Harbor Freight Stamps Again!

The steel letter / number stamping sets that we sell at Harbor Freight Tools get a lot of mileage with crafters. A little while back I posted about plant markers made from spoons with the help of one of these sets. Today I found an equally crafty idea from Grey Luster Girl. She made plant tags out of soda cans, string, and a Harbor Freight Tool stamping set.

DIY Pop Can Herb Tags

check out these super crafty DIY pop can herb tags from grey luster girl!

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!

Happy Flag Day!

We Americans love celebrating our country: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day. They’re more than just a chance to throw a barbecue, they’re an opportunity to honor those who lived and died for this nation, and a time to celebrate the privileges we have. But what is Flag Day? How did it come about, and why should we observe it?

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the Stars & Stripes as the first American flag, which took place June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Not only was this a significant step in symbolizing the new, independent nation, it came about on the second anniversary of the birth of the Continental Army. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. In observance, Americans across the country fly the flag all week–, National Flag Week– as a petition that we always remember the roots of our nation’s history.

Instead of simply posting an American flag on a bracket above the garage, why not proudly fly it on a flag pole for all in the neighborhood to see? Harbor Freight carries both a 20 ft Telescoping Flag Pole Kit (95598)– able to carry two flags…

harbor freight flag pole kit

–and a 16 ft. Telescopic Flag Pole Kit (92901).

harbor freight 16 ft flag pole kit

Both made by One Stop Gardens, they assemble and mount easily into the ground, and are made of sturdy, rust-proof aluminum.

This year, President Obama has signed a proclamation– as all our presidents have since 1949 and beyond– encouraging Americans to fly our flag proudly. We always do.

Harbor Freight Tools Opens 4 Stores in One Day!

Harbor Freight Grand Opening

Today should be a national holiday with all the Harbor Freight Tools activity going on. We have 4 stores opening today – yes I said FOUR. These new locations can be found in Chicago (IL), Bronx (NY), Albuquerque (NM), and Green Brook (NJ). This makes the 10th store in Illinois, the 7th store in New York, the 3rd in New Mexico, and the 1th in New Jersey. If you are in the area for any of these stores come on by and and say “Hello”!

Harbor Freight Tools Store #400 – 6420 West Fullerton in the city of Chicago

Harbor Freight Tools Store #390 – 2441 Boston Road in the Bronx

Harbor Freight Tools Store #393 – 270 US Highway 22 in the city of Green Brook

Harbor Freight Tools Store #402 – 10131 Coors Blvd. NW in the city of Albuquerque

The Domesticated Tool Cart

I was puttering around the house last Saturday, when I heard my wife in the other room suddenly burst out, “That’s CUTE!” I assumed she found another pair of shoes or a purse on sale, or maybe one of those Cape Cod beach houses only a Kennedy could afford. But then she hurried in, gripping a magazine. “Isn’t that CUTE??!” she asked (rhetorically, I hoped), holding the mag open in my face. And there it was…

In their June 2012 issue, Better Homes & Gardens featured the U.S. General 350 lb. Locking Drawer Tool Cart as an addition for a home organization project:

“A tool cart is a good home for bulky items, plus you can use it as a service station or bar.”

Not to mention that it’s a good-looking and affordable alternative to organizers at those shi shi “home” stores. Huh… using a Harbor Freight tool cabinet for kitchen design, or a design idea for any room in the house. I get it.

And the wife got it.