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I have nothing but good things to say about their products. I have all sorts of their things. First off I wanted to let you guys know that those orange/black clamps are lifetime warrenty so take them back for a replacement. I have 2 of those as well and both of them broke where the black tab holds the handle (shaft). I simply drilled a hole through the black covers and installed a nut and bolt. I own 3 of their torque wrenches 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2. I have used the 1/2" one to tighten down lugs on my breaker box when it got replaced and it worked great. The hex socket I used also came from HF (set of standard and metric) and it worked perfectly. I also have a good amount of their power tools miter saw, multi tool and others I cant even remember and have had no problems with any of them. I have their older 21 gal standup air compressor now for 3 years and still working just as good at it did when I bought it. I also have air tools and impact sockets that are still holding up perfectly. Out of everything I had got from them my only complaint was their central phneumatic brand rubber air hoses that wont last past a year before they dry rot and explode. Other than that the only other things I know to stay away from are their battery powered tools as the batteries themselves dont last long.
 

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DIY Padawan
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Discussion Starter · #63 · (Edited)
Well, as someone who is a budget-restricted and strictly home-hobby level DIY'er, I went ahead and purchased the new/latest model 12" Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw With Laser Guide from Harbor Freight - in early Jan 2013 - for $119. (pictured below)






Again, speaking purely as a non-professional/non-contractor - and having no intention or aspirations of ever elevating my "weekend workshop" DIY'er status above/beyond a home-hobby level - I have to say that, thus far, this latest model miter saw has worked very well for me and the several projects I've worked on/used it for (to date) ...... including dual bevel miter cuts.

(I actually wrote a review for it - it's dated 01/16/2013 on the product page's reviews section).


I also purchased 8 of the 12" hand clamps which, thus far, have held up and performed exactly as expected for me.




Just offering my two-cents worth on the subject - at least insofar as my relative/admitted/acknowledged novice home-hobbyist woodworking level goes.


:bangin:



TOM
 

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I have a lot of their tools. For example, the demo hammer, 1/2" hammer drill, 12 sliding saw, one of their lathes, the cast iron one, probably 30-40 of the clamps, which work find if you don't try to over torque them(they replace for free by just returning it to the store, many of their hand tools. i have a framing gun, 18 gauge trim nailor, 23 gauge nailor, an air compressor.

I have at least 10 tarps, 5 drop cloths and most likely 150 of various size paint brushes.

I have 3 multi tools, which by the way, i have used in excess of 100 blades in, a flooring nailor.

Had I had problems?

Yep, that is why I keep receipts.

I suspect that since tools are made in China, I think that these specs are being exchanged between the manufacturing companies over there.

All of their hand tools carry lifetime warren ties and i have replaced some. So what? I have exchanged snapons, huskies and craftsman hand tools also.

I am a semi retired handyman that does a variety of jobs and have found no real problems so far with any of their tools.
 

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DIY Padawan
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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
Just to review/remind/repeat a point of interest - from my initial posting several months back . . . .


Back when I was wanting and researching a sliding-compound miter saw (over the course of several months in late 2012 - yah, I take a LONG time with my investigation and research ... it can be torture sometimes (LOL) - I received a message from an old Grade/High School friend of mine whose boyfriendWORKS for Harbor Freight (he apparently runs the Harbor Freight IT Dept). I asked about the "quality" issue versus the sometimes "bad rap" HF power tools get amongst the tool-using community.

Here was what I originally wrote to my friend (back on Dec 10, 2012) . . .
I've been doing a lot of research on Harbor Freight products - and a lot of their power tools seem to get a bad rap in terms of the issue of quality. I am thinking much of the criticism is coming from more "hardcore" woodworkers and contractors ... which I most definitely am not. I am a complete beginner/novice to the do-it-yourself/home hobby world - and I don't plan on elevating myself any higher than a "home hobby" level.
and here was the response I received (after she relayed my question to her boyfriend):
He looks at their tools as really good quality for the price. They actually have a test warehouse where they test them against name brand products and they do really well. In all honesty, between you and me, they actually buy name brand tools and deconstruct them and build them cheaper.


This info seems to fortify the additional resource I found via a Popular Hot Rodding - Harbor Freight Review blog article (dated May 10, 2011) . . .
I learned something today that I have to let you in on. Harbor Freight Tools isn’t “just” an importer of cheap, off-shore tools for guys down on bucks. While Harbor Freight Tools could certainly motor on through life as the leader in Chinese-built tools, this California-based company has a surprising mission statement: they want to be a quality leader while maintaining the really low prices they’ve become famous for. Yeah, that’s a statement you might expect, and we’d brush it off as pure hype if we hadn’t visited Harbor Freight’s Quality Assurance Lab in Calabasas, CA for a few hours today. Harbor Freight has built a state-of-the-art testing facility where they test both their own products (future and current) side-by-side with competitive products. And by competitive, I mean segment-leading products by name-brand manufacturers, not discount store private-label products.

As I toured Harbor Freight’s modern and spacious facility and watched various products being torqued, hammered, pounded, sprayed, immersed, squashed, smashed, radiated, and generally tortured, it dawned on me that Harbor Freight Tools were not only “adequate,” but even preferable.

All the testing at Harbor Freight’s Quality Assurance Lab is done for a reason. As a global-sourcing importer, the only way HFT can maintain and improve quality is to make the off-shore factories accountable for quality. The constant barrage of testing at HFT’s Calabasas lab gives their inventory buyers and executives the ammunition they need to enforce and improve quality on an on-going basis, while at the same time conducting comparative testing on benchmark products by makers like Snap-On, Bosch, Chicago Pneumatic, Honda, Warn, Binks, Ingersol Rand, Milwaukee, and Craftsman. The US General tool cart was only one of dozens of products I got to sample side-by-side with benchmark brand-name products, and the quality/price comparisons on those were equally astounding.


So, all I'm saying is that it seems that Harbor Freight has been/is making at least some efforts to improve upon their otherwise inconsistent reputation as being a seller of "cheap/poor quality" power tools. I am NOT saying that HF tools are on par with the likes of DeWalt or Bosch or Makita or Porter Cable, etc - not no way, not no how . . . I'm only re-pointing out that HF's quality-assurance efforts may not be as piss poor as some might otherwise assume/conclude - at least insofar as the budget-minded/restricted non-professional-needs DIY'er may be concerned.

Hey, if I could readily afford the top-level Milwauke, DeWalt or Freud tools, I would buy them without blinking. For me - at MY personal and intended level of "craftsmanship" - the option of Harbor Feight tools (and prices) to obtain and use certain tools that are otherwise cost-prohibitive (for an undeterminable extended period of time) is, in my forever novice/padawan opinion, a welcome one.


:rolleyes:



TOM
 

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Harbor Freight tools serve a very good purpose if they have a tool that suits your needs at their price and it does what you need it to do then it is a good tool. Yes they seem to have a lot of tools that don't hold up very well but their return policy has always seemed more than fair. So go have fun with your new tool and good luck.
 

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KemoSabe
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I'll chime in. I have a HF store a few miles away. I own 3 of their multi-tools, which I keep different blades in and switch tools rather than blades. Total investment....under 60 bucks.

Many of their 6", 12", 18" bar clamps, also 2', 3' and 4' bar clamps that remind me of the old bumper jacks, which I love.

Their 23 gauge pin nailer has been flawless, as has been their 1/4" pneumatic riveting tool.

I own their pocket hole jig....awesome design and well made.

Their tapered countersink bit set has installed many cabinets and doors with me.

I own a few wrench sets that are acceptable.

Hitch step, tie-downs, 1/4" crown stapler, 2 park benches, aluminum torpedo level, movers blankets, vinyl, latex and nitrile gloves, mechanics gloves, small electronic safe, a multitude of kits with o-rings, aerosol clamps, etc. All decent quality for the money.

My favorite purchase is my $2.99 16 ounce rip hammer with curved fiberglass handle.
I used it for about a year and broke it trying to pull a cement coated 12D gun nail out of a floor joist. Took it in on my next trip to HF, showed it to the manager, who went out of her way to ask what she could help me with and was told to grab another one, no questions asked, other than my phone number to put on the exchange paperwork.

I also take full advantage of the many 20% off receipts that I receive, as well as free flashlights, scissors, tape measures, etc.

Don't get me wrong, much of their product line has much to be desired, but if you are selective and reasonably intelligent, it's not hard to know what you're getting for the money.

With a store nearby, if I get bamboozled on occasion, they never give anyone trouble with returns, provided you have a receipt and it's within warranty period.
 

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I broke a 3/8 inch breaker bar when I put a pipe on it. The manager told me I needed a bigger breaker bar so he gave a 1/2 inch in exchange. Sweet!
 

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KemoSabe
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cheap is not good and good is not cheap. words to live by.
True, but inexpensive and good value for the dollar is money in the bank.:thumbup:

An example is the HF multi-tool. I bought the first one with every intention of destroying it within the first few hours. I used the scraper blade that was included with the tool (which also included a wood cutting blade and detail sanding attachment, spare carbon brushes, and some sand paper, which I paid $20 for with coupon) to remove drywall adhesive from Advantech OSB sub-floor....lots of it. I ran that tool for eight hours a day, for several days. It still works perfectly.

As a note, we killed a Dremel brand MT, along with a couple others that got too hot to touch within 15 or 20 minutes of use. The HF never got too hot to hold.

I use it for everything imaginable, from cutting off door and cabinet shims, cutting out cabinet backs for outlets, etc. I even used it to cut drywall 3' up off the floor to remove flood damaged material from Sandy....a few hundred feet on one occasion.

I like it so much, I bought 2 more, so I can keep a straight blade in one, round in another and sanding attachment on the other.

The blades at HF are pretty good too and they have a big selection. They also have a universal mounting pattern to fit many other brands.
 
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anyone who does not realize that HF has stepped up their game = is ignorant. i know 2 people that use the EARTHQUAKE 3/8 air ratchet, professionally , and the say it works as well as compairable "truck" ratchets. for FAR less $$$
 

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I found out that a new HF store opened up nearby. This thread prompted me to go have a look around.

On the left is one of my Irwin clamps ($14). On the right is 2 Harbor Freight clamps ($3.95/ea).



They are nearly identical. The flat rod is metal on both. The actual clamp piece (blue) is steel on the Irwin, but I think the HF is aluminum. The HF looks like a copy of the Irwin. As a test, I clamped the HF one down to a block of wood, and tightened it as tight as I could get it by hand. That's more than I would ever need to tighten it in normal usage. I was expecting it to break (or strip the threads). It didn't. I got a pair of channel locks and started to tighten it even more. I didn't make it more than half of a turn before the ends started sinking into the wood and I figured that was enough to test it. I have no complaints about the clamps.
 

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CaptianMarvel.... I see you bought and like the 12" dual bevel miter saw. Im taking a wild guess but I bet you are also annoyed by the trigger activated laser as was I. If you would like to change that to a rocker switch type I made a review on there (basically under the nickname I use here) giving steps on how to install it that way as its very easy.
I might want to add a few things. Those clamps (orange black) are lifetime warrenty and you dont need a reciept to return them well atleast not where I go. I also have not had any problems with my tools that I have gotten from them. Well I lie. I bought the 12" dual bevel miter saw off their site and when it came everything worked great. I built a nice stable and portable stand for it and mounted it but took notice when I locked it into the 90 and 45 positions (click in settings) that the saw had alot of play to the one side before I tigthened down the knob. Well I later found a small metal piece in the box when I was busting up the styrofoam and that piece goes to the underside of the handle arm on the outisde of the yellow plastice miter release pin thing. So I went and took it back to the store and got a new one. Also want to add that the 3 gallon air compressor is the exact same thing as the craftsman evolv 3 gallon as I have the evolv one. Also alot of people complain that you can never get parts for these tools. That is both true and false. Ofcource you arent going to get the manufacter (chicago Electric brand for example) to get you a replacement part. But I did alittle searching online because several people give the 12" dual bevel miter saw a bad review because they cant get a replacement drive belt for the saw. I searched and founf a company by the name of "performax" that makes the exact same miter saws as what HFT sells. I was able to get a pfg of the manual and get theie phone number for replacement parts. So basically you just need to look.
 

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Framer... you have the older model that required batteries. The new model is powered by AC for the laser. I just got annoyed by the trigger activating the laser so i changed it so now i can turn it on/off using a rocker switch. Also new model is a dual bevel which is a HUGE plus
 

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Insatiable Learner
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I went ahead and purchased the new/latest model 12" Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw With Laser Guide from Harbor Freight - in early Jan 2013 - for $119.
I am also on a budget and needed a good sliding compound miter saw. Like you I was going to buy the one at harbor freight, even though I heard a few bad things about it. Then, by shear luck I found THIS really nice Ryobi 10" Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser. It is usually around $200.00 at home depot. I got it for only around 30.00 more than the harbor freight saw, and the 2 year warranty, plus the fact that it's built MUCH better easily is worth the 30.00 difference. I slapped a Diablo blade on it and I am set. The place I got it from online had incredible customer service, really fast shipping and they included a pair of safety glasses, a flashlight, and two pairs of work gloves as free gifts with the order (plus a 10.00 coupon for my next purchase) :thumbup:

Harbor Freight has some great deals, but you have to use some common sense, and also factor in how much you will be using that particular tool. 9 times out of 10 when you use the 20% off coupon from their site, their tools are a great bargain. In fact the only tool that I ever had poor luck with from them was their clamping pliers. They literally never worked right, so I took them back. Second pair was just as bad so I scrapped them. Everything else from HF has always performed well for what was paid for it :)
 

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But does that Ryobi saw bevel both ways? Im not looking at it right now but I dont believe it does. The reason I got that HF saw as well is because of the dual bevel. I actually own the older 10" slide which only bevels to the left and have used it alot for the 3 years I have owned it. All the miter saws we use at work bevel both ways and I have gotten so used to using the bevel to the right that I just needed to get one for myself as well and since I am on a budget I went for the HF one. It works great to be honest with you. I installed a dewalt 60T blade on it and it cuts great. And to be honest with you, I cut through a 5/4"x 8" piece of brazilian cherry and the saw did not bog down at all. At work we have a Hitachi 12" slidiung dual bevel saw which I use to miter our tread risers and that saw bogs down big time cutting yellow pine and poplar.
 

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Dual bevel is really only functional if the blade is set true. From the bad reviews I’ve read on the 10” Harbor freight saw, and from personally examining it up close, I don’t believe it can be set true on the Harbor Freight saw. One of the issues some people were complaining about the Harbor Freight saw was that it wouldn’t hold an adjustment true. You would set it and it would be fine, but a few cuts down the road and it would be off again, plus there is a metal screw that many were complaining about, stating that the blade would sometimes hit it. This is simply poor engineering on Harbor Freights part. The majority of people would never need to use a dual bevel, even some professionals don’t consider it very important, and even the few that do would probably only use it for occasionally cutting something like - - long - - pieces of crown molding. I'm not even sure if my saw has dual bevel because it's not a needed feature. Dual bevel is mearly for convenience. You can simply flip your piece over and get the same results as with a dual bevel saw. A dual bevel won't make your life any better if you want QUALITY work. If you want speed, then maybe yes. Besides, since no 2 corners of a any room are equal you'll HAVE TO set your angles for each corner using scrap pieces anyway. I’m not aware of any Harbor Freight 10” miter saw that has dual bevel, but even if one did I probably would not depend on it anyway for the reasons mentioned above. The most important part of your saw is to have a GOOD blade on it, which is why one of the first things I did was to buy a Diablo blade. I’ve never used a dewalt blade but I know it is worlds better than the stock Harbor Freight blade, so you should be in good shape. Just be sure that dewalt blade never comes in contact with that metal screw or it will definitely tear it up.
 
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