Harbor Fright

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by TWill, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    I had never wandered through one so the other day I took 30 minutes and went inside. Since I wasn't looking for anything in particular it was just a recon run. I am always skeptical of everything in a store coming from the labor farms across the sea so I bought nothing and hope I did right. Is there anything there worth spending my money on? I saw a machete and knife that both looked like an accident waiting to be purchased. Other tools all look to be made from whatever we have been selling them for scrap metal.

    Any good items worth my time there? I read the blanket thread and thought this was better as a new discussion.
     
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  2. bam7765

    bam7765 Supporter Supporter

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    Disposables. Rubber gloves, sand paper, screws, orings. Things of that nature
     
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  3. ExAF1N1

    ExAF1N1 Purveyor of sharps and savory burnables. Supporter

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    Their version of the pelican dry box makes a good travel humidor. Their sandpaper is ok. I got a rotating clamp on vise there that's held up decent for what it is and where it was made.
     
  4. bam7765

    bam7765 Supporter Supporter

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    I forgot about their drybox. That is a good buy
     
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  5. dannyp

    dannyp Tracker

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    One thing that I passed over many times before finding it is the funnel tray. It's only a couple bucks on sale and it's actually made in the US. I use mine for pouring roasted coffee into bags or jars, but can see how it would be good for sorting a container of mixed hardware.

    [​IMG]

    They are good for disposable items or one time use tools. If I used tools everyday to make a living, they would not be my choice.
     
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  6. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Some of their stuff is good, some is awful. Many knife makers got their start with a 1x30 belt sander from Harbor Freight... I think all of them have needed to replace the power switch at some point, but the tool works well beyond its price.
     
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  7. seasonofthewoods

    seasonofthewoods Lost In the Woods

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    I would say hit or miss.

    I have used their hitches, straps, screw drivers, little bottle lift, tape measures etc.

    So far only disappointment is the bottle lift.

    Also they are so annoying with their fony emails.
    Total click bait.
    "Manager decision all items must go sale"
    "Tent sale, moving all items "

    And everytime this the same 20% off they give you as a member. Which I believe that just mark shelf prices extra 20% to break that even.

    So for me I rarely go in there. But if I do I spend a couple bucks.
     
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  8. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I have a LOT of stuff from there. Welders, saws, grinders, sanders, hand tools. No real problems. I did kill a grinder, but that was because I killed it, not because of the grinder.
     
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  9. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Guide

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    I like harbor freight. Their welding apron ($10) is good for leather for making pouches and such.
    If I need a tool I am only going to use a couple times I buy HF stuff. If I find I need it often, I'll buy a good one. Even their power tools are good for limited uses. I have never had a problem with their stuff. All guaranteed.
     
  10. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    My air compressor, 1x30, and porta-band are HF. They’re OK and seem to be a decent value. I purchased these when there were 25% off coupons . As others have stated, there are some small items like gloves or safety glasses that are a good value for the price.
    If the tools were daily users I think I would shop elsewhere .
     
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  11. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Thats a fantastic idea!
    also fantastic!
     
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  12. injun51

    injun51 Guide

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    They have plenty of good things, you just have to use a little common sense when buying, and never forget your coupons. Free stuff is the best stuff.
     
  13. motman241

    motman241 Scout

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    Someone said, and I agree: if you need a specific tool once or twice, they are fine. If you need just light duty, maybe. If you break the tool, you should have probably bought the name brand tool.

    Although, I do hear their warranty/return policy is pretty good. I've really got no complaints with Harbor Freight. Buyer beware, and just know the products could be cheaper quality/lighter duty.
     
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  14. JohnP

    JohnP No more half measures Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I’m not a fan of HF. I would rather pay more for a better quality tool.

    JohnP
     
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  15. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    They have a lifetime warranty on their files. When it gets dull take it back and they'll give you a new one.
     
  16. anno lynke

    anno lynke Tracker

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    i go for consumables, cut off disk for my angle grinder, drill bits, gloves... i also buy angle grinder there i consider then almost disposable. i work them hard and in a few years when they die i get a new one. I have killed expensive brand name grinders, ao cheap ones work for me
     
  17. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Years ago when I was just getting started I purchased one of those Craftsman 1000 piece tool kits. If I broke a tool I got the lifetime replacement, to keep as a spare, and purchased that same item from Snap-on or one of the major brand tool companies. Over the years I built my box up that way. I have plenty of Craftsman tools that never needed to be replaced, either they are seldom used or used correctly, or I just got lucky with them. With Sears on their knees gasping for air I imagine Harbor Freight’s Pittsburg line may become the Craftsman tools for the next generation.

    I have to wonder with all the tariff talk how inexpensive HF will continue to be going forward.
     
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  18. HP500

    HP500 Guide

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    Like some others have said, if you need something for light duty it is a great place to shop. I bought a 4 1/2" angle grinder a while back on sale for $9.99. They asked me at the counter if I wanted to buy the extended warranty on it. I said, no if it breaks I'll throw it away and buy a new one. I got about 6 years out of it.
     
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  19. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

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    Do NOT buy a HF Chinese made anvil! “Rugged, heavy duty cast iron” is not what you make anvils from. However, I have two of their 5 lb anvil-shaped objects and they work great for glue weights.
     
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  20. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Guide

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    They have a free app with all their coupons. The X% off as well as the free stuff. I forget paper coupons but rarely my phone.
     
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  21. rustystove2017

    rustystove2017 Supporter Supporter

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    Apache dry box when on sale is far cheaper than Pelican case and decent quality too....
     
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  22. Mikewood

    Mikewood Guide

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    I have a pretty good set of most of their corded power tools and have never burnt up a tool or been dissatisfied.

    For the home do it yourself person they will last a lifetime. There are a couple things to keep in mind. You need to use them sparingly. If you hog down any tool but say a $15 4” angle grinder you will eventually burn it out. You need to blow down the tools with compressed air to keep them clean and you need to keep them dry. This is all stuff that grandpa and dad taught us anyway. If you leave them out in the rain, burn them down and let them get caked with grinding dust and sawdust they won’t last long.

    Another thing to do is to over buy. If you want the 4” cut off tool get the 7” if you need the 7 buy the 9” etc. always buy the more powerful tool. That way you won’t overwork and burn up the tool.

    Keep in mind these are not commercial tools for hard every day use. But how many times does a home owner need a jig saw? 12 times a year for 30 min of actual run time? These tools will more than do that.
     
  23. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The 9 mil rubber gloves are really good gloves that will make it through a repair without falling apart. I also like the kits, o-rings, cotter pins, set screws ect nice to have relatively inexpensive items that when you need one you need one now. The wood clamps work pretty well for the price.
     
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  24. Wapitilo

    Wapitilo Scout

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    They have assorted sizes of spring clips that I find indispensable in the woods. I use them to hold tarps to my canopies and have found numerous other uses for them. Also as other have said, they are good for disposable items. When it comes to actual tools I will choose a different route.
     
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  25. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I am not a fan of any high speed rotating/grinding bits and tools, or high velocity striking tools from any Asian country of manufacture. I can deal with a soft steel drill bits but something coming apart and showering me or my shop in shrapnel is a whole other kettle of fish.
     
  26. Guy

    Guy Founder Staff Member Administrator Vendor Bushcraft Friend

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    I buy their 7 mil rubber gloves for staining and finish applications and they work well. I also have their wood clamps from the $3, 6" model to the $18, 60" bars. I also have forstner and router bits, sand paper, casters, and sorting bins. I do not get their "square" measurement tools because they aren't square.

    I did not want to go to them either due to the whole chinese thing, but all of those items from brand name manufacturers are made there as well. If I can buy American, I will, but if its made in China you may as well get it the cheapest that you can. Most of their woodworking items seem to have good reviews.
     
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  27. Mikewood

    Mikewood Guide

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    I am really surprised by the Chinese tool comments. Most tools are made in China or are made of “global” components. I think channel locks, Klein are made 100% in the ISA but would you rather buy a Chinese screwdriver from a traditionally American company, one from a place like HF or buy direct from China? If the only choice is a tool made in China why not buy it directly from China and cut out the middle man (retail sales person).

    Not trying to start an argument.
     
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  28. Wapitilo

    Wapitilo Scout

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    If you're talking power tools, you are mostly correct. Though I would still rather buy tools assembled in America from Asian made components than a tool that was completely made somewhere else. If you're talking hand tools however, there are many great companies whose tools are completely made in the U.S.A. There is a big difference in the quality and if tools have anything to do with your livelihood, you will eventually go that route. They are definitely more expensive but worth it in the end.
     
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  29. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Guide

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    I was desperate for a 5/16-20 thread die and couldn't find a single anywhere nearby, so I slinked into Harbor Freight and got a whole set for less than the price of a single US made Starret brand. The quality was as bad as it gets, but it worked for the two rods I had to thread right away. No one had 5/16-20 rod anywhere, while I could get 5/16-18 all day long. I have some strap s and gloves, mostly from my son who tends to go there. Mostly, I pay the price and try to support American made manufacturers. I'm rarely disappointed.

    In many cases, you just can't win, since the rod is all from China, too.
     
  30. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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    I've bought two things from Harbor Freight that have lasted at all: an extendable 1/2" drive ratchet, and impact grade sockets. At this stage I will only buy tools from them for my in-vehicle toolkit, which I hope to never need but can accept having to replace after a single use. I would definitely get more impact sockets from them though.
     
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  31. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie

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    A good rule of thumb for Harbor Freight is don't buy anything that has moving parts. If it has moving parts it's only a matter of time before it breaks.

    It's kind of hit or miss but it's a great store for random odds and ends. I buy tarps from there quite a bit and occasionally pick up a tool or two that I'm only going to use a handful of times.
     
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  32. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    I bought, years ago, their 2-ton shop crane for doing engine replacements, used a dozen plus times, is wonderful and still operable. No issues. The electric, corded impact wrench worked great, their impact sockets and adapters are fine. I have a few items from there and overall it's ok, depends on what you need and what you get. I bought some drill bits that just dulled and snapped.. every one of them. Took the set back and got a refund.

    Like many things, it depends with HF.
     
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  33. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Scout

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    Some of their larger tool chests and roll-arounds seem to be quite good for the price. I got a stainless steel mud pan for doing sheetrock work that is quite nice. I've bought several of the small 6-piece small pliers sets when they were on sale for maybe $6-8. Mod them, heat them up, lose them, whatever.
     
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  34. blind & lost

    blind & lost Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Zipties, throwaway vinyl gloves, freebies, no power tools yet.
     
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  35. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    Thanks, your comments are helpful for my next time going there. We live in a small town and try to do a good share of our hardware spending at locally owned stores but sometimes it is good to know what is cheap and has value at other places in the metro hub.
     
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  36. grendal

    grendal Scout

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    i like them for single use specialty tools. i have a couple of torque wrenches from them that ive used once or twice (in ten years). they were 1/3 of the local ACE hardware. tested the bolt torques on my dad's craftsman, spot on.
     
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  37. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

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    Go to Tractor Supply and you see pretty much what you see in HF. But at a higher price.
     
  38. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    Their mechanics tools (ratchets, sockets, extensions, impact socket, breaker bars) are not bad at all. I used to be active on garagejournal.com, and those guys always talked fondly of some of the tools there for the money. Their mechanics tool chests were always recommended. I usually stay away from their power tools, but I broke down and purchased the 1x30 belt sander a while back and it has been good so far for what I paid ($50 or so). Really, many of the lower end power tools are just relabeled versions of what you find at HF. Might as well not pay for the name and get it cheaper with a coupon. Now I do have many made in the USA hand and power tools and know the differences between them and HF items, but sometimes I just get tired of paying top dollar for something I will use once or twice. They do have some made in the USA items, usually made of plastic such as tool organizers, etc. I haven’t priced lately, but they carry Evaporust and in the past it was a good deal there.
     
  39. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Their warranty is good .
    Good as any body else . Buy the tools you want / need and use them , what breaks they will replace . if it's a high use item get a better brand but be assured even they break/wear out.
    Any impact socket ,even snap on will show wear if used enough . there is no substitute for proper safety practices .
    If I am improvising a tool that doesn't exist, and it's something I have lots of use for, I don't mind spending the money for quality tools for this purpose.
    However if it is probably a one shot thing, the cheaper tool is expendable and worth having ,not having to modify a more/expensive quality tool.
    All ratchetting tools are vulnerable ,so be nice to them. in cases of extreme torque use a breaker bar and parts loosteners and heat if necessary. Learn how to disassemble things with out breaking them, it cost more to do the job otherwise .
     
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  40. gdwigg

    gdwigg Scout

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    Stopped by Harbor Freight today, picked their bench grinder stand. It seems like a pretty good stand, and pretty inexpensive I had planned to get a couple of the funnel trays mentioned earlier, but forgot to even look for them.
     
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  41. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    They have small shovels (Maybe 2' overall length) that make great vehicle shovels and cheap. Screwdrivers are cheap so don't hurt as much when lost/stolen.
     
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  42. zelph

    zelph Supporter Supporter

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    95% satisfied with their tools.
     
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  43. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    There's decent stuff to be had if you are discerning and choose carefully. Disposable supplies and occasional use tools from there are fine, in my experience. My only big ticket items from there are a roll- away tool chest, which is good enough for home use if not pro use, and a generator, which has reliably (but noisily) seen us through a few hurricanes and ice storms.
     
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  44. Grizzly Dave

    Grizzly Dave BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    We bought a four slice toaster there almost 10 years ago and it's still in service.
    Just be careful about what you buy
     
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  45. JGB

    JGB NO SIGNAL Supporter

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    12” disc sander
    Benchtop sandblast cab
    The purple paint sprayer (with some mods)
    Zip ties
    Shrink tubing
    Ceramic triangles Tumbling media
    Any hand tool I wanted to beat up

    All good stuff and work(ed) for my needs
     
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  46. Loosearrow

    Loosearrow Scout

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    I went in the store a few weeks ago to hit their sale on flashlights. They work great. They also had some battery power lanterns that are quite impressive. The technology is amazing for light these days. Anyway, I was looking at flashlights and noticed a black light flashlight. It showed a scorpion glowing. I got to thinking about the horn worm or tobacco worm that was stripping off the leaves of my tomato plants at night. I can't seem to find them. Well, for a few dollars for the black light flashlight, I went out and found 13 of those suckers as big as my little finger. They stand out. I was at work and one of the girls says, "I buy those for the iguana, don't kill them. The are high dollar food for them." Check it out if you have the same problem. I would buy a bigger black light flashlight if I was to do it again. P.S. Just so you know. A strobe flashlight blows the socks off bullfrogs. Found that out years ago with a Bushnell flashing flashlight. Never saw anything on the net about it, just saying. Give it a try. Things are cheaper now and better. Regards.
     
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  47. mcblade

    mcblade Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Their cheap mechanix type gloves are NOT spark resistant!!!! just saying
     
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  48. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I purchased their mini wood lathe a while back. So far it has been a good tool. I use it strictly as a spindle lathe. In theory it could turn a 10” block, I did not buy it for that kind of work; it I wanted a steady diet of that kind of turning there are much better choices out there. For powder measures, horn spouts and base plugs, rings for southern horns, tool handles, fishing lures, honey dippers, cups, magic wands etc it is a great choice.
     
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  49. outkastblast

    outkastblast Scout

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    I've found that they've gotten quite a bit better over the years. Years ago I bought some 12" bar clamps that lasted for ONE glue up for a project I needed additional clamps for. But they now have really nice bar and pipe clamp hardware that makes it affordable to get spares/extras in your tool stable without throwing a mint down.

    I'll echo the disposables. Plastic gloves, chip brushes (only if you accept that some bristles WILL fall out), sand paper (1"x30" belts, 3"x30" belts, and hook/loop pads). Their mechanics toolboxes seem to be of really nice quality, but I'm not in the market for any of that.

    As an aside, is anyone else irritated with some of the downright misinformation when it comes to Made In USA products? Some of these companies are just downright shady with how they label their stuff. Two examples: 1) Stanley utility knife, the classic #99. The placard had a large American flag on it with "USA" Printed below. Buy it and take it home, wasn't until after I opened it up to put a blade in that I found the Made In China stamp. 2) Hydroflask, double walled vaccuum water bottles. All over their site and on the product material it mentions the company's home is Bend, OR. But on the bottom, printed with "Designed in Bend, OR, Made In China. I know that some of that onus is on me to do my research to confirm it's US made, but damn...some of that seems awfully sketchy.
     
  50. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There was an ad campaign in the 80’s by a still to this day all American company called Weld-Bend. They make steel welding fittings and flanges. At the time Japan was the country that was importing cheap fittings. Their ad had a hand holding a can of spray paint that was spraying red white and blue onto a flange over spraying the Japanese flag that was on it. With the caption is this “Made in America?”. It was a jab at their competitor who was importing fittings and painting them here in the States and “legally” selling them as made in America.

    The problem still exists it seems. I’ve seen labels reading assembled in America from foreign sourced components at least they are up front about it.
     
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