When Welders Bond

April is National Welding Month. This is a really special time. It’s when grown men convene to talk openly about “bird poop,” “fish eyes” and “wetting out”– and arguing about who’s more “golden from the shoulder to the holder.” One cannot help but be drawn to such stout-hearted bonding… which is why it’s a great time to take advantage of the welding supply deals currently running at Harbor Freight Tools.

Like, for example, the Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder. A sweet acquisition for those looking to get into welding without dropping a big chunk o’ change– now, for a limited time, only $99.99 with coupon! Build or repair a boat trailer, create an anchor, a 55-gal drum BBQ, a bullet catcher box for a .22… fix an ATV snow plow skid plate or broken exhaust pipe… do some light body work or make a trellis for the garden– this baby won’t quit! And it will pay for itself in no time!

This 90-amp flux core arc welder’s got the functionality of a MIG welder without the hassle of using gas. Rather, it’s designed to use self-shielding flux-cored welding wire, which means set-up and use are easy. It comes with variable speed wire control, thermal overload protection and works on a myriad of metals (excluding aluminum and stainless steel).

And while you’re pulling together your welding equipment, make sure you pick up a Chicago Electric MIG – Flux Welding Cart. This is a favorite among HFT customers, and it’ll take no time for you to become a member of the fan club. First of all, Harbor Freight’s welding cart is nearly identical to others on the market that sell for a whole lot more. Conservatively rated at 100 lbs., this cart will handle your welder and gear with agility and smooth maneuverability on your shop floor. A tilted top shelf provides easy access to the controls, and the bottom shelf gives you a lot of storage space. This welding cart features a heavy-duty steel construction, and a powder coat finish for ultra durability, making it perfect for novice and pro welder alike– and this month it’s on sale for only $39.99 with coupon!

Meanwhile, get maximum protection from the Chicago Electric Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet with Blue Flame Design (not that the blue flame offers any additional protection, but it looks wicked cool to envious friends and passers-by).

This lightweight and sturdy welder’s helmet features a superior auto-darkening mask lens that makes operating your arc, MIG or TIG welding safe and clear. Plus, that auto-darkening lens measures a generous 3-7/8″ x 1-5/8″ wide to give you a full view of your work. It comes with a ratcheting helmet headband and padded interior for a comfortable fit, and as I said, the cool design will make you want to hum the Mission:Impossible theme every time you stoke up the welder.

You’ll be amazed at how fast it darkens and lightens. You can weld, chip slag and grind without ever touching your helmet, or take it off and put goggles on. And now, for a limited time, you can pick up one of these most excellent welding helmets for only $39.99 with coupon! That’s a deal at twice the price!

Harbor Freight Oxygen and Acetylene Welding Kit

Finally, if you’re an armchair hobbyist, or only anticipate the occasional cutting or welding jobs, I submit to you one of the welder’s favorite tools– the Chicago Electric Oxygen And Acetylene Welding Kit. Here’s a complete welding kit that handles a broad range of cutting, welding and heating applications. The kit comes complete with oxygen and acetylene hoses, welding nozzle, cutting tip, cutting attachment, goggles, torch handle with built-in flashback arrestors and check valves, tip cleaners and striker– all packed in a heavy-duty storage case! With this kit you can be nearly prepared for everything. This is a PERFECT GIFT for that welder in your circle– versatile, portable AND affordable at only $129.99!

Celebrate National Welding Month with these and other great welding supply buys at Harbor Freight Tools!

The Big Wind

“Aiiii! David! My flaw! My flaw!”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that, growing up in New York. I’d come home after playing hard all day, burst in the door, oblivious to where I was walking.

“Ma, I’m home!”

“Aiii! My flaw! My flaw!”

“Hah? Wha? Ma?”

“My flaw! I jus’ mopped da flaw!!”

It was like being greeted by some big, exotic Bronx bird. And, of course we lived in an apartment, so you’d hear it coming from open windows all over the building.

“Ma!”

“Eeeek! Get awf da flaw!”

“Hah?”

“Da FLAW!!”

Not exactly The Waltons, but you embrace the memories you’re handed.

Too bad our Moms didn’t have the Chicago Electric 3-Speed Portable Blower from Harbor Freight. Their flaws would have been dry long before we showed up, and we would have been spared the tinnitus. The portable blower fan not only speeds up the drying of floors, carpets and paint jobs, it’s also great for blowing away heat, fumes, dust and odors. Durable and lightweight, it’s built for adjustable wind direction and comes with a convenient carry handle for easy transport.

Take a look at what people who’ve bought the powerful, little blower have to say:

“I use this for creating a breeze during hot summer times outside, or drying up the kitchen after mopping. This thing is small (I was a little scared that it would be under-powered) but it delivered great performance. I would compare it to those Lasko high-velocity blowers. This sucker blows as hard or even harder than that. The outlets on the side are perfect for connecting tools close to the blower to keep cool. This thing will out-blow any floor fans you can buy at Walmart. Great investment, been using for 3+ months every day for extended hours (overnight when I sleep) and it’s lasting.”  Jae – Bakersfield, CA

“Not light weight. Very heavy construction. Squirrel cage fan. Very directional. When I want to dry something or blow air on me, this critter does not cause a room tornado. The power cord of course is metric but seems to be 12 or 14 gauge. I have connected at 1650 watt heater to the onboard receptacle when I lacked a suitable extension cord and after 8 hours of use the power cord and plug were cool. The unit puts out more air for its size than anything else I’ve ever owned. It has spent two years in the jungle area of México and survived. I cannot imagine the most expensive blower on the market as being better, size for size.”  El Codo – Mexico

“This unit was bought to help circulate the air and cool the basement during the summer months. Works great, strong blower at 1/2 the price of national home centers blower can’t say anything negative about unit, if you need to dry out a wet basement or rooom or need to get air moving to help cool you in the summer this unit is the one for you.”  Germpa1 – US

When you consider all of the uses for the 3 Speed Portable Blower, the more you realize what an excellent tool it is to have around– and for just $49.99 (not to mention using the 20% Off Coupon, bringing the price down to $39.99), there’s no excuse NOT to run over to Harbor Freight, or jump on the website, and get this blower now!

And if for no other reason, do it to stop tinnitus. For the kids, man.

Harbor Freight Blows – Masterfully!

Oh, what a difference a cool breeze makes! I think we’ve all experienced enough hot air (even when it’s not an election year) to know that buying a capable fan is NOT a no-brainer. Such disagreeable memories linger with us, and the recent unseasonably warm days are reminding us, it’s time to buy some fans! For the garage or shop… the porch and patio… maybe the loft.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Chicago Electric 30″ Pedestal Shop Fan. Its three settings –7400, 7430 and 7730 CFM– deliver strong currents  of cool air; the fan tilts up to 75 degrees and the base can be adjusted from 62-3/4” to 85-1/2”, so air will go directly where you need it to.

But, like I always say, it’s not enough to just give in to fancy promises from slick copywriters. What are the customers around the country saying? Here are a few comments:

“I bought this fan for my AZ house, where it gets very hot. As a retired Fire Fighter, I use it for positive-pressure ventilation. I place it on the shady side of the house about 8′ from the door and blow the cool night air through the house. I run it for about 6 hours at a time, and it stays outside all year long. I have been using it for about 4 years now with no problems. Saves using the A/C for about 4 months out of the year.”  Unclebob9 – Bullhead City, AZ

“Well it’s very hot in Tampa , the summer heat is no joke! You need a shop fan that will do the job, move air! Well this fan moves air in all three speeds. This is a must-have item in the shop for the long summer days. The product is well built and only takes 20. min. to build. I added 4 locking casters to the four pre-drilled holes in the base. This allows this beast to move around the floor just where you need it. 5 stars!”  Harley Pete – Tampa, FL

“After reading all of the other reviews, I was skeptical about buying this fan, but have been dying in this SoCal heat. I unpacked all of the parts and realized assembly is pretty self-explanatory. I did not need the directions and only used 3 tools (a Phillips head screwdriver, an 8 mm wrench, and a 10 mm wrench). I had it together in about 10 minutes, plugged it in, turned it on, and wow! I am a mechanic and it has been getting up to 99 degrees in the shop these past few weeks, but this fan makes it bearable, easily dropping the temp 10 to 15 degrees (in front of the fan of course). I have the fan placed about 15 feet away and turned on high and it has enough power to keep my shirt flapping in the wind. We have 3 fans in my shop; a 36″ floor barrel-type, a 24″ pedestal-type, and mine. Mine is the second loudest, but blows the most air. All in all, I’m EXTREMELY glad I bought this fan.”  VW Mechanic – Paramount, CA

So, it only goes to show, at the BLOWout price of $139.99, the 30″ pedestal shop fan at Harbor Freight BLOWS the competition in value. Don’t BLOW the opportunity to get one– or more– for your shop or garage, or you will WIND up regretting it (much as I will these pathetic stabs at humor).

 

If you’re not in the market for a pedestal fan, Harbor Freight also has the gusty Chicago Electric 24″ Shop Floor Fan. This high-power work horse provides massive air flow for ventilating large areas, drying carpets, flooded basements or paint jobs,  or removing chemical fumes quickly. It’s also perfect for outdoor parties or gatherings around the patio. This industrial-grade unit comes with low and high settings,  thermal-overload protection and two carry handles for easy portability. At the low price of $129.99, it’s a great addition to any work area.

And, as with the pedestal fan, the comments say it all:

“I have a 24-inch Global Industrial blower fan. When I found out Harbor Freight was selling this fan, I went to check it out. Wow! This fan is same in every detail except for the stand.You can pay more, but you can not buy a better fan anywhere, I know this. They low-ball this fan in output, too. It’s lot higher, folks. Commercial grade? More like industrial grade.”  Cold Breeze – San Diego, CA

“This is a great little item for a party or even for your work. For this size, it delivers a great amount of air. I love it. Compact and light, great to take to your workplace.”  TNSHP – US

“Used in a flooded basement– worked real good moving the air.”   Kenny, Wichita, KS

On your next trip to Harbor Freight, check out the shop fans– as well as their other terrific deals– and don’t forget to bring along your 20% Off Coupon!

Harbor Freight 2 HP Dust Collector: The Woodworker’s Favorite Tool

Opinions are like hand tools– everybody’s got them (opinions are like other things, too, but I can’t think of what they are right now).

And, like opinions, while it might vary as to which of Harbor Freight’s quality, low-priced tools customers take a shining to, the Woodworking Guys seem to share a consensus of their favorites. Like the Chicago Electric 10″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw, with its consistently smooth, precise cuts; the industrial-quality Central Machinery 10″ 13-amp Industrial Bench Table Saw, so easy to use, accurate, and works like a heavyweight champ; the uncompromising Central Machinery 2.5 HP 12″ Planer and the powerful & compact Drill Master Trim Router.

And while I could name a dozen more off the top of my head (momentary power foot switch… ), there’s no denying that– by far– the most popular Harbor Freight product for woodworkers is the Central Machinery 2 HP Industrial 5 Micron Dust Collector. This dust collector vanquishes the finest sawdust, dirt and debris like a wormhole that suddenly appears and sucks galaxies. It comes  complete with a clear bottom bag so you see what’s been collected, and four locking swivel casters making it easy to move to wherever its needed. It has a 4″ diam. intake and 4″ diam. exhaust, and comes with two collecting bags and hex wrenches. You can pick one of these babies up at your local Harbor Freight, or order them online, priced at $199.99– or with the 20% Off Coupon, make it $160!

Just to get a taste of what the woodworkers ARE saying, though, here are a few comments submitted by experienced, hardcore fans:

“A year ago, when I was building my shop, I was shopping around for a dust collector to be the heart of my system. I looked at General, Jet, Grizzly, etc. But then I read several really postive reviews on the HF 2 HP model. I had a coupon for 169.00 for it so I figured, why not? Let me tell you, this thing is at least the equal of all of those others! I actually got a chance to examine a Jet, and a Grizzly….and they are almost identical. My longest run is 45 feet and I’ve had no trouble running one tool there and another 25 feet in the other direction, at the same time. It gets it all. Now I make a lot of dust here in my shop so this has gotten a workout in the last year, and I’m not disappointed. This is one of those rare Harbor Freight gems.”

–njcraftsman on Lumberjocks

“There isn’t much this little thingie can’t handle. Cabinet saw, no problem. 12 inch Planer, same same. 6-inch jointer, 6 x 48 flat belt, compound miter saw, nada. Moderate-sized drum sander, no problem-o. Don’t expect this rig to evacuate a 52-inch double wide belt sander though, but for most small shop cabinet men, chair makers and burl workers this will execute without hesitation. I’ve got mine in a room adjacent to my shop running through a bulkhead fitting; all you hear is the quiet screaming of the sawdust as it is slurped off to the Great Beyond. A metal trash can will fit nicely under the bag within the frame, which eases the unloading of poor, dead tree powder and other assorted shop waste. Don’t think you can run a 100-ft hose from your shop to your neighbor’s basement though; any DC system can only handle X amount of hose, especially if it is corrugated or has numerous 180′ turns. All in all, very pleased with this item, it can run with the big dogs all day long (going on 6 years) as long as you keep good duct work and hoses in the equation and mind your housekeeping regarding the top bags cleanliness.”

–R. E. Parks on Dakota Heirloom Woodworking

“At the end of the day, is this thing worth it? Heck yeah! I don’t think there’s anything that’s comparable for the price. As I stated, I don’t have a lot of personal experience with dust collectors, but I have no idea what a more expensive single stage dust collector could do that this one can’t. This product comes with a high recommendation from me, and it’s a pretty big improvement over my old shop vac based system.”

–haugerm on Woodworking Talk

Whether your passion is wood, metal, welding, engines, the yard– or a little of everything– you can count on Harbor Freight Tools to deliver quality, low-priced products that’ll get the job done and leave you some cash left over. Check out the deals today and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Garage Cleaning Pt. 2 – Making Space

With warm weather comes reclaiming the garage. It’s your Fortress of Solitude. Your “getting-things-done” place. But when you throw your body against the door and, on the third try, finally manage to pry it open, reality comes crashing down– as well as a stack of boxes and a pair of old Pioneer speakers. Somehow,over the course of the winter the garage has morphed into a disaster zone. Lawn tools and bikes and power tools and half-finished projects and other stuff cluttering up the bench tops and floor space, to the point that you can’t go out and fetch your Costco toilet paper without ripping your shirt and tripping over something. And then you swear, and your mother-in-law overhears it and she shoots your wife a look like, “you really screwed up hooking up with this fella”… even 20 years later.

You really need to clear out the garage! So, here are a few tools from Harbor Freight I’d like to suggest that’ll make your feng shui the right way:


I think you’ll agree, there’s nothing in the garage with more “trip potential” than the family bicycles. It’s like the damned things have minds of their own, fighting you every step of the way as you try to get passed them. No longer be that victim! Harbor Freight’s got a cool Bicycle Lift #95803 with a unique pulley locking mechanism that quickly hoists your bike up, off the ground. Mounting hardware and a 46 ft. nylon rope are included and set-up couldn’t be easier. They’re great for kids’ bikes, mountain bikes, adult cruiser bikes, etc. And check out the customer reviews– some even use their bike lifts for other things like kayaks andconvertible tops! Perfect for anyone who needs a little extra space in their garage. The bike lifts sell for $8.99 each, well worth the price for free space, unscratched bikes and unbruised ankles!

When you were clearing the garage, I’m sure you noticed every once in a while kicking little pieces of something or another across the floor; screws, bolts, washers, etc. The next step is to clear the decks with 30″ Magnetic Sweeper #93245 from Central Machinery. Riding on 7″ wheels and sporting an extra-wide 30″ sweeper, this tool will quickly and easily pick up hardware, scrap, nails, wires, metal dust and other metal parts over garage and shop floors, carpet– and even grass!  The magnetic sweeper provides 50 lbs. of magnetic pull plus a one-pull release to quickly clean itself of the debris. Plus, the handle extends from 30″ to 44-1/2″. Only $39.99! And, if your areas are smaller, Harbor Freight also carries a 22″ Magnetic Sweeper #98399 for $34.99 and a mini 17″ Magnetic Sweeper #98398 selling for $9.99.

 

Besides clutter, an unattended garage can become a den of dust and grime. Hardware that uses oil and grease like auto parts, fasteners, hinges, padlocks, etc., quickly accumulate a greasy coat of scuz that can affect their performance. One of Harbor Freight customers’ favorite shop accessories is the legendary Chicago Electric 20-Gallon Parts Washer #7340. It comes with a fully enclosed electric pump that circulates 5-1/4 gallons-per-minute to dissolve grease, dirt and grime– from even the grungiest parts! Made of rugged steel, the parts washer includes a built-in drain and a latching cover to keep spills to a minimum.The 20-gallon tub sits atop a heavy-duty steel stand and includes a small parts basket, work shelf, storage shelf and flexible chrome spigot. This thing’s a virtual work horse and will perform righteously for mechanics and machine shop workers, as well as homegrown DIYers. It’s the perfect companion during engine, trans and carb rebuilds, not to mention any mechanical repair jobs. At $95.99, this parts washer will give you great service for years!

Don’t even think about messing around the grime, oil and chemicals without wearing protective 5-Mil Nitrile Safety Gloves #68498. Seriously, this one’s a no-brainer, guys. At just $5.99 for 100 gloves (50 pair), you get the peace of mind of being protected from harmful agents while maintaining the dexterity and comfort necessary to get the tasks done. These gloves provide better resistance to chemicals and such than lates, and also don’t trigger the allergic reaction that latex can. ‘Nuf said.

Finally, when the job’s done, make sure you’ve got a jug of 5-star hand cleaner, Orange Goop, nearby. This heavy-duty, citrus-scented hand cleaner is gentle on your hands, but tough on the grime. clean and smelling fresh! It removes grease, mud, plaster, paint, dirt, grime and more. With a convenient hand pump, this 1-gallon Goop– at just $9.99– makes it FUN to wash your hands! OK, not really, but it’s better than getting the stinkeye for blackening the bar soap and sink in the powder room.

My Super Sweet 16 DIY Solar Panel Kit Videos

Thunderbolt Magnum 45-Watt Solar Panel Kit

If you’ve been batting around the idea of picking up a Thunderbolt Magnum45-Watt Solar Panel Kit #68751, now’s the time to strike, my friend. This Friday-Sunday, March 8-10, the legendary Harbor Freight Tools Sidewalk Sale is running, with the solar panel kit going for a cool $139.99! And if you miss the sale, no worries– between now and Monday, March 18, the kit remains on sale for just $149.99. Talk about Daylight Savings Time (that’s OK, you’ll get it later…)!

Perhaps you’ve thought that the idea of setting up a solar system would be cool, but also a little intimidating. What’s in the kit? How do you put it together? What else do you need? How much do you need to know? The truth is, you don’t have to be a whiz kid to put something functional and efficient together for your home, garage, barn, shed, RV, camp or bug-out shelter.

First, what’s included in the kit, and what can it do? Not long ago, Dan Rojas, owner of Green Power Science put out a series of YouTube videos, explaining it pretty well.

In his first video, he goes over what the kit includes and also points out that you’ll also need at least one 12-volt battery (2 or more would be better– he recommends deep cycle) and a power inverter to make the system fully useful. For his demonstration he uses the Cen-Tech 750 Watt Power Inverter, but in the spirit of “More Is Better”– that is, if you intend to use the solar system for larger machinery or appliances– I suggest getting the Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Power Inverter. Of course, it depends on what you need the solar energy for. If you’re in a cabin and intend to occasionally vacuum or use a microwave, the 750 watt inverter won’t cut it.

Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Watt Power Inverter

 

Here’s a general guide of determining how big of an inverter you might need:

 

Appliance   Est. Watts   Appliance   Est. Watts
Cell phone 24 CD player 400
iPod 120 Toaster 1200
TV 25″ 175 Jig saw 350
Laptop computer 65-90 Circular saw 1250
Computer & monitor 400 1/2″ drill 700
Printer 75 Refrigerator 500
VCR 50 Vacuum 750
CPAP 200 Sub pump 1000
Blender 400 40″ fan 1100
Space heater 1000 Iron 1000
Coffee maker 800 Satellite dish 75
Microwave 1250 PS2, Xbox 125

Dan posted other informative videos, including 3-Solar Panel DIY Wiring and Solar Panel Wiring Configurations. You can catch his whole YouTube series here.

If you are really considering putting together a solar kit, one of best DIY solar websites to get acquainted with is the Do It Yourself Solar Energy Forum. This terrific site is a wealth of information with tips,  tutorials, videos and plain old general knowledge. Chances are good if you have a question, it’s been asked and answered on this forum. There’s a lot of coverage on the Harbor Freight 45-watt solar panel kit, too. Videos include everything from assembly, set-up, add-ons and plenty of personal mods from folks looking to build the better mousetrap. There are even videos on solar panel kit performance during rain and snow. My favorite video on this site was made by Larry “The Solar Toolman” Taylor:

I don’t think there’s a more practical and informative DIY video on home solar power set-ups out there. Larry followed this first how-to video with a Workshop #2 and a three-part Workshop #3. If you want to get some insight of just what you can do with your newly-harnessed solar power, definitely check these out.

Preppers represent a good number of the solar kit shoppers, which only makes sense. Nobody anticipates contingencies like a prepper. Only two weeks ago I wrote about Chappy from NewSurvivalSkills.com and how he employed a Harbor Freight solar panel briefcase to get power in the wild.

Another prepper clip I came across was from a guy with the moniker, ncprepper1. He uses three solar panel kits to run a 36″ TV (even in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you gotta have your TV), laptop, lights, a camera system, and more. To make room for even more solar kits, he shows how to build a wooden rack that can add three, making a total of 18 solar panels . Not to be outdone, LDSPrepper installed 4 solar panel kits (180 watts) on the side of his house with a 1500 watt power inverter,  and poses a convincing argument for why he decided to go with Harbor Freight solar panels.

Incidentally, LDSPrepper– who actually has a whole series of solar panel videos worth plowing through– repeatedly credits another YouTuber, econewpower, for helping him get started. This guy supplies his own treasure trove of solar panel kit how-to videos: I recommend starting with his How To Install Harbor Freight Solar Panels Part 1 . I think there are five parts in this series, plus he has other DIY solar videos on hand.

With the advent of spring fast approaching, it’s a great time to get started on your solar system project. Whether it be for emergencies, saving electricity costs or going green, solar is a solid alternative energy that, in extreme cases, could potentially save you and your family from losing creature comforts, food supplies or even lives.

Check out these and other videos on DIY solar panel kits and projects online!

Chicago Electric 2.5 hp 10-in. Tile-Brick Saw – Pays For Itself Over and Again!

I can’t believe it’s already March. It was warm and sunny this weekend, and all the garages in the cul-de-sac were open, shop tools howling and humming on new projects as kids took to the street with bikes and razors, and wives clustered in yards, catching up on all those mysterious lady-topics. I love this time of year.

A good friend of mine recently moved into the neighborhood and, for one of his initial projects, he wanted to re-tile his three bathrooms. He also talked about renovating the patio. On my advice, he picked up a Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10″ Industrial Tile/Brick Saw #69275 at Harbor Freight– with a 20% off coupon, the price dropped to $204. The tool would pay for itself, plus some, after just one job!

Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10-inch Tile-Brick Saw

While you may be thinking the price is so low, you’ll be happy it lasts long enough to finish the one job, think again– this beast is a keeper! Built in an over-sized steel frame, it comes with a precision linear bar system for smooth operation. The two-position cutting head lets you easily adjust the blade to handle tiles or bricks of various sizes. A built-in 3-gallon-per-minute water pump and a removable, high-impact ABS water tub are also included. Designed with a heavy-duty cast alloy column and cutting head for reduced vibration, this professional grade tile saw cuts tile up to 24”. The head pivots to allow for 22.5 and 45-degree bevel cuts, and the blade is adjustable for standard tiles or bricks up to 3-1/2″ thick.

I came across this video on YouTube this morning, submitted by a customer in 2010 who bought his tile saw back in 2006, and I thought it’d be a good way to show the machine in action. (The guy who shot it uses the handle, “jojuma91″. Out of gratitude, I included a link to his YouTube page)

Strange music compilation aside, this is an excellent illustration of the saw’s consistent, stellar performance.

In the DIY forum GarageJournal.com, the topic of “wet saws” comes up from time to time. Naturally, Harbor Freight is talked about– sometimes not flatteringly, but notice how those comments are from guys who didn’t actually own them. Here are a few I thought were worth mentioning:

“I have no complaints with my HF 10 inch wet saw. I cut all the bricks at crazy odd angles for my wood fired pizza oven and then cut a ton of bricks for my patio. It’s still going strong – and was quite accurate. I then got a new blade and used it to cut my granite counter tops. I bought it on a 20% off coupon when it had already been reduced in price. It looks bad but still runs great. I normally expect HF stuff to last me a single job. The saw has exceeded that expectation.” Chris

This next comment is so full of praise, I think the guy deserves a kickback (but you didn’t hear that from me):

“Another vote here for the Harbor Freight 10″ wet saw. A buddy of mine purchased one in 2003, for $279 I think it was. We have used this saw more than we ever thought we would. He tiled about 1400 square feet of porcelain floor tile with it, and a set of marble steps, lots of diagonal cuts, border, etc. The thought was, “Hey, if it lasts through this job, it will have paid for itself, vs. renting a saw”. Saw worked great.

He then did his whole brick driveway (curved borders) with it. Came through like a champ. I then borrowed it from him, and tiled the entire main “public” area of my house, around 2,000 square feet, in porcelain, with a border stripe, all tile set on the diagonal. It took me about 2 months of evenings and weekends. The saw kept on working like a champ. When I was done with that job, I gave it back to my buddy with $100 and a case of beer.

I just borrowed it from him again last month, to tile the shop bathroom (porcelain, pics at link below). Friggin’ thing is still working great. Keep a good diamond blade in it (as with all wet saws) and it won’t let you down.

My buddy (co-worker) and I were in HF the other day, and noticed that they sell the same saw now, 8 years later, for the same money, and now, it comes with a folding stand, which his did not. We had a good laugh. This saw certainly doesn’t owe us anything, at this point. When it finally dies someday, it will receive an appropriate viking funeral.”  Rob

One more…

“Another vote for the Harbor Freight 10″. I can’t even add up how much tile, brick and concrete it has cut in the last 5 or 6 years since I’ve had it. Just a belt and blade had to be replaced after I made the mistake of loaning it to a friend.”  incubus2432

Central Machinery Mobile Power Tool Table

Also, if you’re looking for mobility with your projects, you might want to consider the Central Machinery Folding Power Tool Stand #40612, also at Harbor Freight.

For more insight into the Chicago Electric 2.5 hp tile-brick saw, check out the customer reviews on our site!

Get Charged– and Pumped!– for 2013

As we watch winter getting smaller in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to start thinking about prepping all the warm weather toys for the coming months. I’m talking about the ATVs, the boat and water toys, the motorcycles, RV, lawn tractor, etc. — the stuff that’s been just sitting for the past five or so months. Unless you’ve been keeping them on life support with a battery float charger (which, by the way, would have been the forward-thinking thing to do, but if you’re like me, thoughts like that usually come late), they be dead, Jim.

Cen-Tech Battery Float Charger #42292

But l’d rather light a candle than curse your darkness. As it just so happens, Harbor Freight’s 3-in-1 Jump Starter & Power Supply is the perfect tool for just such a challenge.  This popular unit is a lifesaver when you’re stuck. Fully charged, it will jump 12-volt batteries ordinary jumper cables will fail. It provides a whopping 400 amp boost rate and comes a 3.6 watt light so you can see what you’re doing under the hood.

Cen-Tech Jump Starter & Power Supply

 

And as proud owners can attest, the Cen-Tech jump starter is a veritable bacon saver:

“I bought this Jump Box on Friday, charged it over night and set out for parades on Saturday morning. During the course of the day, I used it to jump 2 SUV’s and a pickup (all big V-8′s) that had dead batteries. It handled them all off of a single charge and according to the meter, it still had plenty of juice left. Very impressed. Also includes a cigarette lighter adapter that would let you charge/ recharge it from your boat/ car in an emergency.”  Jake S. – Slidell, IA

“Just emergency boosting two stranded cars made the unit pay for itself. Loaded with features that are sorely missing from more expensive “brand name” units; such as the excellent analog volt meter. Brand name units usually have lights instead of an actual volt meter. And the built-in A/C adapter, brand names usually have a wall brick adapter that is easily damaged or lost. The battery is a standard size AGM battery that can be easily accessed and replaced if needed. The flat back panel is great for modifications, I bolted a small DC to AC inverter to use as a mobile power supply for very light duty AC devices, I use mine to run a cd boombox on picnics, better than investing on pricey D cell batteries . The mods make my booster pack a little bit of a mutant, but they have come very handy when the power goes out, at a fraction of what an all in one unit would have cost. The molded plastic really takes the bumps well, and the battery charge lasts a long time, great tool.”  Jose Jiminez

The Cen-Tech 3-in-1 Jump Starter & Power Supply sells for a low $49.99 just $39.99 with a 20% coupon!– and is available on Harbor Freight’s website or in the store.

As the resuscitative process often involves inflating tires as well, you might want to dole out just a few more bucks and get the Chicago Electric Jump Starter with Air Compressor.

Chicago Electric Jump Starter-Air Compressor

This model has the same awesome power and features as the Cen-Tech, but also comes with an invaluable 260 psi air compressor. Think that’s overkill? Think again!

“Pumped up 5 tires from a dead flat. Jump-started more than 20 cars ‘n trucks.  Still running strong. Even used in power outtage, hooked up a converter to the cig outlet and had light and TV to watch, lasted about 9 hours .”  hueyhotdogg2000 – Bula, OH

“This unit has been a great addition to my travel gear. It has been able to jump start a diesel pickup truck in the winter and the compressor has kept everything from my kids’ bicycle tires to a flat on a friend’s SUV inflated. I also found that by using the 12-V outlet with my inverter, I can use items like my TV while camping and not run down my vehicle’s battery nor keep the engine running.”  Jeff G.

For the garage, barn, car, boat and more– the Chicago Electric jump starter/air compressor can be had for a mere $60.99 ($48.79 with 20% coupon)! For that, you can buy two!

Just remember where you heard about this. You’re welcome.

 

Gnarlatious Tips on Building Your First Bitchin’ Surfboard

Summer’s almost upon us– in about a hundred days– and if you’re like me, you’re probably asking yourself, is this the year I finally realize the dream of building my own surfboard? It may seem like a daunting task, especially for those of us who aren’t exactly Bob Vila, let alone the Big Kahuna. But, with a few swipes of the keyboard, help manifests itself once again:

Not too long ago, Stephen Pirsch, a visionary in board construction, released a book entitled,How to Build Your First Surfboard, an easy-to-follow, detail-rich DIY paper on the subject. Written for first-time builders, this guide was created to lessen problems and save money– especially to prevent the typical board-ruining mistakes.

“This book is for the garage or backyard builder who has few tools and little money.  The following information has been tested, and is the result of  friends building their first surfboard with me.  Also,  thousands of  interesting people have emailed their questions and results.”

Turn to the Equipment chapter, and there you’ll find a list of tools and supplies needed to get the project going. As this tutorial is geared towards the O Mighty Ones of Little Cash, however, Surfer Steve is careful in recommending his tools:

“Hundreds of dollars can be saved by using the following tools compared to industry standard tools. The following has been extensively tested (on 6 boards in 2012) by the author, the expense and labor solely for the benefit of you, the reader (The author already owned the industry standard tools). Be aware these tools are not designed for heavy duty, continuous production use, but will work well for the occasional garage built board.”

Drill Master 5.5 Amp 3-1/4″ Electric Planer (#91062)  (or, similar, for a few dollars more, the Chicago Electric 3-1/4″ Heavy-Duty Electric Planer with Dust Bag – #95838)

 ”1. This planer has a 1/16″ maximum cutting depth. The depth can be doubled to 1/8″ by loosening the cutting blades and extending them 1/16″(the tools for this are included). The depth can be tripled to 3/16″ by grinding the front plate (the plate on the bottom which adjusts up and down). Put a 3″ abrasive cutting wheel on your drill, or a 6″ abrasive cutting blade on your sander/polisher (this tool mentioned below) and slowly grind the plate with the wheel almost parrallel to the plate – this will take one to two hours. If you over grind or grind unevenly, it can be filled with 5 minute epoxy. After modification this planer works very similar to the industry standard Hitachi

2. In contrast to surfboard foam planing shown in youtube videos, a planer is designed to be used parallel to the direction of work (not 45 degrees), Holding at 45 degrees reduces the cutting area by 1/2 which doubles your labor, and increases the possibility of an error.”

 

Chicago Electric 7″ Polisher/Sander with Digital RPM Display (#66615)

“1. (Shop for) assorted 6″ hook and loop sanding disks… if you buy from industrial suppliers you will have to buy an absurd amount of each grit.

2. Initially run sander at lowest speed, and practice on a scrap piece of foam that has been laminated and hot coated. Very slowly sand into the cloth and through the cloth, so you can see what to avoid.

NOTE 1: This purchase is worth it for the accessories alone.

NOTE 2: Hook and loop sandpaper is the best type because it is the easiest, and fastest to change and can be re – used. Hook and loop usually costs more initially (although not with this purchase), but costs less in the end, especially in cost of time.”

 

Drill Master 1/4″ Trim Router (#44914)

1. You will need a router bit with 1″ long cutter for Fins Unlimited Boxes – 1″ bits are rare.

2. A 12″x 6″x 3/16″ template can be made out of 3/16″ panel board (get 4′x 4′ piece at Lowe’s. To achieve 5 degree lean on twin or tri fins, an additional 1″x 12″ piece of 3/16″ panel board can be duct taped to the bottom edge of the template. The entire template can be held in place with Gorilla brand duct tape.

NOTE: By the time you adjust the router and bit, and make a template, you could cut out about 5 boxes by hand. After making template (and practicing) it is faster and more precise with a router. The Harbor Freight cutout tool can also be used as a router.”

 

Additional EQUIPMENT LIST:

Respirator with dust and vapor cartridges
Tape measure
Magnetic torpedo level
Drill preferably with two handles, variable speed and, 2000 to 3000 rpm.
Hand saw (wood)
Sharpie fine marker pen
Block plane (smallest)
Pocket Plane
5″ rubber/plastic back-up pad with 1/4″ shank (for sanding disks on drill)
Hacksaw blade (coarse)
Optional 1″ paddle bit to match optional 1″ leash cup

“You might be asking yourself, do I really want to do this? Is saving half the money of a showroom surfboard, buying the tools, pouring sweat, blood and time into this little venture going to be worth it? Surfer Steve has an answer for that:

“Building a board can be very rewarding.  Everyone who follows the directions manages to finish somehow, and almost everyone who makes one will make another.  Much of the work and expense on the first board (such as racks, blocks, and tools) won’t have to be duplicated on following boards.

Kowabunga, baby.

 

Not the Usual Daily Grind

At $21.99, you wouldn’t expect much performance out of an angle grinder. Nowadays, 22 bucks barely covers two people at McDonald’s… but a heavy-duty angle grinder? Next you’re going to say I can make hundreds of thousands of dollars at home in my pajamas, or that there can never be too many PC “inspirational” quotes on Facebook.

But the truth is, the Chicago Electric Heavy-Duty 4-1/2″ Angle Grinder DOES perform– with a vengeance– and can tackle tough metal cutting, shaping and slag removal-jobs with the efficiency of a grinder five times the cost. A valuable tool for the professional metal worker or hobbyist. That’s not just me talking– or the Harbor Freight marketing mucky mucks– that’s coming from the customers who bought it:

“ Well worth the money, and a fraction of the cost of something similar from a box store… and CONSIDER getting an extra grinder. It’s a hassle switching back and forth between wheels, and these are cheap enough you can have two on hand with different wheels. (And you’ll *still* come in cheaper than getting one from a box store!)”  goodeknight – Chesapeake, VA

“LET ME TELL YOU…. I have now owed this cheap-O thing for 2 months shy of 5 yrs, and besides fading from leaving out in the sun and some paint splatter, it’s been going strong. Pretty much the same as day one. I still do the same things I did before as when I was using the Makita, however I have added using it for cutting bricks, and sanding custom formed concrete boulders adding sharp angles that I make for water features.”  Scott – Queen Creek, AZ

“This angle grinder is a great deal for the price, it works fine, put some quality grease in it and allow to cool properly, it will serve you well, its already paid for itself many times over.”  buffington – Redondo Beach, CA

“I started a car project that required paint stripping, approximately 3 coats of old paint required removal. I slapped a GatorGrit paint removal wheel on this cheap little grinder, and to my surprise, this thing kicks b***.  I removed all the paint from my car in no time! If you get name brand grinder discs and paint removal wheels, the grinder rarely bogs down… it has handled everything I have thrown at it; tiles, metal, paint removal, blade sharpening, etc… Love it for the price, and will buy another when this one dies. So far it’s still kicking!”  Tony – Undisclosed

Check out the powerful, smooth-running Chicago Electric 4-1/2″ angle grinder for yourself. At just $21.99 (or $17.59 with your Harbor Freight 20% Off Coupon!), it may turn out to be the best deal you ever made on a power tool.