cheap tools to start?

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bhoppy's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-17 16:05
cheap tools to start?
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I really need to buy a saw if I'm ever to actually build some furniture.  I've looked at the really nice ones and of course they are out of my budget but there's one for sale at Harbor Freight Tools for only $109.99!!   It's 12"sliding Compound Miter Saw with laser Guide and it normally sells for $199.99. 

 

Seems ridiculously low don’t you think?  The manufacturer is Chicago Electric Tools. If it cuts a straight line then it would be worth it I think but I wanted to get some opinions. 

 

Has anyone bought power tools or saws from Harbor Frieght? 

 

Thanks,

 

Bhoppy

tnslb's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-09 11:23

Generally what I do for things like that is head to amazon to see if they have it and check out the user-reviews there.  If they don't, I  just google around to find some.  Sometimes things are really cheap because the manufacturer is bringing out a new version or closing down a line entirely and it doesn't mean they are 'bad' items.

Hutchy's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-30 14:10

I'm going to ditto the above! My dad buys stuff from Harbor Frieght all the time and they have great prices. Like the above poster I google stuff and check any reviews I find before I buy. Hopefully that one will have great reviews because it's a great price!!!

sjohnston's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-08 16:20

I've heard mixed reviews about Harbor Freight but I would say this is a great way to test the waters with your own saw for a low investment.  Usually when you are on a budget you have to sacrifice key features.   A non-sliding miter saw is nowhere near as useful as a sliding one but they are normally crazy expensive.  So I would totally go for this.  If it turns out that you love building and this saw isn't as good as you'd like you can keep saving and at least have something to get the job done in the meantime.  

 

Susan

megan's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-18 02:52

I actually have the Chicago Electric 12" sliding miter saw from Harbor Freight.  I have had it for about 6 months and the laser stopped working properly in about a month and never was quite straight, so it's better to line up the blade anyway.  It comes with a pretty rough blade, but you can get a better quality blade for about $25.  I paid $149 for it on sale then.  The instruction manual that comes with it is not the greatest, so you really have to look at all the diagrams to change the blade and lock and unlock the saw.  I would still recommend it for small projects.  You can't beat having the range to cut a 1x12 in one pass though.  I've cut anything from crown molding to 2x6s with it and haven't had any problems.

bhoppy's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-17 16:05

Thank you guys!  I really want to build some stuff.  My dad had one of those all in one shopsmith with every type of saw imaginable when I was growing up.  He had it for 30 years before passing it down to my brother in law.  Wish I'd decided I wanted to build furniture before he did that!!  LOL

Sharon L.'s picture
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Joined: 2010-09-03 22:28

I got a Clutch from Northern tool for the same price as the Chicago one...love it!

mikeandmolly's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-30 18:48

I (mike) have the exact same saw that you're talking about, I got it with a 20% off coupon, and I *love* it.  It's become my best friend while I'm working on the storage headboard...megan is right, there's nothing like cutting a 1x12 that easily and straight!

bhoppy's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-17 16:05

I decided to wait and ended up getting a gently used Dewalt about a month ago!!  It's a 12 inch double compund one with a laser.  It's not the sliding model but for 150$ I couldn't pass it up.  I got it from a coworker and he said it was only used about 3 times. 

I also got a Kreg Jig for Christmas and just built my 1st project!  It was so fun!  Good luck to those still searching for tools.  I was itching to start building but I'm glad I waited on the saw!