The Multitasking Multifunction Tool

It was a really dumb procrastination. A broomstick, cut to be a patio sliding door jamb as an added security– except it was about 1/2″ too long, and for the longest time, just propped up at an angle. It was an eye sore, classic jerry-rigging in the spirit of the copper penny and chewing gum. I told my wife for weeks that I’d take care of it, but the thought of sawing that little stub off the end sounded like such a royal pain, I kept putting it off.

Of course I knew about the Chicago Electric multi-function tools. They’re some of Harbor freight Tools’ bestsellers and favorites in the toolhead community. It’s just another thing I was putting off– going out to get the tool. Ha!

There are different models to choose from, all with the same professional-quality performance:

Why buy several power tools when one incredible tool can tackle so many jobs by itself? The corded Chicago Electric Multifunction Single-Speed Power Tool is the basic weapon of choice for all the small-to-midsize cutting, scraping, sanding and sawing projects on your to-do list.  This professional quality, yet very affordable, multifunction tool powers at 21,000 oscillations per minute, putting to put some real muscle into the tough jobs. The multi-tool easily cuts through cable, air ducts, downspouts, plasterboard and pipes… sands down cement, concrete, stone, plaster, tile adhesive, paint and wood . . . it can even saw through wood up to 2″ thick! It’s the “go-to” tool for remodeling and repair jobs, as well as hobbies, tile, car repairs, even scraping freshly painted windows or old floor coverings!

 

For a little more money, you can get the same versatile tool with variable speeds– raging from 10,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute– and including 4 multi-function attachments! The Chicago Electric Multifunction Power Tool, Variable Speed Oscillating features the same rugged die cast aluminum gear housing and sealed bearings, and with the variable power and included attachments, it becomes even more power tools-in-one!

 

Going forward, we move on to the Chicago Electric Cordless Oscillating Multifunction Tool. If there isn’t a convenient plug around, or you just like the freedom of a cordless tool, this is the ticket. With speeds up to 15,000 oscillations per minute, this cordless tool is fast and tough enough to handle the difficult jobs as well as fine detail work. Like the others, it can cut through plastic, cable, air ducts, downspouts, plasterboard and pipes. Its unique spindle and blade arbor design positively locks the blade in 7 forward positions for added versatility. Attach the sanding pad and sand down cement, concrete, stone, plaster, wood, tile adhesive and paint. This cordless multifunction tool is ideal tool for home remodeling, auto repair and a whole lot of other jobs! Be sure to get a second battery you don’t find yourself with downtime in the middle of a project.

 

 

Finally, we come to the Central Pneumatic Variable Speed Multifunction Air Model. Whether it’s a tough job or detailed work, the variable speed multifunction air tool provides the solution. A great, little tool for the hard-to-get-into areas, it’s ideal for cutting cabinets, underdoor frames, ABS pipe, for Terrazzo restoration & more. The multiple attachments make it easy to cut wood 3/8″ deep… plastic, wallboard and more, scrape away linoleum, laminate and adhesives, remove grout, sand wood or metal– the list goes on! The unique spindle and blade arbor design positively locks in 7 forward positions for added versatility. At 90 psi air pressure, it powers up to speeds of 17,000 OPM!

Whatever style you choose, you’ll find your Chicago Electric multifunction tool to be an invaluable addition to your DIY arsenal. Also, be sure to check out the collection of available attachments to accommodate any and all your mutlitool needs.

Tools for a Good Marriage

Ah, young love. My 21-year-old nephew just got married last weekend to his girlfriend of 3 years. It was a nice affair: the cake was delicious, the decor tasteful, the gift tables stacked high with juicers, crock pots, cookware, towels, bedding, crepe makers, dishes, salad tongs, fondue pots– the usual. My opinion, the kids are never going to use a lot of that stuff. It’s a pity, they don’t know what they really need. And let’s face it, the bride put the registry together. No offense, she’s not the one who’ll be going to the hardware store a dozen time later on to get tools for putting the home together.

May I make a suggestion? The next wedding you attend for a young couple (or even a not-so-young couple), go rogue on the registry and give them a tool kit. For less than $100 with a coupon, you can put together a complete set that they’ll use  all the time, maybe even for the rest of their lives. At least longer than the kettle corn maker they got.

Here are some basic tools to throw in the kit. It’ll make their lives a whole lot easier:

 

 

  1. Hammer – Nothing fancy, just a simple, sturdy claw hammer. This one from Pittsburgh has a shock-absorbent fiberglass handle that won’t splinter or split.
  2. Screwdriver Set – As you know, if you don’t have the correct-sized screwdriver, it can be a bad experience. It keeps slipping out of the slot, stripping the slot, etc. That’s why getting a set of comprehensive slot and Phillips screwdrivers is the way to go– and this 32-piece screwdriver set is perfect for whatever household job comes up.
  3. Wrench Set – Just as a screwdriver, you need just the right fitting wrench. That means you’ll want both SAE and metric on hand. This low-price 22-piece combination wrench set accommodates the most widely-used sizes and comes with a handy rack for quick access.
  4. Tape Measure – When putting up pictures and wall decor, measuring for furniture space or executing most any home improvement, you’ve got to have a tape measure on hand. Like this 30-ft. one from Harbor Freight, they’re cheap but they’re invaluable!
  5. Level - Got to make sure the family portraits are up for when the relatives come over– but you can’t do it right without a level. At $6.00, the 9″ Magnetic Torpedo Level will save you a lot of headache for vertical, horizontal and 45-degree leveling.
  6. Socket Set – A wrench set is great to have, but for some jobs a socket set is so much sweeter. Pittsburgh makes a good, long-lasting 64-piece set at a low price, which includes both SAE and metric, with 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive. It comes with a rugged custom carrying case for storage and transport.
  7. Screws, Nuts & Bolts - Hey, it’s at least one less trip to the store, right? Probably a number of trips– a 1,001-piece set with wood screws, sheet metal screws, nuts, bolts, washers, lock washers and cotter pins. Definitely worth the 12 bucks.
  8. Tool Box -You’ve got to get one– the ready-made gift box that keeps on giving. The 20″ Stainless Steel Toolbox from Storehouse is a Harbor Freight best buy, with a dent-proof, high-impact base, heavy-duty tray and strong rubber-grip handle. With a full-length piano hinge, two sturdy latches and a brushed steel finish, this toolbox is built to last.
  9. Cordless Drill - OK, so this isn’t going into the toolbox, but it certainly completes the set. If there’s any power tool the new couple’s going to need, it’s a cordless drill, and the low-cost Drill Master 18 Volt Cordless 3/8″ Drill With Keyless Chuck is a rugged, reliable addition to the arsenal.

So, when the top tier of the cake disappears in the freezer under some ground chuck, all the returns and re-gifting’s been done and those crazy kids go one with their lives, they’ll remember you every time there’s an outlet plate to replace or a bicycle to build, an armoire to secure to a wall or a tiki mask to hang in the bathroom… the wedding guest who had the good sense to ignore their registry.

Essential Tools for Your First Apartment

It’s June– and as with every June, a new herd of college grads is cut loose into the world. This means new apartments, new (or new old) furniture, new roomies, and a whole slew of new domestic responsibilities. Something every grad should consider getting is a decent tool set. Yes, you’ll probably have a landlord that takes care of that kind of stuff. But landlords are not your parents and they sure won’t always be around when you need them. Sometimes you’ll have to take care of things yourself –and wouldn’t it be great if you could? That’s where Harbor Freight Tools comes in.

Here’s a list of just the most essential tools you’ll be wanting:

Design – Decorating is the most likely thing you’ll be doing on your own. Here are some tools that’ll help with that:

Plumbing – this should really be left to the professionals, but sometimes things happen and help is nowhere to be found. When you have nowhere to turn these items can help prevent a disaster.

All Around Necessities – some tools are just plain useful to have around. You never know when you may need to screw a doorknob back on or put together a new piece of furniture.

Lastly, you’ll need a nice toolbox or tool bag to store the stuff in so you can find them when you need them!

Car Restoration Tools Every Garage Needs

It’s funny how, as you get older, you start doing all the cool stuff you wanted to do when you were a punk teenager. Back in the 70’s we were all car crazy, and many’s the time I envied the guys in the neighborhood who were out on their front lawns, working on their Dodge Challengers or GTO “Goats”—

—not just because they HAD them (which would have been enough), but because they could actually work on them. Somehow, they managed to have the tools and supplies it took to keep their wheels “cherry.” Nowadays, though, when you hear (and feel) a carb-powered 426 Hemi thundering down the road, it’s a geezer you’re more likely to see behind the wheel than a punk. And chances are that geezer is one of us.

Classic car restoration is more popular than ever, and with the help of online parts stores, chat forums and YouTube videos, guys who thought they’d never get to rebuild their favorite classic rides are now living in their garages (and on their lawns), doing just that.

If you’ve decided to restore a vehicle yourself, I salute you. Not only will you save thousands of dollars, you’ll be embarking on a long, challenging– even therapeutic– journey that will reap dividends for years to come. But before we start doing that victory lap to “We Are the Champions,” let me suggest some basic tools you’ll want right out of the gate to make the dream a reality (unless, of course, you like repeatedly going back & forth to the store when you’re in the middle of something):

The Must-Have Tool

The Air Compressor will quickly become your best friend over the course of your restoration. It’s the first thing you’ll need to get for your arsenal. Between the Die Grinder, Paint Sprayer and Impact Wrench, you’re going to get a lot of use out of it and, believe me, you’ll thank yourself every time you’ve got a big chore that you don’t have to do manually. It needs to have a decent enough CFM—at least 5-6 CFM per minute at 90 psi– so that the long bursts of sanding, buffing or cutting won’t wear too hard on the compressor. You could get the job done with a 29-Gallon Tank Unit, but if you can swing it, go for a 60-Gallon Compressor, with power to spare. By the way, the Die Grinder is great for polishing the inside of the head ports, cleaning up metal and using with a cut-off wheel to repair panels.

Engine Work

A Compression Tester will help diagnose vital motor issues, such as worn piston rings, burnt valves and bad head gaskets.  This is a great first tool to use when you get your new project car home. You can even take it with you to test a car before you buy it!

While it’s not vital for the project, you may want to consider picking up a “cherry-picker” Engine Hoist, especially if you’re planning to restore more than one vehicle. A good 2-Ton Shop Crane should be sufficient, and will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Most likely, you should have the cylinders re-bored. A cylinder bore gauge is needed to check for taper, out-of-round and oversize on the cylinders if you are rebuilding the motor yourself. Any critical wear on the cylinder can be reached with this gauge. An Engine Cylinder Hone will de-glaze the cylinder walls and give them a nice, smooth finish.

Next, you’ll want a valve spring compressor to remove the valves for a rebuild. Also a cheap valve lapping tool, with grinding compound, helps reseat the valves.

Piston Ring Pliers will help you remove and replace the rings on the pistons without breaking them. A Piston Ring Compressor is needed for the installation of the pistons. Also, a piston groove cleaner will remove the carbon crud from the piston grooves.

A Dial Indicator is used to measure run-out on things like the flywheel, and endplay on the crankshaft. While there are various types of mounts, including magnetic base and screw mounts, I recommend the clamping mount because it’s faster and easier to work with.

Next, a Stud Puller is a must for removing stripped, rusted and otherwise stubborn head studs, as well as exhaust & intake manifold studs.

Another tool you cannot live without is the Torque Wrench—two, actually. Get both a 1/2″ drive and 3/8″ drive for your tool cabinet. These are essential to torque all your bolts to factory specs.

Have a complete Tap and Die Set on hand, preferably with both SAE & metric. You’ll find this invaluable for cleaning up old bolts and restoring rusted holes.

A good Digital Micrometer is needed to precisely measure anything.

Body Work

MIG Welder. You won’t get through a restoration job without it. Why a MIG welder, as opposed to another type? Well, for starters, if you’re new to this kind of project, the MIG is the easiest to learn. Also, they work with the most common types of metals, overhead welding is easier, and the MIG welder works fast.

You’ll also want a Hammer & Dolly Set, otherwise known as a “Body & Fender Set.” These tools go a long way in repairing and straightening steel panels, and all-around custom fab work. This one, made by Pittsburgh, probably has the best price you’re going to find, and one look at the customer reviews should convince you there’s no need to keep looking.

A Step Drill is essential to make quick, clean work out of drilling large diameter holes for auto-body jobs such as installing chrome trim, and for firewall holes.

A Spot Weld Cutter works great in restoration projects and does just what its name implies. Also, a Plumber’s Torch is great for softening and shaping metal.

As you work on your project, you’ll find a Bench Grinder and Drill Press are extremely helpful in the auto restoration process.  Plus, a Wire Wheel on the grinder is a must and makes cleaning up parts quick and simple.

Additional Work

Make sure you include various Brake Tools, a Tubing Bender and brake flare tool.

Finally, get a Creeper, Paint Stripper, Transmission Jack, Dent Repair Kit, and a Comprehensive Mechanics Tool Kit, and you’ll be equipped to tackle most everything involved in your car restoration, as well as many other future projects. Of course, you’ll inevitably be needing cleaners, sealants, lubricants and the odd part along the way, but consider yourself the proud owner of an equipped auto restoration garage.

Now, get out there and make that Vega Funny Car a reality!

A Marriage Made on Wheels

In the March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft a story ran, along with detailed plans, for something that was dubbed the “Honeymoon House Trailer…”

…designed and built by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California. He had literally saved his dimes and built this little gem back in the 30’s, to take his new bride on their wedding trip. The 8’x4’ floor plan was had tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis, and Rogers used a Chevy front axle with 28” wheels and 1926 rear fenders.  The odd little trailer slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for a rear kitchenette, with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosure outside the starboard entry served at the “dressing room.” The teardrop trailer was born.

DIYers went crazy. They used Rogers’ plans, and soon added touches of their own. After World War II, the trailer evolved with models sporting Jeep wheels and exterior skins made from bombers’ wings. After the 50’s, their popularity started dropping when larger RVs appeared, but then returned with a vengeance. Today you can find a number of websites for plans (some free!), photo galleries, forums and clubs. Teardrop trailer enthusiasts believe that creating, renovating and modifying their own models are what give the little campers their timelessness—and the most rewarding way to own a teardrop!

I first noticed the teardrop trailer when surfing for a tent trailer to take on road trips. From time to time, “teardrop trailer” results would pop up, and eventually I started clicking on them. My first impressions: These critters are small… they’re cute… wow, they’re equipped… oh wow, they’re cool! The best of the bunch, IMHO, were the homemade models. They remind me of the Pinewood Derby race cars we made as kids—there were always a couple that hijacked the event, they were so amazing.

I also saw that the Harbor Freight utility trailer was a favorite for the frame, particularly the Haul-Master 1195 lb. 4’x8’ foldable trailer

Harbor Freight Utility Trailer

…and 1720 lb 4’x8’ Super Duty model.


Harbor Freight 4 x 8 Utility Trailer

There seems to be a controversy over whether or not a foldable utility trailer should be used, but as is shown in the above photo, they’ve proven to be very capable. This model


–aptly named “Woody,” is a simple, classic example of the DIY teardrop trailer. When I asked Steve Edling, the site owner, to use a picture of Woody for this article, he graciously consented and added that a number of Harbor Freight tools were also used in its creation. Indeed, Kuffel Kreek, a provider of teardrop trailer plans, lists several must-have Harbor Freight tools one should get before starting, including a brad nailer, air shears and angle grinder.

Type in phrases like “teardrop trailer harbor freight” on Google and you’ll get tons of sites—including a few YouTube videos—that talk about using Harbor Freight’s utility trailers in their projects. This isn’t just because the trailers are inexpensive—it’s because they’re rugged, reliable, durable AND inexpensive. I mean, if you’re going to invest all that time, sweat, and money (and probably a pint or two of blood) in this labor of love, would you risk the integrity of its frame? Neither would I.

The American-born DIY teardrop trailer is more than just a cool, little camper. It’s a gratifying project of personal expression, something you can climb into and go to sleep knowing, you built this! It’s not an easy project—as noted on Kuffel Kreek, “Anything that bounces down the highway at 65 MPH isn’t easy”—and if you’ve never built anything before, forget it (I should probably hone my skills a tad more before I attempt it), It also takes space and time. But the payoff is awesome, and your teardrop trailer will retain its value much longer than any other RV on the road.

Check out this great photo gallery which includes several teardrop trailers!

New Product Alert: Chicago Electric Cut-Off Saw

It’s a given Harbor Freight’s got a huge catalog of affordable hand & power tools– that’s why so many out there love the store and keep going back. Not only do they find the tools they need a lot cheaper than other places, they even find stuff they just can’t get anywhere else. And that catalog keeps on getting bigger!

Introducing the Chicago Electric  Electric 3″ High Speed Cut-Off Tool, offered exclusively at Harbor Freight.

Electric Cutoff Saw

This amazing cut-off tool delivers the power to cut through metal like butter, and includes features such as:

  • High speed (22,000 RPMs) to cut through pipe, tubing, sheet metal, exhaust systems, and fasteners with ease
  • Perfect size, power, and comfort for auto body work
  • Comfortable molded grip
  • Safety trigger to prevent accidental start-up
  • Lightweight– only 3.2 lbs
  • Uses standard 3″ cutting discs
  • Doesn’t need an air compressor

But, don’t listen to me– check out the video and watch this baby in action!

Get 60% off this Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

This week, we’re highlighting the Electric Chainsaw Sharpener from Chicago Electric.Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Keep your chain saw’s chain in top condition by periodically sharpening it in this all-inclusive electric sharpener. This chain saw sharpener comes with a 4-1/4” diameter grinding wheel on the drop-down arm, a vise with precision angle adjustment, and height and scale positioning.

  • Includes 4-1/4” x 1/8” grinding wheel with 7/8” arbor
  • 4200 RPM grinding speed
  • Large side safety guard
  • 120 volt, 0.75 amp, direct-drive ball-bearing motor

So use code 36640006 when you check out with the circular saw in your online cart or just click on the coupon below. You will get 60% off this item* from the Harbor Freight website! This offer lasts through August 1, 2011.

*Online quantity limit: 1. For other limitations, please see coupon below.

Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Coupon

Circular Saw with Blade only $27.99

Circular Saw with BladeThis week we’re highlighting the 7-1/4″ Circular Saw with Blade (SKU 94245).

This workhorse circular saw has a powerful 10 amp, direct drive motor that can stand up to rigorous use. The saw features a dual-grip handle for better control and calibrated bevel adjustments for accurate cutting from 0 to 45 degrees. An easy pivot shoe with depth scale can allows for up to 2-1.2″ thick straight cuts and up to 1-3/4″ thick cuts at 45 degrees. A 7-1/4″, 24-tooth carbide tipped saw blade is included.

  • All ball bearing motor for long life
  • Dual-grip handle design for better control
  • Automatic guard return
  • Calibrated bevel adjustments for cutting from 0 to 45 degrees
  • Easy-pivot shoe with depth scale
  • Maximum speed 5000 RPM
  • Arbor 5/8″, spindle lock
  • Includes carbide tipped saw blade and removal hex wrench

So use code 20609098 when you check out with the circular saw in your online cart or just click on the coupon below. You will get 30% off this item* from the Harbor Freight website! This offer lasts through July 25, 2011.

*Online quantity limit: 1. For other limitations, please see coupon below.

Circular Saw with Blade Coupon