While I've been posting the progress of the '67 Firebird's restoration these past weeks, it occurred to me some of you might be thinking, "Well, so what? That's what tools are for." This is true. But the proposition that Harbor Freight's tools are rugged, reliable and capable is beside the point. The purpose of this exercise (besides showing you a sexy car) is to demonstrate how someone can execute something as meaningful and professional as restore a classic car while spending a lot less money-- or getting a lot more value for the money-- for the tools to do it. That's a pretty big deal.
So to better illustrate the point, I'll compare the prices of the tools used on the project with similar (if not exact) products the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Craftsman, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren't always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. I don't think this compromises the test, however, because we're only talking about differences in size and shape, not function.
In the first segment, we'll be looking at the Harbor Freight tools used in the vehicle's disassembly video:
This solidly-built, steel tool cart is the perfect rolling workstation for wrenchers, able to hold 700 lbs of tools and easily roll around the garage. Standing at over 41" high and 37" wide, there's tons of space, and with 5 drawers, a bottom shelf, a covered tray on top, side slots and more, it will keep you fully armed at your spot without having to go "fetch" a tool.
- Craftsman - 3-Drawer GRIPLATCH Utility Cart - $349.99
- Northern Tool Excel - 5-Drawer Rolling Metal Tool Cart - $399.99
- Home Depot - Excel 600 lb. 4-Drawer Steel Tool Cart - $369.99
- Lowe's - Task Force 400 lb. 6-Drawer Steel Tool Chest - $189.00
- Grainger - Westward 250 lb. 4-Drawer Utility Cart - $572.50
The huge, industrial-quality tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most used automotive and mechanic's tools, including adjustable wrenches, ratchets, breaker bars, pliers, sockets in SAE and metric, extensions and universal joint adapters. This treasure trove of tools is built to last!
- Craftsman - 309-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $249.99
- Northern Tool - 305-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $299.99
- Home Depot - Husky 264-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $198.00
- Lowe's - Kobalt 227-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $199.98
- Grainger - Craftsman Industrial 273-pc. Mechanics Tool Set - $985.00
- Craftsman - 3/8" Ratchet Wrench - $34.99
- Northern Tool - Northern Industrial 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $29.99
- Home Depot - Campbell Hausfeld 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $32.68
- Lowe's - Campbell Hausfeld 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $48.38
- Grainger - Westward 3/8" Air Ratchet Wrench - $79.00
- Craftsman - 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet - $49.99
- Northern Tool - AirCat Mini 1/4" Air Ratchet - $99.99
- Home Depot - Black Bull 1/4" Air Ratchet - $21.97
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Westward 1/4" Air Ratchet - $69.75
So as you can see, when you buy at Harbor Freight Tools, you really are getting the best of both worlds-- great tools at ridiculously low prices!
Join us next week when we'll review the tools employed to remove the engine!
Last Fathers Day, I bought myself an old '72 GMC long bed pickup. A friend of mine who runs an auto parts store told me one of his regular customers-- the original owner-- had to sell it because he couldn't drive anymore. The truck was in great shape; perfect body, clean interior, bulletproof 402 cu. in. V8 with a Turbo 400 transmission. It's my "man cave on wheels." I put in a new stereo, gutted a dead CB radio that came with it and now hide a small .38 in it when driving cross-country. I also added a cooler with a cup holder lid as kind of a "center console." However, the vehiclewas still missing the one thing every pre-computer-age car has got to have-- a tool kit. Nothing super fancy, just something reliable and sturdy enough to deal with the off-chance mechanical mishap. So, the next time Harbor Freight had a coupon sale, I picked one up:
The Pittsburgh 105 Piece Tool Kit With 4-Drawer Chest goes above-and-beyond any other basic tool kit, for the home, auto and for the price. A dramatically thorough collection of sockets, bits, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, hex keys, utility knife and more, the only things I had to add to complete the package were duct tape, galvanized wire and fuses. It also comes with a sturdy 4-drawer case, which is extremely convenient... for anyone else. I threw all my tools in a canvas bag which I tucked under the bench seat.
A lesser-known bonus: Harbor Freight Tools guarantees their hand tools for life! So if you're the kinda guy that needs reassurance, there ya go.
If you thought "ultimate work truck," how do you envision it might be outfitted? The staff at Truckin' magazine recently took up that challenge, and in their October and November 2012 issues ran a 2-part series on creating the "Ultimate Ford F-150 Work Truck"-- with a little help from Harbor Freight Tools!
Taking a 2012 F-150 SuperCab in Part 1, they installed a cool bed slide, a monster ladder rack (capable of holding 1,000 lbs) and a sweet commercial-grade diamond-plate toolbox.
In Part 2, they went on a shopping spree at Harbor Freight Tools and picked up a Predator 4000 Watt Portable Generator-- to which they installed a shock/motion-activated alarm in the back of the truck, lest any covetous individuals think bad thoughts-- a 17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder as well as a full stock of tools for the toolbox:
- Central Forge 6" Swivel Vise with Anvil
- Chicago Electric 12V Cordless 3/8" Lithium Ion Drill
- Pittsburgh 6-piece Plier Set
- Pittsburgh 7-piece Screwdriver Set
- Pittsburgh 4-piece Adjustable Wrench Set
- Pittsburgh Professional Rip Hammer
- Hard Cap Gel Knee Pads
- Work Gloves
- 50-ft. x 12-ga. Extension Cord
Then to fortify their heavily-equipped new rig, they installed a ladder lock, and secured the toolbox and everything else with a myriad of cables and locks, including the hitch. The end result: a "certifiable worksite on wheels."
Take a peek at Truckin' magazine's drool-inducing articles-- with lots of pics-- and while you're at it, check out the low prices and great reviews of the aforementioned tools on Harbor Freight's website!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.