HF Supplies Newbie

So I’ve searched and read thru most of what I could find about Harbor Freight tools. What I’m wondering is, if someone has a brief moment to spare - what would you purchase with $200 at HF? A friend bought me a gift card as a gift.


I have a couple blanks and a surform. 


Need to pick up a planer, something for the stringer cutting, a router for fin boxes, ---- sanding blocks I’ll just make and I have plenty of paper…


A shop vac might be a good call… 




Hey jbeno, 

Quick tip:  Sign up for their e-mailing list first.  I get 15-20% off coupons every week, and wait to buy pricier stuff with those.  Probably want to use your first coupon on a good dust collector and enough hose/attachments for your planer. Also, that small trim router they sell should be fine for fin boxes.  Pick up that 1" mini-block plane for stringers, and you got enough money left over for a Red Ryder bb-gun and some Skittles.

Oh yeah - Squares - you can never have too many squares . . 4ft T- . .12" adjustable . .2ft framing . . get em' all.

Everything campie said ( for the planer go with orange cheaper( the lowest i've seen this go is ~29 and I got a flier yesterday and its on sale now) one not the more expensive balck one) and their polisher sander kit is a good deal too if you're glassing your own or even for ding repairs.   I have one with the switchable side handle (not the big handle on top) and no complaints.  You  would have to get the power pads someplace else.   What I do for feathering laps is use the rigid pad they give you and instead of always buying their velcro backed replacemnts take some 3M spray adhesive and plae a regular sheets of sand paper on top.   The regular sheet can come off pretty easy after use to let you put another one on.  and after the skittles if you still have money maybe pick up a warranty or two.   Your planer should be ok if you get a vac system but you never know.   I don't have a vac system and got the warranty 3 alaias, a longboard and, an egg and still going but I still have 2 more years on the warranty to kill it

Trim router-25$

variable speed Sander\polisher-35$

small pancake  compressor-75$

water trap for air supply-13$


spray gun-20$

25’ air hose-6$


8"x12" carpenters square-4$

Alot of these items you can get for less with their coupons.

I actually like the surffoarm they sell at HF better than the Stanley ones.  Just change the blade.

So - on the planer. What’s the difference on the two? 


The Chicago orange:


The Chicago Black:



Also - I’m working in my basement, so I’m going to need to hook the planer up to a shop vac. The Orange has this ability? 


The trim router:



This will work for fin boxes?


This is the Sander/Polisher you are speaking of I’m guessing:



For stringer work, all I can find is this set:



Looks like I should be set with this list. THANKS folks! Excited to get to work!

Just from ding repairs over the years - I’ve gone thru my supplies. I have a surform, chemical mask, dust masks, resin, cloth, plenty of squares, etc…


Regarding the airbrush stuff. i think I’m going to stick to hand painting them all. Maybe with a rice paper laminate here and there…






I'm no technical expert by any means but supposedly the orange is the poormans hitachi which is what the clark mods are done on and to confess all my ignorance the ,main reasons i went with it is $ and jim phillips uses one(cutting down heavily glued stringers) and BalsaBill used one(make balsa boards) and that should be good enough for me and the couple of boards I may do a year. I've used the trim router on singlefin/FU style boxes, other fin systems someone else will have to chime in. They don't stock the polisher I have but that one works too.  Search for the 3 1/2" trim plane=$4 or they have a jack and trim plane combo for $13 (Be sure to check out RichardMC's post about Razor sharp Plane blades) Compressor can also be used for blowing off a blank before glassing and while shaping not just airbrushing;

Good Luck Chris


edit: thanks for the coupon!



Alright picked up: the Orange Chicago planer, the sander/polisher kit, 3 1/2" trim plane, hand saw, and a square (was cheap and smaller than any I own).


Still have some balance left over as well (over half). Need to pick up the router soon for fin boxes. But figured I’d wait until I had a few shapes done, or at least one (print off another coupon)… 


Excited as hell about shaping some boards! Have shaped 3 so far, but always under the supervision/help of someone who knew what they were doing…


I was eyeing the HF calipers, as they were about $8-9, but didn’t look that useful as they had short reach. 


Also picked up a pack of sponge sandpaper blocks, as I’ve used them before shaping - and I liked the way I could wrap them around the rail.


Anyways, thanks again for the help everyone. Made things a lot easier on me. Now it’s time to start using that Swaylocks search function I suppose!



  Here's a 15 that's good until Mon. They just need the barcode.

nice score jbeno...

check this out: http://www.swaylocks.com/resources/detail_page.cgi?ID=873

The warranty on the sander is totally worth it. I got the one with the handle on top and right before the warranty was up it fell off my sawhorses on a very cold day and the handle shattered. They completely replaced the sander no problem, I bought another warranty and it’s still going strong. They sell replacement disks for the velcro hard pad that comes with the sander too. I got a pack the last time I was in for sanding laps and grinding fin boxes. Pretty cheap and worth it, but their other sandpaper is awful.