Monday, January 21, 2013

Harbor Freight

Like many people I have shopped Harbor Freight to buy small things like tie downs, rags, or other things where I didn't expect much and didn't need longevity. I appreciate their low prices but always considered them a low end store with cheap and not very good tools. But increasingly there are some nuggets there and I think we stumbled upon a very good one.

If you like to wrench or have a shop you have probably at one time or another wished for a rolling tool chest. Ever since I was a teen I have coveted a Snap-On chest but could never justify the 3K and up price tag and for the last few decades I have been making do with a cheap Stack-On unit that is under sized and frankly not very useful. So when I heard about the rave reviews of the Harbor Freight 44" roller I was interested if skeptical. I can now confirm that I am very impressed and purchased a US General (Pro) 44" rolling tool chest and couldn't be happier with the quality of this product.

I was aware of a coupon for these out there for $359.00 but couldn't find one so I got this for $389.00 on sale. Two days later I of course found the $359.00 coupon in the magazine "Classic Trucks"....such is my luck but I am pleased none the less.
This thing is heavy, about 265 lbs, and its well built and has a really nice red powder coat paint job that to me looks great.
The larger drawers have double ball bearing slides and they operate smoothly and with no side to side movement or flex. The unit came with drawer liners and a heavy rubber mat for the top.
It has 14 ball bearings top and bottom on each slide and as you can see in the background, it has full double wall construction of heavy steel. No pushing on the outside and being able to dimple it on this thing.
It came with 4 ball bearing casters with two of them that swivel and have locking arms on them. They seem to be functional and have Zerk grease fittings on the bearing swivels and the axles but I may replace them with more robust casters...just because.
The weight load chart shows how heavy duty this thing is and it should more than meet my needs.
Each side of the roller has built in bolt pockets to attach side cabinets or lockers and I will probably but a 7 drawer side cabinet or two in the future. I am not claiming this is the quality of a Snap-On or Mac but its a high quality unit that is a lifetime legacy purchase and its well worth the price. I don't see how they sell these things so cheap but if your interested in a roller I found the Harbor Freight unit far exceeds what you can get with Craftsman, Kobalt, and lesser brands. Just call me a satisfied customer.
Another company I have been pleased with is who make molded carpet, vinyl flooring, headliners, dash pads, etc for a wide variety of older vehicles. I sent for some vinyl flooring and a headliner sample for the 1990 Dodge D-150 project and the top piece in this picture will be what I install for the headliner (its foam backed) and the bottom three pieces are heavy vinyl flooring in blue, grey, and black respectively. The flooring comes moulded to the contours of your particular vehicle and completely covers the interior floor in one piece. I am leaning towards doing the truck in black but Holly likes blue so we shall see. It also has sound deadening properties so I may not have to put Dynamat under it but that still remains to be seen.
The winter continues to be mild but we had an ice storm the other day and everything was covered in a coat of solid ice. No damage was done but it was literally covering everything outside.

And finally on a very sad note from us, our beloved Arctic cat Boo Boo had to be put down. He came into our lives in the winter of 1998 when he appeared on our doorstep in Alaska half frozen and we took him in. He had peculiar clipped ears that we later found out meant he was a feral cat who had been captured and neutered (the clipped ears help identify those already neutered) and he was fierce. He growled like a tiger and at first wouldn't let us anywhere near him but over the years he became a much loved member of the family.

Boo Boo had a rich personality and he followed us around the farm like a dog, he ruled over the other animals (dogs and cats) but was extremely gentle towards kittens and children. He could be a pill at times and he liked to scratch at the furniture and when you yelled at him he had this particular look he would give you, then he would run around the house and come back to you for a petting. He was also prone to getting on the headboard and jumping on your stomach in the morning when he wanted let out but he was an extremely affectionate cat who left a great big hole in our hearts.

He declined physically over the last few months to the point where he was just skin and bones and he was in constant pain so we know the choice to have him put to sleep was the humane thing (he had cancer) but it was very hard. We buried him wrapped in a hand knitted baby blanket in the oak grove behind the barn where he liked to hang out. There are bird feeders there and we pass by him and say hi daily on our way to get hay for the cattle and somehow I think he would be pleased.
He will never be forgotten.

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