Harbor Freight Gets Prepper Props

In this country’s growing Survivalist Nation there’s a tribe known as the “Urbivalists”– or “urban survivalists”—preppers who live in towns and cities, and have adapted their survivalist skills to more metro environments. One such urbivalist is Dan, a “self-proclaimed tenderfoot and city kid” who runs a survival-themed blog called The Daily Prep. Recently, Dan posted a video of a shopping trip he made to Harbor Freight–

–which included a tour of some of his favorite products.  “It’s a man mall!” he proclaimed.

It’s no wonder HFT is popular with those who take survival preparation seriously. A renowned purveyor of hard-to-find and odd hardware– plus, a huge selection of essential tools and supplies at extremely low prices– it’s a no-brainer. (Brains? Zombies? Apocalypse? Harbor Freight!)

So, what were some of the products Dan thought fellow preppers should look into? The video does a good job showcasing generators, welders, tarps, car battery jump starters, jerry cans, rope, axes & hatchets, duct tape (“of every kind!”), magnesium fire starters, solar panel kits, knives, slingshots, safes, winches, flashlights and batteries– and Harbor Freight’s low prices make preparation a lot more doable.

FYI, for those looking to prep their home for the garden variety emergency, HFT also carries towing supplies, trailer hitches, alarms & security products, jack stands, engines, head lamps, cast iron frying pans, face masks, space saver vacuum bags, air compressors… you get the point. Harbor Freight is the “go-to store” for your doomsday prepper needs.

The Daily Prep isn’t alone when it comes to survivalist forums swapping favorite HFT products that they keep in their arsenals. Surf the ‘net and you’ll find tons of great ideas. And while you’re at it, why don’t you share yours with us?

 

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!

Harbor Freight Gets Up In Your Grill

Surfing for BBQ-ing tips the other day, I wandered into some chat forums where it’s “All-Barbecue, All the Time.” Make no mistake, those “Q-ers” are serious about cooking their meat. The best cuts, types of fuel, which wood for smoking, the tools, curing, venting, seasoning & preparing, temps and times. To them, grilling a steak is like customizing a car– the body may be pretty, but it’s all about what goes under the hood.

Not happy with their out-of-the-box units, some guys retrofit their BBQ grills (as I said, like a car). For example, Phil Lee of Hawg Heaven Smokin’ Barbecue modified his smoker…

bbq mod

…with 10” air tires (#30900) to better deal with mobility on lawns, parks, campsites and such.

My favorite modification is the BBQ trailer: A Q-er will either remove the legs from their BBQ grill, and then bolt or weld them onto a utility trailer, or build one up from scratch–making them über-mobile! Here’s a great example of a customized, homemade barbecue trailer– created by a fellow named Spankerchief– on SmokingMeatForums.com

bbq smoker trailer

…using the Haul-Master 1720 Lb. Capacity Super Duty 48″ X 96″ Utility Trailer with 12” Wheels (#94564). In fact, every BBQ forum I clicked on had at least one thread where an adventurous “trailer Q-er” incorporated a Haul-Master utility trailer from Harbor Freight. Several put their projects together using the popular & affordable Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder (#68887).

The online BBQ cooks were all loaded for bear with gear that supported their grilling operations. The Propane Torch with Igniter (#91037) was a favorite– for its turbo performance and for its great, low price. The Instant Read Digital Thermometer (#95382) was also popular, for its accuracy and, again, price. Also included were the Compact Food Slicer (#42787), Electric Meat Grinder (#99598) and plenty of protective wear like nitrile, PVC-dipped and/or welding gloves.

Needless to say, I was bitten by the BBQ bug and ended up getting a “barrel-style” barbecue grill with smoker side box, as well as the igniter and thermometer. I also picked up this pair of welding gloves, and, of course, a BBQ cookbook. I’ll probably get the 10” wheels next (they look cool).

Now all I have to do is experiment on the meat and hope I don’t burn anything vital… like Sunday dinner.

An Auto Darkening Welding Helmet That’s a Shade Above the Competition

auto darkening welding helmet with blue flame design

Auto-darkening welding helmet switches instantaneously from clear to dark right when you start welding!

Check out the Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Blue Flame Design (Chicago Electric 91214) from Harbor Freight Tools! For arc, MIG or TIG welding, you can’t go wrong with this auto darkening welding helmet that goes from clear to dark as soon as you start welding! The superior lens takes just 1/25,000th of a second to darken from clear #4 to its dark state and the variable shade control allows you to adjust the darkness from shades #9 to #13.

The lens on this welding helmet also includes high/low light-sensitivity adjustment as well as ultraviolet and infrared protection so you can see clearly and work safely. And with a padded interior for a comfortable fit and its stylish blue flame design, this amazing welding auto darkening helmet is the perfect way to top off your welding wardrobe.

For a safe and efficient welding helmet auto darkening is the way to go. Just put your welding helmet on and start welding! And, of course, for affordable auto darkening welding helmets, Harbor Freight is the place to go! The equally eye-catching Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Racing Stripe Design is also available, so pick the look that fits you for a price that fits any budget.

Weld Plastics at Different Melting Points with This Plastic Welder

plastic welder

This heavy duty Plastic Welder (Chicago Electric 96464) is temperature adjustable to handle a variety of applications!

Not all plastics melt at the same temperature!  Why use a multitude of tools when just one will suffice?  The Chicago Electric Plastic Welder and Welding Kit (SKU 96464) from Harbor Freight Tools makes plastic welding easier no matter the application.  This heavy duty plastic welder is temperature adjustable for welding a variety of plastics, framing or bending plastic, and many other applications most plastic welding kits won’t handle.

And if you think that’s all this plastic welding kit can do, you’re in for a surprise!  You can:

  • Break down paint, solvents, or varnish
  • Dry non-flammable wet surfaces
  • Generate hot air in machines or equipment
  • And more!

Great for the Do-It-Yourselfer and Professional Alike

This amazing plastic welder makes a great addition to your other plastic welding equipment and might very well replace a few of them too!  With a stainless steel heating barrel and tip, light sensor and thermal protector to prevent overload and a convenient user manual to serve as your plastic welding how-to guide, it’s sure to become your go-to tool for all your plastic welding needs.

Pick one up today and see what the Chicago Electric Plastic Welder and Welding Kit can do for you!