How To Prep, Run & Maintain Your Portable Generator

generator with wheel kit - brand new

You just bought– or are about to buy– your first generator. That’s great, it’ll be a valuable asset to you and your family, especially in times of emergency. But even though it’s got a gas engine and a pull cord, a generator isn’t the same thing as a lawn mower or weed whacker. There are a number of steps in the process of prepping, running and maintaining your gas generator that you should be aware of before you do anything with it. Here are a few tips to make sure you get smooth, safe operation, and the power that you need:

generator outdoors

  • CRUCIAL– If you take anything away from this article, it’s NEVER run your generator in a garage (even an open garage) and NEVER run it in the house. Keep it outside, at least 15 feet from the house, and way away from all windows. As valuable as your generator is to keeping things going, it’s also a carbon monoxide machine.

generator manual

  • Before you do anything, read the generator’s manual, from cover to cover. The more you know about your portable gas generator, the more apt you are not to do anything wrong, and it will provide many years of low-maintenance emergency power.

grounding rod

  • Prior to setup, you need to ground the generator. This is done by connecting a #6 AWG grounding wire from the Grounding Terminal to a grounding rod which is at least 24 inches in the earth. The grounding rod must be an earth-driven copper or brass rod that can adequately ground the generator. The grounding wire and rod may not be included with the generator, so make sure you get those as well when you make your purchase.
  • A premium feature that some gas generators have is an electric start, which makes for fast, effortless starts. If yours has an electric start, now’s the time to make sure the 12v battery is installed and connected.

generator oil fill

  • Now it’s time to add the fluids. A key to long engine life is oil. Also, without oil the generator won’t start. Check the manual and make sure you’re using the right type and changing it according to manufacturer’s specifications. SAE10W30 is often recommended for general-purpose, all-temperature use.

generator gas fill

  • Add fuel to within 1″ of the rim of the tank. Be careful never to overfill. Unless otherwise instructed, use regular Unleaded 87 Octane gasoline.

generator startup

  • Now you’re ready to start the generator. Note the slight difference in the above chart between the Manual Start and the Electric Start.
  • Let your generator run briefly before you plug anything in it, and make sure when you do plug, that the appliance is off. Plug in appliances one at a time, and power each one up before you plug in the next one. You want to make sure you’ve got the power to spare. Pay attention to the watts of each unit before you plug it in after the other; you want to always stay under the generator’s max. If the generator overloads, it could damage the appliances.
  • Now you’re ready to rock n’ roll!

Other tips to keep in mind…

  • Never connect your generator with a power cord into an electrical outlet in the house. This power will “back feed” into the utility lines running to your house, and in the event of a blackout, this could kill a utility crew called in to restore power to your neighborhood.
  • Only use  the proper power cord. The power supplied by your portable gas generator is measured in watts. A power cord is measured in amps. If, for whatever reason, you need a replacement power cord, choose one that matches the most powerful outlet on your generator. The power cord would need to be heavy-duty, at least 12 gauge, and less than 100 feet.
  • Never refuel a running generator, or even one with a still-hot engine. The heat could ignite the gasoline. Shut it off and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. And only refuel in a well-ventilated area.
  • Change the oil during lengthy outages. Check your manual for the proper intervals. If your generator doesn’t have an hour meter (telling you how long it’s been running), keep a log so you don’t lose track.
  • Conserve your gas! If your neighborhood’s power went out, chances are the local gas stations are also in the dark. Only use whatever appliances you need to and, if possible, turn it off overnight. A refrigerator can handle no power for 3-4 hours, and your neighbors will love the break, too.

When you’re done

  • When the power comes back, drain the gas from the generator. If you leave the gas in, it can ruin the carburetor.
  • Change the oil one last time.
  • Every month, feed the generator a 1/2 gallon of gas and run it for at least a 1/2 hour. This will prevent blockage in the carburetor.

Your portable gas generator will be ready for the next emergency, and will last for years!

When you’re ready to purchase your generator, but need help determining what size to get, here’s a GENERATOR BUYING GUIDE to help you out. And don’t make any decisions until you’ve had the chance to look at the award-winning Predator Generators at Harbor Freight Tools! Read the reviews and research the YouTube videos, and you’ll learn for yourself what a great value they really are.

Hyperbole aside, in the event of an emergency, having a portable gas generator can mean the difference between life and death for you and/or a member of your family.

PROVIDES LIGHT UNDER THE HOOD WHEN WORKING ON YOUR VEHICLE

under hood light bar

When working on your vehicle, the hardest part is often seeing what you’re doing. Open up the hood and you’ll find a veritable labyrinth of nooks and crannies. The 120 LED Rechargeable Under Hood Work Light from Harbor Freight Tools (item #: 60793) solves that problem. The light features magnetic ends that attach to retractable cords as well as recessed fold-away hooks providing multiple mounting options. The 120 bright LED lamps are housed in a shatterproof polycarbonate tube so this light is definitely a “work” light.

The light also features two brightness settings and a rechargeable Li-ion battery that provides hours of light per charge. It also comes with a 12V cigarette lighter adapter and 120V wall adapter. In addition to under the hood, it’s the perfect light for the shop, garage or driveway.

Here’s what customers are saying about this light:

I’m a professional auto mechanic. After purchasing the first lamp, I ran right back and bought another, the next day, while they were still on sale. This lamp has an excellent battery life and two power settings for adjusting the brightness of the LEDs.The best feature is that it has both plastic fold-away hooks at each end AND magnets to mount it under the hood of the car you are working on. I’ve had these lamps for about 8 months now. I’m very happy with the purchase. – Chaz Tuna, SE Florida

I love this thing. Very bright. Multiple lighting levels and very easy to use. I use mine for everything including a closet light when I am not using it in the garage. – Bugsy’s Garage, St. Paul, MN

When I go out on a service call I want the best. This is a great light! – Mobile Truck Repair, Oakley, CA

The 120 LED Rechargeable Under Hood Work Light is available at Harbor Freight Tools’ 600+ stores nationwide. And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices, picking up one or more is a bright idea!

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.

 

Drill, Cut and Demolish with the Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer

If you need to bust through tough concrete, there’s only one way to get the job done right. The 1-1/8” 10 Amp Heavy Duty SDS Variable Speed Rotary Hammer (Item #: 69274) from Chicago Electric provides all the power you need for drilling, cutting and breaking through a variety of materials including concrete, masonry and wood. Stronger and more shock-absorbent than a hammer drill, the rotary hammer allows you to work longer with less fatigue. Plus, there’s even a stop-hammer feature that lets you use the tool as a drill giving you additional versatility!

image_21842

This rotary hammer really does the job of three tools, giving you a wide range of applications to take advantage of. Whether you want to drill precision holes, tackle some heavy duty drilling or just blast through material like a demolition hammer, you can do it all with this one item, available at Harbor Freight. If you need a little extra convincing, here are a couple customer reviews that have drilled down to just what it is they love about their rotary hammer.

“After asking all my neighbors if they had a hammer drill I could borrow to drill 3 holes in the 65-year old concrete steps, I broke down and got this drill at Harbor Freight. It’s a man’s tool; no girly drill, this! It drilled the holes for the TapCon concrete screws to adhere a staircase post to the concrete step and went through like a hot knife through warm butter. I am very happy with its performance even if I’ve only used it once, so far. But, I can see a lot more uses for this big, heavy-duty drill that has made this job much easier. I actually tried to drill with my half-inch cordless yellow drill but didn’t even get a 16th of an inch in 2 minutes. I drilled all 3 with my new drill in less time! Proud to add this to my arsenal of big-boy stuff and will look for new projects to use it again.” – by Chas from Torrence, CA

“I use this hammer drill for work. I bought it almost two years ago and it has not failed me. I use it mainly for anchors in concrete (Quick Bolts) and I have drilled several hundred holes in concrete slabs with it without fail. I will put this side by side with a comparable BOSCH. Keep the lube compartment filled with grease. I do that before using every time.” – by Pat from Hagerstown, MD

“Drilled 1-1/8″ hole through a concrete wall, starting with a smaller bit size and working up. HF did not sell a 1-1/8″ bit, so I had to get one from a different source, but the HF bits through 1″ worked great. Very satisfied, especially for the price (1/3 of what comparable “name brands” would have cost).” – by Texas Dom from Grand Prairie, TX

For a variety of jobs, the 1-1/8” 10 Amp Heavy Duty SDS Variable Speed Rotary Hammer is the way to go. An adjustable 360° side handle makes it easy to use, the quick change SDS bit system keeps bits securely in place, and the low Harbor Freight costs keeps your tool budget in check. Get down to your local Harbor Freight store and grab yourself one today!

HOW TO PAINT INTERIORS LIKE A PRO!

4 in. Professional Paint Brush

Summer is upon us and a great time to tackle those painting jobs we’ve been putting off due to inclement weather, scurvy, my dog ate my painting supplies and whatever other excuses you can come up with. With these 10 tips from The Family Handyman Magazine and ridiculously low-priced painting supplies from Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll be able to paint those interior surfaces quickly and easily while cutting your clean-up time in half—so you’ll have plenty of time leftover to paint the town red…

Tip 1: To avoid lap marks, roll the full height of the wall and keep a wet edge
Featured item:
9″ Paint Roller, item #: 60672, only $1.99

Tip 2: Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent color throughout the room
Featured item:
5 Gallon Bucket, White, item #: 47523, only $4.99

Tip 3: Let the paint dry, then cut the tape loose for a perfect edge
Featured items:
2 In x 60 Yds Blue Painter’s Tape, item #: 95512, only $6.49
13 Pc Precision Knife Set, item #: 32099, only $2.99

Tip 4: Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls
Featured items:
Paint Trimmer, item #: 97830, only $1.99
24″ multipurpose Trim Guard, item #: 96301, only $3.99
2 In. Sash Brush, item #: 67009, only $1.99

Tip 5: Prime and texture wall patches to avoid a blotchy finish
Featured item:
11 Piece Professional Paint Roller Set, item #: 60684, $8.99

Tip 6: Clean dirty surfaces so the paint can form a strong bond
Featured item:
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths 4 Pk, item #: 69678, only $2.59

Tip 7: Roll paint along the edges for consistent texture
Featured item:
Pack of Six 4″ Mini Paint Roller Covers, item #: 97810, only $4.99

Tip 8: Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic
Featured items:
9 Ft. x 12 Ft. Canvas Drop Cloth, item #: 69308, only $16.49
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths 12 Pk, item #: 69795, only $6.99

Tip 9: Feather out paint where you can’t keep a wet edge
Featured items:
9 in. Paint Roller Cover with 3/8 in. Nap, item #: 61260, only $1.99

Tip 10: Sand trim between coats for an ultra-smooth finish
Featured item: 3-7/8 in. x 2-3/4 in. x 1 in. 150/250 Grit Aluminum Oxide Sanding Sponges 10 Pk, item #: 46753, only $5.99

For the full selection of Harbor Freight Tools’ painting supplies, visit one of Harbor Freight’s 600+ stores nationwide!

 

What’s red and awesome and perfect for any work space?

With 16 drawers to fill, you can pack a lot of tools and equipment into the 26”, 16 Drawer Glossy Red Roller Cabinet Combo (Item #: 67831)! This massive tool storage unit provides 14,600 cu. in. of storage space and features ball bearing slides on all drawers for easy, quick access when you need it. And if you need to get your tools a little closer to the task at hand, then you’ll be glad to know that this unit comes with smooth-rolling 5” casters so you can easily maneuver your roller cabinet around the garage or jobsite.  But no matter where you move it, your tools and equipment will always stay safely stored in lockable steel drawers.

image_11487

Whether you only find the time to work on weekends or you’re in your shop every day, this roller cabinet is ideal for tool storage and organization. The glossy red powder coat finish makes the unit resistant to rust while non-slip liners in each drawer keep your tools safe while stored. Dependable and maneuverable, the 26”, 16 Drawer Glossy Red Roller Cabinet Combo is the choice for tons of DIYers and professionals around the world!

“I love this toolbox! The drawers have plenty of room and they are very smooth. This toolbox does everything I need it to. I have had it for a few months with no issues. The casters are of good quality and the brakes set well. Nice handle to pull it around also.” – by Willy Manilly from WV

“I have a service truck with these boxes on it, they lasted me 3 years before the drawers fell apart. They would still be alright until I moved them to the new truck. That was very impressive considering I drive on a road 2 times a day that takes me 2 hours to go 23 miles! I have had Snapon, Mac, Waterloo and Napa boxes before these HFT boxes and I can tell you that the $3000 boxes don’t hold up to that like these do. I would only get maybe a year out of the expensive boxes. So if you had these in a shop or garage I bet they would last forever!” – by Jack Of All Trades Master Of None from NM

“I am the proud owner of two of these babies! I bought my first one 3 years ago and have been so happy with it that I decided to buy another one when the sale came back around this year. These are perfectly sized to fit in my crowded two-car garage, and roll easily when I need to get behind them. The drawers seem to have been thoughtfully sized, as I have been able to stuff them pretty full of Harbor Freight tools (I got gift cards for Christmas). I’m absolutely convinced these are a great value for the money spent, but only you can determine if they’re the right box for you. As for me, I’m a satisfied customer.” – by Kansas transplant from KS

For the price and quality, you won’t find a better tool storage unit to fit your needs. And with the money you save, you’ll still have plenty left over for some additional tools and accessories to fit in your awesome new roller cabinet. So get over to your local Harbor Freight store today and pick one up!

HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN 55-GAL. BARREL BBQ*

steak

There’s nothing better than the high octane performance of a flaming charcoal barbecue– and there’s nothing cooler than manning your own 55-gallon barrel grill, made with your own hands. Here’s a cool tutorial we found on the Super Chevy website. Hey, summer’s coming, dude. Let’s talk about how you can make this a reality.

Things You Will Need:

barrel - found

  • Find a 55 gallon drum. Sometimes you can avoid buying a new one by checking out Craigslist or other local classifieds, pet shops or weed n’ feeds. The best kind of 55-gallon drum barrel to get is food related. Try to avoid one that housed toxic chemicals, but if you’re not sure what it contained, you’re going to want to burn it clean when you cut it open. 

barrel - taped

  • Rather than cutting the barrel in half, we’re going to show a clam shell it with a quarter cut. With the masking tape and a level, set all your lines ready to cut.

barrel - cut

  • The next step is to use the trusty cut-off tool and cut down the side of the barrel along the blue tape. The cut off quarter is going to be the BBQ grill’s lid. When you’ve cut out the quarter section, build a large fire inside of the barrel to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool,  dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
  • Next, take some angle iron and weld a rectangular shape out of it. Then weld it into place in the middle of the drum. This will provide as a rest for the grill.

barrel - mesh

  • Find a good mesh that can be used as the grill surface, preferably a heavier gauge metal, and one where the edges are flattened so there are no sharp points sticking up. If you need to flatten the sharp edges yourself, that’s what the grinder is for. Here they welded 1/8″ metal rod all along the edges and eventually added some cross bars as well. Besides not getting gouged every time you BBQ, it also makes it easier to scrub after grilling. 

barrel - stands - relief cuts

  • Take two lengths of 1/2″ box tube and make relief cuts every two inches so you can bend them to the shape of the barrel. Then bend it around the barrel.

barrel - stand - relief welded

  • Once you’ve got the shape you desire, weld the cuts smooth with your 70 amp stick welder. This creates a sturdy cradle on which you’ll be attaching the legs.

barrel - stands welded on

  • Then weld the half moon shapes to the ends of the barrel. They should make a nice snug fit.

barrel - hinges

  • Attach hinges to the barrel and lid, and reinforce it with steel plates on the inside to ensure a long-lasting, sturdy hinge.

barrel - on legs

  • Determine how high you want your grill to be (3-ft. is good) and accordingly cut the 2×1 square tubing into legs. Cut relief marks about 6″ down the legs so you can bend them outward for greater stability. Now weld on the legs, and you have your very own, cheap and efficient 55-gal. drum grill!

barrel - complete

Of course, you’ll probably want to add handles, a couple of vents, a hole on the bottom for dripping. If you came this far, though, I trust you can take it from here.

How To Wax Your Car the Right Way

Get in the habit of polishing your car routinely and you’ll have a sweet looking ride for years.

firebird - polishing

It’s no great secret that waxing and polishing your vehicle will prolong the life and beauty of its appearance. But, knowing how to wax and buff your car properly can save you a chunk o’ change over time.

The Tools

First, you’ll need a competent electric polisher. These can range from $40 into the hundreds and, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, the highest price doesn’t necessarily mean the best. We like the Chicago Electric 7″ 5.7 Amp HD Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher #66615. It’s a real workhorse and its variable speed and oscillating head eliminate swirl marks like magic.

You’ll also need buffing pads, buffing compound and a car kit, which usually includes car polish, car wax, and microfiber cloths in kit form.

Before you do anything, wash the car first. You want your vehicle to be clean and dry before you start.

Buffing

Apply a liberal amount of buffing compound to the car surface, particularly to the rough, scratched and weathered areas. The whole point of buffing is to make a rough surface a smooth one. It works by stripping away a fine layer of tired paint and exposing the fresh paint underneath; in essence, the compound serves as a paint stripper. When you wax your car immediately after buffing, the wax will restore the protective armor of its original clear coat.

Spread the compound evenly across the area with the buffing pad, while the buffer is OFF, so that it doesn’t splatter onto surrounding surfaces. For example, keep the compound off the chrome, glass or rubber.

Turn the buffer on and work the area in circular motions, holding the pad completely flat at all times. Turning the buffer at an angle or applying too much pressure can burn the paint surface and cause swirling. Work one quarter of a panel at a time until you get a bright gloss. The surface should feel smooth and look new.

firebird - polishing 2

If the paint’s in decent condition and only needed some TLC, follow the same steps as above, but this time use car polish instead of buffing compound. You won’t need as much polish as compound because polish can cover a greater area and strips away less paint. Follow the process across the vehicle’s entire surface until the paint is restored.

Buffing should be done about once a year, and if you keep the car in the garage and the paint still looks decent, just use the polish instead of the compound. If, on the other hand, you live on the coast (or you’re in an area where salt is used to melt ice) and the car’s kept outside, you may want to buff more than once a year. Or, if you keep it parked under a tree where sap and bird poop reside, you should make it a habit to buff the car 2-3 times a year.

Waxing

Wax in conditions between 55° and 85° F, preferably on the cooler side. In hot weather, the wax dries as soon as you apply it to the surface, making buffing difficult. It can also make the wax hard to remove once applied. In colder weather, the wax is hard to move around and apply as well. In a perfect world, you’ll be able to wax your car in the garage or under cover, away from the sun’s rays. Sunlight can heat the car up and leave a waxy residue which can be a bear to remove.

The wax you choose is important, too. The best wax for your car contains carnauba; we like Meguiar’s.

Replace the buffer pad with a new, clean one. Spread car wax evenly over the car’s surface, gently pulsing the polisher’s trigger (as opposed to keeping it running continuously) running the pad over the surface in circular motions with about 3-5 lbs. of pressure. By doing this, you make sure the car wax doesn’t clump or cake on the surface. Only cover a quarter of the panel at a time before removing the wax. Don’t let the wax sit too long on your car. This will cause it to dry to your car and leave obvious marks. Some waxes will require a set time before removal, so refer to the directions on the bottle. Use a soft microfiber cloth to remove the wax, using circular motions to get that spiffy high gloss.

Repeat the process across the entire surface of the paint.

firebird - polished 3

Because the rule of thumb is to wax your car every three months (but don’t buff every time you wax), you should become a master at it in no time. Your car will look great, your cul-de-sac’s property value will go up and you’ll finally be able to punch that bully on the beach (“Thanks, Harbor Freight!”)

A REAL WORKHORSE—THE 10 IN. SLIDING COMPOUND MITER SAW

10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Whether you’re a DIYer or professional contractor, a sliding compound miter saw is a must-have for making cross, bevel and miter cuts. Take the 10 In. Sliding Compound Miter Saw from Harbor Freight—it features a powerful 15 amp motor, easy access brushes and dual linear slide rails which provide stability for making smooth, precise cuts. Plus, the saw makes miter cuts up to 12 inches wide and has a 45 degree tilting blade. Thanks to Harbor Freight’s Quality Assurance Team and feedback from customers like you, Harbor Freight has made this workhorse even better. Here’s what actual users are saying about it:

[Harbor Freight] has apparently been listening.  Fence and arm were perfectly aligned. Laser was easily adjusted and aligned to the blade. Laser now has a separate on/off switch. Came with a lumber hold down clamp, batteries for the laser and a hex wrench for the blade. Cuts great.  — Smoke, NC

Well worth the money. Comes with replacement brushes. Cool! — David, Sacramento, CA

I used this saw for a home improvement project and it worked so well. The measurements were right on and I love the laser light. Helped make the job more professional. — randyc, Charles Town, WV

I bought this saw because I was not able to cut anything over 6 inches with my other miter saw. After using this saw, I don’t even use the other miter saw anymore. — elvoiles, KY

For the garage, shop or worksite, the 10 In. Sliding Compound Miter Saw will be your go-to time and time again! And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices and 600+ stores nationwide, it’s time get one!

10 In. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
item #: 61971

How To Use a Magnesium Fire Starter To Make a Campfire

campfire

Here’s some good info everyone should have at their disposal, whether it be for camping or emergency situations. In fact, it’s so stinking easy, you’ll wonder why you never picked it up before.  That strange, cheap little hunk of magnesium and flint steel will save your bacon and pay for itself several times over in just one dire situation.

What’s magnesium, anyway? Magnesium is the seventh most common element in the earth’s crust. During WWII it was used to make fire bombs employed in European missions. It was also a main ingredient for flash powder in early photography. Today, magnesium is still used in fireworks and pyrotechnics. And, of course, fire starters.

magnesium firestarter

Here’s how to use your magnesium fire starter to make a fire:

  • Find an area where you can have a fire, hopefully a spot protected from any present elements like high wind and rain. Clear the area of dry grass, twigs, etc.
  • Gather up the tinder. If you’re a “Be Prepared” type of person, the best tinder would be a ziplock full of petroleum jelly-saturated cotton balls. But, if you just happend to have left those at home, dry moss, pine cones, dry pine needles, tiny twigs, dry grass and thin shreds of wood all make great tinder. Leaves can work too if they’re really dry. Even newspaper, or a paper napkin. Make sure the fuel is as dry and dead as possible.  If the leaf litter is wet from rain or dew, carefully lift the top layers to see if the lower layers are still dry — or check under thick foliage, which may have protected tinder from rain. You may also be able to find dry moss, pine needles or tiny twigs in these protected areas. Hollow logs are good, too. Or, if you’re not having much luck doing that, put the least damp tinder in your pocket for a while and let the heat dry it out. If you see any larger sticks or wood that looks useable, grab that aw well so it’ll be ready when needed.

tinder

  • Build your structure. The three go-to designs for a campfire are Teepee, Log Cabin and Lean-to (or variations of any of the three). For the sake this tutorial, we’ll be using the teepee build. Construct a teepee of twigs and small branches (like the picture below on the left), evenly distributing so it can bear additional wood after the fire takes.

campfire builds

  • Prepare the tinder. Once your structure is built, make a bundle out of your tinder that will catch the sparks from the fire starter. Place it as close to the structure as possible without going all the way in– in the “doorway” is best. On top of the tinder bundle, place a dry leaf or an old receipt to contain the magnesium shavings. In the best of worlds, you’d have some duct tape handy to keep the shavings from blowing away, but the structure and “container” (leaf or receipt) should do the trick.
  • Keep a bucket or other container of water nearby in case, for any reason, you need to put the fire out.

campfire magnesium shavings

  • Hold the magnesium block down, pointed at the tinder bundle. Then with the other hand, hold the serrated metal blade that came with your HF Magnesium Fire Starter at a slight (45º) angle against the block and shave tiny flakes downward onto the bundle. If the fire starter you have didn’t come with a blade, use the backside of a knife. Smaller shavings and pieces work best. Keep going at it until you have a pile of magnesium shavings on your tinder bundle about the size of a quarter.

campfire ignite magnesium

  • Using your serrated blade or backside of a knife, strike a spark to ignite the magnesium on the tinder bundle. But instead of sliding the blade down the flint toward the tinder, hold the blade stationary, down with the tinder bundle, and slide the flint up toward you. This keeps the spark close to the tinder. Keep scraping until a spark lands on the magnesium shaving and ignites it.
  • When a spark catches the magnesium, the shavings will burn bright, hot and fast. The generated heat will then spread to the tinder, catching it on fire as well. This is a crucial moment. You may have to urge the young flame on by very gently blowing on it and giving it additional oxygen. You may also need to adjust it a little here and there it to allow the young fire to spread.

campfire tinder goes in

  • As the tinder fire grows, you’ll need to carefully slide it– in tact–  into the campfire structure. You might want to use a couple of sticks to push the bundle under if it’s too hot to handle. Then, as you prepare for the next phase, maybe feed it some more leaves and grass to keep it stoked.
  • Another crucial moment. Fire needs a proper blend of oxygen, fuel and heat. As your structure starts catching on fire, blow on it and feed it by gradually adding slightly larger and larger twigs and sticks. Don’t get carried away, give it time. If you drop a log on it too soon, you’ll be back to square one, rummaging for dead grass. Don’t be that guy.

campfire successful

  • And while you want to be patient, you also want to keep feeding. Find larger sticks and logs to keep the fire growing and happy for the endurance you need to stay warm, dry and protected.

Practice Using The Magnesium Fire Starter

I’ve already said it before, but I’ll say it again: be prepared. It’s not enough to have your magnesium fire starter, you should be ready in an instant to know how to use it. Whether you’re stranded in the cold and wt woods or the arid, desert wilderness, knowing how to make a fire in a SHTF situation will give you life, comfort and security. So practice at home– when the need isn’t there– until you’ve got it down cold (or hot).

And, one last thing. You might want to rethink taking that baggie of petroleum jelly cotton balls.