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Old 06-07-2017, 06:55 PM   #1
truckster
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Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

Harbor Freight is always a roll of the dice. I have a 20-ton shop press I've had over 20 years and it works great. But this week I needed to build some racks out of 1 1/4 inch .120 wall steel tube. I went to HF after dutifully reading the reviews, and true to most of them, I had to shim the clamp to get the hole saw centered - that was no big deal. It wasn't quite square at 90 degrees, but again not a big deal. But then, on the third piece of tubing, the top bushing came out and would not stay in. That made the notcher totally useless. I can't recommend this to anyone, just in case you're thinking about it.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:37 PM   #2
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

Yeah H.f used to be cheaper, and low quality stuff, But for the hobbist,, it seemed to last for the 10-12 uses we put it through over a 10 year span. Now,, not a thing they make I can say is worth buying. I'm sure others have had luck with some of their junk. But my luck with them has ALL been bad for quite a few years now.
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:15 AM   #3
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

I got mine from eastwood..decent quality but I also had to shim the clamp out to get the tube centered..
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

IMO there are a list of Do's and Don't with HF stuff. For the most part stuff like clamps, straps, blocks, chains, tarps etc are all fine for the money. Its for "I need it now" stuff, not "I need it every day" stuff.

I always try to keep stuff like an HF set of wrenches, breaker bars, clamps etc...so I can cut and weld them into oddball special use tools.

Stuff like benders, presses, jigs, I look at Northern Tool or Eastwood. They have the "prosumer" and "hobbyist" grade stuff IMO. Eastwood has a great setup for auto specific tools, but you do pay a little more than you might from an HF (if the tool exists at both).
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:01 AM   #5
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

Its a free market. So buyer beware, been down that road with them. Pipe expander snapped first time using it.

So now I love their 9 mil gloves on sale with the 20% off coupon.

Other than that, Its only on Halloween at Midnight you will find me at Harbor Fright!

Sheez I wont even buy their wrenches to cut up. I get 40 year old Craftsmen at the local tool reseller at a buck a peice for that! Ha take that China!
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:28 AM   #6
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

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Originally Posted by toolboxchev View Post
Its a free market. So buyer beware, been down that road with them. Pipe expander snapped first time using it.

So now I love their 9 mil gloves on sale with the 20% off coupon.

Other than that, Its only on Halloween at Midnight you will find me at Harbor Fright!

Sheez I wont even buy their wrenches to cut up. I get 40 year old Craftsmen at the local tool reseller at a buck a peice for that! Ha take that China!
I wish I knew of a place I could buy old Craftsman tools for cheap. They used to actually make some decent tools.
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Old 06-13-2017, 03:44 AM   #7
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

There's a local trade day here that has a seller that has tons of old wrenchs and sockets..might try a trade day if you have one local to you
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Old 06-18-2017, 07:02 AM   #8
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

Imo harbor freight, northern tool and eastwood are selling the same crap, they just paint it a different color and put their own labels on it. If you truly compare you can tell there is not a difference in quality just one can charge more than the other because their name has been in the automotive industry longer.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:32 AM   #9
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

Words from my dad:
"If you are only going to use it once or twice, buy cheap. If you are going to use it more than that, buy quality."
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:07 AM   #10
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

The best motto i ever learned for Harbor Freight tools, "Harbor Freight makes it, You make it better." With that in mind, i have modified alot of HF equipment and made them work pretty damn good.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:16 AM   #11
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

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The best motto i ever learned for Harbor Freight tools, "Harbor Freight makes it, You make it better." With that in mind, i have modified alot of HF equipment and made them work pretty damn good.
True, but I had already modified this one to be square in 3 axis; it was the material failure that doomed it. Yes, I could have bored it out and installed bearings, but that was more than I was willing to do for a HF notcher.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:18 AM   #12
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Re: Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher

Oh ya, not everything is saveable from them.. pick and choose your battles..
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