The Drop-Dead, Gotta-Have Drill/Driver

i love my drill driver 2

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

Not Just a Drill

driver and drill

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

drill driver clutch

drill driver drill bit


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

drill driver art

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


Sanding has got to be my least favorite part of any project. Manual sanding is a long, excruciating ritual with relatively little payoff. Using sanding blocks isn’t much better. The paper’s a bear to get on and, maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t want to stay on, either.

hand sanding

Maybe you’re lucky enough to still have your dad’s old vibrating sander. That’s an improvement, sure, but you can still do better. When the dust settles, when it comes to stripping paint from furniture, preparing new molding or cleaning up between finish coats, you won’t get more bang for your buck than with a random-orbit sander. It even smooths and cleans metal and composite materials like solid-surface counter tops. Use a random-orbit on your next project and I’ll bet you a Buffalo nickel you’ll be using it over any other sander from then on.

random product pic

1. Smoothability

A random-orbit sander performs by moving in “random orbits” (ironic, I know) or ellipses,  and also spins in circles. Unlike disk and orbital finishing sanders , the random-orbit leaves behind no swirls or curlicues. It can move across different grain directions without leaving so much as a scratch.

2. Diversability

Another reason why this type of sander makes sense is, it can be used for all types of sanding chores, from the tougher stuff like stripping down paint, to more gentle tasks like smoothing contours.

random pic furniture

3. Maneuverability

Random-orbit sanders generally come in 5″ or 6″ sizes, based on the size of the sanding disk. The 5″ models tend to be more popular with DIYers, though, as they’re capable of being more nimble on the contours. They’re conveniently controlled with the light touch of your palm and with just a little urging, you can let the sander do all the work. Sweet, no?

random product dust bag

4. Suckability

The most desirable models come with a vacuum system. A vacuum sucks away virtually all the dust through holes in the disk pad while you’re sanding–keeping the surface of the sandpaper cool and clog-free– and deposits it into a detachable container. However, even with the vacuum system there’s bound to be a marginal amount of airborne dust, so it’s still advised to wear safety goggles and a respirator mask.

5. Affordability

 Prices for random-orbit sanders can reach upwards of several hundred dollars. The Chicago Electric 2 Amp 5″ model (#69857) featured in this article is rated at 4.5 out of 5 stars and can be had for under $30.


You might think of Harbor Freight as the place to shop for vocational school but you may not be aware that Harbor Freight is a great place to shop for general back-to-school items as well. Below are five must-have items available at all Harbor Freight stores nationwide! And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices, you’ll feel a lot better before your son or daughter heads off to the University of Drastically Expensive & Burdensome Tuition, a.k.a. U of DEBT.

For moving into the dorm room, you just can’t beat the 18 In x 12-1/4 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly. It’s lightweight but can carry heavy load after heavy load.

18 In x 12.25 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly

18 In x 12-1/4 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly
Item #61899


Things break… book shelves, chair backs, desk handles, you name it! The quick fix is right at your fingertips with the 130 Pc Tool Set with Case from Harbor Freight. From screwdrivers and pliers to a hammer and tape measure, this tool set contains 130 of the most commonly used tools and accessories. With this tool set, you can fix practically everything but a broken heart.
130 Pc Tool Set with Case

130 Pc Tool Set with Case
Item #68998



After studying hard, you’ll need a road trip to blow off some steam and refresh your knowledge-wary brain. It’s never hard to find friends to join you. The last thing you need is to get stuck somewhere with a dead battery. That’s where the 3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply comes in. With this device, you can jump start a weak or dead battery, run/charge 12VDC auto, RV, marine or other portable appliances that draw up to 10 amps or illuminate an area with the built-in worklight.

3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply

3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply
Item #38391


A good combination lock is mandatory equipment to secure class or gym lockers, bikes, storage chests and more. Harbor Freight offers this tried and true classic featuring a solid steel alloy shackle and chrome-plated finish.

Combination Padlock

Combination Padlock
Item #92769


“Laptops and tablets and cell phones, oh my!” said the electrical outlet. But you don’t need a wizard to solve the power problem—you just need the 4 Outlet Power Strip from Harbor Freight Tools! Features include a heavy duty 24 in. power cord, lighted on/off switch with integrated 15 amp circuit breaker, slotted housing for wall or bench mounting and four three-prong grounded outlets.

4 Outlet Power Strip

4 Outlet Power Strip
Item #91334


To check out more useful back-to-school items, visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store!

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

belt disk sander 1

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

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

belt disk sander 2

Safety Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

operating belt disk sander

When Operating the Belt/Disc Sander

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

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

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

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

5. Always hold the piece securely when sanding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central-Machinery Belt/Disc Sanders

belt disk sander art

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

9 x 6 belt disc sander

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

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


cutting circle on table saw

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

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

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

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

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

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

You now have a perfect circle cut!

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


diy workshop

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

bb gun

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

high rider

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

Clean Out the Garage

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

  • Have a Yard Sale

yard sale

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

  • Thrift Stores

thrift store

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

  • Alternative Storage

overhead storage

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

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

The Workbench

workbench work station

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

Tool Storage

tool cabinet with tools

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

tool cabinet combo

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

Integrate and Modify

tool cabinet workbench mod 1

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

tool cabinet workbench mod 3

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

tool cabinet workbench mod 4

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



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


flourescent lighting

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


shop fan

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

Workshop Flooring

anti fatigue floor pads

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


diy workshop

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

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

Entertainment, Creature Comforts and the Rest

mini fridge

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

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


Harness AC Power on the Go!

Whether you’re making a quick pit-stop or find yourself stuck on the side of the road, you can always use a reliable Power Inverter for running electronics from your vehicle. The 2000 Watt Continuous/4000 Watt Peak Power Inverter (Item #: 69662) from Harbor Freight is an ideal inverter unit that enables you to run a wide range of useful devices and tools!  From powering up your phone or laptop to running small power tools, this handy unit gives you portable AC power when and where you need it.


Make camping trips more fun and rest stops less annoying by simply keeping one of these little power inverters in your vehicle. The inverter not only features a high surge capacity for products that require up to 4000 watts to start, but also a modified sine wave for up to 87% efficiency during operation. With protection from low/high voltage, high temperatures, and high currents, this Power Inverter is both safe and easy to use with a wide variety of items!

“Easy to hook up, simple to use, provides a solution to a home off the grid using solar power. Gives 110 volt AC power for those things that are not 12 volt DC.” – by Bob from Arizona

“Works well.” – by joej from Missouri

Okay, Bob and joej are men of few words. Let’s hear from Motorcycle Dave:

“I bought this inverter to replace a failed 2000 watt unit. The new model, Cen-Tech 2000 watt, runs everything exactly the same as the old one. One feature that is nice, the cooling fans only come on when there is enough load on the unit to cause it to heat up a bit. It has a USB port built in for charging phones, etc. When running the power adapter for our computer, inverter fans never come on as power draw is so low. I leave it on all night with the coffee maker programmed to start in the morning, have not had a problem with power consumption at idle, seems to be extremely low. It also has a third outlet, which is nice. If this unit holds up as well as the last one, I will be thrilled.” – by Motorcycle Dave from Idaho

Now that’s a review! If you’ve considered picking up a Power Inverter for your car or truck or just as a spare for general use, the 2000 Watt Continuous/4000 Watt Peak Power Inverter is just what you need! Get down to your local Harbor Freight store and pick yours up today.


pioneer speakers

Remember when your speakers were the nicest pieces of furniture you owned (even beating out the cable spool coffee table and matching orange crate record holders)? Even now, I”ll go so far as to say they’d still be the most gorgeous pieces in my house if I still had my Marantz quadrophonic ruling the roost.

marantz white

Ah, but the world has moved on to iPod docks and Bose Wave systems, and other soulless devices of aural sterility. Perhaps, though, your Pioneers (or JBLs or Advents) are still in the garage, under boxes of Christmas lights or the old carburetor you swore you were going to rebuild. Maybe the cones are shot, but you just haven’t been able to bring yourself to part with that beloved part of your history. Well, now you don’t have to! Not only can you keep your lattice beauties, but you can emancipate them from storage and return them to their rightful place– the entertainment room!

speaker liquor cabinet completeTurn that deceased speaker into a liquor cabinet… or any kind of cabinet you like, as explained by Hippiesarah on Here we proceed with the idea of keeping the cabinet looking like a real speaker. Of course, you can fashion it however you want.

Tools Needed:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Wire Cutter
  3. Cordless Drill
  4. Miter or Circular Saw
  5. Staple Gun
  6. Hot Glue Gun

Materials Needed:

  1. Unused speaker(s)
  2. Sandpaper
  3. Wood (for shelves; amount depends on the size of speaker)
  4. Paint
  5. Hinges
  6. Corner Brackets
  7. Light
  8. Pencil
  9. Paint marker
  10. Nitrile Gloves


Step #1 – Gut the Sucker!

gutted speaker

Wear some nitrile gloves– or other type of gloves that keep you dexterous– when you’re doing this. The cabinet’s insulation might be fiberglass, which can irritate the skin.

Remove the speaker cover. Most just pop off with velcro or pop-ins, but be careful not to break the cover frame from too much effort, especially if it’s an older cabinet. There’s also the chance it’s screwed in. Carefully remove the speaker, insulation, wiring and components.

Step #2 – Trace Your Outline

tracing the speaker

Once the speaker is completely gutted, put the cover back on. Then with a pencil,  mark exactly where it lays on the face of the speaker. It’s important you don’t cut the opening bigger than the speaker cover, so as to maintain the illusion that it’s still just a speaker. Remove the speaker cover again and use a paint marker to clearly outline where you want to cut.

Step #3 – Time to Cut

cutting speaker

Cut as straight as possible along your drawn lines. Once you’re finished, measure the width and depth of the speaker cabinet so you can cut your shelves. For this, you could salvage wood from old furniture or resort to buying a piece.

Step #4 – Sand and Paint

sand and paint

Sand where needed and paint the interior and your shelves any color you like. If there is a hole on the back of the cabinet, you could simply staple black fabric over the opening– or you could keep it to string in a light cord if you want to add electric illumination.

Step #5 – Brackets


When the paint has dried, it’s time to add the hardware. At this point, you should have an idea where you want your shelves to go. If you want to make your liquor cabinet like this, give the top shelf a good height to store your shot glasses, then give the next shelf room enough for rocks or highball glasses. Screw the corner brackets on the bottom of your shelves, then to the speaker walls.

Step #6 – Hinges

hingesYou might find that when you start to add the hinges, you run into a small issue. If you want the cabinet to look like an ordinary stereo speaker, then exposed hinges betray you (et tu, hinge-ay?)  In the top photo, see how the hinge lines up perfectly with a small space in the speaker cover? The fix: get a strip of scrap wood and sand it down till it fits tightly into the space. Then hot glue it into the cover and attached hinges as normal. With a quick dash of black paint marker, you can’t even tell anything was done.

Step 7: Light ‘Em Up

For convenience, and to add that touch of class, you may want to have a light in your liquor cabinet. This could be done by simply sticking in an LED click light with adhesive back, bringing electric lights through the cabinet’s back hole and stringing them around top, or getting one of those magnetic drawer lights that come on when you open the door.

Step 8: Bar’s Open!speaker liquor cabinet completeTime to stock your shelves and lie in wait for your first unsuspecting guests!

Or,  let’s say you’ve got towers. Maybe you’d like to try something like this, not quite as clandestine.
tower speaker cabinet

Or, maybe you don’t drink. In that case, perhaps you’d be interested in repurposing your speakers into a media library cabinet:

speaker media cabinet

Whatever your inclination, you can refer to these basic steps and your once-retired stereo speakers can give you hours more of pleasure! And remember, Harbor Freight‘s got the tools that can make it happen! “Sound” advice, no?

Wireless Security Alert System

Wireless Security Alert System

While you can’t put a price on “peace of mind”, you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it either! That’s where Harbor Freight comes in with the Wireless Security Alert System (Item #93068).

The security system features a wireless receiver that you can position anywhere inside your home while the outdoor weatherproof infrared security sensor detects outside motion up to 400 ft. When a vehicle or person comes into range, an alert will chime on the indoor receiver. You’ll never be caught off-guard again! The installation is quick and easy with mounting hardware included. Additionally, the unit is powered by one 9V and three C batteries (sold separately).

You can pick up your Wireless Security Alert System at any one of Harbor Freight’s stores nationwide or And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low price, your wallet will stay as secure as your home!

Wireless Security Alert System
Item #93068

Miter Saw Tips For Beginners

miter saw glam shot

You recently started woodworking and totally love it. Now you’re ready to take your mad DIY skillz to the next level? Well, the miter saw is an awesome tool to have in your workshop arsenal. This is the go-to tool cuts for crown molding, picture frames, door frames, window casings, decks, furniture, flooring  — and that’s just a fraction of what it can do. When asked what their favorite tool in the shop is, a lot of folks say, “My miter saw! I love it!”

miter saw angle

The miter saw is designed to cut different kinds of angles.  If a board is flat on saw’s base, the cut across the wide part is called a miter. Hold the board vertical and set it against the saw’s fence,  you’re cutting a bevel. Most saws cut from 90 to 45-degrees, but some can cut even steeper angles, up to 55 degrees.

miter saw 10 non slide

Before you go to the store, know this: miter saws are NOT created equal. There are three types of miter saws on the market: miter saw, compound miter saw, and sliding compound miter saw. A compound miter can cut a bevel and a miter at the same time. It’s great for cutting things like crown molding. A sliding compound miter cuts multi-angles like a compound miter, but also has a sliding action that lets you cut even wider boards.

miter saw cutting angle

Miter saws also come in two sizes, 10″ and 12″, based on the diameter of the blade. The size you get depends on the work you anticipate doing, but know that the 12″ blade is able to cut thicker and wider than the 10″. For example, a 10″ miter saw will cut a 2×6 at 90 degrees and a 2×4 at 45-degrees, while the 12″ can cut a 2×8 at 90 degrees and a 2×6 at 45 degrees. A laser marker feature is also nice! So, before you lay down your money, think carefully about all the things you might use it for. It also stands to reason that a 12″ sliding compound miter saw will cost more than a 10″ compound.

Miter saws can take your DIY skills to the next level, but it’s important to make sure you follow some basic safety tips before starting your cuts.

miter saw CU laser

Before You Cut! Safety Tips:

  • Before the switch is thrown; safety glasses, ear buds, gloves, dust mask!
  • Remove all distractions (kids, pets).
  • Remove scraps and other foreign objects from the machine before operating; also remove loose chips along the way, after the blade stops.
  • Keep a firm grip on the saw handle and on the work piece; make sure it is firmly up against the table and fence before cutting.
  • Anticipate flying pieces– getting startled with a spinning blade in front of you could be bad.
  • Never work with a dull blade.
  • Don’t operate a saw without a blade guard.
  • Never leave the machine until the blade comes to a full stop.
  • When the board is cut all the way, release the trigger and allow the blade to come to a complete stop, then raise the blade. If the blade is still spinning when you lift, there is more apt to be flying pieces.
  • Never start the saw when the blade is touching the wood; allow it to be at full speed before cutting.
  • Never put your body in the path of the blade (sure, you say “duh” now); never let your arms cross while cutting.
  • If the piece you’re working with is short, use clamps; don’t get your hands too close to the blade, stay at least 6″ away.
  • Make sure your work piece is supported before cutting. More than half the length should be resting on the saw. You need to focus on your cut, not balancing the wood.
  • Go slow when cutting knots; they can break up and shoot pieces.
  • Make sure you’re not cutting through metal (nails and staples).

And if that weren’t enough, here are some more tips in’s Miter Saw Safety Manual.

miter saw handyman

Tips On Operating a Miter Saw

  • When working with small pieces of wood, cut with a chopping motion; when cutting a large piece, slide blade out, cut down and push back in.
  • When marking your board, draw the line all the way across the stock, then drop the blade to the wood to check your alignment. Adjust the piece as needed before cutting.
  • Go slow with bevel cuts, especially if you’re chopping with the blade as opposed to sliding.
  • When first cutting your miter cuts, purposely cut slightly long and just a little at a time so you can readjust as you go. If you try to get right on the line, chances are good you’ll cut short.
  • Always cut the factory end from a board before measuring for your final cut. This ensures better fitting parts.
  • Let the saw do the work; don’t force the blade through the wood.
  • More teeth means better quality cuts: Use a blade with more than 50 teeth for construction cuts, and with more than 90 teeth for fine cuts. For treated lumber, use a lower tooth count, even for fine cuts; the open spaces between the teeth clear the debris and puts less strain on the saw’s motor.
  • If possible, cut one angle end of a part first, then mark the cut on the opposite end after you test fit the first cut.
  • When making repetitive cuts, set up a stop block. For long boards, set the stop up next to the saw. For short cuts,draw a line on the saw. Use masking tape and a pencil to make the line. Then remove the tape when done. This is much more accurate and efficient than individually measuring each part.
  • To speed up the cuts and increase their accuracy, cut a piece of 1/4″ plywood the height of the fence and the length of the saw. Attach it to the fence on both sides of the blade with double-face carpet tape. Then make a cut through the plywood. This will show you exactly where the saw blade will cut. Then move your marked board up to the edge of the cut for a perfect result.

As this is a serious purchase for a serious tool, I encourage you to surf operational videos, blogs and forums to get a well-rounded understanding of miter saws. When you’re ready to pull the trigger and shop for yours, be sure to make your first stop Harbor Freight Tools. They have all types and sizes of saws, safety gear, blades, stands and more!