View Full Version : 1,000 Bones for tools!

01-05-2013, 10:55 PM
I'm going to set a grand aside from taxes this year so I can get the tools I need to do more than just hack up my bikes. So far I just have basic socket and wrench sets up to 18mm and 3/4, a few cresent wrenches, screwdriver set and a tap and die set the I picked up for a steal.

I'm gonna do most of the shopping at Harbor freight to get what I need and then replace the items with craftsmen stuff as needed. I was thinking 400 to 500 for a hobart 140 of CR and spend the rest to get a couple grinders, bigger wrenches and torqe wrenches. Gotta get a good 18 vlt drill also. What else would any of you guys reccomend that you need or use more than anything?

01-05-2013, 11:02 PM
a porta-band comes in pretty handy

and the hobart 140 is a good machine. I've had mine for 5 years now.... no issues and it burns in pretty hot

01-05-2013, 11:35 PM
Second that on the bandsaw. Fab up some plates and you can make it a vertical band saw and mich easier to use. That would require a table vise which is another great thing for fab work if you dont have one. Dont forget the welding helmet to go with the welder. Die grinder of some sort fod detail work too tight for the angle grinder.

01-05-2013, 11:58 PM
a decent multimeter (if you dont already have one) and a test light

What do you have for a toolbox?

About 3 or 4 years ago I had nothing except one decent basic socket set (Craftsman).

Over those few years its grown to 2 rolling tool boxes full.

Some things I buy nothing but the best......some thing are cheapies. You gotta evaluate how often your going to use it and whats its use is. I really try to do some research and not to buy anything twice. Some HF tools are good, others are junk......usually a little reading will help sort them out.

Even so your going to be 1 up on me with the welder. Ive gotten lazy with that skill and tool. My best friend is 1 block away......hes got a welder and a torch. I can use them anytime so Ive not bother making the investment. Same with his large drill press and hoist. They take up room........so I let them take up room at his shop and just pilfer when I need them..........I bring the beer.

01-06-2013, 12:02 AM
Ah yes. Torch set! Good one too.

01-06-2013, 1:39 AM
All the tools I have at the moment are craftsman but HF tools are better than non and if it gets me through for now until I can replace them with quality stuff it is worth it. Toolbox is whatever I pull out of the scrap bin at the hanger. When it comes to a welding hood I think I still have one. Use to weld for a living about 8 years ago before I became an aircraft mechanic. A drill press and ban saw will most likely be the next big purchases if I find a deal on Craig's list. When I find a welder I plan on fabbing up up a custom table to do metal work and bend stuff. The multi meter and a stationary belt sander are a couple things I often forget about until I need and should be put on the list. Thanks for the input so far and keep it coming.

01-06-2013, 9:07 AM
Belt sander and band saw are my next big purchases. Would love a lathe at some point.

01-06-2013, 11:14 AM
+1 on the belt sander. I use that thing more than I thought I would.

01-06-2013, 2:22 PM
And everything you dont get will come in tkme

01-06-2013, 5:10 PM
HF has the same crafstman 'instant exchange' policy on a lot of their hand tools (wrenches and sockets, etc). kind of makes spending 4x as much a complete waste.

tools at HF are so fucking cheap, you could do nearly your entire garage for $1000.

angle grinder $10-20
grinding discs/cut off/flap disc $10
die grinder $30
8" bench grinder $50
drill press $200
vertical bandsaw $250 (im guessing on this one, cant remember).
all the assorted screwdrivers and wrenches you could ever use in 10 years $60
auto darkening welding helmet $40
tool box $150-250
bike table $300

look for coupons, you can save a shit ton at that place with them.

i know people bitch about HF and buying american etc, and while i agree with that in most cases, for the dude who's just fucking around in his garage, spending 4x more for a tool you'll barely use is insane.

have fun.

01-06-2013, 5:11 PM
Dont forget all the small shit you never think about like a scribe, centre punch, a few metal rulers/straight edges, set square, welding magnet, vernier calipers, dial guage, a quality torque wrench, a few sets of clamps and vice grips, a selection of files, etc. Might not sound like much but it will add up to abit of cash, i pretty much bought this stuff about 6 months ago and now i wonder how i ever got by without them for the past few years

01-06-2013, 6:26 PM
Files and scribes come in handy as hell. I use them atwork all the time but never think about it when i'm at home.

01-06-2013, 7:16 PM
save your money on the HF stuff and just search craigslist and the ebay for good quality used tool's...i would rather have fewer quality tools than a bunch of junk, never mind quality tools hold they're value. if you ever decide you want to sell something you can always get at least half your money back. not saying you have to buy snap on shit but i have sold some of my old triples or just stuff i have no need for anymore for almost as much as i paid for it 20 years ago...

not really knockin HF...well, yea i am but they have their place, mainly the old ball stuff you don't use all the time and the stuff that you not going to get hurt from if it fails...

just my 2 cents...and a mile

01-06-2013, 7:28 PM
As others have said, some HF stuff is good, some is a waste, its hit or miss. I got a chop saw there, gave me about 15 cuts before the motor fried. I have a pneumatic die grinder from there i've now been using daily for a year and a half that is great. I went out and payed almost 300 dollars for a set of snap on impact sockets since I use them 8 hours a day, and they are great. My boss has a set of almost identical sockets from HF for about 40 bucks and has never had a problem with them.

01-06-2013, 7:45 PM
my favorite and most used fab tools besides my welder is my portaband on a SWAG OFFROAD stand, and my HF belt sander. I never even use my torch set anymore.


01-07-2013, 1:23 AM
I know to be wary of power tools and such from HB. Now days though with modern tooling it is hard to get bad hand tools like wrenches and sockets. The only power tools I was gonna get from HB was a couple of grinders to have different disks on so I don't have to change them. I have used HB grinders and hand tools and they hold up well. I was also looking at northern tool for some things too.

01-07-2013, 1:49 AM
As for the cheap tool argument, when it comes to stuff like ring spanners, sockets, screwdrivers, etc. i always go for the best quality i can afford (expensive doesn't nessecarily = the best quality either). Because i am a tight ass i'd rather spend a little more on these rather than later on spending more cash on replacing rounded off nuts and bolts. But i do have cheap crap as well, like the $55 drop saw i bought the other week, it nowhere near the quality of my mates $300 one, it will still probably last as long as my mates because i know it limitations and use it accordinly. I take my time with it rather than jump on it with all my weight like he does. If i bought it for my job i'd have gone for the best i can afford, but i work on bikes as form of relaxation(even though i spend half my time swearing at inanimate objects in the garage) so i dont care if i have to spend an extra 20-30secs cutting a piece, fuck half the time in the garage is spent smoklng or drinking while stareing at my bike or a part. Time stands still once i enter the garage

01-07-2013, 5:19 AM
Holy shit ^ Where do i get a swag stand? That is bad as fuck. ANd do you have to use a milwaukee porta or can you use a cheap o harbor freight job?

01-07-2013, 5:40 AM
Holy shit ^ Where do i get a swag stand? That is bad as fuck. ANd do you have to use a milwaukee porta or can you use a cheap o harbor freight job?

order one from swagoffroad.com. good people to deal with i bought the up grades they make for my tubing notcher

01-07-2013, 6:09 AM
Bad ass shit man. Seriously made my day. Space saver and cheaper too!

01-07-2013, 11:53 AM
my favorite and most used fab tools besides my welder is my portaband on a SWAG OFFROAD stand, and my HF belt sander. I never even use my torch set anymore.


That is very cool.

01-07-2013, 6:22 PM
Holy shit ^ Where do i get a swag stand? That is bad as fuck. ANd do you have to use a milwaukee porta or can you use a cheap o harbor freight job?

email Troy from Swag. They are TOP NOTCH service and quality. Usually he will email you back in just an hour or so. Look at the options carefully because he has a stand for everyone. I have two of them, one for my new portaband, one for my old portaband. They are so convenient that I just bought portabands to leave in them permanently. and one more to use outside the stand.
One of them I sunk into a table top so its fluch with the whole table. Works pretty slick!

01-07-2013, 8:13 PM
When I first started working on cars I spent a shitload on HF stuff. Most of it went in the garbage within a year or two. I only buy stuff from them now if I need to modify it and dont want to screw up a good tool. If you plan on replacing it with good stuff down the road I would just buy the goods now. It will take a little longer to get everything, but you will be money ahead.

They do have some things that are just too cheap to pass up though.

01-08-2013, 2:10 AM
Craigslist there are people cleaning house daily good tools for almost nothing. Came up on all kinds of great tools from old timers getting out of the trade. Even the swap meet bears treasure plus used tool age has been modified already to fit in tight spaces. A grand should get u plenty of usable good qualty equipment .