Buying the Cheapest Wrenches I could


#1

I just now returned from an 8 day venture to the USA. I had to get my Sienna out before I get my permanent residency, and this was last chance.

I was going to take out the battery and put it in the house on a battery maintainer, the one we used while storing my son’s Mazda while he was in the Emirates for two years. I realized I had taken all my wrenches to Mexico. I had not a single wrench that would take out the battery frame and disconnect the cables.

Harbor Freight! Where to get the cheapest wrenches available for very seldom use!

I got 11 SAE wrenches and 11 metric wrenches, for $15.99 plus tax. I suspect I would not want to use them very much, nor on a tight nut, but they did serve the purpose at hand.

Yes, I put in Fuel stabilizer.

Since I live in a retirement park with people who used to be of some importance before retirement, and now time weights heavily on their hands, I wrote a note and put it on the dash visible from the outside. I informed them to read that note they had to be trespassing, that my car was legally registered, inspected, and insured, and now they should leave and not come back on private property, thanks!

For those who do not live in Texas, trespassing is a serious offense in Texas. In many states, you must approach someone on your property and tell them to leave If they do not, you can have them arrested. I have been told that when you are on private property without permission in Texas, it is presumed you knew it was not your property, end of debate, period. I like that.


#2

@irlandes

Yup

Some of my colleagues with tight budgets buy tools at harbor freight . . . usually socket sets and wrench sets

What’s up with your comment about trespassing in Texas . . . I thought you lived full time in Mexico . . . ?


#3

I have bought a lot of tools at HF. I am sure the quality is not good but for my occasional DIY, they get the job done and make the one time DIY worth it. If for the one time use of a certain tool I had to pay premium snap on prices, then it would end up costing more than having the fix done by a shop. Sure, I might need the tool later again, but who knows.


#4

Well, we’ll see. I bought a HF spray gun a couple years ago and have never used it. Just took a look at it for an upcoming project. I don’t know if it will work or not but my old spray gun didn’t work very well last time I used it and I don’t want to pay $500 for a new one. My BIL has done body work for years and after looking at his restored Fairlane he said he used a HF gun. I was shocked to say the least. I said can you even take them apart to clean them and he said who cares, throw it away. Buy a couple at a time. His paint work was flawless with an HF gun so I’m hoping it’ll at least spray a decent pattern.


#5

The closest HF to me is about 90 miles away so I only frequent them very randomly and only if I’m in that area. Most purchases I’ve made at HF were whim ones on items that I didn’t really need but figured WTH.

A few were total crap and ended up in the dumpster PDQ. However, I have purchased some of their Chinese stuff that is actually pretty good.
One is a 1/2" industrial drill that is near 10 years old and has never been a problem.

Another is a set of 3 micrometers which I was very (VERY) skeptical about. I compared them to my Starrett mikes and standards and all 3 are dead on correct. I even compared readings on things such as varying thicknesses of aluminum foil and shim stock and found them to be exact.

The 2.5 ton HF cherry picker I have has also been problem free for going on 15 years now.


#6

My only rule at HF is not to buy anything that spins fast. Circular saws, angle grinders, and their blades/discs… Absolutely not. I like living too much and don’t want to end the ride early or permanently injured.

Beyond that, I’ve gotten some decent stuff there and some junk. But the junk is cheap enough that it doesn’t matter.

I got a set of 4 car dollies for what I’d pay for 2 of them elsewhere. I had to disassemble all the casters and pack the bearings with grease 'cause for some reason they didn’t think that an important step at the factory, but once I did that they were fine and have been trouble free for years.


#7

I’ve been very happy with HF stuff, but my expectations are realistic. I know, for example, that a gantry crane from HF is great for once a year use, but might not stand up to daily hard use.

IMHO people who bad mouth HF are people who buy a tool for $29.95 at HF and get upset if it isn’t the equivalent of a $200 professional tool of the same kind. In addition, I think many don’t realize that an industrial catalog/supplier will offer to the pros a far greater selection than HF carries.

I like HF. They have a great many things for the homeowner and hobbyist that would otherwise be unavailable. And their stuff is every bit as good as the same stuff elsewhere at comparable prices. Actually, for a lot of what HF carries, these IS no “elsewhere” except the internet! And I’d rather see what I’m getting before putting my money down.


#8

I have a,socket set with the brand name Husky that I bought in 1967 with S & H green stamps. The whole set is in a little red case. Although there are no metric sockets in the set, that Husky socket set helped me fix a lot of things–automotive and otherwise. When I got the socket set, money was tight and that set saved us a lot of money. The set is still in good shape.


#9

There are a lot of good buys at HF…but they sell a lot of junk as well. I have 2 cordless drills that still work great after 5 years with the original batteries. The same for my cordless cutoff saw which still works great after 3 years. It’s buyer beware when shopping there.


#10

This has been all over the place so hopefully no issue posting here…
Mad Magazine spoof- enjoy!


#11

TwinTurbo: I loved Mad Magazine when I was a young teenager. One of my all time favorites was a spoof on mail order gun ads. “Thompson Sub Machine Gun. $49.95. Perfectly safe, firing pin removed.” The next ad was: “Thompson Sub Machine Gun firing pins. $.50 each.” lol!


#12

I kind of want the pneumatic slide whistle…


#13

I don’t remember the machine gun ads but back in the day three of us ordered surplus British Enfield .303 army rifles from Montgomery Wards for $15 each. When they came in we picked them up and went around the corner to the hardware store to buy a box of ammo. The ammo was more expensive than the rifles so after going through the first box, we sold them again. I don’t remember how old we were but we all had taken the NRA gun safety course and could legally carry a rifle alone. So we must have been 13 or 14. Couldn’t drive yet anyway so rode our bikes. I guess today we’d end up in reform school.


#14

I’m smitten by the 18V cordless hammer.


#15

@Bing, it’s different in the country than the city. I’m sure there are a lot of rural places where young teens can still fire rifles any afternoon they choose to, and they were probably well trained by their parents.


#16
For those who do not live in Texas, trespassing is a serious offense in Texas. In many states, you must approach someone on your property and tell them to leave If they do not, you can have them arrested. I have been told that when you are on private property without permission in Texas, it is presumed you knew it was not your property, end of debate, period. I like that.

Is that ALL property, or just a personal residence?

I thought most of the western states (I know for sure NM) were “open range” states: if you had unimproved land, cattle (and those taking care of them) were freely allowed on your land, and the onus was on you, as a landowner, to put up fences or other means of keeping them off your property.

I know, here in PA, we are a “Castle Doctrine” state for your residence, so you can “stand your ground” and shoot an intruder, even if your life isn’t in imminent jeopardy; however, unimproved land is freely accessible unless posted and placarded (but at least you don’t need to put a fence up!)


#17

Bing: Innocence lost. I saved my meager allowance earned by doing chores and bought a Daisy Cub BB gun at the age of 8 (1960). It was in the toy department. I was asked if it was OK with my parents. They were in the store and I offered to get them. The clerk said " I believe you". I remember the price being $1.75 but it could have been $2.75. Whether I had 2 or 3 dollar bills I did have $.25 cents left over to buy 5 red paper 250 count tubes of BBs. My Father and Mother were shooters and hunters. Both coached me in gun safety while target shooting in the back yard. It was drilled into me that if I did something stupid with my prized BB gun it would be reduced to pieces in the garbage can. I received a .22 Remington bolt action rifle for my 12th birthday (1964). It had a tubular magazine that could feed .22 short, long, and long rifle. I successfully completed the NRA safety course. At 12 years old in my semi rural small town I could then throw my .22 rifle with bolt open across my bikes handlebars, ride through the town center, past the elementary school, with no one batting an eye. About 3 blocks past the school I would stop at a corner store for ammo. I would walk into the store with my rifle (bolt open) and the owner would ask “1 or 2 Boxes of ammo”?. I was target shooting so I bought .22 shorts which were 10 cents less than long rifle. I continued a couple of miles to the river ending up on county property which was a popular target shooting area. It contained a large gravel pile for county highway use and dumping ground for excess dirt. They had dumped the dirt creating a 4 foot high by 100 foot long berm made (purposely?) for target shooting. Shotgun shooters also “killed” a lot of clay pigeons there and it was littered with empty shotgun shells. They were great targets for my rifle. Just for clarification the machine gun and firing pins ad was Mad Magazine satire. The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 highly restricted civilian ownership of machine guns (which until then could be purchased by anyone at hardware stores). They can still be owned but are very expensive and many hoops must be jumped through!


#18

Sounds like an idyllic childhood. Ain’t freedom grand?


#19

Here in Wisconsin we can target practice all you want on your own land…as long as you are not withing the city limits. You cannot go onto state land or public property…as in a park, state forest, or national forest and target shoot. But there are many places within the state lands that are designated for target shooting…you just have to pay a fee to pay for the employee’s that monitor the place.

I was raised in a subdivision and back in the late 60s when I was 12 and I got my first Daisy BB gun. We hunted black birds in the nearby woods and fields. Back then the farmer didn’t care if us kids did this…as long as we didn’t damage his crops as we walked through the fields. I think I got my first 22 at age 14, but I was not allowed to use that without my dad or grandpa along until I was 16 years old.

As far as Harbor Freight goes. I buy some things there, but I limit this to items that I do not care about the quality… like how could they possibly screw this up.
I have bought a few things that I learned that lesson from. I once bought a 3/4 hp bench grinder that was so weak in power that they must have used the horse with no hind legs. That’s about 3/4 of a horse. I also bought some bungie straps that were junk. The 24 inch long one only stretched about an inch…that’s not much better than a rope with hooks on the end.
Also a friend just bought a wire welder from there and you really cannot call that a weld bead…more like bird poop.

I do plan to go there tomorrow for some floor mats, zip ties, chip brushes, and some parts bins.

I do need a new 12mm flare nut wrench, but I’ll stop by the Craftsman store for that.

I did but one of those Pittsburgh tool kits with all the wrenches, sockets, screw drivers and pliers, but that was a kit to be kept in the good car to be used on a rare occasion.

Yosemite


#20

I have a large selection of Craftsman hand tools. The ones I have are excellent and have lasted me decades. Yes the quality has declined over the years…but still better the HF. And you can’t their sales…not even HL can beat their sales.