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In praise of Horrible Freight. Really

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  • In praise of Horrible Freight. Really

    You can buy a couple nice Bessy or Pony clamps, or buy a ton of these very workable HF clamps. Average about $8 each. You can never have enough clamps so unless you won the lottery, a darn good option. I have them in 2, 3 and 4 foot. New sub box after determining the RSS265 drivers are not suitable for BP-4.

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  • #2
    HF has come a long ways - spend some browsing Youtube reviews and head-to-head comparisons. Their better stuff is the equal of any of the big names these days, and will run several percentage points cheaper (or even more).

    They have come so far, that SnapOn sued them for revealing what a scam pricing is on name brand tools. They are selling a floor jack which is virtually identical to a SnapOn, built in the same factory, for about 1/4 the cost of the SnapOn. This irritates SnapOn (and likely a bunch of people who use clever terms like 'horrible freight'), as it eats into their ego and their revenue stream.

    Long story short - the modern HF product lineup still includes the "use it once for a weekend project and throw it away" crapola, but it also includes world class quality tools. You owe it to yourself to open your mind and give it a try.

    For most of us here, we are likely already heavily invested in yellow or red batteries so it is likely a moot point - but newbies can do a lot worse than skip the yellow/red and go to HF.
    Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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    • #3
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      Totally agree TVRGeek, I have a few dozen of those same exact blue handle clamps from HFT from the longest to the shortest... have used them for years. I've never had one fail on me, knock on MDF.

      You can see the dust collector and band saw in the background, they're good for the money too. I love their 9" disc/6" belt sander combo too.
      JR is right, they have some really good stuff now. As long as you read a few reviews, you can avoid the disposable stuff easy enough.

      When I know I'm going to a HFT store, I clip a coupon and get a few of whatever clamps I don't have a lot of. When you make a lot of curvy, bendy things, you need a lot of clamps.

      TomZ

      Zarbo Audio Projects Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEZ...aFQSTl6NdOwgxQ * 320-641 Amp Review Youtube: https://youtu.be/ugjfcI5p6m0 *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
      *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF

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      • #4
        I still have about half of the little hated plastic squeeze clamps I bought for a dollar each years ago.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
          HF has come a long ways - spend some browsing Youtube reviews and head-to-head comparisons. Their better stuff is the equal of any of the big names these days, and will run several percentage points cheaper (or even more).

          They have come so far, that SnapOn sued them for revealing what a scam pricing is on name brand tools. They are selling a floor jack which is virtually identical to a SnapOn, built in the same factory, for about 1/4 the cost of the SnapOn. This irritates SnapOn (and likely a bunch of people who use clever terms like 'horrible freight'), as it eats into their ego and their revenue stream.

          Long story short - the modern HF product lineup still includes the "use it once for a weekend project and throw it away" crapola, but it also includes world class quality tools. You owe it to yourself to open your mind and give it a try.

          For most of us here, we are likely already heavily invested in yellow or red batteries so it is likely a moot point - but newbies can do a lot worse than skip the yellow/red and go to HF.
          If you can't tell the difference, then by all means buy whatever you like. Trying to make a living with that stuff is frustrating and an excellent example of what my dad calls false economy. I buy cheaper stuff if it's something I'm not going to use much, but most of my power tools are Bosch or the like because they last years (or even decades) instead of weeks on the job. The worst thing about Hazard Fraught is that even when you know what you are doing, it's hard to tell the good stuff from the crap. Some of what they sell is identical to better brands, and some of it does an amazing job of looking identical. I don't spend money in places I don't trust. Besides that, the stores stink. Really, they smell awful.

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          • #6
            I have made my living with tools of every kind for the last 20 years, I know what I'm talking about and I really doubt anyone has anything to teach me about assessing build quality on tools.

            HF has come a long ways on their top shelf products, it is worth investigating. The bottom shelf stuff is the same crapola they have been pushing off on weekend warriors since they hung out their shingle, absolutely it is. Their good stuff may surprise you.
            Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
              I have made my living with tools of every kind for the last 20 years, I know what I'm talking about and I really doubt anyone has anything to teach me about assessing build quality on tools.

              HF has come a long ways on their top shelf products, it is worth investigating. The bottom shelf stuff is the same crapola they have been pushing off on weekend warriors since they hung out their shingle, absolutely it is. Their good stuff may surprise you.
              100% agree. HFs newer, higher end equipment is very good. The clamps work great. And as JR, Ive been in industrial maintenance for nearly 30 years. Some of the name brand, top end stuff I have been subjected to, the HF stuff wiped the floor with. Looking at you SnapOn and Milwaukee.
              https://www.facebook.com/Mosaic-Audi...7373763888294/

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              • #8
                Doubters take a peak at a YouTube channel called Project Farm..
                He tests lots of tools of all types and there is often a HFT offering represented in each test, sometimes two... they often do very well, usually not his favorite, but he often has to admit that they represent good value for the money spent.
                For me, how does the tool work, and what is its cost are the only real questions, but for those who earn a living with their tools, longevity and dependability are more important.

                Still, for me, their lower price has allowed me to consider purchasing tools I may not have otherwise.

                TomZ
                Zarbo Audio Projects Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEZ...aFQSTl6NdOwgxQ * 320-641 Amp Review Youtube: https://youtu.be/ugjfcI5p6m0 *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF

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                • #9
                  I know their power tools have improved a lot over the years. I gave them a fair try ten or so years ago when they opened up a store near me. I still have some stuff I bought there, but one of my jobs as a mechanic forty years ago was repairing power tools. That was at a big industrial supply house where I saw everything from worm drive saws that had been dropped thirty feet onto concrete (and were well worth repairing) to stuff that had been on the shelf at Kmart two weeks before and needed a new armature and field. Throw-away crap is nothing new. I've bought exactly one thing at HF that had a cord on it, and that was a bench top belt sander that was also sold by Grizzly with their stickers on it. It's a decent machine, after overhauling it right out of the box. It was not assembled properly.

                  Forty years ago, I had a respectable collection of Snap On tools. When I decided being a mechanic was not for me, I sold them and bought a front wheel drive car, still something of a novelty at the time, and moved to the mountains. I knew when I bought all that stuff that it was as much about peer pressure and bragging rights as it was the quality of the tools. Also the convenience of having the truck pull in at the same time every week. That's a bigger deal than most people imagine. Most of my car fixing tools are now Craftsman. They are not nearly as nice to use or look at, but perfectly adequate for my shade tree use. I've heard Snap On ain't what it used to be. I never really missed the stuff I had.

                  A fellow I work with can't stay out of HF when he goes to the city. He bought a miter saw there, and it was a POS even before he had to reattach the handle with duct tape. He's a good carpenter, so he can do good work with it, but I'll walk clear across the project to avoid using it for anything that matters. He has a few cordless tools from there, and they actually look pretty decent. Time will tell if it's another one of those "It's not great but it only cost half as much and lasts a third as long" deals. If that stuff is even as good as Wal Mart grade Black & Decker, then it is a big improvement.

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                  • djg
                    djg commented
                    Editing a comment
                    +1 0n the tool truck. Mac, Snap On, Matco and Cornwell always replaced broken hand tools no questions. At your workplace.

                • #10
                  You have to know what you’re buying at HF. I bought one of their crappy $18 grinders 13 years ago. I haven’t been nice to it. Started having issues turning on the other day. I replaced the brushes with the spares it came with and works like new. Amazing.

                  I also bought a new HF Bauer grinder for $40. A utube video of a tear down of it shows it ha good quality composites, cord, extra epoxy on the windings, etc. looks good.

                  I have some cheap HF bar clamps and they work but are nothing like the Irwin QuikGrip clamps. Pads fall off and can’t get as tight between bar flex and grip mechanism slop. Still just fine for the price and to have an arsenal of, but not the same quality for cheap as some of their diamonds in the rough.

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                  • #11
                    Besides always picking up some of those Blue steel wood clamps, I usually stock up on the $2-3 dollar bulk packs of the 7/64, 1/8 and 9/64 inch drill bits. I use those sizes a lot for screws.

                    I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
                    "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

                    High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
                    SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
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                    • #12
                      A lot of people make fun of HF because it's all made in China. Until they look at where the new Porter Cable and Bosch stuff is made:Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, and China mostly. Yeah, management of the name brands might have a reputation to uphold, but if you've worked in many US manufacturing companies you probaly know how far into the future most of their managers get concerned about. I'm not saying that's a good thing (it's not) but getting excited about a brand name isn't usually a smart way to go anymore.
                      Free & Free-form simulator/designer for Passive Crossovers
                      SynergyCalc 5: design spreadsheet for Wooden horns and DIY Synergy Waveguides
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                      • #13
                        How often will I use a given tool? Some mechanics tools I have are Protos from the 1970's more are Harbor Fruaght's after my garage was broken into and my tools were stolen and I decided I wasn't going to work on sports cars every weekend anymore. I'm not a real cabinet-maker either, and now after having strokes, I'm very physically limited as to what I can do in the shop. It's better for most of us to have 20 $5 clamps than 5 $20 clamps. A HF floor jack is also much better to change a flat tire than the $500 name-brand one we don't have and have to try and use the factory .89 cent jack in the trunk.
                        Name-brand power tools have been "price pointed" and made cheaper and aren't what they once were, so watch out.

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                        • #14
                          I wasn't aware of those particular clamps. If they hold up as good as you all say they do, then I'm in. Their squeeze clamps there are TERRIBLE. (In all fairness, i think it's the same "white label" squeeze clamps they sell at Menards, which are also incredibly bad)

                          One thing I got at Harbor Freight that I think about a lot is the sliding compound miter saw. At the time, I just plain needed one to do trim work around the house, and it was the only one I could afford. I've done everything I could to try to make it usable (making jigs, constantly re-calibrating), and it's just so frustrating to use. I did crown molding in my kitchen with it, but not without a lot of fuss to keep it accurate.

                          I hate using the thing, but I can't bring myself to pay the price of an actual good, reliable, accurate miter saw. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
                          Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                          Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                          Twitter: @undefinition1

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                          • djg
                            djg commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I bought a used Porter Cable 10" sliding compound miter saw for $140 with two good used Bosch blades on Craigslist. I do live near a large metro area, the twin cities.
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