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I Forge Iron

Quality Tools

J W Bennett

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I am as guilty as anyone of dropping by harbor frieght. Always hoping to find a deal. But other than Goodyear air hose and a cheapy bender I haven't bought much and yesterday I got a reminder why. In 1986 I bought a top of the line cut off saw for $120.00 dollars at the local tool supply(pre harbor freight). I have used that saw continuously since then and hate to think of all the metal it's cut. I went to the local tool shop (pre and post harbor frieght) yesterday and got a new set of brushes and a new brush cap for $11.36 and once agian the saw runs like new. This is only the third set of brushes in 21 years. I can live with that. You get what you pay for.


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JWBIRONWORKS, know what ya mean. 2 years ago we got broke into and the low life stole our TV, VCR/DVD player and remotes. Didn't get anything else. Wife and I were out of town on our way to Tom Clark's school. Had to replace a broken glass in an antique door. Later that year, in August, he came back! Got the computer, 2400# pressure washer, then went to my shop and ONLY took a set of 1/2" shank drill bits and a 'china freight' chop saw. When he got that saw he didn't know what a BLESSING that was for me. I bought a nice saw that 'ain't afraid to work!' I love GOOD QUALITY TOOLS! shame we have allowed the likes of HF to pollute the supply.

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The adage - You get what you pay for - really is appropriate. In Canada we have a Taiwan outlet called Princess Auto. If you need a tool for only a small job or one that you will only use once every couple of years, it will do. But, for a tool that will see heavy and daily use a GOOD QUALITY tool will perform better and outlast the Taiwan tool. Save you a lot of sweat and swearing.


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In defense of HF....
There is one thing that I am especially fond of from harbor freight and that is the little 4.5" angle grinders (just don't buy there brand of grinding disks...lots of dust, not much grinding). I know, everyone is saying why. So, I'll elaborate.

I wait until the grinders are on sale for right around 20 dollars and bought three of them- total cost 60 dollars and some change (about half the price of a name brand grinder). I set them all three up with the same disks and when one starts to get warm, i switch off to the next one etc. It seems like heat is the most damaging thing to these grinders and running for long periods burns up the bearings. I can get just as much life out of the three (at half the price) as we used to get out of the a bosch or even a milwaukee brand.

Alternately, If I was running a full-time shop I'd probably run the same set up with three Brand name grinders, but I'm not running full time, so it is a very viable (not to mention cost efficient) option for ME.

Alternately (again) don't get me started on HF's rip off of the Beverly shear... It must be chargable as something along the lines of blasphemy to desecrate such a metal working icon ;)
-Aaron @ the SCF

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I also am going to defend HR. While i agree the cut off saw they have is a piece of junk, Their line of drill presses( free standing) are as good as alot of others that are $400-$500 more depending on if you get them on sale. They also have a 10 " bench grinder that is 1.5 hp on 110 line for $130 which is supposed to be absolutely fabulous( other bench grinders in this range cost at least $350). So it all depends on what you are looking for. That 1986 $120 cutoff saw today would probably cost at least $300 so it isnt to apt a comparison to compare it to HF's one. I also have their angle grinder (picked it up on sale for $10) and it works just as good as the dewalt one we have( a bit noiser though). Most of sears craftsman power tools are about the same quality as HFs(or worse) anymore and cost 2- 3 times more. Unless your a professional shop most people cant afford to shop a lot of other places.


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