to reach fasteners on longer studs while the hard-core construction stands up to the demands of the most brutal impact drivers. Reach even fasteners on long studs– and, each piece is clearly marked to make size selection fast and easy! Priced at only $23.99, this will be your go-to socket set for years to come! Here’s what customers have to say:

“I bought this set and use it almost every weekend on my personal cars, family’s, and friend’s cars. I LOVE the fact that it comes with a 30mm and 32mm socket that I can use as a Axle nut socket also. For the price that I bought it for equals the price of a single axle nut socket. Can find a better set for the price anywhere else!”  Peter – Columbia Heights, MN

“I bought these mainly because the sale price was so attractive; we have 1/2 deep impacts in the shop, but I figured I’d save a trip to the other toolbox when I need the 17mm for VW or Audi lug bolts. The entire set of 13 sockets cost me significantly less than just one socket from the tool truck. I wound up beating the snot out of these doing front-end work on a dump truck, and they withstood much harder use than I had ever intended to subject them to. These sockets are very sturdy, but the fit on the fastener is very good as well. These are a real bargain, I recommend them to both amateurs and professionals.”  Bill – Scranton, PA

 

ratcheting combo wrench set - metric

And speaking of 5 STARS, feast your eyes on the Pittsburgh 7-Pc. Metric Ratchet Combo Wrench Set. Made of the same durable chrome vanadium steel as the deep wall socket set, the ratchet ends give a generous 5-degree turning radius for working in tight areas. The fixed side features a 15° offset head for added torque when turning. Comes with a custom storage case to keep wrenches organized and quickly accessible. Priced at only $23.99.

“I purchased this set because I didn’t feel like spending a fortune on a name brand set that was smaller than this. Ihave to say… WOW!! Worth every penny!! Not one skip and gets into all the tight spaces! I do a lot of work on automobiles of all sorts, and that implies a lot of torque and on these high torque applications, no skipping or binding whatsoever!!”  JeepGuy – Long Island, NY

“My wife got me a Channellock set in SAE sizes, but we have a Toyota and a Kia so I needed metric. The SAE set gets used for mowers, etc., and this set is for the cars. Guess what? IT IS IDENTICAL to the Channellock set in EVERY WAY except for the brand name on it. The fit and finish is very high quality. I used these to replace the rear struts and springs on my Toyota, though it was widely advised that I wouldn’t be able to remove certain lower mounting bolts without an impact wrench. I used an HF breaker bar (the 1/2″ drive one) with an HF 17mm impact socket, and using the 17mm open-end from this set holding onto the other end of the bolt to keep it from turning. Came off with no problem , though it was the original strut and had been exposed to Michigan road salt for 19 years!”  Joe Louis – West Michigan

 

21 pc SAE metric socket set

Finally, there’s the 5-STAR Pittsburgh 21 Piece High Visibility 3/8 In. Drive SAE/Metric Socket Set. OK, so we fudged a bit, throwing in a partially SAE-populated product, but hey… with this set, there’ll be no whining! These wrenches are constructed of tough chrome vanadium for strength and durability. They’re also triple-chrome-plated and etched with high visibility markings for quick grabs. The set comes complete with a quick-release ratchet with reversible 72-tooth gearing and a cushion grip. All for just $19.99! And what are the customers saying?

“I rarely used 1/4 drive sockets, picked these up just to round out my tool collection. Now I’m reaching for this set every time I have a bolt under 14mm! The ratchet is comfy and good quality, and a big plus is having all the sockets in order on the plastic holder rather than scattered in the bottom of a tool box. One hint, I used a silver paint-pen to write the socket size on the holder. Easier to find it fast. Really like these, especially for the price!”  Joel – SW Ohio

“I bought this set mainly for small things here and there at work. I work in a collision shop as a painter and occasinally I need to loosen bolts, nuts etc. This set is great. Beats paying hundreds for those name brand sets off the tool trucks. I am thinking of buying another set to keep at home. They have a pretty solid, sturdy feel.”  Burbs – Shelby Twp., MI

Don’t forget to snag your Harbor Freight Tools 20% Off Coupon before you head out the door!

And be sure to ask the clerk where they keep the metric screwdriver sets and a metric crescent wrenches. They love that.

Firebird Restoration Tools: Harbor Freight vs. the Competition – Pt. 1

While I’ve been posting the progress of the ’67 Firebird’s restoration these past weeks, it occurred to me some of you might be thinking, “Well, so what? That’s what tools are for.” This is true. But the proposition that Harbor Freight’s  tools are rugged, reliable and capable is beside the point. The purpose of this exercise (besides showing you a sexy car) is to demonstrate how someone can execute something as meaningful and professional as restore a classic car while spending a lot less money– or getting a lot more value for the money– for the tools to do it. That’s a pretty big deal.

So to better illustrate the point, I’ll compare the prices of the tools used on the project with similar (if not exact) products the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Craftsman, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren’t always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. I don’t think this compromises the test, however, because we’re only talking about differences in size and shape, not function.

In the first segment, we’ll be looking at the Harbor Freight tools used in the vehicle’s disassembly video:

 

This solidly-built, steel tool cart is the perfect rolling workstation for wrenchers, able to hold 700 lbs of tools and easily roll around the garage.  Standing at over 41″ high and 37″ wide, there’s tons of space, and with 5 drawers, a bottom shelf, a covered tray on top, side slots and more, it will keep you fully armed at your spot without having to go “fetch” a tool.

  • Craftsman – 3-Drawer GRIPLATCH Utility Cart – $349.99
  • Northern Tool Excel – 5-Drawer Rolling Metal Tool Cart  – $399.99
  • Home Depot – Excel 600 lb. 4-Drawer Steel Tool Cart – $369.99
  • Lowe’s – Task Force 400 lb. 6-Drawer Steel Tool Chest – $189.00
  • Grainger – Westward 250 lb. 4-Drawer Utility Cart – $572.50

The huge, industrial-quality tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most used automotive and mechanic’s tools, including adjustable wrenches, ratchets, breaker bars, pliers, sockets in SAE and metric, extensions and universal joint adapters. This treasure trove of tools is built to last!

  • Craftsman – 309-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $249.99
  • Northern Tool – 305-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $299.99
  • Home Depot – Husky 264-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $198.00
  • Lowe’s – Kobalt 227-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $199.98
  • Grainger – Craftsman Industrial 273-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $985.00

 

This little 2-1/2 lb. air ratchet delivers up to 50 lbs. of torque! The slim design allows mechanics get to fasteners in cramped and hard-to-reach spots that standard impact wrenches can’t hope to go! Features easy reversible action.
  • Craftsman – 3/8″ Ratchet Wrench – $34.99
  • Northern Tool – Northern Industrial 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $29.99
  • Home Depot – Campbell Hausfeld 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $32.68
  • Lowe’s – Campbell Hausfeld 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $48.38
  • Grainger – Westward 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $79.00

 

Central Pneumatic 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet
This thing fits everywhere! Only 5″ long, the compact 1/4″‘ air ratchet wrench is ideal for tight work spaces like under dashboards or in engine bays. Designed to work with all 1/4” drive sockets, this rugged air tool has a die-cast aluminum body and a black oxide-coated head that resists corrosion. It’s got just the right amount of torque for tightening small bolts.
  • Craftsman – 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet – $49.99
  • Northern Tool – AirCat Mini 1/4″ Air Ratchet – $99.99
  • Home Depot – Black Bull 1/4″ Air Ratchet – $21.97
  • Lowe’s – N/A
  • Grainger – Westward 1/4″ Air Ratchet – $69.75

So as you can see, when you buy at Harbor Freight Tools, you really are getting the best of both worlds– great tools at ridiculously low prices!

Join us next week when we’ll review the tools employed to remove the engine!

Carrying

Last Fathers Day,  I bought myself an old ’72 GMC long bed pickup. A friend of mine who runs an auto parts store told me one of his regular customers– the original owner– had to sell it because he couldn’t drive anymore. The truck was in great shape; perfect body, clean interior, bulletproof 402 cu. in. V8 with a Turbo 400 transmission. It’s my “man cave on wheels.” I put in a new stereo, gutted a dead CB radio that came with it and now hide a small .38 in it when driving cross-country. I also added a cooler with a cup holder lid as kind of a “center console.” However, the vehiclewas still missing the one thing every pre-computer-age car has got to have– a tool kit. Nothing super fancy, just something reliable and sturdy enough to deal with the off-chance mechanical mishap. So, the next time Harbor Freight had a coupon sale, I picked one up:

The Pittsburgh 105 Piece Tool Kit With 4-Drawer Chest goes above-and-beyond any other basic tool kit, for the home, auto and for the price. A dramatically thorough collection of sockets, bits, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, hex keys, utility knife and more, the only things I had to add to complete the package were duct tape, galvanized wire and fuses. It also comes with a sturdy 4-drawer case, which is extremely convenient… for anyone else. I threw all my tools in a canvas bag which I tucked under the bench seat.

A lesser-known bonus: Harbor Freight Tools guarantees their hand tools for life! So if you’re the kinda guy that needs reassurance, there ya go.

 

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!

Tools for a Good Marriage

Ah, young love. My 21-year-old nephew just got married last weekend to his girlfriend of 3 years. It was a nice affair: the cake was delicious, the decor tasteful, the gift tables stacked high with juicers, crock pots, cookware, towels, bedding, crepe makers, dishes, salad tongs, fondue pots– the usual. My opinion, the kids are never going to use a lot of that stuff. It’s a pity, they don’t know what they really need. And let’s face it, the bride put the registry together. No offense, she’s not the one who’ll be going to the hardware store a dozen time later on to get tools for putting the home together.

May I make a suggestion? The next wedding you attend for a young couple (or even a not-so-young couple), go rogue on the registry and give them a tool kit. For less than $100 with a coupon, you can put together a complete set that they’ll use  all the time, maybe even for the rest of their lives. At least longer than the kettle corn maker they got.

Here are some basic tools to throw in the kit. It’ll make their lives a whole lot easier:

 

 

  1. Hammer – Nothing fancy, just a simple, sturdy claw hammer. This one from Pittsburgh has a shock-absorbent fiberglass handle that won’t splinter or split.
  2. Screwdriver Set – As you know, if you don’t have the correct-sized screwdriver, it can be a bad experience. It keeps slipping out of the slot, stripping the slot, etc. That’s why getting a set of comprehensive slot and Phillips screwdrivers is the way to go– and this 32-piece screwdriver set is perfect for whatever household job comes up.
  3. Wrench Set – Just as a screwdriver, you need just the right fitting wrench. That means you’ll want both SAE and metric on hand. This low-price 22-piece combination wrench set accommodates the most widely-used sizes and comes with a handy rack for quick access.
  4. Tape Measure – When putting up pictures and wall decor, measuring for furniture space or executing most any home improvement, you’ve got to have a tape measure on hand. Like this 30-ft. one from Harbor Freight, they’re cheap but they’re invaluable!
  5. Level – Got to make sure the family portraits are up for when the relatives come over– but you can’t do it right without a level. At $6.00, the 9″ Magnetic Torpedo Level will save you a lot of headache for vertical, horizontal and 45-degree leveling.
  6. Socket Set – A wrench set is great to have, but for some jobs a socket set is so much sweeter. Pittsburgh makes a good, long-lasting 64-piece set at a low price, which includes both SAE and metric, with 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive. It comes with a rugged custom carrying case for storage and transport.
  7. Screws, Nuts & Bolts – Hey, it’s at least one less trip to the store, right? Probably a number of trips– a 1,001-piece set with wood screws, sheet metal screws, nuts, bolts, washers, lock washers and cotter pins. Definitely worth the 12 bucks.
  8. Tool Box -You’ve got to get one– the ready-made gift box that keeps on giving. The 20″ Stainless Steel Toolbox from Storehouse is a Harbor Freight best buy, with a dent-proof, high-impact base, heavy-duty tray and strong rubber-grip handle. With a full-length piano hinge, two sturdy latches and a brushed steel finish, this toolbox is built to last.
  9. Cordless Drill – OK, so this isn’t going into the toolbox, but it certainly completes the set. If there’s any power tool the new couple’s going to need, it’s a cordless drill, and the low-cost Drill Master 18 Volt Cordless 3/8″ Drill With Keyless Chuck is a rugged, reliable addition to the arsenal.

So, when the top tier of the cake disappears in the freezer under some ground chuck, all the returns and re-gifting’s been done and those crazy kids go one with their lives, they’ll remember you every time there’s an outlet plate to replace or a bicycle to build, an armoire to secure to a wall or a tiki mask to hang in the bathroom… the wedding guest who had the good sense to ignore their registry.