After all the hours, all the painstaking labor, all the fine details-- not to mention the social hari kari-- it does the heart good to see the fruits of the labor coming together. So, like Beethoven with an impact wrench, one man has labored to produce a pretty bitchin' set of wheels.
And we've finally come to the eighth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project: Putting the car back together.
Recapping -- HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he's approaching the project from scratch.
- In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff's challenge.
- In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic's Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8" Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.
- In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2" Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart.
- Part 4 took us to the exciting first step of transformation-- sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6" Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander. He then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.
- Part 5 involves the pressure-washing, sandblasting and undercoating of the Firebird. Using a Pacific Hydrostar 4 HP 2000 PSI Gas Pressure Washer and a generous amount of heavy-duty degreaser, he heavily coated the underbody to break down over 45 years of grease, oil and dirt, and then washed it off with water using a high-pressure nozzle. Once the underbody was scrubbed clean, he sandblasted the rust spots with a Central Pneumatic Portable Abrasive Blaster Kit, using highly efficient Medium Grade Armex Soda Blast Media and, as a finishing touch, covered the surface with Rustoleum Professional Undercoating Spray.
- In Part 6, we come to the meatiest phase of the Firebird restoration to date-- the engine rebuild. The Pittsburgh Professional 1/2" Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench is pretty much the star of the show, a multipurpose tool utilized throughout the footage. That said, check out the great details and tips employed in this installment. Chances are you'll see a thing or two you'd like to adopt for your next project.
- Part 7 shows Jeff advancing to the painting stage. The primer already on, he picks up the Central Pneumatic 2-pc. Professional Automotive HVLP Spray Gun Kit, along with a 33 Oz. Gravity Feed Paint Cup to spray two coats of red paint and three coats of clear. After which, he color-sanded the body with dish soap & water, 1200 Grit Sandpaper, using a 4-7/8" Soft Rubber Sanding Block to knock off the "orange peel." Following this, Jeff buffed, using a Chicago Electric 7" Electronic Polisher/Sander With Digital Display, and then with the waxing, delivered the classic car to an incredible mirror gloss finish!
We now come to the muscle car's reassembly. For Part 8 we treat you to a slide show of all the parts coming together, until we have a beautifully restored '67 Pontiac Firebird, better than it was when it came off the assembly line.
Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need-- and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!
Next time-- the final result, inside and out!
Stripping & Priming Tools
Yesterday morning the fully-restored '67 Firebird pulled into our office parking lot, transported by trailer, and let me tell you, it was a sight to see. Ever watch the Mecum Car Auctions on the Velocity Channel? This car would have commanded a pretty penny on that show. Before it was whisked away to who-knows-where, a handful of us slowly circumnavigated around it, transfixed, muttering "wows" and "oh yeahs" under our breaths. The original interior was pristine-- black bucket seats and carpet looking like it just rolled off the assembly line. Under the hood, the same. In fact, the guy who did the restoration, Jeff Tann, said the 'bird was better now than when it was new. In a future installment, I'll provide a thorough pictorial of the final results. For now, let's talk tools:
Earlier this month I started a series illustrating how much could be saved buying products from Harbor Freight Tools-- as opposed to the competition-- for the '67 Firebird Restoration project. Breaking it down phase by phase, we're comparing the prices of tools used in the project with similar (if not exact) products that the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Sears, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren't always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. As I've said before, I don't think this compromises the test because we're only talking about differences in size and shape, not function.
In the first segment, we looked at Harbor Freight's tools used in the vehicle's disassembly video. In the second we explored price differences on the engine removal phase. In the third installment, we'll be looking at the tools employed in the stripping and priming process:
This sander’s orbital action allows swirl-free finishes to give your auto body, metalworking or woodworking project a professional appearance! The orbital sander is constructed with sturdy, lightweight aluminum housing and features a cushion-grip vinyl handle to provide comfortable yet firm control. A great orbital sander for edging, feathering and finishing projects for both pros and hobbyists!
- Sears - Ingersoll Rand (IRT311A) Dual Action Air Sander - $69.76
- Northern Tool - Northern Industrial 6" Dual Action Air Sander - $34.99
- Home Depot - Husky 6" Pneumatic Dual Action Sander - $59.98
- Lowe's - Kobalt 6" Dual Action Sander - $59.84
- Grainger - Speedaire 3CRJ3 - $73.80
This vibration-free air sander-- at 9,400 orbits-per-minute-- is perfect for auto body work or finish work on furniture (according to one customer, it's also great on the aluminum wing surfaces of WWII aircraft). The orbital air sander features a compact palm grip that enables you to easily reach tight spots, a paddle trigger and a built-in regulator.
- Sears - Mechanics Tools M569DB - $49.42
- Northern Tool - Northern Industrial Orbital Air Sander - $39.99
- Home Depot - EMAX Jitterbug Sander - $59.97
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Ingersoll Rand 312A Orbital Air Sander - $179
The high volume and low pressure on this spray gun reduces over-spray so that more paint goes on your mural, car, motorcycle, fence and whatever else you wish to paint! Restoring furniture? The Central Pneumatic HVLP spray gun sprays wood stain, clear-coat, etc., perfectly. The gravity feed and regulator allows paint to spray evenly on your project. This HVLP spray gun is a great tool for spraying lacquer on the deck, or priming or undercoating your car!
- Sears - Tooluxe HVLP Spray Gun - $39.99
- Northern Tool - Ingersoll Rand Performance 210G Spray Gun - $79.99
- Home Depot - Husky Gravity Freed HVLP Spray Gun - $49.98
- Lowe's - Kobalt Large Gravity Spray Gun - $89.96
- Grainger - Speedaire 4XP65 Spray Gun - $139.75
Check out The Video to see the tools in action during the stripping and priming process!
In the next installment, we'll take a look at the tools used for undercoating the car, and compare them to the competition's. Until then!
As Rotten Rodney Bauman points out in his article, "Strippin' Tips" (Custom Classic Trucks, Dec. 2012), when it comes to restoring an old truck, "the 'fun' begins with the initial teardown." The latest project being a "tired" '55 Chevy 1/2-ton, he and his right hand, Mrs. Rotten, removed the cab and soon determined that before they could send it to be abrasive blasted, they'd need to remove some old greasy goo and ancient undercoating. Rotten Rodney had just the tool:
"At times like these, it's good to have a Central Pneumatic gasket scraper in the bottom drawer. I'd actually forgotten I had this little jewel."
As an added tip, he suggests that if you intend on tackling such a formidable project, you should first heat the scraping blade.
"Heating the scraper helps. You could also aim the flame directly to the undercoating, but we prefer to heat the tool only, which creates much less smoke to inhale."
Currently at Harbor Freight Tools, the gasket scraper comes as part of a 6-Piece Pneumatic Scraper Kit, complete with a set of blades that also removes paint, rust, glue and other materials without damaging metal surfaces. A built-in regulator adjusts the scraper’s force of impact and provides the control and precision needed for just the right performance. It works great at removing baked-on valve, front cover and oil pan gaskets, etc., as well as welding spatter, wet-bed mortar, flooring adhesive... a whole slew of stuff that other solutions just can't deal with. Saves time and busted knuckles, too!
Rotten Rodney is still working on his project-- and as with all projects, he'll probably run into a speed bump or two-- but, at least he's got the undercoating gunk licked. As he said:
"This tool has proved invaluable for ribbed and/or channeled areas like the bottom of these rocker panels," and added, "Here eye protection is a must to avoid injuries associated with airborne undercoating projectiles."
Second that. Sometimes I'm so focused on having all the materials needed to get something done, I totally forget the eye and hand gear. It just isn't smart.
Next time you're at Harbor Freight, grab a scraper kit to keep in the bottom of your drawer. Dollars to donuts, the day will come you'll be happy you did.
Click on the above image and get a SNEAK PREVIEW of some of the incredible deals at Harbor Freight Tools' Black Friday Sale! Three days of your favorite Harbor Freight tools at the lowest prices of the year!
It's finally here-- Harbor Freight Tools' biggest weekend of the year-- bar none! So if you've been holding out for the best deal on a power tool, rolling tool cabinet or generator, or if you're wondering when's the best time to jump in and do your Christmas shopping, it's NOW, bubeleh!
So on Thanksgiving Day, before you fall into your turkey-induced coma, swing by Harbor Freight (or jump online!) and take advantage of the hugest savings throughout the store. Think you can catch up on these deals later in the weekend? Think again! Because the specials on Thanksgiving are for ONE DAY ONLY! Just TiVo the parade and get out there, man!
OK, so you really weren't able to make it on Thanksgiving Day. The in-laws were giving you the stink-eye, or you refused to break tradition, playing in the neighborhood Turkey Bowl with the other duffers. Then you HAVE to check out Harbor Freight's Black Friday: New items on sale-- and more incredible, once-in-a-year prices! This one's a 3-day sale, but don't bet the farm that the stuff you want's gonna be there for the duration. The stores open at 7 am and if you're like me, you'll get a spot around midnight... held by a willing buddy with no life, two tailgaters folding chairs, two big wool blankets, and a mondo thermos full of cocoa.
On the other hand, if you're going to be stuck in a car the whole weekend, or visiting relatives at some remote outpost with a spotty dial-up modem, grieve no more. When you return (less one belt-notch) on Monday, Harbor Freight's holding its legendary Cyber Monday Sale! STILL incredible deals-- STILL a huge selection of quality tools at the lowest prices of the year! This is an Internet-Only sale, so log on early and stock up on the gear you've been waiting 365 days to buy. It's here, it's now!
Make your plans, set your clocks & calendars, and get ready for the biggest Harbor Freight Tools sales of the year! See you there!
Engine Removal Tools
Last week I started a series illustrating how much could be saved buying products from Harbor Freight Tools-- as opposed to the competition-- for the '67 Firebird Restoration project. Breaking it down phase by phase, we're comparing the prices of tools used in the project with similar (if not exact) products that the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Craftsman, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren't always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. As I suggested last week, I don't think this compromises the test because we're only talking about differences in size and shape, not function. It should also be pointed out that not all the listed competitors carry all the tools used in the project.
This powerful shop crane delivers the lifting power you need to easily hoist engines and transmissions, move heavy machinery and load equipment. And when you're done, it just folds vertically up against the wall or in a corner, taking up very little space. Made of heavy-duty steel, Harbor Freight's rock solid and sturdy shop crane is an invaluable, cost-effective addition to the garage.
- Sears - Dragway Tools 2-Ton Engine Motor Hoist Cherry Picker Shop Crane Lift - $279.99
- Northern Tool - Torin Big Red Folding Shop Crane - $279.99
- Home Depot - N/A
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Shop Crane, 4400 lb. Cap. - $517.50
- Sears - Black Bull 1000 lb. Four Wheel Engine Stand - $69.99
- Northern Tool - Torin Big Red 1250 lb. Engine Stand - $109.99
- Home Depot - 750 lb. Engine Stand - $104.16
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Automotive Engine Stand 750 lb. - $186.25
- Sears - Eastwood 1/2" Drive Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench - $59.99
- Northern Tool - Wel-Bilt Air Twin Impact Wrench - $79.99
- Home Depot - PowRyte 1/2" Heavy Duty Air Impact Wrench - $69.99
- Lowe's - Kobalt 1/2" 500 ft.-lbs. Air Impact Wrench - $79.94
- Grainger - Chicago Pneumatic Impact Wrench 1/2" Drive - $334.25
Check out The Video to see the tools in action during the engine removal process!
In the next installment, we'll take a look at the tools used for stripping and priming the car, and compare them to the competition's. Until then!
You live long enough, you start building a list of stuff you've done that you never, ever want to do again. Like eat something on a dare that sounded gag-inducing before you even looked at it... because it also sounded fun. Or go on a blind date with someone you met on the Internet whose profile pictures consisted only of her cat, arched eyebrows and Sweet Polly Purebred from the Underdog cartoons. Or maybe (on a more relateable level) like spending an hour struggling with a hacksaw on pipe.
Well I can't help you with your bonehead dare acceptances or harikari methods of courtship, but I can tell you how you can affordably retire that hacksaw. Introducing the Chicago Electric 6 Amp Reciprocating Saw with Rotating Handle. Don't let the low $29.99 price fool you. This saw has a plethora of power to get the job done! It cuts like butter through tree roots, limbs and stumps, plastic and metal pipes, cast iron, deck planks-- nails and all!--and so much more.
A customer in the Southwest recently gave the Chicago Electric reciprocating saw a zumba workout and came away very happy:
"I've been using this saw for a few months now. I've used it for demo (cutting 2x4's with nails) and recently put it to the test by using it to cut an entire 30' tree down with the HF 9" pruning blades, which worked really well. The quick blade change is very nice and saves time. Overall, really good value in my opinion. Handle rotates completely through 180° with five positive stops at 0, 45° and 90° left, and 45° and 90° right for comfortable and controlled cutting from any angle." Gringo - Phoenix, AZ
Another guy who hails from the Beehive State had this to say:
"Used this tool to cut lattice for an inclined ramp at my parents house. It worked better than I could imagine. Made the job go extremely fast. I was worried about how I was going to get the job done quickly and having this tool made all the difference between a day job and a 3-day job. Highly Recommended!!!" Tim - Utah
And for having such a low price, the heavy-duty reciprocating saw's got a ton of great features:
- Powerful 6-amp motor with a variable speed trigger
- Handle rotates 180° with five positive stops
- Shoe plate pivots up to 30° for increased stability
- 1/2" twist-lock blade chuck for fast, easy blade changes
- Rubber grip for comfort and durability
- Variable speed trigger with switch lock-on button
I also definitely recommend you use the savings to stock up on extra special-use blades. Harbor Freight Tools stocks incredibly durable sets that require little investment and big performance: Warrior 5-Piece 6" Wood-Cutting Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades, ideal for cutting nail-embedded wood; Warrior 5-Piece 6" General Purpose / Demolition Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades, this blade can be used to cut a wide variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, pipe and drywall; Portland Saw 5-Piece 9" Wood Cutting Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades, longer blades designed to accommodate a variety of wood-cutting operations; Portland Saw 2-Piece 8" Diamond Grit Reciprocating Saw Blades, for cutting into the hardest materials, including cast iron, clay pipe, brick and marble. Plus, many more in our stores and on our site.
Don't forget to check out this month's flyer for tremendous savings on tools you're looking for! Save up to 63% on power tools, hand tools, air tools and all kinds of hardware needs. Find quality tools at ridiculously low prices-- EVERY DAY!
New Product Alert!
Always known for finding a great solution at a better price, Harbor Freight Tools recently introduced its new Chicago Electric Platinum 6" Variable Speed Polisher #69924. This dual-action, random-orbit dynamo delivers the same professional mirror finish as the machines used by car dealerships and detailers-- but at a fraction of what the competitors are asking for while on sale at $59.99!
The 6" Chicago Electric Platinum polisher has six variable speed settings, a two-position side handle for optimal control, a hook-and-loop pad attachment, and powers up to 6400 OPM for supreme performance. It includes a 6" backing pad, spindle wrench and carbon brushes.
To fully arm this bad boy for all contingencies, add a Warrior Compound/Cutting Foam Pad #60311 for applying polishing and rubbing compound for deep scratches, a Polishing Foam Pad #60309 for applying polishes and cleaners to remove swirls, marks and water spots, and a Finishing Foam Pad #60310 for the final step, applying waxes and sealants.
Destined to be a Harbor Freight Tools bestseller, the Chicago Electric Platinum 6" dual action polisher is already getting accolades from customers:
"This was nothing short of amazing. I have been buying harbor freight for a year now. I can't believe what I have been missing before! I was shopping for a good DA Polisher for about 3 months online and everywhere else. Out of nowhere I thought of Harbor Freight. I could not believe they had one. Unless you are willing to spend over $300 on a German-made polisher, this is the best money can buy, hands down!" NickyG- Scottsdale, AZ
"This tool is great-- especially for the price! Porter Cable has this same style of tool in their line up, but it's $129+ and the body is really big and not very comfortable to hold. I have pretty big hands and it's still big for me. This one has a much smaller gripping area that makes it easy to hold on to. It doesn't have forced rotation of the disc so it works more like a regular random orbit but it has a much larger orbit diameter so it cuts pretty fast when sanding. When using for polishing, it spins really nice and makes buffing out finishes really easy. I used it to restore the headlights on my car. Got some of that headlight restore compound and it worked great in conjunction with this tool and the buffing pads... Buy this tool!!!" Ronnie Ron- Seattle, WA
"This thing rocks! Polished my motorcycle and an acrylic aquarium... looks like glass!" Pleaser- Phoenix, AZ
"This thing took the water spots off of my truck, quick and in a hurry... this works just as good as the expensive ones for the fraction of the price!" Paul- DeRidder, LA
You don't have to do hard math in your head to realize you'll be saving $100's by staying away from the auto spas and getting professional swirl-free finishes on all your vehicles at home. Add the new heavy-duty Chicago Electric Platinum 6" variable-speed dual-action polisher to your tool arsenal while this low price holds!
While I've been posting the progress of the '67 Firebird's restoration these past weeks, it occurred to me some of you might be thinking, "Well, so what? That's what tools are for." This is true. But the proposition that Harbor Freight's tools are rugged, reliable and capable is beside the point. The purpose of this exercise (besides showing you a sexy car) is to demonstrate how someone can execute something as meaningful and professional as restore a classic car while spending a lot less money-- or getting a lot more value for the money-- for the tools to do it. That's a pretty big deal.
So to better illustrate the point, I'll compare the prices of the tools used on the project with similar (if not exact) products the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Craftsman, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren't always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. I don't think this compromises the test, however, because we're only talking about differences in size and shape, not function.
In the first segment, we'll be looking at the Harbor Freight tools used in the vehicle's disassembly video:
This solidly-built, steel tool cart is the perfect rolling workstation for wrenchers, able to hold 700 lbs of tools and easily roll around the garage. Standing at over 41" high and 37" wide, there's tons of space, and with 5 drawers, a bottom shelf, a covered tray on top, side slots and more, it will keep you fully armed at your spot without having to go "fetch" a tool.
- Craftsman - 3-Drawer GRIPLATCH Utility Cart - $349.99
- Northern Tool Excel - 5-Drawer Rolling Metal Tool Cart - $399.99
- Home Depot - Excel 600 lb. 4-Drawer Steel Tool Cart - $369.99
- Lowe's - Task Force 400 lb. 6-Drawer Steel Tool Chest - $189.00
- Grainger - Westward 250 lb. 4-Drawer Utility Cart - $572.50
The huge, industrial-quality tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most used automotive and mechanic's tools, including adjustable wrenches, ratchets, breaker bars, pliers, sockets in SAE and metric, extensions and universal joint adapters. This treasure trove of tools is built to last!
- Craftsman - 309-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $249.99
- Northern Tool - 305-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $299.99
- Home Depot - Husky 264-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $198.00
- Lowe's - Kobalt 227-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $199.98
- Grainger - Craftsman Industrial 273-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $985.00
- Craftsman - 3/8" Ratchet Wrench - $34.99
- Northern Tool - Northern Industrial 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $29.99
- Home Depot - Campbell Hausfeld 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $32.68
- Lowe's - Campbell Hausfeld 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $48.38
- Grainger - Westward 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $79.00
- Craftsman - 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet - $49.99
- Northern Tool - AirCat Mini 1/4" Air Ratchet - $99.99
- Home Depot - Black Bull 1/4" Air Ratchet - $21.97
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Westward 1/4" Air Ratchet - $69.75
So as you can see, when you buy at Harbor Freight Tools, you really are getting the best of both worlds-- great tools at ridiculously low prices!
Join us next week when we'll review the tools employed to remove the engine!