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Harbor Freight's tools for jewelry making?

I have a few things from Harbor Freight, but most of the major tools
seem to be trash, from much of what I’ve heard, You always get what
you pay for, period. I buy substandard tools when I can’t afford
anything else, and I know that’s what they are, so I don’t expect
much from them. If they last well with whatever use I put them too,
I’m thrilled. If not, I’m not surprised. They have their place,
though, when you are trying to get started, and can’t afford better.
Hopefully, by the time you have to replace, you do have the funds to
buy a quality tool. I have their tiny $10 engraver that i have used
for several years, for signing the backs of pieces, and I buy their
hammers for cutting up to create textured hammers. I have heard about
belt and motor problems with the tumblers, cracking in their
hydraulic presses, and wouldn’t expect too much precision form their
drill presses. They can help you get a good start, though - lots
and lots of Luck!

Lisa W.

Beware of the HF digital caliper. I took a stone setting class where
I tried to it them to measure 2mm stones for flush setting. Another
student and I were the only ones having trouble. Turns out, when the
teacher measured my stones, she got a different reading and I got
with my caliper. The other student and I had bought our calipers from
HF and both were giving the exact same measurements that were wrong.

Elizabeth
www.borntobeworn.com

The HF barrel tumbler uses a belt that can ben replaced with
available O-RINGS.

it will use a standard round form ring 3/16 inch wide, 3-5/8" inside
diameter by 4" outside diameter , Shor A hardness. these will cost
anywhere from $0.75 each to about $ 1.50 Each… for inexpensive belt
use try silicone rubber, neoprene or EPDM. I cant guide to the best
one of these but THE BEST one would be polyurethane rubber which
will cost about $15 each! Don’t run these too tight. Only the very
best industrial equipment would probably have these! These are
available from industrial and hydraulic supply houses all over. (
including Mc Master Carr).

Most HF tools are a good buy at the Price which will be about 20
-25% of the US made price. Remember that much of the S tuff sold
under US brand names also comes from Asia.

Most HF tools are a good buy at the Price which will be about 20
-25% of the US made price. Remember that much of the S tuff sold
under US brand names also comes from Asia. 

It’s true that much of the equipment sold in the US by “American
companies” is made in Asia, but that emphatically does NOT mean that
Harbor Freight’s stuff is the same quality as the “American brands.”

Asians, and Chinese in particular, are masters at making the same
thing in several grades. Sometimes this is the result of deliberate
design decisions, such as substituting a cheaper, barely capable
motor for the higher priced unit used in brand name versions.
Sometimes it is simply inspected in at the end of the production
process with the higher quality tools being delivered to brand name
manufacturers and the rejects going to places like HF.

Just because two tools look identical and both were made in China
doesn’t mean that the cheaper one is the same as the more expensive
model. It usually isn’t.

RC

Regarding HF tools: I have quite a few of the hand tools, purchased
over the years, mostly with good luck. One order included 2 sets of
numeral stamps. Whoever packed the order did a lousy job! Flimsy box
with heavy things on the bottom, including the stamps. UPS left the
package on the porch - we were at our former jobs. When I picked it
up, the bottom fell out, spilling loose stamps everywhere! It had
been “re-packed” by someone…several stamps were missing. HF claimed
no responsibility, as it instructed the recipient to “inspect package
before accepting” written on the outside of the box. UPS, also no
responsibility, since no one was home to accept it. The value of the
items was very slight and after a couple of calls, HF sent 2 new sets
of stamps. But, having to deal with the whole thing made me swear not
to ever order from them again! But, I have. Last year’s sale of their
rolling mill and throatless shear was too much temptation. Both
arrived in good time and in good shape. Since I don’t use these every
day, they’ve held up well - the shear cutting everything up to about
16ga very cleanly & easily. Then there was the pump my husband
ordered…“pumps down to 1/8 inch”. When the crawl space flooded, it
only pumped up to about 1 1/2", nowhere near 1/8". In deeper water,
it’ll shoot a stream through a keyhole! We’d rather not have the
opportunity to do that, though!

Overall, our luck has held with HF and there’s a brick store less
than an hour from us. A lot of hand tools are available there, but,
calling before you go saves a LOT of frustration. So, good & bad
experiences - luckily, the bad ones were small. Good luck to you all
that purchase!

Sue Johnson - Herb-n-Antiques

Beware of the HF digital caliper. 

I’m glad someone said something – I was thinking about getting one
of these for my 11-year-old stepson, but I think he can just use mine
for the time being. BTW, beautiful druzy pieces, Elizabeth!

Jennie

I purchased this digital scale from Harbor Freight some time ago:
harborfreight.com Itemnumber 543

When I purchased the scale it was on sale for about $10. It weights
in grams, ounces, troy ounces and pennyweights. Before I got this
scale I used a balance scale with brass weights. Weighing items took
a long time and I often had to transpose weights form one unit to
another mathematically. When I first got this digital scale I
compared its performance with my balance scale. They both read the
same. I now have used the scale several years without a problem, not
even a battery change. It sure has made my life a lot easier at
little cost.

David Luck
www.davidluckjewelry.com

When I purchased the scale it was on sale for about $10. It
weights in grams, ounces, troy ounces and pennyweights. Before I
got this scale I used a balance scale with brass weights. Weighing
items took a long time and I often had to transpose weights form
one unit to another mathematically. When I first got this digital
scale I compared its performance with my balance scale. They both
read the same. I now have used the scale several years without a
problem, not even a battery change. It sure has made my life a lot
easier at little cost. 

The Harbor Freight item number was edited wrong in my previous post
about the Digital Scale. The correct Harborfreight.com item number is
93543-7VGA. Thank you.

David Luck
www.davidluckjewelry.com