Using a Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener
Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener
The Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener is truly one of a kind because the unit, before coupons and other specials, only retails for about 45.
This low cost price tag compared to other chainsaw sharpeners on the market like an Oregon 410-120 bench mounted grinder which will run about 200 could be alarming. but don’t let the low price fool you!
Whether you heat with firewood the entire winter, or you just need something that can touch up dull chain, the Chicago sharpener sold by Harbor Freight is a great investment.
To learn more, let’s take a closer look at this electric grinder and see what it has to offer.
Chicago Chainsaw Sharpener Sold By Harbor Freight
The first electric bench mounted sharpener I bought was the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener.
I bought it about 15 years ago and I still use it today.
The sharpener is actually made by Chicago Electric Power Tools which is a company that produces a lot of different entry level power tools.
Just like a lot of other power tools, the low cost of their chainsaw grinder accompanied with great performance makes this sharpener well worth the money.
Most homeowners who don’t cut a lot of firewood do one of three options to keep a sharp chain. They either:
- Try to hand file the chain which is often difficult if you don’t do it consistently
- Take it to a local shop to have it sharpened which can cost about 10 each time
- Use a chain until it’s dull then just buy another one
As you can see, the above options are clearly a waste of time and money.
These are some of the things I did when I first started cutting firewood.
I would rotate about 3 chains and when all three were dull, I’d take them to the local sharpening shop and spend almost 30 to get the three chains sharpened.
It didn’t take me long to realize I could buy the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener for the same price and never have to rely on someone else to sharpen my chains again!
Harbor Freight Chicago Chainsaw Sharpener. Pros
Aside from the low 45 purchase price, the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener has a lot of really nice features.
Just remember though, this is a 45 grinder and is intended to be used by the average homeowner and it’s not a commercial sharpener.
If you have these expectations in mind. you’ll love this machine.
Long Lasting Grinding Wheel
First, the gridding wheel that comes with the machine lasts a long time.
I have sharpened hundreds of chains with this sharpener over the past 15 years.
Heating with an outdoor wood furnace, we would burn firewood by the semi load and this grinder has never let me down.
Plus, replacing the grinding wheel is very affordable.
I believe I’ve only had to change it out once after all these years.
Easy To Use Sharpening Adjustments
The grinder has angle adjustments up to 35 degrees in each direction which can accommodate just about any chain.
Plus the design is very simplistic and doesn’t have a lot of adjustments which actually makes it easier for the average homeowner to use because there’s not a learning curve every time you use it.
There’s a couple of different adjustments that allow you to adjust the depth of your cut and how much material you remove from the cutting tooth.
If you take your time, being careful not to remove too much material, you can sharpen a chain many times before it needs to be replaced.
PRO TIP. Only grind off a small amount of material from the cutting edge of the tooth.
Taking off too much material will not only pre-maturely wear down your chain, but it will cause the steel on the chain to turn blue from overheating, which can have negative effects on the chain.
Fast And Accurate Way To Sharpen Multiple Chains
Right out of the box I recommend reading the directions and becoming familiar with the machine.
Although there are some issues with the amount of “play” in the chain vice and moving components (which we will address later) once you come up with a consistent movement with the gridding wheel, sharpening a chain is easy.
You can expect your first chain to take bout 15-20 minutes to sharpen.
If you go slow and keep the same downward movement with the gridding wheel, it will turn out great.
Then, once you get a little more comfortable, each chain will take 5-10 minutes to sharpen.
I like to have about 2-3 chains that I rotate out.
Once dull, I place them in a specific spot and once all the chains are dull, I sharpen all three at once.
It just seems easier to do them all because I get into a grove and can knock them all out in about 20 minutes.
Then, if I hit a rock or something when I’m cutting firewood I don’t need to stop everything and go back to the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener.
I just grab a pre-sharpened chain and I’m back cutting in a few minutes.
Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener. Cons
No matter which tool you use, you’ll always find a few things you don’t like. or think could be improved on.
Here are a few things I don’t love about the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener.
Although these issues are minor, especially when we are talking about a 45 machine, it’s something to be aware of so you can make your own adjustments when using the machine.
Swiveling Chain Vice Does Not Lock Into Place
Most of my chains are sharpened at a 30 degree angle, however, different chains have different angles.
To accommodate this, the base of the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener swivels back and forth up to 35 degrees in each direction.
However, the common degrees (such as 30 degrees) do not have a lock spot to them, meaning you have to eyeball the degree marker on the base to make sure you’re at the right degree.
It would be better if there was a factory made notch to lock the grinding wheel into the 30 degree mark which would take out a little bit of user error.
There Is Play In The Chain Vice And Grinding Arm
There’s a little bit of extra movement in the vice and chain stop that holds and locks the chain in place when you sharpen it.
Sometimes when you activate the lock, the chain will ride up a little bit.
Also, as you move the grinding wheel down towards the chain, there is a little bit of side to side movement in the arm which can essentially change the angle of your grinding wheel when it hits the chain.
To fix this, you just need to use the same arm movement with every stroke.
You’ll get the hang of it within a couple of strokes and as long as you’re consistent, you won’t have an issue.
Again, this is a 45 machine that will save you 100’s in sharpening costs so it’s not going to be perfect.
Chicago Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. Overall
If you cut firewood and need to sharpen an occasional chainsaw chain, the Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener is a great choice.
I’ve had mine for 15 years and it still works like new.
Yes, it’s not as good as an Oregon chainsaw sharpener but for the money, it’s well worth the investment.
There’s always going to be a disagreement between sharpening a chainsaw chain by had as opposed to using a bench grinder.
If you don’t sharpen chains everyday by hand, an inexpensive grinder like this one made by Chicago Electric Power Tools is a great choice!
Harbor Freight Hercules Goes Brushless with New 20V Angle Grinder
Harbor Freight has come out with their first Hercules cordless angle grinder, and this is also their first brushless cordless power tool in the Hercules lineup.
The new Harbor Freight brushless angle grinder works with 4-1/2″ or 5″ wheels and is said to deliver 45% longer runtime and 20% more power, compared to “specifications of standard product.”
That last part is confusing, as Harbor Freight doesn’t have any other cordless angle grinder in the Hercules lineup. Perhaps the comparison is to their Bauer Hypermax angle grinder.
Harbor Freight has previously offered an Earthquake XT brushless angle grinder, which is now marked as being on clearance. The two tools have some similarities with respect to motor specs, but the Hercules grinder looks to have been completely redesigned.
That is, this isn’t Harbor Freight’s product team switching colors and brand labels, the new Hercules brushless angle grinder looks to be its own design.
The new Harbor Freight Hercules brushless angle grinder features an 8500 RPM motor, quick-adjust guard, electronic soft-start, cleanable air vents, and spindle lock.
The angle grinder ships with a 5″ Type-27 blade guard and sample grinding disc.
Price: 120 for the bare tool
Thank you to Chris for the news tip!
I think this is an interesting place to start, but makes sense given Harbor Freight’s strong customer base with interests in automotive maintenance and fabrication tools.
Personally, I prefer paddle switch angle grinders, but I also don’t use such tools for very long sessions. A lot of heavier users prefer angle grinders with lock-on power switches, as they can be much less fatiguing.
It’s curious that this ships with a Type 27 5″ disc/blade guard. Will other accessories be available, such as Type 1 guards for better protection when using cut-off wheels?
The product specs mention a 3-position side handle, but I only see 2-positions. Harbor Freight’s Earthquake brushless angle grinder had a 3-position handle (both sides and on the top). This could possibly just be a web team error.
Harbor Freight is only selling the Hercules 20V angle grinder as a bare tool, which means you’ll need a separate battery and charger. For new users, a Hercules 5.0Ah battery is priced at 70, and the charger is priced at 40. If you buy all three at the same time, there’s an in-store-only 25 discount. Meaning, if you wanted a one-battery kit, and you buy in-store and without any other promos, you’ll need to spend 205 (120 tool, 70 battery, 40 charger, 25 discount).
There’s also a 2.5Ah battery, priced at 40, but higher capacity batteries are generally recommended for cordless angle grinders.
This is an expansion of Harbor Freight’s Hercules 20V cordless power tool line, and although it’s their second brushless angle grinder, it’s just the start of their Hercules brushless tool selection. are surely on the way.
What do you think about Harbor Freight’s first foray with Hercules brushless cordless power tools?
15 Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Let’s be quite frank here, paying name brand (Milwaukee, Makita, DeWALT, etc) for a Harbor Freight brand is beyond idiotic. 90 day f@%king warranty, absolutely retarded. Is Harbor Freight genius or are people just stupid? Paddle switches are much safer than lock-on switches.
I agree. I saw the price and I just about vomited. I suppose unless for whatever reason you already had other Hercules tools, I don’t know why you’d buy into it with this.
Most people don’t research themselves. They’re in harbor freight grabbing their crappy hand tools at bargain bin (while simultaneously complaining about China) and assume that a cordless angle grinder must be a good deal because it’s at harbor freight. They assume they’re getting a steal. In reality, for the same price they could get a excellent tool with an excellent warranty. Plus, the Milwaukee/Makita/DeWALT isn’t going to be replaced within a couple of months by some random new brand HF decides to launch. That’s why there’s a 90 day warranty, you see, because they’ll be a new model within that time. lol.
Most weld shops iv worked in will not allow grinders with a lock on switch its a big safety issue. Also the price on this thing is insane buy one of the big three when they are on sale.
Yeah I think HF is genius in their shoppers surveys. They know that people roll in there just to buy what they think are cheap but good enough stuff. 5 minutes of google with your smartphone standing in the store should tell you – gee don’t buy this rot go to _ and buy _ anything else for similar dollars. I too don’t understand marketing the herc crap with a 90 day warranty but placing it against DeWALT stuff with a 3 year warranty. (depending on the item)
Today, HF has raised on just about everything. You can verify it yourself, just look up your favorite whatever item(s). Some people are reporting on the Reddit HF subforum that a 2018 lawsuit is forcing them to present higher so that the sale are then legit under this legal requirement. Stuart, my suggestion is investigate the price spikes. Get to the bottom of what is going on. For historical pricing, all you have to do is lookup any item at the coupon site hfqpdb.com, below the coupon shown will be a list and dates of past normal for that specific item. It will shock you. For example, the Hercules miter saw went from a range of 299-369 (just a week ago mind you) to 569 today. HF has always based its business on shenanigans and this one may just top them all.
My only thought is many people that never read tool and craft blogs simply stop in HF to buy a tarp or clamps or a jack or whatever and expect a low price. Period. Though I’ve purchased dollies, cheap-ish tarps and the odd A clamp as gifts to people who don’t have any need or offer any respect for better spec’d products. But roller chests or power tools? Never!
“HF has always based its business on shenanigans….” Geez folks, it’s just business. HF’s goal is emptying their customers’ wallets. While everyone on ToolGuyd is brilliant, the typical consumer isn’t as bright as they think they are. We’re…oops….they are manipulated by advertising, product placement, misleading comparisons, colors, branding and all the other techniques used for the promotion of products. Even the brilliant readers of ToolGuyd probably have fallen for some of the techniques. Be glad you have choice and stop whining.
How dare you interrupt this rant-fest of crusty old guys with your common sense and down-to-earth insight? You may well be exiled from our virtual donut shop where all we do is order black coffee and sit for hours making occasional salacious Комментарии и мнения владельцев to the over-the-hill waitress. Watch yourself, mister.
The Best Chainsaw Sharpener under 30 | Harbor Freight Review
The current price for the new Hercules Angle Grinder tool only is only 99.99 USD almost 44% cheaper than the Milwaukee. The performance that I tried is even better（more cuts for the rebars with one 5Ah pack）and seems more powerful. Have to say, the higher for those big names like Bosch, DeWALT, Milwaukee, Makita are just partially for their “names”. Cost effective shall be the priority for DIY and half-pro users like us.
If you want a steal, get the Bauer Angle grinder, 40, plus 30 for the ACTUAL fast charger and 60 for the 5AH battery. Minus 20 and you have 110 for a cordless grinder kit. I’ve got 3 of them so far lol. If you don’t need quick battery charges, it’s 100 per. I don’t recommend them for prolonged us, but for a mobile / cordless setup it’s amazing. I do small mig welding and it’s been a godsend. This next part will depend on your disposition, but essentially the “serial number” is more of a sub model number. Warranty ONE of them… ♂️
New Harbor Freight Tools Worth Buying
Harbor Freight’s product lineup has evolved in recent years and has even started to gain some respect from some of the most uptight tool snobs.
Given the mixed perception of Harbor Freight Tools’ quality, you may be curious if their new tools are any good. I was too, so I did some research.
My popular article 25 Best Harbor Freight Tools for Your Money, which only includes legacy Harbor Freight tools listed my top picks from a few years ago. While, those top picks still exist today, we now have a much larger pool of offerings to choose from.
In this article, I’ll list Harbor Freight’s hot new tools and review what users are saying about them along with some of my own experiences. In the end, we’ll be able to determine if these new tools and brands are a great buy, or too good to be true.
New Brand Names
Among Harbor Freight‘s newer tools, you’ll find brand names like Icon, Bauer, Hercules, Atlas, Fortress, Daytona, Avanti, and more. Each brand is exclusive to Harbor Freight, so you won’t find them for sale in other stores.
You could consider the different brands within each product category to represent different tiers of quality and price.
For example, Harbor Freight sells mechanics hand tools under the Pittsburgh, Quinn, and Icon brands. An Icon screwdriver is better and more expensive than a Quinn screwdriver, which is better and more expensive than a Pittsburgh screwdriver. Make sense?
This is a brief summary of each new tool brand:
Icon is Harbor Freight’s professional-grade brand of hand tools and tool storage. In fact, based on the price comparisons to Snap-On, it’s clear that this is their big push into the professional tool market. This includes tool storage and hand tools like wrenches and sockets.
The most noteworthy Icon products are their tool storage systems like toolboxes and hand tools like wrenches and ratchets.
Icon Tool Storage
The Icon Professional Roller Cabinet boasts impressive specs. For example, the top and side enclosure panels are made from 16-gauge sheet metal, which is 1/16″ (0.0625″) thick. The load capacity of the 56 in. x 25 in. (model #: ITSRC56R) is an amazing 8,000 pounds, which is 4,400 pounds more than the equivalent Snap-On roller cabinet, which tops off at 3,600 pounds!
In all respects, the Icon brand tool storage products meet or beat the competing Snap-On product in the same category.
So, is Icon tool storage really as good as Harbor Freight claims it is? Let’s see what real owners have to say about it.
After evaluating the available reviews for Icon Tool Storage products, it’s clear to me that they live up to the hype. Owners are very happy with their purchases and tout the roller cabinet’s sturdy build and rolling capability while fully loaded. As of the time of writing, almost all of the Icon Tool Storage products with reviews have 4.7 stars or higher!
Icon Hand Tools
Let’s say you decided to treat yourself to a brand new Icon 56 inch Roller Cabinet. What would you fill it with? You’d fill it with none other than a plethora of Icon hand tools, right?
Before buying new tools, it always pays to read the reviews to see what owners are saying about them. So let’s see what people are saying about Icon hand tools.
Overall, the reviews are very positive. The Professional Mechanic’s Screwdriver Set is currently rated 4.9 out of 5 stars. People love the durability of the tips and the ergonomic handles.
The Icon 90 tooth Professional Low Profile ratchet is a favorite for its smooth operation and tight 4° arc swing. This means that you can still turn nuts and bolts in tight spaces like inside an engine cavity.
All Icon sockets, wrenches, and breaker bars have ratings between 4 and 5 stars.
Bauer is Harbor Freight’s response to popular power tool brands like DeWALT, Milwaukee, and Ryobi.
Bauer covers the following power tool categories:
- Hand Drills/Drivers;
- Imact Wrenches;
- Outdoor Equipment;
- Lighting; and
The biggest draw to the Bauer tool lineup is price and quality. For example, the 20V Cordless ½ inch Drill/Driver Kit (with 1.5 AH Lithium-Ion battery, charger, and case) is only 64.99 at the time of writing! This price is insanely cheap!
The drill has 450 inch-pounds of torque and a maximum speed of 1700 RPM. Plus, it has all metal gears, which is surprising at this price point.
The equivalent DeWALT Drill/Driver Kit runs for 99.00 at Home Depot at its lowest price point (during a sale). However, the DeWALT kit includes two (2) 1.3 AH batteries.
The overall consensus on Bauer is highly positive. With thousands of reviews averaging between 4. 5 stars on harborfreight.com, It’s safe to say that Bauer is a good tool for a good price.
Hercules is Harbor Freight’s professional-grade power tool brand that is a direct competition to high-end brands like Bosch and high-end models of Milwaukee, Makita, and DeWALT.
Hercules overlaps with Bauer on some tool categories, but not all. Here’s a list of different tools covered by the brand:
- Hand Drills/Drivers;
- Impact Wrenches;
- Angle Grinder;
- Cordless Ratchets;
- Circular and Reciprocating Saws; and
- Vacuum, blowers, lighting, fans, etc.
- Table and Miter Saws;
- Bench Grinder;
- Heat Gun;
- Abrasive Cut-Off Saw;
- Die Grinder;
- Rotary Hammers;
- Breaker Hammer;
- Angle Grinders; and
- Oscillating Multi-Tool.
The Hercules business model is different from the other brands whereas the tool is sold without the battery and charger. If you don’t already own a Hercules tool or battery. You need to buy the tool plus any battery and any charger. If done in-store, you get a 25 discount off the total cost.
Like Bauer, the Hercules brand is well received by Harbor Freight customers. Their most popular tool is the Corded 12-inch Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. It has over 1900 reviews and a 4.9 out of 5-star rating.
This saw features an LED Shadow Guide which is found on high-end saws and is superior to a laser guide. This type of guide shines LED lights on either side of the blade to cast a shadow of the blade (and its exact thickness) onto the workpiece to show you exactly where the blade will cut.
Quinn is a hand tool brand whose tools overlap with a lot of Pittsburgh and Icon tools, especially mechanics’ hand tools. However, Quinn also has some electrical tools like wire strippers and crimpers that are of good quality.
I own a set of Quinn sockets that I’ve beaten up somewhat. They have held up well and have easy-to-read markings, so I feel safe recommending them.
Daytona is Harbor Freight’s flagship floor jack brand. All of the Daytona jacks listed on HF’s website are highly rated and well-received. I own a 3 Ton Long Reach Low Profile Professional Rapid Pump Floor Jack that I use to work on my full-size truck and mid-size SUV.
The jack works great to lift my vehicles off the ground in only a few pumps and the 24 ¼ inch maximum-lift height is more than enough for my purposes.
Daytona jacks are high quality and priced reasonably. For example, the 3-ton long-reach model that I own sells for 229.99. However, the “non-long-reach” version sells for 179.99, which is close to the same price as most other “low-priced” competitor brands.
Other Brands Worth Mentioning
Writing an article that details every newer name brand that Harbor Freight carries, would frankly be too long most people wouldn’t read it. To round off the list, I’ll leave you with the other top brands I didn’t mention above. These brands are also highly rated, but I don’t have any personal experience with them:
|McGraw||Air Compressors / Pneumatic|
|Pierce||Pneumatic Nail Guns|
|Vanguard||Electrical / Extension Cords|
|Bunker Hill Security||Security Devices|
Conclusion and a Warning
Most of the new brands introduced at Harbor Freight have been well received and highly rated. Of course, there are better tool brands out there, but you’re getting a decent amount for your hard-earned money when buying from Harbor Freight.
With that, however, I must note that I can not recommend all of them. The manufacturing facility I manage had a recent negative experience with a 27-gallon Fortress air compressor that blew a piston ring after 6-months of very limited low pressure use. After speaking to Harbor Freight about the issue, we found out that these air compressors only have a 3-month limited warranty! Since we didn’t purchase the extended warranty, we were out our investment of about 500.
As a result, I recommend that you steer clear of Harbor Freight’s Fortress air compressors or any other product with a high ticket price that only includes a 3-month warranty. If they really stood behind their air compressors, they would sell them with standard with 1 year warranties like many other brands do. We since purchased a 30-gallon DeWALT air compressor instead that comes standard with a 1 year warranty and are very happy with it.
Rouge River Workshop
Queen Anne Table Legs? We Don’t Need No Stinking Queen Anne Table Legs!
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Harbor Freight Central Machinery 8″ Bench Grinder Item No. 39798
My son was in the market for a bench grinder recently, and I advised him against getting a 6″ machine. While 6″ bench grinders are widely available and not too expensive, I consider them to be borderline toys. The ‘hollow grind’ effect of an 8″ grinder is not so severe, and the linear speed at an 8″ wheel’s periphery is higher.
My son wasn’t too keen on the cost of an 8″ bench grinder, but on a recent visit to the USA he happened to pick up one of these from Harbor Freight.
With a coupon, he got it for 39.00 US.- an incredibly low price for an 8″ grinder.
Needless to say, though, for a price like that one is not getting a high-end piece of fine machinery. The axial run-out (wobble) of the left side wheel is awful, and the machine runs with a nasty vibration. Just out of curiosity, I’m going to measure axial and radial run-out on both wheels. Then I’ll see what, if anything, I can do to correct it.
Axial Run-Out Measurement
Here’s my setup for measuring axial run-out at a wheel’s periphery.
Axial run-out on that wheel is about 0.060″!
Radial Run-Out Measurement
And here’s my setup for measuring radial run-out at the edge of a wheel
Radial run-out on that wheel is about 0.020″.
Contributors To Axial Run-Out
First off, for some odd reason, the left side wheel didn’t have full labels on its faces.- only the remnants of labels.
I scraped and wire brushed the label fragments to get a reasonably uniform wheel thickness where the flange washers contact the wheel.
The inboard flange washer had axial run-out built into it.
About 0.015″. I turned the face of the flange washer to get rid of that.
And finally, the spindle that the inboard flange washer goes on had very little in the way of a shoulder for the flange washer to butt up against, making for an uncertain fit of the inboard flange washer on its spindle.
There’s only 0.5mm of a shoulder.
I ended up doing a trial-and-error fit of the whole spindle/flange washers/wheel assembly, experimenting with differing angular relationships of the parts until I got lucky and found the sweet spot where axial run-out was all but gone. I did the same on the right side wheel as well, to good effect.
I dressed the wheels’ edges with a diamond dresser; that got the radial run-out to under 0.010″
And that did it. The grinder now runs much, much better.
For 39.00 US you can get a functioning 8″ grinder, but be prepared to put some work into it to get it to run nicely.
The lack of robust spindle shoulders for the inboard flange washers to butt up against is poor design.- one wonders what the manufacturer has for engineering ‘talent’.
The toolrests are a bit flimsy, and lack any angular or height adjustability; they’re only adjustable for distance from the wheel.
The 3/4 HP rating of the motor looks optimistic to me. (Note that the I.D. label doesn’t give an amperage figure.) My hunch is that it’s closer to 1/2 HP, but it’s quite adequate whatever it is.
For what it’s worth, the 3,450 rpm figure is full load speed. No load speed is 3,568 rpm, as measured with a digital photo tachometer.
Not that it’s a problem, but just so you know, there’s no braking feature. It takes over 3 1/2 minutes for the wheels to coast to a stop after the machine is switched off.
And there we are. As with most of home workshop machinery, ‘you pays yer money and you takes yer chances’.