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Sure, you can buy better quality ratchet straps. And if you’re tying down containers of nuclear waste before barreling full-tilt-boogie down a bumpy mountain road, I’d definitely suggest spending for the best. But let’s face it: Most of the time you’re tying down something stupid like a mattress you’re moving for a buddy, and it’s pretty likely he’ll “accidentally” end up with a couple of your straps after the experience anyway. That’s why there’s Harbor Freight.

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Finally, a practical use for jewelry — the Hand Twine Company’s Ring Knife! You wear the ring knife on the finger of your choosing and slip the curved blade under twine, plastic strapping, or other packaging materials you need to cut. It can also be used to cut tape, ribbon, cardboard, small branches, or even light-gauge wire.

The Handy Twine Company fastens the ring knife’s heat-treated steel blade to the aluminum band with nickel-plated brass rivets. They claim they have made their knives in the U.S. since the late 1800’s with the same American materials since World War II.

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Although I own a drill index, surprisingly I’ve never had a complete set of drill bits for it. I bought the index to house the pile of bits leftover from broken sets and other bits I inherited. As you can see in the picture below, I’m missing several bits in the middle row and most of the sizes in the largest. Although the selection of bits has served me well on most occasions, many times I’ve had to ream out a smaller hole or settle for a sloppier fit.

After not having the right-sized bit for a project for the umpteenth time, I finally decided that it was time to remedy that situation. Like all my projects I find that I usually spend at least as much on tools to complete the project as I spend on supplies. So to save money, this time I went to Harbor Freight where I found the Drill Master 29 piece HSS drill bit set with 3/8″ cut-down shanks on sale for $15.

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Forget figuring out how to secure your workpiece with cumbersome hold-downs. Mount a magnetic chuck to your machine and all you have to do is flip a switch and start working.

Of course you’re limited to working with materials that are attracted to a magnet. In reality that will probably be some sort of steel — does anybody machine nickel? Plus you’ll have to have a flat base for the magnetic chuck to grab.

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Think of Strong Hand Tools’ Expand-O pliers like a pair of Vice-Grips (or Vice-Grip knock-offs) in reverse — squeezing the handles spreads and locks the jaws rather than clamping them down. The “jaws” can exert 500 lbs. of spreading pressure and, just like your Vice-Grips, a lever quickly releases them when you’re finished spreading.

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Imagine my surprise when I was a Harbor Freight last Friday and saw a Central Machinery drill press table for $30. I just worked a handful of nights and spent that much alone for the T-slot router bit to build my own table for the last part of the DP 350 review.

Toolmonger covered the inexpensive MLCS table before, which cost $60, but you had to deal with the wait and the shipping charges. In comparison, Rockler’s cheapest table runs $100 and their deluxe model runs $120. This table from Harbor Freight beats the cheapest one mentioned by $30.

But what does $30 buy you? First, the 1″ thick particle board table measures 23-7/8″ by 11-5/8″ and can accept a sacrificial throat insert to back up your holes. The 1″ thick fence rides on an aluminum T-track and is adjusted by loosening two top mounted knobs. A T-slot in the fence accepts other accessories, like the included stop block. The T-track on the table can also be used to mount hold-downs and other accessories. Along both of the aluminum T-Tracks is a ruled stick-on tape for setting the fence.

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A couple of things you might not know about that place you go to pick up cheap-ass screwdrivers and wrenches: It’s family-owned. And the family, it seems, isn’t getting along all that well. This article in the Ventura County Star indicates that a few days ago everything came to a head with ‘Freight founder Allan Smidt escorted out of the door and locked out of the building.

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Admittedly, we’ve always kind of enjoyed the low-rent look of Harbor Freight’s website. To me, it always felt appropriate, matching the store’s awesome cheap-ass tool vibe. But alas, everything changes with time. They’ve now joined the modern web world with an entirely new look.

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Often I spend the time before my morning coffee kicks in browsing the Harbor Freight website. (Think of it as a shorter, more-virtual version of the classic Saturday morning Harbor Freight trip, but with less danger of returning home with a $35 trunk-full of cheap tools.) This morning I came across the above pictured item: a set of mittens.

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Scales aren’t just for kitchens and meth labs. A decent little digital scale can prove handy as hell for measuring liquids — or even counting screws. (No, really: Just weigh one screw — or 2 or 10 — then weigh ’em all.) But why pay $100 or more for a scale you don’t need or settle for a hard-to-read weight-and-balance type scale when you can score this little digital model for $20?

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