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Thread: {{ Stuff that just works }}

  1. #451

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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by orbital View Post
    +

    We have something called Milorganite , kiln fired microbes that eat sewage.
    I know that sounds really nasty, but in simple terms it's grass food, not grass chemicals.

    Milorganite is the most basic recycling, making simple/dried topsoil =

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  2. #452
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Thought of this thread this morning.
    I've had these for well over a decade, maybe close to 2.
    Irwin Quick-Grip "mini bar clamps".
    They still look good, and work like new, in spite of living in a toolbag, having been loaned out to neighbors, and being used for countless little jobs over the years.
    Today, they're holding the delaminated soles of my awesomely comfortable, cheaply made, and horribly overpriced Xero sandals(which will certainly not be making this list!) in place while the Shoe Goo cures.

    Super handy to have around!

  3. #453

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    ^ I bought a set from Harbor Freight for about $5.99. One broke after the first use as expected.
    GOOD TINT!

  4. #454
    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by markr6 View Post
    ^ I bought a set from Harbor Freight for about $5.99. One broke after the first use as expected.
    I have several of these in orange and red. When I looked at them in HF I saw the smaller ones had smaller bars in them and it is likely they just aren't made as strong as the longer larger ones with larger bars.
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  5. #455
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Yeah, this is the "stuff that works" thread, not the Harbor Freight thread.

  6. #456
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen View Post
    Yeah, this is the "stuff that works" thread, not the Harbor Freight thread.
    HF is one of very few places that sell them as a set, other places (if they even have them) you have to buy them in single packs and at times they don't have all sizes and it can run you in excess of $20 for the same amount. I am sure if you could buy a similar set of these in a higher quality brand for about twice the price it would be a good alternative. Maybe someone has seen such a set somewhere recently that doesn't require you to buy a ton of other stuff in a large set that you either already have or don't need for $20 or more. For the price even though the HF ones aren't very robust you can buy 2-3 sets of them and throw away them when they break not a huge deal.
    It isn't an elegant solution but it "works".
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  7. #457
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by markr6 View Post
    ^ I bought a set from Harbor Freight for about $5.99. One broke after the first use as expected.
    When I managed general workshop procurement for the local makerspace I quickly learned that the cost savings on HF quick-adjust clamps were not worth their short lifeapan - Irwin or DeWalt were better buys. They seem to work OK for ... lighter ... duty than makerspace members subject them to, although a set I obtained secondhand also failed me in short order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen View Post
    Yeah, this is the "stuff that works" thread, not the Harbor Freight thread.
    While I would be wary of using them for anything like vocational purposes, Harbor Freight has grown from their reputation as a source of tools with a job-and-a-half lifespan to offering some actual values at the lower end of the market.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  8. #458

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    While much of the stuff sold at Harbor Freight is poorly made junk, I’ve found some disposable items useful. When I did electrical work, I found that most drilling jobs into metal can be done with 1/4 inch impact rated pilot drill bit, a 3/4 inch Harbor Freight Unibit/step bit, and a 12 volt Milwaukee Fuel Impact Driver. Saved me from carrying a whole pack of drill bits in my tool bags. The Harbor Freight wire wheels were useful for cleaning concrete off bolt threads. Some tools that you know are going to end up covered in something that doesn’t come off, or are used on a site where tools “walk off””, or get borrowed a lot are better bought cheap. Anything else, go for something that will last and is worth the cost.

  9. #459
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix View Post
    While much of the stuff sold at Harbor Freight is poorly made junk, I’ve found some disposable items useful. When I did electrical work, I found that most drilling jobs into metal can be done with 1/4 inch impact rated pilot drill bit, a 3/4 inch Harbor Freight Unibit/step bit, and a 12 volt Milwaukee Fuel Impact Driver. Saved me from carrying a whole pack of drill bits in my tool bags. The Harbor Freight wire wheels were useful for cleaning concrete off bolt threads. Some tools that you know are going to end up covered in something that doesn’t come off, or are used on a site where tools “walk off””, or get borrowed a lot are better bought cheap. Anything else, go for something that will last and is worth the cost.
    Makerspace users transform small tools into ... vacant spots on the shelf ... at a depressing rate. Drill bits become pins. Screwdrivers get ground down to make other improvised tools. Pliers get welded onto things to provide one-time leverage or heated with a torch into an unusual shape. Copper-only wire-cutters cut steel wire ... once-ish. While none of this was acceptable, it was also inevitable and simply managed to an acceptable level.

    Would better tools survive more abuse? Sure. But not long enough to justify their added cost.

    We bought drill small-diameter bits, small hand tools, some shop consumables from HF; we did not buy clamps, bits, sockets, power tools, fasteners, blades. Another calculation was that anything small enough to readily 5-finger shouldn't be as good as what you'd buy for your own usage; the real value of the makerspace was the workshop and capital-intensive stationary tools, not the hand tools which merely need to be minimally satisfactory.

    All of this was 5 years ago. Not sure what's changed at HF since then. I know most of their Predator line of engine-powered tools is well-regarded.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  10. #460
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    I own a sheetrock jack (panel lift) from HF that I'm using to do the ceiling in my basement. Might not want it for production work on a daily basis, it's worked as intended for what I need it for. And I'll sell it for half what I paid when I'm done. Want something from there that "just works" in the spirit of the thread? Look at their Apache cases. They're not Pelican, but they're damn good.
    The TK20. Yes, it still rocks- WoodsWalker

  11. #461
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    I have a wireless driveway motion alert device from HF that's been going strong for years. It recently had a failure due to corrosion in the 9v battery snap in the transmitter unit. I replaced it and it's running fine again. I've seen those 9v battery snaps fail in this way in a number of consumer devices.

  12. #462
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler View Post
    I have a wireless driveway motion alert device from HF that's been going strong for years. It recently had a failure due to corrosion in the 9v battery snap in the transmitter unit. I replaced it and it's running fine again. I've seen those 9v battery snaps fail in this way in a number of consumer devices.
    It they have wires on them they can be replaced. When I scrap things with 9v clips I save them just in case. One thing that you can do that isn't really pretty is take a 9v battery and tear it apart to get the terminals to wire to something. Luckily most of the time 9v don't damage much when they leak.
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  13. #463
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Good advice Lynx Arc. One thing I forgot to do that I might take care of at the next battery change is to squirt some No-Ox grease into the plastic shroud on the battery snap to seal the contacts from corroding again.

  14. #464
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler View Post
    Good advice Lynx Arc. One thing I forgot to do that I might take care of at the next battery change is to squirt some No-Ox grease into the plastic shroud on the battery snap to seal the contacts from corroding again.
    Yeah once they have been leaked on, contacts love to corrode easily. I have a few cheap lights that the contacts corrode slowly I have to get out my soft pink eraser and polish them up again. I've tried my best when buying things to see if there is a AA/AAA version of the device so I don't have to mess with 9V batteries. I got a temperature sensor that takes 2AAs instead of 9V and they now have 2AAA versions rather have the AA version myself a couple of L91s in it should last a lifetime as I was using it when C19 started to double check myself and after I got laid off I quit measuring myself daily. I replaced a clock radio that used a 9V backup with a coin cell backup version.
    9V batteries are way too expensive for the amount of power in them.
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  15. #465
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    Makerspace users transform small tools into ... vacant spots on the shelf ... at a depressing rate. Drill bits become pins. Screwdrivers get ground down to make other improvised tools. Pliers get welded onto things to provide one-time leverage or heated with a torch into an unusual shape. Copper-only wire-cutters cut steel wire ... once-ish. While none of this was acceptable, it was also inevitable and simply managed to an acceptable level.

    Would better tools survive more abuse? Sure. But not long enough to justify their added cost.

    We bought drill small-diameter bits, small hand tools, some shop consumables from HF; we did not buy clamps, bits, sockets, power tools, fasteners, blades. Another calculation was that anything small enough to readily 5-finger shouldn't be as good as what you'd buy for your own usage; the real value of the makerspace was the workshop and capital-intensive stationary tools, not the hand tools which merely need to be minimally satisfactory.

    All of this was 5 years ago. Not sure what's changed at HF since then. I know most of their Predator line of engine-powered tools is well-regarded.
    A few years ago I was surprised that two different people held HF electrical tools in relatively high regard.
    One a high school shop teacher, and the other a working maintenance foreman for some high rise office buildings in NYC.

    I have a HF cut off saw, and a HF Chicago Electric Oscillating Multi-tool. Neither gets a lot of use, but each has worked as one would expect.

    I see that they are now offering tools at three different levels of durability, each of course reflected in their prices.

    I have destroyed a few of their magnetic bit holders in my drill, using it to drive nuts or bolts with a socket and adapter. I suspect that a ten dollar one will hold up better.
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  16. #466
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Continuing with the theme of the thread...
    A hand truck!
    It is an extension of a long ago invention... the wheel.

    I used one recently to drag my floor jack across the lawn to the driveway, and back. The jack is too heavy to carry, and it's little steel wheels get stuck in the dirt. The hand truck with 10 inch wheels made the trek easy.
    Last edited by Poppy; 06-14-2021 at 07:05 AM. Reason: tire size
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  17. #467
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    2 and 5 gallon plastic buckets.
    Very useful for carting stuff around in and tossing small trash and debris in so you can leave an area all cleaned up. It is often easier to deal with than a tool bag and water proof as you can set it down in a puddle and no worries. When you need to sit down because you are tired you can dump out the bucket and turn it upside down. They make bucket tool holders that work well for accessing a lot of hand tools too.
    If you get the lids you can even store things in buckets and stack them on top of themselves. If you get different colors of buckets you can tell them apart and use one for tools, another for parts and trash. You can also turn them upside down to use as a small table and some have a slight lip on the bottom edge that can hold small parts on top so you don't have to bend down to the ground. Buckets can be tied onto ladders and used to hold stuff so you don't have to either juggle them or don a tool belt. I highly recommend the 2 gallon buckets as the shorter height can make it easier for some jobs as things can stick out of the bucket to be seen and grabbed easier and the bucket is lights and less bulky takes up less space. Ironically the cheapest place (so far) that I've found the 2 gallon buckets is... Academy Sports. The 5 Gallon buckets are I think about the same price range at Home Depot and Lowes I already had enough but wanted another 2 gallon bucket. During the hard late freeze we had here I was having faucets drip water and used the small buckets to save a lot of it and used it when I flushed my toilet and to water indoor plants and filled a half dozen empty 2 liter bottles up with water I saved. Not a huge savings but in some areas of the country where there is lakes falling fast and water rationing if everyone saves a gallon or two a day it could be huge when there is 10 million people using it.
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  18. #468
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    2 and 5 gallon plastic buckets.
    Very useful for carting stuff around in and tossing small trash and debris in so you can leave an area all cleaned up. It is often easier to deal with than a tool bag and water proof as you can set it down in a puddle and no worries. When you need to sit down because you are tired you can dump out the bucket and turn it upside down. They make bucket tool holders that work well for accessing a lot of hand tools too.
    <SNIP>
    I agree!
    5 gallon spackle buckets are so strongly recognized in the trades that Home Depot, and Lowes sell the buckets with and without lids.

    I've used them for carrying extra warm clothing and rain gear, and snacks a number of times when we went to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They can be used as a seat if we get there early enough, or as a step stool to see over the crowd.

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  19. #469
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    +

    Utilize = to use something creatively ____________^


    Long time ago, I had a roommate who must have been some Debate Club 'winner', he argued with me that utilize wasn't a real word..


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  20. #470
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Yeah I never just thought about it till now. You can take a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and make it a bug out bucket and put heavy items in it and items that need to be safe from water also and it can be used for one other things like putting ice in it, moving water around if you are outdoors, keeping tinder dry if you are needing to make fire outdoors.

    I also agree with orbital dollies are wonderful. I have a cheap HF dolly that I've used to haul 2 tool bags around on you need a bungie cord or two along with the dolly leave them attached to it so you don't have to track it down when you need it. The small retractable dollies are useful too as they fold up small enough you can toss them in the front seat of a car and they can haul 50 lbs of stuff on them with some care. I like the big balloon tire dollies but they can't handle really heavy loads very well they do make it a lot easier to roll over irregular surfaces. If I had money to spare I would get one of the dollies that also can be made into a cart. Another thing to have is a furniture dolly or rather you need a pair of them so you can move large items if needed.

    I like having some 12-14 gauge stiff wire on hand to tie things off with, you can have a bag too full of stuff to zip it closed and use the wire to keep things in it by running it through the handles. I've used house wire to tie things off to things like a bucket to a ladder to hold tools or trash. I've used stiff wire to tie all sorts of things together without being permanent. I like the straps of velcro that you can wrap around cords too.
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  21. #471

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Grado headphones. Made in the U.S.


  22. #472
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Little Big Shot hose nozzle. Not the perfect nozzle but the smallest useful one that puts out a very tight stream of water. I got mine with the additional valve adapter which is neat. The valve slides back and forth to control water but is mostly on/off and can be used without the hose nozzle or with other hose adapters/nozzles/sprinklers. It is nice to be able to put the nozzle in your pocket and you can get it into tight spaces but the drawback is without the optional valve you have to twist it to turn on/off which can be a hassle. I paid $10 for both and at the time it was $8 for the nozzle alone but seems to be $10 for the nozzle alone at this time. I first saw one of these working with a plumber who had one in his tool bag. When I can afford another one I likely get a second one to put in with tools. the body of it is made of metal only the flexible insert that is squished by the ball bearing action is made of a flexible plastic sort of looks sort of like pex.
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  23. #473
    Flashaholic* orbital's Avatar
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    +

    Made some cables & connectors for various projects this evening

    Used:

    Bench Vice
    Soft jaws for bench vice
    Wire striping tool
    Soft silicone 10AWG (or what's needed)
    Consistent heat soldering iron
    Propane torch
    Hammer driven crimping tool
    Sharp scissors
    Shrink tube
    Anderson Powerpole connectors

    Point is, all of this is Stuff that just works,
    not having any one or two, would have made the projects needlessly time consuming

  24. #474
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    I had to look up what a "hammer driven crimping tool" looks like. That is one cool looking specialty tool!

    A bench vice? That is definitely a real man's tool
    My dad is in the process of moving from one Florida home to another. He spent hours pouring through all his tools considering which of the triplicates he could part with, there was one tool that there was no doubt that it was making the move with him... his work bench vice!

    When I was a kid, my dad had a workbench with a vice that was part anvil. It must have weighed 40 pounds. Mine is much smaller, maybe weighs 10 pounds, but it is a handy piece of work.
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  25. #475

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    A hammer style pincher is great for rebuilding the auto battery wire. I rebuilt a trouble plagued Chevy truck ground wire where exposed wire near the connector weathers and interupts the ground. Snip the terminal off along with the dead wire, install a new terminal at the insulation end and no more dead battery symptoms. It mostly happens at the block end of the wire of 2012 to 2014 Chevy trucks but mine was at the battery end of the wire. Apparently some S-10's were plagued with it also.

    A while back my side mirror on a Honda quit working. Eh, busted motor no biggy. But then the electric window quit rolling down. Then the driver side mirror, then the door lock……over a few weeks. So I bought a bunch of parts for the 18 year old car, and none solved the problem. Somebody told me I probably had broken wires at the door connector. So when I investigated the connector I saw a few broken wires and several more were frayed, as in would break soon.
    An exhaustive research at Honda sites eventually yielded how to repair them but it was like some secret or something.

    Turns out Mitsubishi makes many of the wire looms for autombiles and often over pinches the connector pin. That leads to broken wires on Hondas, Dodges, Toyotas and other brands at the door connection. It also took a while to find new connector pins and the correct pinching tool. Honda seemed to want that too to be a secret only Honda technicians are aware of. And they wanted over $100 for a pinching tool. Enter Mac Tools.

    One day my son asked me to take him to pick up his car at a shop as he was having issues with headlights. While talking to the mechanic he showed me the over pinched wire connector and his Mac Tools wire pincher. BINGO!! It was $75 but worth every penny. Instead of your basic wire pincher pliers that comes in butt connector kits this one is has two sizes of a male/female C shaped masher.

    Turns out auto part stores have those as well for around $20. But the difference is the Mac has a small head that fits in tight spaces. The auto parts store type is a universal type where the Mac is ideal for those 20-24 guage wires in door harnesses.

    So I'm going to say "pliers" are a tool that just works. Generic kind or specialty kind. They just work.

    I got the door connector working by replacing the pins of each wire on that car. When I started working on a Lexus I discovered Toyota not only doesn't hide the fact that some of their wires are screwed up, they have a manual that describes in detail every connector and pins to fit along with instructions on how to fix them.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 06-20-2021 at 06:45 AM.
    John 3:16

  26. #476

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Left-handed drill bits for extracting broken screws or bolts.

    A couple of squares of thin latex in the kitchen for opening difficult jars and caps. The thin material works much better than thicker rubber openers.

  27. #477
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by troutpool View Post
    A couple of squares of thin latex in the kitchen for opening difficult jars and caps. The thin material works much better than thicker rubber openers.
    Great suggestion! Where does one find thin squares of latex?

  28. #478

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    This little stove. Just under 3 oz. Efficient. Boils water in minutes. Piezo start. Goes on all camping trips. The extra weight gets you a pressure regulator, which allows the stove to work well on low fuel canisters (they have much lower pressure) and at high altitudes. Also gives you a much wider burner with a built in wind shield.

    MSR PocketRocket Deluxe


  29. #479

    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler View Post
    Great suggestion! Where does one find thin squares of latex?

    I used one of those colorful, stretchy latex resistance bands, or exercise bands, and cut it into 6 inch squares.
    Last edited by troutpool; 06-21-2021 at 03:00 PM.

  30. #480
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    Default Re: {{ Stuff that just works }}

    Quote Originally Posted by troutpool View Post
    I used one of those colorful latex resistance bands, or exercise bands, and cut it into 6 inch squares.
    Thanks Troutpool.

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