You Know the Drill (Or Do You?)

No matter if you’re building up your power tool collection for the first time or you’re an experienced contractor, a drill press is an essential tool for your garage or shop. But what makes a drill press more powerful and accurate than your standard handheld drill? Let’s take a look at the pros of drill presses that are ideal for anyone, whether you’re a pro or not.

Any woodworker needs the ability to drill precise, straight holes from time to time. Sure, you can put your trust in the more compact hand drill, but for serious projects you’ll need to take it a step further. From furniture construction to handling bigger projects like home repair, a drill press is the tool for the job. Because of the importance of accuracy and the likelihood of drilling hundreds of holes in situations like these, a drill press allows you to set precise depths and angles that match up every single time. Even if you’re drilling into metal or plastic, a drill press is perfect with the correct bit and drill speed in mind.

drill

 

Of course, a drill press is going to take up more space than a handheld drill so you’ll need to account for that as well. But if you have the room in your shop or garage, it’s a no-brainer.

When choosing a drill press, you’ll first need to decide between a floor drill press and a bench top drill press. A floor drill press will provide more power for those heavy-duty tasks while a bench top drill press will take up less space and can be easily stored away when not in use. For the DIYer or casual carpenter, the bench top drill press is usually the way to go. A 10” to 12” model will provide the most versatility, like the 10” 12 Speed Bench Drill Press (Item #: 60237).

image_21838

Drill presses are categorized by the maximum-diameter workpiece that can be centered under the bit. To get the throat depth of the machine, just divide that maximum-diameter in half. Throat depth refers to the distance between the bit to the main column of the drill press. This will indicate how far a hole can be placed from the edge of your workpiece. So, a 10” drill press will feature a throat depth of 5”.

Operating a drill press is easy enough that even a novice will have no trouble with it. With your drill press powered up and settled on a flat surface, just select the proper bit for the job and tighten it into place. You’ll then need to set the depth of your hole and you’re ready to go. Once you’re ready to drill into your workpiece, set the drill to the speed required for the job and lower the drill using the attached lever. With the depth and speed set, you’ll be able to achieve identical holes repeatedly in one piece or over several work pieces.

DP-350 USAGE 0012

Pretty simple! It is recommended that you clamp your workpiece to keep it from turning as you drill. This also allows you to keep your hand free of the drill bit while you’re working. Also, while drill presses are relatively safe to some other power tools, it’s still a good idea to wear eye and hearing protection during operation. Take a quick look at this video to see the Heavy Duty 16 Speed Drill Press (Item #: 43378) in action.

Another common addition to the drill press is a drill press table and fence, also available from Harbor Freight Tools. Modify your machine with the Drill Press Extension Table with Fence (Item #: 96395) for even more options!

44″ Tool Cabinet Mods: Backsplashes to Bowling Lanes

When it comes to Harbor Freight favorites, the U.S. General 44″13-Drawer Roller Cabinet #68784 is the undisputed champion of toolboxes. None of the other models fly out the door nearly as much as this one, and for several good reasons: It’s ample, it’s sturdy, it’s attractive and it’s affordable. And, as Harbor Freight shoppers are well aware, it’s frequently on sale so there are plenty of opportunities to save a chunk of change

44 product art

When new “44” owners post their acquisitions on Harbor Freight’s social channels, it’s a kick to see the boxes sitting proudly in their new homes– and an even bigger kick when they’ve been modded and integrated into work spaces. For example, here’s a “workbench” that spans the garage wall with six units:

long 44 workbench mod

Or this one with a magazine-model chrome n’ pegboard “backsplash.” It’s so pretty, I think I’d cover it to work on it. With this clever approach you double your tool storage on the walls, conveniently over the projects you’re working on.

44 with pegboard

I like this quad-box corner number, too. Lots of surface space with minimal movement; just turn to address the next phase of the project. Note how they’re fitted in a steel frame. Also note the beaucoup wall plugs.

corner 44 workbench 2

Speaking of retrofitting, check out this next example where the owner– to solve a sloping problem in the garage– framed his three 44″ tool cabinets with 80/20 extrusions. The legs were cut at different lengths to accommodate the floor and he put two feet between each box to minimize torque load on the legs with unevenly weighted cabs.

44 mod with 80-20

44 mode with 80-20 feet

You can find a full article dedicated to this build right here.

My favorite Harbor Freight cab workbench mod, though, has got to be this one where the guy joined two 44″ boxes and covered them with old repurposed bowling alley wood, made of maple and pine.

bowling lane mod front

The beautiful stain and clear coat finish lends such a touch of class to the whole workshop experience, it would make me want to go out and tinker every free moment I had (I’d just have to alternate my power tool days with my drinking days).

bowling lane mod angle

Visit The Garage Journal or search in Google Images and you’ll find a lot of other great mods employing the U.S. General 44″ 13-Drawer Rolling Tool Cabinet. Also, swing by your local Harbor Freight and get acquainted with the box, one-on-one, and see if it’s right for you.

The Drop-Dead, Gotta-Have Drill/Driver

i love my drill driver 2

There’s no way around it. If you’re planning to work on projects– be they builds, repairs or little home jobs like hanging a plant– you’re going to need to drill holes and drive in screws. Actually, a drill/driver should be the very first power tool you buy, ’cause you two will be having plenty of bonding time while hanging wall decor, assembling furniture, putting up curtain rods, building a deck, installing cabinets, etc.– not to mention, drive screws more quickly and powerfully than you could ever hope to by hand.

Not Just a Drill

driver and drill

What’s the difference between a drill and a drill/driver, you might ask? In a nutshell, a driver’s got a clutch that you can adjust for a desired torque. So, when you’re driving in a screw, the tool’s motor disengages when it reaches the set point and prevents the bit from stripping the screw’s head or driving it in too deep. A drill would just spin and spin until you released the trigger. A clutch’s settings can range from 1-to-10 or 1-to-20, with “1” disengaging with the least amount of resistance and the highest number disengaging with the most.

drill driver clutch

drill driver drill bit

Power

For the sake of brevity, I’m only going to talk about cordless drill drivers. If you’re going to be using the drill/driver a lot, you’ll want something that can go anywhere. Beyond the number of settings, features and chuck size, cordless drill/drivers are available in a variety of power options, such as 12-volt or 18-volt, and Ni-Cad or lithium batteries. The 12-volt drill driver is more compact, but the 18-volt has more power and run-time. Lithium-Ion batteries are lighter and smaller, but cost more than Ni-Cads. These trade-offs mostly come down to personal preference and anticipation of what the tool’s going to be used for.

drill driver art

As “best-bang-for-the-buck,” I like the Chicago Electric 18 Volt 1/2″ Cordless Drill/Driver #62427. It’s 18-volt, which is great for all-around duty, it has variable speeds, reverse and it sports 23 clutch settings. To read more about its features and price, click here.

Belt/Disc Sander Tips – The SOP Checklist For All Your Belt/Disc Sanding Projects

belt disk sander 1

Last week I talked about How To Turn Your Garage Into The Ultimate DIY Workshop and as part of the arsenal, I recommended a belt sander. This time, I’m going to add the stationary belt/disc sander, and if you do a lot of projects with wood and metal, you’ll immediately get why. Whether you’re making razor-sharp miters, shaping precise  contours on a model, making knives as a hobby, sharpening lawn mower blades, smoothing down welds or putting a silky smooth finish on a project, a belt/disc sander can be your best friend in the workshop.

This time, though, I’d like to talk about some guidelines

belt disk sander 2

Safety Tips

1. As with most all power tools, always wear safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles while operating the belt/disc sander.

2. Always be on guard when switching on this tool. A sanding disc or belt cuts quickly and aggressively. Failure to anticipate that may result in the loss of skin or digits.

3. Check yourself for loose clothing, jewelry, hair or other things dangling loosely from your person, and secure them  so they are NOT caught in the machine.

4. Sanding on wood or plastic will cause heat buildup due to the friction and may cause the product to burn.

5. A power-driven sander can do some serious damage to the skin. Avoid any contact with the belt and disc when powered up.

6. A filtered face mask is always recommended when working with these sanders.

7. Check the integrity of the sanding belt tracking as well as the integrity of the disc. Any ripped belts or discs should be replaced immediately.

8. Contrary to other the operation of other power tools, do NOT wear gloves while operating the sander, as they can get pulled in by the belt or disc.

9. Let the machine to get to full speed before feeding it material. Also, be aware that it takes time for the disc or belt to stop moving. You just can’t stop it on a dime.

operating belt disk sander

When Operating the Belt/Disc Sander

1. Always approach the belt/disc sander with safety on the brain!

2. Make sure the gap between the sander’s table and the spinning disc or belt is as small as possible.

3. Make sure the distance between your fingers and the spinning disc or belt is no closer than 3”.

4. Absolutely do not sand pieces that are too small to be safely supported.

5. Always hold the piece securely when sanding.

6. Use the backstop, fence, table or other supports as you’re sanding.

7. Always hold the piece on the downward rotation side of the disc when sanding.

8. Avoid putting your hands in awkward positions. A sudden slip could cause a hand to move into the spinning belt or disc.

9. Do not sand with the work piece unsupported. Support the work piece with the backstop or table.

10. Clear scrap pieces and other objects from the table, backstop and belt before turning on the sander.

11. Don’t push hard on the sanding media. Both the belt and disc perform best and safest when they’re allowed to remove material at the rate for which they were designed.

12. Never adjust the belt while the sander is on.

13.Turn the machine off and unplug it before installing or removing belts or discs, or when making adjustments.

14. Never leave the machine when it’s running or before it comes to a complete stop.

15. Shut the sander off, clean it off and clear the work area before leaving. If there are rugrats about, unplug it, too.

Central-Machinery Belt/Disc Sanders

belt disk sander art

Harbor Freight Tools offers an excellent 4″ x 36″ Belt/Disc Sander (#97181) for most (small-to-medium) home projects with a cast aluminum table tilts to 60°.

9 x 6 belt disc sander

Or, if you anticipate larger projects– or want the flexibility for them– we also offer the 9″ x 6″ Combination Belt and Disc Sander #61750 with a 45 ° tilt.

Both of these are great buys as well as great additions to your workshop.

HOW TO CUT A PERFECT CIRCLE WITH A TABLE SAW

cutting circle on table saw

Normally the last thing you’d think of when wanting to cut a circle out of wood, is a table saw. Inherently, table saws are made for straight cuts; for circle cuts you might pull out your jigsaw or router. However, cutting a perfect circle on a jigsaw takes a very steady, experienced hand and, unless you’re Dexter, you might not want to risk the casualties you’ll leave in your wake getting there. A router is a more precise solution, but it takes a while to set up a jig. A band saw is also difficult. On the other hand, if you’re OK with drilling a hole through the top of your table saw, you can keep cutting various-sized circles from here ’til Tuesday.

In the above video, host Dan Rojas from Green Power Science shows how you can easily cut a perfectly round table top from 2×4’s (you can use these same instructions with a solid piece of wood).

Before we begin, make sure you’re wearing eye protection and a face mask.

First, decide the radius of your circle (be it a wheel, table, discus of death, what have you) and mark that length from your saw blade on the table. Next, drill a hole through the saw’s table top using a 1/4″ carbide drill bit (make sure you’re drilling on the side opposite of where the motor is– yikes!– and that there are no other hindrances under there).

Lower the table saw’s blade all the way down. Then drill a hole through the center of the wood you want to cut, and push a 1/4” carriage bolt through it and through the hole on the saw’s table top. The wood should be able to turn easily around the bolt on the table.

Raise the blade 1/8” and turn on the saw. Begin cutting by rotating the wood using a push stick. Slowly raise the blade after each pass until your circle is cut. It should take about 12-14 turns.

You now have a perfect circle cut!

If you’ve been looking for a good excuse to get a table saw, I’d say this is it. It should be an easy sell for the better half, too, when you tell them how you can now make them that parlor table and tea table and luncheon table and lazy Susan fondue table they’ve been angling for.

HOW TO TURN YOUR GARAGE INTO THE ULTIMATE DIY WORKSHOP

diy workshop

When I was a kid, every year around late November, I’d get excited for the Sears “Wish List” catalog to come out. When it finally arrived, I’d nab it, duck in my room and study each page carefully, like a monk poring over parchment, circling each treasure I really, really wanted (the BB gun and mini bike were picked every year… I finally got the BB gun).

bb gun

That magic feeling slowly dissolved over the years, (which is just as well, ’cause Sears stopped putting out the “Wish List”) and now that I’m an adult, I tend to maintain a more pragmatic view of what I can and can’t have. For example, despite my inner child’s loudest protests, I just can’t justify spending $600 on the adult-sized Big Wheel.

high rider

But, there are still some realistic things to dream about, and for a lot of us big ol’ gray-haired kids, that would include a fully-functioning workshop in the garage. If just thinking about what it would take to get there makes you tired– if you think it’ll take too much time, work and money– let’s just take a few minutes and break it down. What would it take to at least start a nicely-equipped, operational workshop where you could do all the projects you’ve been chomping at the bit for?

Clean Out the Garage

Honestly, how much longer were you planning on tripping over bikes, ladders and luggage?

  • Have a Yard Sale

yard sale

What exactly is in all those stacked bins you’re clinging onto, anyway, Nazi gold? More like Happy Meal toys and paperbacks you will never, ever pull out, again. Sell it– sell it all!– with extreme prejudice. Making money’s a great excuse to get rid of junk, AND you’ll be giving to the charity of your choice, Maximus Garagus.

  • Thrift Stores

thrift store

Whatever survives the sale-a-thon, take to Goodwill. There may be certain members of your family (who shall remain unnamed) that say, “They’re worth something! Put them on eBay, put them on Craigslist!” Be strong, lad, and stick to your guns. Tell them you’re going to the market to fetch some milk and dump the stuff on the way. Like they’re going to miss it?

  • Alternative Storage

overhead storage

Depending on how much there’s left that you just can’t part with, you might want to consider that it’s time to migrate your storage to other climes. There’s a number of  sites and videos that show how to build your own DIY overhead garage storage, as well as ladder racks, bike racks and the like. So, if there’s space around the ceiling and walls to redistribute, there are very doable ways to make that happen. Other solutions include getting (or building) a backyard shed, finding reasonable offsite self-storage, or parking the stuff in your retired parents’ garage  should that prime real estate be available.

Your primary goal for a clear work space is safety. Clear paths prevent tripping and make it easier to zero in on stuff you’re looking for if it’s clearly “its place.”

The Workbench

workbench work station

This is where you’ll be spending most of your time in the workshop. Whether you build your workbench or buy it, you’ll want it to be solid and able to withstand all the pounding, wrestling, tightening, loosening, pressing, yanking and sheer weight you can throw at it throughout your projects. It also needs to be comfortable, functional and in a good spot in relation to your tools, supplies, power sources and whatever else you’re using your garage for. Feng shui, Tim Taylor-style. If it’s a question of space– namely, you don’t have it– you might also consider building a fold-down workbench.

Tool Storage

tool cabinet with tools

The principal investment for your workshop will be your tools. Now, OK, they’re tough, but they’re not impervious to the elements, misplacement or theft. You need to protect this investment with one or more high-quality tool cabinets that are nicely organized and, preferably, lockable. You also want them to have smooth rolling ball-bearing drawers and, also preferably, drawer mats that keep the tools n’ pieces from sliding around, nestled in a soft cushion.

tool cabinet combo

The cool thing with most of these tool cabinets is they usually come in modular pieces, so if you need more storage, a little or a lot, or a different type– bam!– you got it. The main components also usually come on heavy-duty wheels, so if you’ve got a tough project that would be difficult to migrate to the tool chest, the chest can go to it.

Integrate and Modify

tool cabinet workbench mod 1

If making room for both a workbench AND a tool storage area is a problem, then why can’t they be one and the same? Go to GarageJournal.com‘s forum or Google “harbor freight tool cabinet mod” and you’ll see dozens of examples where two or more tool cabinets + some wood + some creative framing… can turn two good ideas into one stroke of genius.

tool cabinet workbench mod 3

As with the modularity of different tool cabinets assembled together to form one big storage unit, here you can see how the formation of a workbench– however you like it– can come together to take an area, a corner, or a whole wall– with very little sacrifice in overall workshop space!

tool cabinet workbench mod 4

Obviously this is something you’ll want to work up to. To formulate an aspiration like this for down the road is a good thing. You’ll be prepared with space and a plan. And no one will be surprised when you bring home another 44″ 13-Drawer Glossy Red Roller Cabinet.

Power

powerstrip

Take a good look at the picture three photos up. See all of those electric outlets? Yeah, you’re saying, that’s pretty overkillowatt… (just giving you a moment to absorb that one) but the last thing you want, now that you’ve got the area looking so clean, is a bunch of schleppy extension cords strung across your garage floor. Make sure that wherever you set up your work area(s),  you’ve got enough power outlets to charge your batteries and juice your corded tools– with plugs to spare for entertainment, phone, heaters, lighting, etc. Simply put, there’s no such thing as having too many plugs– and it’s much safer than not having enough. If need be, get an electrician to help plan and install these outlets. You’ll be so glad you did down the road.

Lighting

flourescent lighting

When your house was built, garage lighting was a low priority, so if you’re turning the room into your personal workshop, you’ll need to upgrade the lights. It’d be great to get florescent fixtures up there (maybe you’ll have to employ that electrician after all), or at least track lighting. Plus, get a couple of table work lights (with dimmers) to operate on the delicate, miniscule stuff. Also, for projects away from the workbench, such as painting or plumbing, pick up a couple halogen shop lights, preferably with stands. They’re great substitutes for daylight.

Climatize

shop fan

As lighting in the garage was a low priority for your home’s builder, so was insulation, making the winters uncomfortably cold and summers stifingly hot. No one likes doing DIY in their winter coat or in a sauna, right? Have space heaters and/or floor AC units available. And just to keep the air circulating year ’round, invest in a pedestal shop fan. These things blow so well, you’ll save on power in the warmer months not using the AC.

Workshop Flooring

anti fatigue floor pads

Concrete floors are fine to work on, but over time they’ll accumulate oil and solvent, paint splatters, dust and grime, causing deterioration and track-able gunk. Most of the well-equipped workshops employ some kind of durable flooring, like glue-on, industrial-strength floor tile, peel n’ stick garage tile or epoxy paint-on coating. None of these solutions is particularly cheap, so in the meantime, may I suggest covering your work area with lightweight, easy-to-clean and very reasonable anti-fatigue foam matting or roll mats. They’ll take the brunt of your work area’s messes and save your knees, to boot.

Tools

diy workshop

Yeah, those. Be you an armchair DIY-er or professional contractor, your choice of tools is very personal and customized. That said, there are a handful of tools every workshop would be left wanting without:

It goes without saying that you’ll find gaping holes in this list when it comes to your needs and passions. I’m sure whatever it is, Harbor Freight has the tools for you.

Entertainment, Creature Comforts and the Rest

mini fridge

If you’re going to make your ultimate workshop ULTIMATE, you’ve got to add those little extras that totally make it yours. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Radio/stereo/ipod dock (’cause you’ve gotta have tunes!)
  • Mini-fridge
  • Flat-screen TV (and we’ve got just the mount!)
  • Laptop (for quick lookups, ordering, communicating and YouTube “how-to” vids)
  • Portable weight set (for reps after you’ve been stationary too long)
  • Decor (license plates, car calendars, old muscle car pistons)
  • A dog

 

How To Soundproof Your Garage or Workshop

Insulated Garage Wall

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

orange block soundproofing

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

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

insulated garage wall vertical

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

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

cleat drywall

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

Tools Needed:

table saw

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

Materials:

Polyurethane Tube Insulation

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

Other Tips To Deaden Sound In The Garage:

rubber washers

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

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

How To Build a Teardrop Trailer

teardrop trailer complete

In the March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft an article ran– along with detailed plans– for a new, cool oddity called the “Honeymoon House Trailer.”

It was built in the late 30’s by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California, a guy who literally saved his dimes for the little traveler so as to take his new bride on their wedding trip. The 8’x4’ floor plan had tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis, a Chevy front axle with 28” wheels and 1926 rear fenders.  The mini trailer slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for a rear kitchenette, complete with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosure outside the starboard entry served as the “dressing room.” The whole project set him back about $60 ($1,026 today). This may or may not have been the very first teardrop trailer, but it was certainly in the ballpark.

DIYers went crazy. They followed Rogers’ plans and soon added touches of their own. After World War II, subsequent models morphed even more, sporting Jeep wheels and exterior skins made from bomber wings. After the 50’s, though, their popularity waned as big RVs appeared. Then, once again, the teardrops returned with a vengeance. Today you can find a number of websites for plans (some free!), photo galleries, forums and clubs. Teardroppers believe that creating, renovating and modifying unique, personalized models are what give the little campers their timelessness—and the most rewarding way to own a teardrop!

vw teardrop

The coolest part of all this is, you don’t have to be a master builder to make your own drop-dead gorgeous teardrop trailer. If you’ve got just a basic knowledge of woodworking and some tools, you’re already ahead of the game.

First thing, how to go about it? On a recent Google hunt, I found this most EXCELLENT “HOW-TO” tutorial on building a teardrop trailer on Instructables.com with extremely detailed steps, TONS of pics (man, you gotta have pics!) and a comfortable daily planner. Building it on a Haul-Master 1720 lb-Capacity. 4’x8′ Super Duty Trailer

HF super duty trailer…the author created this beautiful camping capsule, complete with aluminum siding, wiring and lights, vent fan, sink-&-stove kitchen area, windows on the sides and front, and a roomy bed with a second kid-sized bunk, all for under two grand!

teardrop beds

Necessary Tools:

teardrop camping

While it’s not exactly a 2-weekend project, the finished product will leave you buzzed with such sublime satisfaction, and give you years of fun and memories that you just can’t buy.

Of course, most of the tools necessary to make this dream a reality can be found at Harbor Freight Tools. Make sure you check the ads for specials and coupons for even greater savings!

2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide

fathers day 2015

When you think of the best parts of your childhood, Dad is indelibly among them. The smell of his after shave and brush of his stubble. The excitement of his coming home and throwing you in the air. The weird songs he chose to sing along to when driving or working in the garage (“Love is a burning thing…“). Yup, Dad is a large part of our favorite memories, so of course we somehow want to convey that to him come Father’s Day. And since he still likes to tinker in his garage, work on his car and stay busy, here are ten excellent suggestions from Harbor Freight Tools on what to get him.

 

3 ton steel jack low profile

This best-selling 3-ton low-profile steel jack can fit in small spaces and lift big things– and it makes the job easier, ’cause it gets the vehicle up, fast and high. Embodied with strength and durability, the heavy-duty jack rolls and maneuvers easily on concrete with its wide steel wheels, and is long enough to get way under the vehicle. A winner for anyone looking for a “heavy” jack!

 

13 drawer tool cabinet

For the man who has everything… something to put it in! Finally, Dad can consolidate his multiple toolboxes into this one durable, spacious cabinet. Made of heavy-duty industrial-strength steel, this baby can hold over 2,500 lbs. of tools and roll around the garage to assist him with whatever job he’s got cooking. You’d spend hundreds more elsewhere to get the same lifelong service this favorite tool cabinet will provide.

 

12000 winch FB

If Dad’s the kind of guy who boldly goes where no man (in their right mind) has gone before, then our Badlands 12K electric winch is the ticket. Built to be tortured and come back for more, this winch will emancipate stuck vehicles, haul downed trees and load boats. Rain? Snow? Mud? Please. Throw in the Wireless Winch Remote #61474 and Dad can Snapchat his adventures while the winch does all the work!

 

90 amp flux wire welder 61849

If you’ve noticed that, from time to time, Dad’s been in need of a welder– or if he’s expressed interest to get into welding– here is the perfect unit to get him equipped, With our best-selling 90 amp flux core welder, you get the functionality of a MIG welder without the hassle of gas. Set-up and operation are way easy, and the performance is awesome! Dad will find out soon enough how invaluable this welder is, for small repairs and in the garage. Pick up one of our Auto-Darkening Helmets #61611 while you’re at it.

3 gallon pancake compressor 61615

While the old man’s still got plenty of hot air to spare, why not make life easier for him by having one of these handy, reliable units in the garage? This 3-gallon oilless air compressor is a mighty mite for inflation, stapling, nailing, sanding, buffing, spray painting and all kinds of small pneumatic projects around the house. It takes very little space and tucks out of the way until it’s needed again. A nice addition in any home, shop or garage.

 

ladder 67646

With the ability to set up in 23 different configurations, our multi-task ladder will perform for Dad like a boss, whatever his chore. Made of super-strong aircraft-grade aluminum,  this unit can transform into 4 kinds of step ladders, 6 kinds of stair ladders, 7 types of extension ladders, 2 kinds of scaffold trestles and 4 sizes of storage ladder. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’ll make him a sandwich, but don’t quote us. As the title suggests, our multi-task ladder stretches out to 17 ft. and can easily sustain 300 lbs. And, it sells for much less than the leading competitors! (*in stores only)

 

10-inch miter saw 61971

This 10″ sliding compound miter saw will easily make a home in your Dad’s shop. For it’s size and price, he will be pleasantly surprised at how big a cut it makes. Great for plywood, baseboards, trim, molding, flooring– and with the switch of a blade, can also cut masonry and metal. With its robust 15 amp motor this power saw delivers precision cross, bevel and miter cuts. A great deal and a handy addition for Dad.

 

reciprocating saw 62370

Here’s the tool Dad will grab whenever he announces, “Stand back, Junior, and prepare to be dazzled!” Our 6″ reciprocating saw is a top-rated workhorse that cuts through heavy lumber, nails, siding, branches and roots, exhaust pipe, etc., like butter. This is the go-to tool for remodeling kitchens, tearing down porches and removing a door or window. One of the features he’ll really like is how he can control direction, making it easy to get around tricky areas. The reciprocating saw could easily become his favorite tool in the garage.

 

motorcycle lift 1000 lb cropped

If Dad’s a “Wild Hog,” here’s the item on the type of every rider’s wish list. With our motorcycle lift, he can wrench and clean his bike with ease, saving his back and knees,  and making it a lot less effort to get up for another tool. With just a pump of the foot, he can lift his bike to a comfortable level, safe and secure on the stand. This motorcycle life is strong, rugged and could easily be employed for commercial use. Throw in a couple of our Magnetic Bowls, and the old man will be in hog heaven!

 

image_21577

Speaking of wrenching, may we suggest Harbor Freight’s most complete, end-all mechanic’s tool kit. At a fraction of the cost competitors’ similar sets, this professional mechanic’s tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most-used automotive and mechanic’s tools in both SAE and metric sizes.  It’s got everything organized and clearly labeled so he won’t waste time zeroing in on the right tool or right size. Dad will not only be excited about the performance of these tools, he’ll be happy to see how many different kinds are all together in one box. As one customer put it, “Hands down, the best tool set for the money!”

Whatever you think your dad might like, chances are good you’ll find it at Harbor Freight Tools— and because of the low prices there, you’ll be able to get something really nice and look like a champ (not that you’ll ever be the champ Dad is).

 

 

 

 

Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast

mountain man breakfast

Every year we go beach camping up and down the California coast with 10-12 other families, and every year our meal assignment has been the Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast. Like Coke and Mentos, and the midnight grunion runs, the Mountain Man Breakfast has become a demanded tradition of us and ours. It’s got all the favorite breakfast foods in one dish: sausage, eggs, cheese, hash browns. Not only is it the most delicious, wonderful mess you’ll ever shovel in your mug, it sends torturous wafts of incredible aroma throughout the campground, causing many a family to look down miserably at their breakfast bars and weep.

So, without further ado, here’s our recipe for the quintessential Dutch Oven Mountain Man breakfast (makes 6-12 servings):

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork sausage (mild, medium or hot, it’s up to you)
  • 1 pound bacon (honey cured is sometimes preferred)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (2-pound) bag of shredded hash browns
  • 12 extra large eggs, beaten
  • 1 16-oz. bag shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Add any other spices you might like: salt pepper, butt rub…

dutch oven

Directions

  1. You’ll want to get a campfire going about 90 minutes before you’re ready to eat. Let it burn until it’s accumulated a nice layer of coals.
  2. Add and stir the sausage, bacon, onion and garlic into a 12-Inch Cast Iron Dutch Oven with a lid, with the oven beside–but not directly in– the coals, so you have a nice medium-high heat. Cook and stir until the sausage and bacon are no longer raw and the onion is tender.
  3. Stir in the red and green bell peppers and hash browns until nicely blended. Keep stirring for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are hot and the peppers are now tender.
  4. Add the beaten eggs evenly over the top of the potatoes, allowing them to sink into the mix, then cover the Dutch oven.
  5. Carefully place  8-10 hot coals under the Dutch oven and 13-15 on top. Allow your concoction to bake around 35-40 minutes, until the eggs are firm.
  6. Carefully remove the lid, keeping the coals on, and sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the eggs. Cover and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. The cheese should be melted at this point.

Adjust this recipe according to your crowd, of course. There’s nothing wring with having leftovers, though, this chow makes for GREAT leftovers!!

Clean-Up

As any Dutch Oven enthusiast can tell you, there are some “Do NOTs” when is comes to cleaning a Dutch Oven:

  • Do NOT use dish soap or detergent (it can leave a soapy taste in the oven that may transfer to the food).
  • Do NOT use a metal scrapper or scouring pad (it can remove the “hard-earned” seasoning).
  • Do NOT put cold water on a hot Dutch Oven (it can cause the oven to crack).
  • Do NOT “burn out” your Dutch Oven over the fire. (It can warp or crack the oven).

If it’s not convenient to clean the Dutch oven right away, you can pour some hot water in it and let it soak. For BEST RESULTS, though, follow these steps:

  1. With a plastic scraper, scrape out the excess food.
  2. With a little hot water and a dish cloth, wipe up the residual gunk and finish cleaning it out. Then dump out the dirty water and rinse the pan with warm water.
  3. Dry the dutch oven thoroughly with a paper towel, or leave it in close enough proximity to the campfire to dry itself.
  4. When dry, take a clean paper towel and wipe a thin coat of oil all over the Dutch oven, careful to remove any excess so it doesn’t leave a rancid puddle.
  5. Finally, fold another clean paper towel and put it  under the lid and hanging slightly out the side  to absorb any excess oil and moisture and to allow some air into the oven.

Before you even go camping, though, the best thing you could do is season your 12-Inch Cast Iron Dutch Oven  to get long-lasting, top notch performance out of it. You can read about how to season this and your other cast iron pans HERE. Also, you can pick up a Dutch oven at Harbor Freight Tools for a great, low price!

Be sure to check out other recipes you can make in your Dutch oven, like stews, chili, desserts and so much other delicious grub. It may not be pretty sometimes, but it always eats good.