Harbor Freight Drills Down on Drill Bits

All drill bits are not created equal—there are many different types of bits and a variety of materials used to make them. In some cases, the same drill bit can be used on different materials, but is it necessarily the best choice? It’s important to know a bit about bits to optimize the results of your respective task or project …

 

Twist Bits
These are some of the most common bits to find in the handyman’s toolbox. Used with either a hand or electric drill, the front edges cut the material and the spirals remove the debris along the length of the bit. However, there is a lot of variation with these bits. HSS (High Speed Steel) bits are generally characterized by their black color but more expensive and durable ones may contain cobalt or titanium coating (identified by the gold color). Titanium increases the hardness of the bit and facilitates a lubricating quality which is effective when drilling metals but has little impact on other materials.

Harbor Freight has several Twist Bit sets from which to choose, including the Titanium Drill Bit Set 29 Pc. These titanium drill bits run cooler, drill smoother and last up to three times longer than standard drill bits. The bits range in size from 1/16 in. to ½ in. in 64ths.

Harbor Freight also carries the 115 Pc Cobalt Drill Bit Set. These cobalt drill bits retain their hardness up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit making them ideal for drilling cast iron, heat-treated steel, stainless steel and other hard materials. With 135 degree tips, the cobalt drill bits not only last longer but also cut faster than standard high speed steel bits.

 

Brad Point Bits (a.k.a. wood or dowel bits)
These bits are best used on wood (some plastics) and are characterized by a small point at the tip of the bit. Spurs on either side cut clean, straight holes. They’re ideal for drilling holes for dowels, which is why they’re also called dowel bits. These drill bits are a staple for wood workers.

Harbor Freight offers the Brad Point Wood Drill Bit Set 7 Pc with 3/8 inch cutdown shanks. These outstanding bits resist skating and feature extra sharp flutes designed to smooth hole sides while ejecting chips faster to prevent overheating your drill. For projects utilizing either hard or soft woods, this set of brad point bits gets the job done quickly and accurately.

 

Auger Drill Bits
These bits are designed to cut large, deep and accurate flat-bottomed holes. The spiraling shaft comes to a fine, threaded point while the single spur cuts and defines the hole’s edge. The threaded center bites into the wood, pulling the bit into the timber. This pulling action makes it unsuitable for use in power drills.

Harbor Freight has several sets of auger drill bits available, starting with the Auger Bit Set 7 Pc. These 7-1/2 in. long auger bits make fast, clean holes in both soft and hard woods. The bits are made of heat-treated alloy steel that resists damage from nails. Other features include quick-change 3/8 in. dia. hex shanks and a ¼ in. bit with a ¼ in. hex shank.

Other Harbor Freight auger bits set include the 18 in. Ship Auger Bit Set 3 Pc and Stubby Auger Bit Set 6 Pc.

 

Wood Spade Bits (a.k.a. Paddle Bits, Flat Wood Bits)
The pointed tip centers the hole as the paddle-shaped blade bores large, wide holes. Sizes are clearly marked on the face of each bit. These larger bits require a fairly powerful drill and lend themselves to drilling fairly large flat-bottomed holes with a center point—works especially well when the head of a screw or bolt needs to be recessed in the lumber. The bits can cause a lot of splintering as they breakthrough the work piece but a sacrificial backing board will reduce this. These bits are not recommended for enlarging an existing hole.

Harbor Freight offers a variety of wood spade bit sets, including the Steel Spade Drill Bit Set 13 Pc. The extended spurs effortlessly cut crisp, clean holes in thick stock. Each bit is forged and heat-treated to withstand rigorous use. The ¼ inch quick-change shank works with drills and impact drivers.

Other Harbor Freight offerings include the Steel Spade Bit Set 6 Pc, Steel Large Diameter Spade Bit Set 4 Pc, and the Steel Stubby Spade Bit Set 3 Pc.

 

Masonry Bits
As the name implies, these drill bits are designed to be used on masonry material, including brick, block, stone, quarry tiles and concrete. The cutting tip is often made of tungsten carbide bonded to a spiral steel shaft. Generally, masonry bits are used in a hand drill but can also be used in a hand brace or hammer action power drill (though cheaper bits can shatter due to the action). Long masonry bits can be used for drilling through masonry walls.

Harbor Freight provides several masonry bit options, including the Masonry Drill Bit Set 5 Pc featuring M2 high-speed steel shanks and C2 carbide tips with 6% cobalt. The 8 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 6 Pc features a superior hardening process and an enhanced flute design that helps the bits run cooler.

 

Tile and Glass Bits
The tips of these bits are designed to penetrate tile or glass, then enlarge the hole as the bit penetrates the material. The tips are usually made with tungsten carbide. The bits can be used in a hand drill but are best used with a variable speed power drill on a slow speed. Lubricants should be used to keep the tip cool when drilling.

Harbor Freight offers the Carbide Tip Glass and Tile Cutting Drill Bit Set 6 Pc featuring C-3 tungsten carbide tips and a steel shaft for drilling glass, ceramics, plastics and Formica tiles. The wide base angle provides precise, stable drilling.

 

Countersink Bits
Using a power or hand drill, these bits penetrate material and form a conical recess to accommodate the heads of countersunk screws. Countersink bits are generally designed for use on softer materials.

Harbor Freight carries the Carbon Steel Tapered Drill Bit and Countersink Set, 22 Pc. The bits are made from heat-treated steel and designed with a unique single-twist design to remove material more efficiently, resulting in cleaner holes. The set includes seven drills, seven countersinks, seven stop-collars and an individually organized wooden storage box for easy transport and organization.

 

Forstner Bits
These bits are used to form holes with flat bottoms, such as with kitchen cupboard hinges. It’s best to use a power drill with a drill stand for optimal accuracy.

Harbor Freight offers two Forstner bit sets, the 1/4 in. – 1 in. Forstner Drill Bit Set With 3/8 in. Shanks 7 Pc featuring high carbon steel construction and 3/8 in. reinforced shanks, and the 1/4 in. – 2-1/8 in. Forstner Drill Bit Set With 3/8 in. Shanks 16 Pc which includes more bits and a wood carrying case for storage.

 

That’s just the basics when it comes to drill bits. There are many other types of specialized drill bits as well, such as screwdriver bits, plug cutters and nut drivers.

For the full selection of drills bits and accessories, visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store or the Harbor Freight website.

 

 

Source Material:
DIY – different drill bits
DIY data

Tailgating with Harbor Freight

While over 40 million people turn to Harbor Freight for tools and accessories, it may not be widely known that Harbor Freight is a great place to shop for tailgating equipment. Without further ado, let’s get the tailgating party started with five must-have items …

1.

TailGator Generator

A reliable power source is mandatory tailgating equipment. This portable 63cc air-cooled 2 cycle gas engine generator is ideal for camping, hunting and as the name “TailGator” implies—tailgating. Like an alligator, it’s strong and tough—but whereas an alligator is a cold-blooded killer, the TailGator is a cool-running thriller! Features include a 120-volt grounded receptacle, circuit breaker protection and 5 hours run-time @ 50% capacity. With a built-in handle and weighing in at under 40 lbs., this generator travels easily between sporting events!

I run my snow cone, coffee, and popcorn machines with no problem. – Tim, Albuquerque

 

2.

10 ft. x 10 ft. Popup Canopy

The elements can really put a dampener on your tailgating fun. But with this popup canopy, you can keep the elements at bay! Constructed of water-resistant and fade-resistant UV treated 150 denier polyester fabric, the canopy sets up quickly and easily—without tools. It also comes with a wheeled storage bag for easy transport.

I now have 3 of these—they work great—quick up, quick down, and work as well as any for 2 to 3 times more money. – Ric, Buffalo

 

3.

Foldable Aluminum Sports Chair

Tailgating is great—but if you’re only seating is the tailgate on your vehicle … not so great. Problem solved with the Folding Aluminum Sports Chair. Several features make this chair ideal for tailgating—lightweight yet durable aluminum frame that supports up to 250 lbs., three side pockets, bottle holder and folding side table. The chair also folds up for easy transport.

Chair is sturdy, comfortable and very well made. The attached table and pockets are extremely useful. – Bob the Repairer, Elkton, VA

 

4.

5-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Start

You don’t want a dead battery, flat tire, drained cell phone or other inconvenience to interrupt your tailgating bliss—and you won’t have to worry when you’re prepared with this portable power pack providing 5 functions in one convenient unit:

  • Jump starter: heavy-duty 6 AWG booster cables with copper-coated steel clamps
  • Air Compressor (with gauge): generates up to 300 PSI
  • Power inverter: 200 watts with dual AC outlets, dual 12VDC outlets and USB Port
  • 12V battery: maintenance-free and up to 20 hours of 12-volt power on a single charge
  • Work light: 4-way with bright LEDs

The heavy-duty rubberized case with built-in handle provides durability and mobility respectively.

One of the best all-in-one products I have ever purchased. Definitely a great buy! – Miza, Corpus Christi, TX

 

5.

Folding Trash Bag Stand

Tailgating can generate a lot of trash, but no one wants to trash the venue! Problem solved with this trash bag stand. The stand holds 33-gallon trash bags and features heavy-duty welded steel construction with a weatherproof enamel finish. The stand conveniently folds up for easy storage and transport.

This is excellent! A sturdy, simple, inexpensive, perfect solution for holding trash bags up and open. – RVer, Atlanta

 

Harbor Freight is the place to shop for “Quality tools—and tailgating equipment—at a ridiculously low price!”

What other items from Harbor Freight have you used for tailgating? Leave a comment!

Going Solar with Harbor Freight

Summer is upon us and you know what that means—sun! So while you’re working on your tan, why not put the sun to work for you to get free energy? You can do just that when you go solar with Harbor Freight!

One of Harbor Freight’s most popular solar items is the 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit 10 Pc.


45 Watt Solar Panel Kit 10 Pc – stand assembled

The kit includes three 15 watt solar panels, voltage regulator, mounting hardware and the basic connections you need to efficiently generate solar power. A 12 volt storage battery and power inverter are also required and sold separately through Harbor Freight. Optional accessories include a 30 Amp Solar Charge Controller which will help protect and prolong the life of your battery, and the 8 Panel Universal Solar Connector which allows you to connect up to 8 panels to one power output. Individual solar panels are also sold separately.

Check out this video on how to assemble the 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit.

Do a search on YouTube and you’ll find numerous videos of the kit in action. Here are just a few you may want to check out:

Ol’ Chet (he’s actually not that old) puts the solar panel kit to the test during a five-day camping trip. You can view his video here.

2012Solarful provides a short video on several different devices he runs using his Harbor Freight 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit 10 Pc. In another video, he even runs a power-hungry blender using the kit!

Ryan Romero shot a video about his first solar set up using the Harbor Freight solar kit plus extra panels and some additional equipment. While this might be his first solar set up, he obviously has some expertise in this arena, evidenced by the picture below. Please note that any modifications should only be performed by a licensed electrician knowledgeable of solar power.


Ryan Romero’s Harbor Freight solar set-up

Harbor Freight’s solar kit is ideal for those who want to have a portable power source during camping/RVing, provide power during a power outage or simply save money by harnessing free power from the sun. Check out these reviews from customers who have entered the solar array:

Great kit for our off grid cabin! Assembles quick, charged a new battery fast, was able to use right away. It ran 7 LED lights and a blower fan without the inverter cooling fan coming on at all. It’s working well for us. Thanks Harbor Freight. – 48 Farmall, St. Lawrence, NY

Purchased one of these units two years ago to use on our pop-up camper and it works great. In fact, it works so well that I just bought a second one, just to have. We tend do weekend trips in the mountains (no hookups). We run the fridge on propane but run lights, fans, and heater fan through the night. The panels charge the batteries through the day and we are full power come night time … – Wilson, Colorado

I have wanted to play around with solar for a while now and this kit on sale was at a price I felt was worth the investment. It was easy to put together and right away I was charging a spare battery I kept on a trickle charger in my workshop. I am so impressed with the performance that I can see purchasing more items very soon, i.e. more panels, batteries, etc. – KAB66, Cambridge, Ontario Canada

I have these panels on my deck (waiting for good weather to move to roof). And they are working very well. They keep the battery charged and have operated the included 2 cfl 12 volt lamps … about a 60 watt equivalent each. I am going to try my 400 watt inverter soon to power a small TV and am cabling a 12 volt line into my den that I am going to use the lamp to light the room. Excellent value. The panels are well encased for outside weather. The whole package is excellent. – Bob, sub of Chicago

The 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit 10 Pc is just one of several solar items available through Harbor Freight Tools.

Here are some other great items to consider:

13 Watt Briefcase Solar Charger

No, it’s not something out of a James Bond film … This device provides portable solar power to charge a variety of batteries for power tools, trolling motors and even CPAP machines. Features include an LED charging indicator, male and female cigarette lighter adapters, battery terminal clamps, 12VDC outlet, and battery shoe for cordless tools. The built-in handle makes transport and storage easy. Works even in cloudy conditions.

60 LED Solar Security Light

This security light features 60 bright LED lamps you can adjust to stay on from 5 seconds to 2 minutes when motion is detected up to 50 ft. away at a range of 180 degrees! Easy to install, it’s ideal for places where an outlet is inaccessible, such as a shed, pool area or backyard.

Solar Rope Light

Line walkways and patios or accent railings and outdoor decks with one or multiple sets of the Solar Rope Light. The weatherproof sleeve is 22 feet long (16 feet of lights) and contains 50 long-life LED lamps. The polycrystalline silicon solar panel recharges with just 6 to 8 hours of sunlight, providing up to 8 hours of illumination. The lights come on automatically at dusk. A ground spike and mounting hardware are included.

Solar Decorative LED Lights – 3 Pc

This 3-piece set of decorative lights is a favorite among customers who often buy multiple sets to decorate their gardens and lawns. A 1-3/4 in.-square solar panel hangs on each stake and charges the built-in AA NiCd battery in direct sunlight. The transparent hummingbird, butterfly and dragonfly each contain a color-changing LED (sequences red, green. blue). Once dusk comes, the lights illuminate for up to 8 hours on a full day’s charge!

For the full array of solar items available at Harbor Freight, click here!

Solar is both environmentally friendly and economically beneficial. You simply can’t go wrong when you go solar—and shopping at Harbor Freight for your solar needs is nothing less than a bright idea!

 

 

 

Torquing It to the Limit with Breaker Bars

Real Tool Reviews compares four leading brands

 

Real Tool Reviews takes breaker bars to their limit, comparing four top pro-grade brands with ½ inch drives – Pittsburgh Pro (available at Harbor Freight Tools) along with Snap-On, Matco and Mac Tools. For those of you unfamiliar with what a breaker bar is:

A breaker bar is a long non-ratcheting bar that is used with socket wrench style sockets. Breaker bars are used to break loose very tight fasteners because their additional length allows the same amount of force to generate significantly more torque than a standard length socket wrench. The use of a breaker bar also prevents damage to the ratcheting mechanism of a socket wrench. Often, after the first half turn of a fastener, the fastener is then loose enough to be turned with a socket wrench.1

Common applications include freeing lug nuts on vehicle wheels, freeing a variety of bolts in car repair and maintenance where rust is a common problem, manufacturing applications, home renovating projects and any other instance in which a bolt has become frozen in place.2

Now that we’re all up to speed on breaker bars, let’s dive into the review.

First off, length. Length is a key component of breaker bars since it’s the leverage provided that enables the user to generate significantly more torque compared to a standard wrench. Note that the Pittsburgh Pro brand is advertised as a 25-inch breaker bar and the other three as 24-inch breaker bars. The actual measurements are as follows:


Pictured top to bottom: Matco, Pittsburgh Pro, Snap-On and Mac

Length
Snap-On: 23-3/4 in.
Matco: 25-1/2 in.
Mac Tools: 24-5/8 in.
Pittsburgh Pro: 25 in.

The weight of each breaker bar was also measured.

Weight
Snap-On: 2 lbs., 3 oz.
Matco: 2 lbs., 4.5 oz.
Mac Tools: 2 lbs., 3-1/2 oz.
Pittsburgh Pro: 2 lbs., 7 oz.

Next, the drives were shown side-by-side.


Drive ends of the four brands

The Matco and Mac breaker bars have black ends while the Snap-On and Pittsburgh Pro versions have chrome ends. This really seems to be an area of preference with no discernable difference in terms of performance.

The handles, however, have the potential of making a significant difference.


Breaker bar handles

Each breaker bar handle has a two-piece design to secure a good hold—the colored portion is comprised of hard plastic with the black portion made of a softer rubber overmold, though the Pittsburgh Pro’s black material is respectively firmer than the other three. The handle lengths vary as well.

Handle length
Snap-On: 5-1/8 in.
Matco: 6-3/4 in.
Mac Tools: 4-5/8 in.
Pittsburgh Pro: 5-3/8 in.


Handle center positions marked

Leverage is a significant factor to consider and that’s why the length of a breaker bar is so important—applying the same amount of pressure or weight on the end can generate more torque respectively. Bar length alone though does not provide the working “length” in terms of leverage—Real Tool Reviews marked the center position of each handle which is where the user’s hand would naturally rest (see picture above). Taking the handle center points into consideration, the Mac breaker bar actually had the most length from the pivot point which suggests it would provide the most torque. But the real proof comes next.


Deflection and torque testing

The review moved on to testing the deflection of each breaker bar (how much the tool bends when applying force) and the resulting torque generated. The results may surprise you …

Torque
Snap-On: 281 ft. lbs.
Matco: 266 ft. lbs.
Mac Tools: 276 ft. lbs.
Pittsburgh Pro: 298 ft. lbs.

With the performance testing completed, the final comparison was on price. That’s where the results varied the most …

Price
Snap-On: $148.47 (with tax and free shipping)
Matco: $146.67 (with tax and shipping)
Mac Tools: $121.08 (with tax and shipping)
Pittsburgh Pro: $16.84 (using 20% coupon and no shipping cost – picked up at store)

Snap-On, Matco and Mac breaker bars are between seven and nine times higher in price compared to the Pittsburgh Pro brand, yet, as the torque testing revealed, Pittsburgh Pro generated the greatest amount of torque.

In conclusion, the performance of all four was similar with the Pittsburgh Pro coming in with the highest torque generated, 32 ft. lbs. higher than the Matco breaker bar. The handles differed from brand to brand but the biggest difference was on price. The review noted that all the breaker bars tested come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. Pittsburgh Pro is clearly the best value.

Click here to see the Real Tools Review breaker bar video and see for yourself how the Pittsburgh Pro breaker bar provides unyielding performance while breaking down the competition on price.

1/2 in. Drive 25 in. Professional Breaker Bar
item#62729

 

Source material:
1Wikipedia
2wiseGeek

Spring Tree Pruning

With a Little Help from the Portland 7 Amp Electric Pole Saw

Tree pruning can be a real hassle. Sure, you could hire a professional—but that could run thousands of dollars, which is why most people like to do it themselves. With the Portland 7 Amp Electric Pole Saw, you can make quick work of tree pruning—saving time and money while facilitating good health for your trees. Before you go firing up the pole saw though, there are a few things you should know that could make the difference between beneficial trimming and a detrimental crew cut!

Experts agree that the best time to trim most trees is when they’re leafless in winter. However, if you can prune before they start growing, that still counts as dormant pruning and ideal due to the benefits.

But spring is in full swing, so is it too late? Not by a long shot. Here are a few general guidelines to follow if you’re pruning in spring.

  • Don’t remove more than 10% of the tree’s branches
  • Remove dead, dying or decaying branches
  • Prune enough for aesthetics without going over board—shape the tree, don’t butcher it!

Note that overpruning in spring could limit a tree’s bloom potential for the year as well as make it more vulnerable to insect infestation and disease. However, there are several trees that could especially benefit from trimming in late spring or summer—maple, walnut and birch trees. Pruning in winter tends to cause these species to ooze more sap!

There are other trees for which pruning is recommended once they’re done with their spring blooming: apricot, chokecherry, crabapple, dogwood, flowering cherry, flowering plum, juneberry, lilac and magnolia.

Caution: There are trees you should never prune in spring—or summer and fall for that matter, including oaks (to reduce the chance of oak wilt), elms (to reduce the chance of Dutch elm disease), sycamores (to reduce the chance of anthracnose) and honey locust trees (to reduce the chance of stem cankers).

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get pruning! The Portland 7 Amp Electric Pole Saw is ideal to meet your pruning needs. The power tool features a 9-1/2 bar with 3/8 in. pitch Oregon® chain, automatic chain oiler, easy chain adjustment and safety features including hand guard and reduced-kickback design. And no need for a ladder—the saw features a telescoping fiberglass pole that extends from 6 ft. to 8 ft, 10 in. In addition to assembly, care, operation and safety instructions, the user manual also provides helpful pruning tips.

Cutting tip from the Portland 7 Amp Electric Pole Saw user manual

 

With over 1200 reviews submitted to date, this electric pole saw has earned an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Here are some of the actual customer reviews:

Used this saw one afternoon. Did everything I needed it to do. Every homeowner should own this saw. – Matt, Cape Code, MA

Tree damage from wind storm, did not want to use my chain saw off of ladder. I bought the pole saw and it handled the ten-inch section of the tree with no problems. If I never have need for it again, it has paid for itself. Very satisfied!! – Hugh L., Chattanooga, TN

Was easy to assemble. Instructions were easy to follow. Saw works great. Used it to trim the palm tree and fruit tree. Easy to handle. The safety feature required it to start at a horizontal level then raise it to cut what you intend to do. Great saw. – Suzi, Mesa, AZ

Plenty of power. Reaches very high, no ladder needed. Did all my trees in a single morning, golf in the afternoon. Easy adjust, easy to use and very lightweight. – Pat the Pruner, Orem, Utah

Assembly is easy and operating the Portland 7 Amp Electric Pole Saw is even easier—check out this video from TheLightHouseLady on YouTube—please note her husband toward the end of the video is not utilizing the prescribed safety gear as outlined in the product manual when operating the electric pole saw—ANSI-approved safety goggles, hard hat and heavy-duty rubber work gloves.

Make quick and easy work of pruning with the Portland 7 Amp Electric Pole Saw, available exclusively at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

7 Amp Electric Pole Saw
item#62896

 

Source material:
The Davey Tree Expert Company
Treeremoval.com