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.

 

10 Customer Reviews Of Harbor Freight Products That Might Surprise You

HFT mosaic sale pic

As is always the case, this coming weekend’s Parking Lot Sale– our January Blowout– is garnering a lot of interest, particularly from those who are looking to add to their shop and garage for the coming year. Customers will find a number of products on sale that they’re familiar with (maybe some not so much) and have already formed opinions about. However, since there’s nothing like getting it from the horse’s mouth, here are ten customer reviews for products that will be among those on sale, some of which may persuade you in ways you didn’t expect (Note: prices on the individual product pages will reflect the PLS during its run. To see PLS prices now, click on the above image):

 

tool cart 4 door black

U.S. General 26-in. 4-Drawer 580 lb. Capacity Glossy Black Roller Cart

Bought this box two years ago and work out of it almost daily. I use the heck out of this thing and it rides in the back of our box truck work truck strapped in everywhere we go. It is loaded to the max and the wheels and drawers have never failed, and I cannot believe how much stuff I can fit in this box. With four longer carriage bolts you can bolt a 2×4 wood bumper across the back just under the lid and the height elevation lines up perfectly for the lower E-track strap system inside most commercial trucks and trailers. This is a great tool box, worth five times as much in my opinion. Cant go wrong with this.”  B. Hill – Cameron Park, CA

 

motorcycle lift

Pittsburgh Motorcycle 1000 lb. Capacity Motorcycle Lift

I have own this lift for a year and love it! I lift my Harley Davidson Street Glide and Soft Tail with with no problem. Also, a couple of my friend’s Ultra Classics. I’ve used it for maintenance, and repair on my bikes. This lift has saved me a lot of cash and allows me to do all my own bike services. Not to mention all that free beer my buddies bring over to use my lift! Read all the info that comes with it. It will tell you to put hyd. oil in the lift. I’ve left bikes on it for weeks at a time and it holds firmly. Yes it’s heavy, but it works great.”  USMCVet – AZ

 

90 amp flux wire welder

Chicago Electric Welding 90 Amp-AC, 120 Volt, Flux Cored Welder

I have a nice Hobart MIG, but it’s heavy and requires 240V. I bought this welder for welding in areas I don’t have 240V, but since I bought it, the Hobart has barely been touched. This welder is light, works great, and could not be more convenient. I’ve had it for a year or so, and it’s been dragged to races, and probably has ten or so hours of welding on it. It hasn’t missed a beat. If it died tomorrow, I’d happily go buy another one without complaint. I’ve done a fair amount with it… made a coffee table out of wrought iron, made a pit-cart, and swapped the entire body of a Toyota Pickup onto a Mercedes. It’s gotten some use, needless to say. It lays down nice welds for flux-core, and while it probably won’t last forever, the quality is surprisingly good. Gun feels a little flimsy and can get hot, but it’s never really bothered me. It’s one of my favorite HF purchases. Also, they include a full spool of wire, which impressed me.”  Ted – Spartanburg, SC

 

welding cabinet

Chicago Electric Welding Cabinet

I own and run a busy sculptural blacksmith shop and now have 3 of these carts. I have my MIG, Tig and Plasma cutter on each cart and I use them everyday. I love the working height of these carts and that they have well-built heavy drawers for storing tools and consumables. I am very hard on my equipment and tend to overload my carts with no problems. My work are is now cleaner and more organized.This cart is mostly assembled.You have to screw on wheels,casters, handle, tanks brackets and hose hooks. This took me about 15 minutes on the first cart and maybe 10 minutes on the other two.”  Bender Dave – Maine

 

tile brick saw 10 inch

Chicago Electric 10-in. 2.5 HP Tile/Brick Saw

I am a patio installation professional, but I was working on a multifaceted concrete paver project on my own home. I wanted a low-cost saw that I could use exclusively for this purpose without slowing my crews down by borrowing their tools. One thing that I learned: this saw specifically states in the product manual that it is to be used with a CONTINUOUS RIM diamond blade, not segmented. However, I had already purchased a segmented diamond blade and it worked fine to cut my pavers.

I performed approximately 100 linear ft. of paver cuts on the first project, then another 50 linear ft. on the second project. Initially, the saw started up fine. This saw has a 15 amp draw, so make sure you size your extension cord properly as to not blow a fuse or trip a breaker. I used a 12-gauge 25′ extension cord to be safe. The pump worked great. I took special care to properly clean the pump and saw surface after each use. Plenty of power, smooth swift cuts that look great upon completion. Sliding guide plate was properly adjusted to make straight cuts, and saw arm can be used in a fixed or downward motion. Did many angled cuts. Used it on 2 3/8″ pavers and 4″ block, no problem.

In my experience a pump needs to be properly cleaned and no allowed to freeze or dry up after each use. I stored my pump in a bucket of water at room temperature between used and had no issues. Also, keep your slurry water changed regularly as to avoid it binding up your pump.

Next project planned is a tile project in bathrooms/kitchen. Most reviews say it works great. I am also planning to go ahead and buy the stand, as it will be more convenient.

I have owned and used many different wet saws during my career and one thing is for sure: these saws take a beating with brick dust, vibration, loading/unloading, etc. It’s my opinion that it’s ridiculous to invest $1k in a saw that lasts just as long as this one. I recommend this product to the novice because it’s safe if procedures are followed, and to the beginning professional who has knowledge enough to appreciate a good value on site.”  XMark – Indianapolis, IN

 

12K winch

Badlands 12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake

I just used this with the HF hitch mount receiver. I pulled my 2500HD with 8-ft plow out from being buried in heavy snow to the frame on an incline (I was pulling UP hill!). I used a winch block to gain some extra pull, but the winch and mount had NO problems moving the truck. I attempted to pull the truck with other trucks and a loader with no luck. I couldn’t believe how easy it moved. I have used other name brand winches in the past, and yes they are faster and have a longer duty cycle (which I exceeded with the HF and had no signs of motor overheating) but they do come with a HEFTY price tag that I will no longer justify. If you don’t need it or use it everyday, you can’t afford NOT to buy this. Really, it would have cost me a few hundred for a tow. Overall its great product and well worth the money.”  Sierra – CT

 

 8750-7000 watt generator
Predator 8750 Peak/7000 Running Watts, 13 HP (420cc) Generator EPA III

I bought the generator because my uncle has this one,, and he swears by it..Sure enough this bad boy powers the house …I have the fridge ,, upright freezer,, central air,, big screen tv,,, electric water heater ,, ADT…and it runs it all.(.Dont get crazy ,, but run the essentials)..Just have an electrician wire it up 30amp style to your electric pannel , and your golden..I did load it a little heave once and it threw the breaker on the generator,, but I just pushed the button to reset and we were rolling again..Easy pull start too,, buy a battery , and it just starts with the push of a button..also buy the wheel kit,, , you will need it to move it around.”  Not-in-the-Dark, Crossville, TN

 

6.5 gas engine

 Predator 6.5 HP (212cc) OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine EPA

 I put this motor on my roto-tiller last year and wanted to get a full year of service before writing a review. ‘Awesome’ is the word that comes to mind. WHAT AN EASY INSTALL!!! Fell right into the mounting bolts. The motor is easy to start and control, the most dependable I have ever used. Fuel use is great and it is pretty quiet for a 6 HP motor. I am buying another just to have a spare for any other projects that come up. Thanks, Harbor Freight, for a good price on a great product!”  Garden Man – Swedesboro, NJ

 

IR Temperature Gun

Cen-Tech Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer With Laser Targeting

I bought mine years ago to monitor the oil temperature in my turkey fryer, and it worked great! Then I used it to monitor the temp of my parts while powder coating (350 – 450 degrees), and it works great for that too. On performance engines with individual exhaust runners, I use it to spot a rich or lean cylinder. If you have a Weber kettle BBQ grill, it works good to monitor the cooking temp.”  Curt – IL

 

3-in-1 jump starter

Cen-Tech 3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply

I bought this in the winter of 2005, and it has been a life saver every year. I don’t know how it has lasted as long as it has, but I plug it in for recharge any time I use it and just keep it in my truck the rest of the time. I have helped dozens of other drivers along the way as well as myself at each year among the 4 cars we own. This is going on 7 years, and I just used it again this morning, and it still charges to over 14 volts, and it will still crank a 350 over and over. I plugged a USB DC outlet into the jump starter to see if i could charge my phone with it and it worked.Get one!”  chefrick – CT

A Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

 

Zombie-Protection

Surviving an onslaught of zombies doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! In fact, you can keep all your limbs neatly intact with just a few select items from Harbor Freight Tools. From weapons to equipment, Harbor Freight is the one stop shop for all your survival needs, but you can’t carry everything when you’re on the run from the undead! So, this handy guide will run down the most essential tools you need to get to the military outpost/survivor camp/shopping mall stronghold alive.

dawn3

First things first, you need a weapon.  Getting anywhere will be dangerous at best and suicide at worst. If you want any chance at all, you’ll need to be equipped with a weapon that is lightweight, powerful and doesn’t require reloading. For this situation, the 20 oz. Solid Steel “Antishock” Pro Rip Hammer (Item #: 60517) will serve you best. The oil-resistant comfort grip minimizes muscle fatigue so you can handle a whole group of zombies with ease. And the solid steel rip claw is designed to withstand rigorous use, even if it’s smashing zombies in the noggin. Be careful here because most people might be tempted to go with the 8 oz. Stubby Claw Hammer (Item #: 95929) because of its portability. However, while the Pro Rip Hammer might be a bit heavier, it has the leverage you need to break through the skulls of the undead or to pry open boarded up windows in a hurry. In fact, it couldn’t hurt to pick up two hammers, either as an extra for a partner or one for each hand so you can deal out double the carnage.

Another great choice is the 18″ Machete with Serrated Blade (tem #: 62113). The razor sharp machete also features a nonslip comfort grip and can be easily accessible when stored in the included nylon sheath. This weapon is ideal for hacking through foliage as well as zombie necks. And speaking of hand to hand combat, you can’t go wrong with the 8″ Survival/Hunting Knife (Item #: 90714).  The shorter blade offers more control over the machete which can come in handy in case you need to remove clothing to tourniquet a wound while the built-in compass will keep you and your group on track. You’ll need to keep these blades sharp too so be sure to pick up a Combination Sharpening Stone (Item #: 7345) as well. Dull blades can easily become stuck in a skull or other decomposing body part, leaving you helpless and without a weapon.

zombie-killing-e1364654860978

Survival is all in the details. In a world where rules and laws no longer have any meaning, you need to be on constant alert for threats both alive and undead. The Ultra Ear Sound Amplifier (Item #:  66577) fits comfortably behind either ear and provides ultra sensitive hearing to prevent anyone (or anything) from sneaking up on your camp. This handy device features tone and volume adjustment so you can keep an ear out in almost any environment. Granted, the amplifier is battery operated, which brings up another good point…

Batteries. You can’t have too many. You never know what type of tool or equipment might require batteries and in a zombie apocalypse, batteries will basically be like currency. Luckily, Harbor Freight carries a wide variety. The 24 Piece AA Alkaline Batteries (Item #: 61271) are good general purpose batteries to have on hand but you’ll want to pick up at least a few packs of the 4 Piece AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (Item #: 61269) as well. They’re environmentally friendly (which is still important even in a zombified world) and these batteries can be recharged up to 800 times. Along with the 5 Watt Foldable Solar Panel Charger (Item #: 60449), all you need is direct sunlight to get those batteries back to full capacity. Harbor Freight offers the following size batteries to fit a variety of needs in both alkaline and rechargeable NiMH:

You also need to think about protection from the elements and debris as well as from the vicious undead so be sure to pick up some Cold Weather Work Gloves (Item #: 96606 and 96612). There’s a very good chance you’ll be outdoors at least until you find some shelter and the 40 gram fleece Thinsulate lining on these gloves provides 10 times the warmth of standard fleece. These gloves are perfect for reloading your shotgun quickly in windy, cold or wet conditions. Also grab a pack of 100 Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves (Item #: 68498) for any less pragmatic survivors you may come across. The Nitrile hand gloves offer three times more puncture resistance than latex and vinyl, providing extra protection against sharp metal objects in dilapidated city ruins as well as zombie bites. The last thing you need is an infected person in your group. That won’t end well, trust me.

zomb

The bottom line is you can never be too careful when it comes to prepping for the zombie apocalypse. Here are some miscellaneous items that could be life-saving without taking up much space in your pack:

With this handy list of essentials, you’ll have a fighting chance at escaping the zombie horde while protecting your group of survivors… if you’re lucky enough to find any. Whatever you do, don’t get caught unprepared. Get to your nearest Harbor Freight store now to stock up and save a bundle!

Low Cost Auto Restoration Tools

dazed chevelle Remember back, driving your parents’ station wagon or sensible Buick, dreaming of the cool wheels beyond your reach? Cherry Bomb and header and 4-barrel carb were part of our vernacular, just not part of our lives. It’s funny how, now as we get older, we can do all the cool stuff we wanted to do when we were punk teenagers. We were car crazy, man, and many’s the time I envied the guys in the neighborhood who were out on their front lawns, working on their Dodge Challengers or GTO “Goats”—

—not just because they HAD them (which would have been enough), but because they WORKED on them. They probably borrowed their dads’ tools, saved up working shit jobs to get parts and supplies, and spent Satyurdays doing whatever it took to keep their wheels “cherry.” Nowadays, though, when you hear (and feel) a carb-powered 426 Hemi thundering down the road, it’s a geezer you’re more likely to see behind the wheel than a punk. And chances are, that geezer is one of us. Classic car restoration is more popular than ever, and with the help of online parts stores, chat forums and YouTube videos, guys who thought they’d never get to rebuild their favorite classic rides are now living the dream– in their garages (and on their lawns), doing just that. If you’ve decided to restore a vehicle yourself, I salute you. Not only will you save thousands of dollars, you’ll be embarking on a long, challenging– even therapeutic– journey that will reap rewards for years to come. But before we start doing that victory lap, to “Eye of the Tiger,” let me suggest some basic tools you’ll want right out of the gate to make the dream a reality (unless, of course, you like repeatedly going back & forth to the store when you’re in the middle of doing something): The Must-Have Tool The Air Compressor will quickly become your best friend over the course of your restoration. It’s the first thing you’ll need for your arsenal. Between the Die GrinderPaint Sprayer and Impact Wrench, you’ll get a lot of use out of it and, believe me, you’ll thank yourself every time you facea big chore that you don’t have to do manually. It needs to have a decent enough CFM—at least 5-6 CFM per minute at 90 psi– so that the long bursts of sanding, buffing or cutting won’t wear too hard on the compressor. You could get the job done with a 29-Gallon Tank Unit, but if you can swing it, go for a 60-Gallon Compressor, with power to spare. By the way, the Die Grinder is great for polishing the inside of the head ports, cleaning up metal and using with a cut-off wheel to repair panels. Air power, man… it’s a bacon-saver.

Engine Work Compression Tester will help diagnose vital motor issues, such as worn piston rings, burnt valves and bad head gaskets.  This is a great first tool to use when you get your new project car home. You can even take it with you to test a car before you buy it! While it’s not vital for the project, you may want to consider picking up a “cherry-picker” Engine Hoist, especially if you’re planning to restore more than one vehicle. A good 2-Ton Shop Crane should be sufficient, and will more than pay for itself in the long run. Most likely, you should have the cylinders re-bored. A cylinder bore gauge is needed to check for taper, out-of-round and oversize on the cylinders if you are rebuilding the motor yourself. Any critical wear on the cylinder can be reached with this gauge. An Engine Cylinder Hone will de-glaze the cylinder walls and give them a nice, smooth finish. Next, you’ll want a Valve Spring Compressor to remove the valves for a rebuild. Also a cheap valve lapping tool, with grinding compound, helps reseat the valves. Piston Ring Pliers will help you remove and replace the rings on the pistons without breaking them. A Piston Ring Compressor is needed for the installation of the pistons. Also, a piston groove cleaner will remove the carbon crud from the piston grooves. A Dial Indicator is used to measure run-out on things like the flywheel, and endplay on the crankshaft. While there are various types of mounts, including magnetic base and screw mounts, I recommend the clamping mount because it’s faster and easier to work with. Next, a Stud Puller is necessary for removing stripped, rusted and otherwise stubborn head studs, as well as exhaust & intake manifold studs. Another tool you cannot live without is the Torque Wrench—two, actually. Get both a 1/2″ drive and 3/8″ drive for your tool cabinet. These are essential to torque all your bolts to factory specs. Have a complete Tap and Die Set on hand, preferably with both SAE & metric. You’ll find this invaluable for cleaning up old bolts and restoring rusted holes. A good Digital Micrometer is needed to precisely measure anything.

Body Work MIG Welder. You won’t get through a restoration job without it. Why a MIG welder, as opposed to another type? Well, for starters, if you’re new to this kind of project, the MIG is the easiest to learn. Also, they work with the most common types of metals, overhead welding is easier, and the MIG welder works fast. You’ll also want a Hammer & Dolly Set, otherwise known as a “Body & Fender Set.” These tools go a long way in repairing and straightening steel panels, and all-around custom fab work. This one, made by Pittsburgh, probably has the best price you’re going to find, and one look at the customer reviews should convince you there’s no need to keep looking. A Step Drill is essential to make quick, clean work out of drilling large diameter holes for auto-body jobs such as installing chrome trim, and for firewall holes. A Spot Weld Cutter works great in restoration projects and does just what its name implies. Also, a Plumber’s Torch is great for softening and shaping metal. As you work on your project, you’ll find a Bench Grinder and Drill Press are extremely helpful in the auto restoration process.  Plus, a Wire Wheel on the grinder is a must and makes cleaning up parts quick and simple.

Additional Work Make sure you include various Brake Tools, a Tubing Bender and brake flare tool. Finally, get a CreeperPaint StripperTransmission JackDent Repair Kit, and a Comprehensive Mechanics Tool Kit, and you’ll be equipped to tackle most everything involved in your car restoration, as well as many other future projects. Of course, you’ll inevitably be needing cleaners, sealants, lubricants and the odd part along the way, but consider yourself the proud owner of an equipped auto restoration garage.

gremlin Now, get out there and make that Gremlin Funny Car a reality!

Harbor Freight Celebrates International Girls Day

Recently, Teddy Robertson posted on her blog:

“Surprisingly, the Flint store is very female.   Of course, you see a lot of women in Home Depot and Lowes.  They are selecting paint colors or lighting, or bathroom fixtures.  At Harbor Freight women roam the drill bit aisles.  And what’s more, women—middle-aged women—are on the floor helping them with real tools.  Maybe years back they would have worked in the shop.  Today they work at Harbor Freight.”

Today, November 14, is International Girls Day, and it’s fitting that Harbor Freight Tools takes notice. The girls have been coming to HFT in growing numbers, sharing the checkout lines with the boys, carrying miter saws and cordless drills; on the Web, you now stumble across Girl Power blogs like Pink Toes & Power Tools and Ana White, sounding the alarm that women are taking over the home DIY projects.

That being said, I’d like to submit…
10 Tools Every DIY Girl Should Own
tape measure 30 ft
  1. Pittsburgh 30 Ft. X 1″ QuikFind Tape Measure #69081 – You can never have too many tape measures around the house, and you’ll like this guy because it displays the fractions. Not to say you’re working with a dumbed-down tool, something akin to a Jitterbug cell phone, but rather something that helps determine measurements faster and more efficiently. The tape extends a long way before it falls, and you’ll appreciate the rubber-wrapped case (not that you ever drop your tape measure, right?). Heavy-duty and helpful! $4.99plier set 7 piece
  2. Pittsburgh 7-Pc. Pliers Set #69355 – Pulling, pinching, stripping, bending. You can face all manner of tasks in the home, and these babies can be invaluable. And the quality-to-price ratio is NICE! 8.9932 pc screwdriver set
  3. 32-pc. Screwdriver Set #90764 – You’ll probably put the most mileage on this set around the house as it accommodates most all domestic jobs, including a bendable snake unit that’s awesome in hard-to-get-to areas! $7.99claw hammer
  4. Pittsburgh 16 Oz. Claw Hammer With Fiberglass Handle #47872 – I’m sure you have a hammer somewhere in the house. Hammers are like tape measures; it’s good to have a few around. Whatever you do, though, invest in a nice claw hammer. It’ll do a good job driving in nails, but it';; also help you remove the bent ones if you make a mistake… which I’m sure never happens. Hammers are the great go-to’s for hanging pictures, putting together modular furniture or small woodworking projects. This fiberglass one provides a comfortable grip and less shock than the wooden ones.  $3.99 socket set 64 pc
  5. Pittsburgh 64 Piece 1/4″, 3/8″ And 1/2″ Socket Set #67995 – For nuts and bolts, and screwing in lag bolts in your beams for heavy wall-hangings and earthquake straps, putting together the tyke’s bike, or working on the car. You might think this set’s a bit overkill, but you never know when you’re going to need the odd-sized piece– and socket sets provide torque strength a mere wrench can’t come close to. $31.99torpedo level
  6. Pittsburgh 9″ Magnetic Torpedo Level #96676 – Take away the guesswork and eyeball calisthenics when trying to hang pictures or put up shelving. You’ll learn fast what a godsend this simple tool really is.  $7.99 staple gun
  7. Fasten Pro Three-Way Tacker Staple Gun Kit #96755 – For everything from craft projects to reupholstering chairs, making wood box valances, putting up plastic sheeting, running cords along the wall, window screening, and other DIY projects. Another tool you’ll love love love!  $6.99 5-drawer tool cart
  8. U.S. General Tool Cart, Five Drawer, 700 Lb. Capacity #69397 – You’ll need a place to store all of these handy tools and, take my word, you’ll outgrow a toolbox almost immediately. A larger one on rollers– like this 5-drawer favorite– is great to move around your home, craft room, studio or garage. It gives you plenty of room to organize and quickly access the tool you need when you need it!  $199.99 3-8 cordless drill 68239 19.99
  9. Drill Master 3/8″ Cordless Drill/Driver With Keyless Chuck, 18 Volt #68239 – A rechargeable drill is essential to have around for your light-to-medium DIY projects around the house. They’re light to carry and great for making holes, or using as a power screwdriver to speed up the fastening process. Got a remodeling project in your future? Get it!  $19.99 orbital palm sander 5-in
  10. Chicago Electric 5″ Random Orbital Palm Sander #69857 – If you’re restoring furniture, an old boat or other object of love, invest in an orbital sander. Great for getting a smooth finish on large surfaces, and the palm sander version gives you great control. $24.99
There are other great, handy tools for your collection that you’ll eventually want: stud finder, brad nailer, jigsaw, compound miter saw, circular saw… and Harbor Freight Tools has them all at tremendously low prices! It’s a great way to get your projects off the ground without smashing too many piggy banks.
Of course, there’s more to life than always working. As Teddy Robertson closed in her post:

“Last year toward the end of summer Dennis came home with battery powered fly swatter he’d gotten on sale for $3.99 (reg. $7.99).  We sat on the porch in a warm twilight sipping margaritas and swinging at mosquitoes.  Can’t beat Harbor Freight.”

You go, girl.

4 Tips On How to Shop at Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight’s a favorite toy store for mechanics, carpenters, electricians, contractors, builders, DIYers, preppers, hobbyists, welding artisans, etc. Really, anyone who needs a tool for something, or just likes putzing around the workbench, will jump at any excuse to visit Harbor Freight. If you are one of the dwindling numbers who don’t know about Harbor Freight– stay away!! Seriously, it’s the Hotel California of man stores– you can check out anytime you like, but…

A lot of time (well, most of the time for some of us…), “need” has very little to do with shopping at HFT. Oh sure, you might go in for a great deal on a miter saw, but you”ll leave with gloves, small flashlights, an electric bug zapper, a pile of tarps, a wrench set, a headlamp, a machete and a winch, as well. It’s like the old “Weed n’ Feed” your grampa used to like to wander around. The discounts– not to mention the plethora of odds and ends all over the place– are just too irresistible. Best take your purchases home and sequestered in the garage when the wife is out doing her hair.

There is an art to shopping at Harbor Freight– nay, a strategy– that ensures you get the most satisfaction out of the experience. To illustrate, I’ve laid it out in four steps:

1. Stay on Top of the Deals:

Knowledge is power, and staying aware of what sales are out there is pure dynamite. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • The Website – On any given day, there are a slew of deals being offered on Harbor Freight’s Homepage. Also, the Tab Coupons page, the Super Coupons page, the Clearance page, and the Weekly Flyer.
  • Sign up for the mail-in flyer. This is oft times better than the online flyer because it’s portable and, laying around, it’s a reminder to get while the gettin’s good.
  • Get on the Harbor Freight email list for exclusive Preferred Customer offers– so quick and easy, you’ll swear you’re doing something immoral, illegal or fattening.

 

2. Clip the Coupon!

If you’re like me, many’s the time you realize you left the coupon on the kitchen counter, right as you pull into the store parking lot. I live 30 miles away from the nearest Harbor Freight, you think I want to do that trip again? I usually curse myself and pay the regular low price instead of the LOW, low price. Just this once, I’m going to recommend to everyone to get in touch with your feminine side and clip the damn thing– put it in your wallet. That goes double for the 20% coupons, just keep collecting them and toss them when they expire. After all, isn’t that the point? A Harbor Freight shopper without a coupon is like going dutch on a date. I mean, seriously?

3. Inside Track Club

Think you know all there is to know about the discounts, deals and sales at Harbor Freight Tools? Think again. For just $29.99 a year, you can be a member of the Inside Track Club. So what, you say? How about exclusive email offers nobody else gets? How about access to the famed Harbor Freight Parking Lot Sales one whole hour before anyone else is allowed on the lot? Or, deep discount mail-in offers your friends and neighbors will never see? Put it this way: You can take the wife out to Applebee’s this Friday, or use that money on the best deals Harbor Freight Tools will be offering all year round. Take your time…

 

4. Read the Reviews

Hopefully I’m preaching to the choir here. The best way to ensure an informed purchase is to read the reviews left by previous buyers. I value them more than the so-called experts who review for a living ’cause it’s “power by numbers.” If 95 out of 100 people love the product, chances are pretty good I will, too. If that means it’s getting a different model than previously intended, so be it. But, that’s me.

There’s a reason why guys love to shop at Harbor Freight, and if you’re getting ready to go for the first time, I envy you the joy and wonderment you’ll be experiencing. Follow these four tips and you’ll come away happy and fulfilled, and no one will call you a boy anymore.

Well, two out the three of those things, for sure.

Tools to Help Your Garden Grow

So you want to start a garden, eh? You’ve waited years for that moment where you have the space in your yard to do it. Or maybe you’ve just volunteered for a community garden but you haven’t a garden tool to your name? Well Harbor Freight Tools is here to help!

Gnomes to Help Your Garden Grow

The Harbor Freight Tools Garden Gnomes are here to help your garden grow (ok, not really, but you can buy them for only $7.99 and they make your garden super cute.)

Garden tools can be broken down into two basic categories: tools for working the soil / planting and tools for maintaining your plants.

Soil and Planting Tools:

Round Point ShovelRound-point shovel – this shovel is made for loosening and moving soil and digging planting holes

 

 

Garden ForkManure fork - the name is a bit daunting but historically speaking manure was fertilizer and something was needed to move this around. This tool is also useful for aerating your compost pile

 

 

Leaf RakeGarden rake – this is great fro breaking up smaller clumps of dirt and working soil amendment / fertilizer into the top of a garden bed

 

 

Garden Maintenance Tools:

Bypass PrunerBypass pruner - you need at least one good bypass pruner for routine plant maintenance such as deadheading roses, shaping shrubs, or cutting off that annoying branch growing in exactly the wrong spot. It’s nice to have to them in several sizes for larger or smaller jobs, but an 8-inch pruner should suffice most of the time

 

Garden SnipsSnips - these are necessary for reaching into tight spaces to snip off tiny twigs

 

 

LoppersLoppers - these are used for removing  branches

 

 

Rope Chain SawPruning saws - when branches are too big for loppers you’ll need a pruning saw to take them down

 

 

Garden SprayerGarden sprayer - the best way to disseminate plant food or pest control (organic of chemical)

 

 

Gardening GlovesGloves - of course! Don’t forget these. You’ll need to protect your hands from thorns and insects an other things that might be lurking in the soil

 

 

As you continue to work on your garden, you’ll get a feel for these tools and may find other nifty gadgets that will help you out. But for now you’ve got a good starter kit to get you going and all at the ridiculously low prices that you can only find at Harbor Freight Tools.

Harbor Freight Gets Prepper Props

In this country’s growing Survivalist Nation there’s a tribe known as the “Urbivalists”– or “urban survivalists”—preppers who live in towns and cities, and have adapted their survivalist skills to more metro environments. One such urbivalist is Dan, a “self-proclaimed tenderfoot and city kid” who runs a survival-themed blog called The Daily Prep. Recently, Dan posted a video of a shopping trip he made to Harbor Freight–

–which included a tour of some of his favorite products.  “It’s a man mall!” he proclaimed.

It’s no wonder HFT is popular with those who take survival preparation seriously. A renowned purveyor of hard-to-find and odd hardware– plus, a huge selection of essential tools and supplies at extremely low prices– it’s a no-brainer. (Brains? Zombies? Apocalypse? Harbor Freight!)

So, what were some of the products Dan thought fellow preppers should look into? The video does a good job showcasing generators, welders, tarps, car battery jump starters, jerry cans, rope, axes & hatchets, duct tape (“of every kind!”), magnesium fire starters, solar panel kits, knives, slingshots, safes, winches, flashlights and batteries– and Harbor Freight’s low prices make preparation a lot more doable.

FYI, for those looking to prep their home for the garden variety emergency, HFT also carries towing supplies, trailer hitches, alarms & security products, jack stands, engines, head lamps, cast iron frying pans, face masks, space saver vacuum bags, air compressors… you get the point. Harbor Freight is the “go-to store” for your doomsday prepper needs.

The Daily Prep isn’t alone when it comes to survivalist forums swapping favorite HFT products that they keep in their arsenals. Surf the ‘net and you’ll find tons of great ideas. And while you’re at it, why don’t you share yours with us?

 

Essential Tools for Your First Apartment

 

It’s June– and as with every June, a new herd of college grads is cut loose into the world. This means new apartments, new (or new old) furniture, new roomies, and a whole slew of new domestic responsibilities. Something every grad should consider getting is a decent tool set. Yes, you’ll probably have a landlord that takes care of that kind of stuff. But landlords are not your parents and they sure won’t always be around when you need them. Sometimes you’ll have to take care of things yourself –and wouldn’t it be great if you could? That’s where Harbor Freight Tools comes in.

Here’s a list of just the most essential tools you’ll be wanting:

Design – Decorating is the most likely thing you’ll be doing on your own. Here are some tools that’ll help with that:

Plumbing – this should really be left to the professionals, but sometimes things happen and help is nowhere to be found. When you have nowhere to turn these items can help prevent a disaster.

All Around Necessities – some tools are just plain useful to have around. You never know when you may need to screw a doorknob back on or put together a new piece of furniture.

Lastly, you’ll need a nice toolbox or tool bag to store the stuff in so you can find them when you need them!

Car Restoration Tools Every Garage Needs

It’s funny how, as you get older, you start doing all the cool stuff you wanted to do when you were a punk teenager. Back in the 70’s we were all car crazy, and many’s the time I envied the guys in the neighborhood who were out on their front lawns, working on their Dodge Challengers or GTO “Goats”—

—not just because they HAD them (which would have been enough), but because they could actually work on them. Somehow, they managed to have the tools and supplies it took to keep their wheels “cherry.” Nowadays, though, when you hear (and feel) a carb-powered 426 Hemi thundering down the road, it’s a geezer you’re more likely to see behind the wheel than a punk. And chances are that geezer is one of us.

Classic car restoration is more popular than ever, and with the help of online parts stores, chat forums and YouTube videos, guys who thought they’d never get to rebuild their favorite classic rides are now living in their garages (and on their lawns), doing just that.

If you’ve decided to restore a vehicle yourself, I salute you. Not only will you save thousands of dollars, you’ll be embarking on a long, challenging– even therapeutic– journey that will reap dividends for years to come. But before we start doing that victory lap to “We Are the Champions,” let me suggest some basic tools you’ll want right out of the gate to make the dream a reality (unless, of course, you like repeatedly going back & forth to the store when you’re in the middle of something):

The Must-Have Tool

The Air Compressor will quickly become your best friend over the course of your restoration. It’s the first thing you’ll need to get for your arsenal. Between the Die Grinder, Paint Sprayer and Impact Wrench, you’re going to get a lot of use out of it and, believe me, you’ll thank yourself every time you’ve got a big chore that you don’t have to do manually. It needs to have a decent enough CFM—at least 5-6 CFM per minute at 90 psi– so that the long bursts of sanding, buffing or cutting won’t wear too hard on the compressor. You could get the job done with a 29-Gallon Tank Unit, but if you can swing it, go for a 60-Gallon Compressor, with power to spare. By the way, the Die Grinder is great for polishing the inside of the head ports, cleaning up metal and using with a cut-off wheel to repair panels.

Engine Work

A Compression Tester will help diagnose vital motor issues, such as worn piston rings, burnt valves and bad head gaskets.  This is a great first tool to use when you get your new project car home. You can even take it with you to test a car before you buy it!

While it’s not vital for the project, you may want to consider picking up a “cherry-picker” Engine Hoist, especially if you’re planning to restore more than one vehicle. A good 2-Ton Shop Crane should be sufficient, and will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Most likely, you should have the cylinders re-bored. A cylinder bore gauge is needed to check for taper, out-of-round and oversize on the cylinders if you are rebuilding the motor yourself. Any critical wear on the cylinder can be reached with this gauge. An Engine Cylinder Hone will de-glaze the cylinder walls and give them a nice, smooth finish.

Next, you’ll want a valve spring compressor to remove the valves for a rebuild. Also a cheap valve lapping tool, with grinding compound, helps reseat the valves.

Piston Ring Pliers will help you remove and replace the rings on the pistons without breaking them. A Piston Ring Compressor is needed for the installation of the pistons. Also, a piston groove cleaner will remove the carbon crud from the piston grooves.

A Dial Indicator is used to measure run-out on things like the flywheel, and endplay on the crankshaft. While there are various types of mounts, including magnetic base and screw mounts, I recommend the clamping mount because it’s faster and easier to work with.

Next, a Stud Puller is a must for removing stripped, rusted and otherwise stubborn head studs, as well as exhaust & intake manifold studs.

Another tool you cannot live without is the Torque Wrench—two, actually. Get both a 1/2″ drive and 3/8″ drive for your tool cabinet. These are essential to torque all your bolts to factory specs.

Have a complete Tap and Die Set on hand, preferably with both SAE & metric. You’ll find this invaluable for cleaning up old bolts and restoring rusted holes.

A good Digital Micrometer is needed to precisely measure anything.

Body Work

MIG Welder. You won’t get through a restoration job without it. Why a MIG welder, as opposed to another type? Well, for starters, if you’re new to this kind of project, the MIG is the easiest to learn. Also, they work with the most common types of metals, overhead welding is easier, and the MIG welder works fast.

You’ll also want a Hammer & Dolly Set, otherwise known as a “Body & Fender Set.” These tools go a long way in repairing and straightening steel panels, and all-around custom fab work. This one, made by Pittsburgh, probably has the best price you’re going to find, and one look at the customer reviews should convince you there’s no need to keep looking.

A Step Drill is essential to make quick, clean work out of drilling large diameter holes for auto-body jobs such as installing chrome trim, and for firewall holes.

A Spot Weld Cutter works great in restoration projects and does just what its name implies. Also, a Plumber’s Torch is great for softening and shaping metal.

As you work on your project, you’ll find a Bench Grinder and Drill Press are extremely helpful in the auto restoration process.  Plus, a Wire Wheel on the grinder is a must and makes cleaning up parts quick and simple.

Additional Work

Make sure you include various Brake Tools, a Tubing Bender and brake flare tool.

Finally, get a Creeper, Paint Stripper, Transmission Jack, Dent Repair Kit, and a Comprehensive Mechanics Tool Kit, and you’ll be equipped to tackle most everything involved in your car restoration, as well as many other future projects. Of course, you’ll inevitably be needing cleaners, sealants, lubricants and the odd part along the way, but consider yourself the proud owner of an equipped auto restoration garage.

Now, get out there and make that Vega Funny Car a reality!