While there are some potential pitfalls, you can do very well buying tools at estate sales. Probably 1/3 of my hand tools came from estate sales, and so did my most expensive corded power tools. Here’s how to find the best tools and the best deals.
The key is knowing what you’re looking for and what the tools you’re after are worth. Whether you’re buying tools to use or tools to collect, you don’t want to overpay. After all, you’re investing a lot of time, gas, and mileage. Factor that in.
When a Northern Tool opened up near me, I assumed it was something like Harbor Freight. So did everyone else, it seemed. But there are significant differences between the two stores. Both have a reputation for being stores that sell cheap Chinese tools. When it comes to Northern Tool, that’s an oversimplification. Northern Tool vs Harbor Freight isn’t necessarily an obvious comparison, it turns out.
Both Northern Tool and Harbor Freight sell things you won’t find at your local home center. But while Harbor Freight devotes most of its store to cheap Chinese tools, Northern Tool also sells costlier brand-name tools. Each store also sells things the other doesn’t. If you want a big tool chest, go to Harbor Freight. If you want a lawn mower, go to Northern Tool.
My Craftsman table saw broke the third time I used it. That was nice of it. Fortunately there isn’t a lot that goes wrong with these, so they’re easy to fix. Here’s how to fix a Craftsman table saw that won’t turn on.
There are two or three things to try. Unplug the saw, then first, just clean out the sawdust from the underside with your vacuum cleaner. Second, look for a red reset switch on the motor. Press it if yours has one. Third, take off the power switch, check its connections and clean it.
Have you ever looked into a DIY project and the person talks about how they built something for $10, but you count up $5,000 worth of tools they used to build it? It’s hard to save much money when a project requires expensive tools. So here’s how to save money on power tools. 13 ways, in fact.
Most projects assume you have about six common tools to get them done. In a pinch, you can get most of them done with four or five essential tools. The essentials should cost you less than $200, and with careful shopping, you can assemble a reasonable collection of tools over time and spend less than $500.
Much like cars, power tools come in different grades and price points. Just like General Motors sells you a Chevy in hopes you’ll move up the ladder to eventually buy a Buick or a Cadillac from them, toolmakers do the same thing, selling different grades of power tools at increasing price points, under different brand names for each.
Most tools that hardware stores sell fall into three ranges: consumer, prosumer/enthusiast, and professional grades, at increasing price points. As long as you use the tools how the manufacturer intended, you can be happy even with inexpensive tools.
Is coupon a verb? Probably not. But someone asked the question, so let’s talk about how to coupon Harbor Freight, and if my former English teacher is reading, sorry, Mr. Reiss. Maybe he’ll forgive me when he sees how much money he can save, right?
Rule number one is to never, ever go into Harbor Freight without at least two coupons. Probably more than that. If nothing else, you should always, always have a 20% off coupon and a freebie coupon. If you know where to look for coupons, you can easily use three or more at each visit.
The origin of DeWalt tools can be a little confusing. In some regards, the DeWalt brand has two origin stories. That’s why DeWalt started in 1923 but you might not remember seeing it much until the early 1990s. DeWalt is a good example of clever marketing.
DeWalt invented the radial arm saw in 1923. The company changed hands in 1949 and again in 1960, when Black and Decker bought it. Black and Decker divested the product in 1989 but didn’t sell the DeWalt name, which remained dormant. In 1992, Black and Decker turned around its struggling professional tool line by re-branding it DeWalt.
Painting a basement is a cheap way to really improve its appearance. It also takes a fraction of the time it takes to finish it. But it’s not a zero-maintenance option. So, should I paint my basement? Only after you weigh all of the factors.
Painting a basement isn’t a one-time effort that you can just do and forget about. Over time the paint will degrade and you will have to paint it again. It can take years or decades. But as long as you don’t look at it as something you do once and forget about, painting a basement can improve its appearance and make it less humid, making it a more pleasant and useful place.
There are tons of woodworking projects available online that allow you to build some great-looking stuff with inexpensive lumber. But so many of them assume you have a table saw. How do you square up cheap dimensional lumber without a table saw? How do you cut plywood without a table saw? It turns out you can.
You can buy or make clamp-on jigs that allow you to make long cuts in a straight line with a circular saw or jig saw. This lets you do many things people normally do on a table saw, such as cutting the rounded edges off 1×4 or 2×4 lumber or ripping plywood. It’s much less expensive than a table saw, and in some cases, it’s also safer.
If you shop at Harbor Freight, you know their little blue 27 LED work light/flashlight. It sells for $3.99, but they almost always have a coupon to give you one free with any purchase. But you don’t have to throw them out when they stop working. The batteries are replaceable. Here’s how to change batteries in a 27 LED Harbor Freight work light/flashlight.
The Harbor Freight work light/flashlight has three AAA batteries inside. Simply remove the three Philips-head screws from the back, pop off the back, and replace the batteries.