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Discussion Starter #1
Harbor Freight, a low-cost tool store located around the country, and online, and frequently mentioned by members here, periodically has some really good sale prices on prop/haunt building tools. They also have coupons (usually 20% up to 25% off an item) every so often just like Michaels Crafts, etc. Hopefully this thread will be useful in giving a heads up on items haunters have found useful in their setups. Here's what I bought there today (on sale except for pullies):

Double Garage Door Screening material for use in creating a walk thru garage haunt (to cover garage door opening and attach webbing, foam signs, and vines to--see prop thread for more discussion on this), set of pullies for rigging a "hand stuck in elevator prop", and two balsa wood dinosaur models. I'm thinking they can be used as a pattern and enlarged for a larger model. Maybe used as a model to cast a shadow on a wall for my Lost Jungle theme. They also had an Ant model (thinking along the lines of Them! to go with my giant latex ants and dozens of Dollar Tree ants, but in Skeleton-like form).

Last month I picked up the Bunker Hill Driveway Alert system on sale. Was inspired by another forum thread on using this as an audible indoor alert for ToTers coming up your driveway/walkway on Halloween or for an audible indoor alert when someone has entered your yard and might be about to mess with your haunt display. Shockwave did a video on its effectiveness and sold me on picking this up.

I'm looking for a decent heat gun for corpsing a skelly and getting my alien figure to fit in my science lab jar. Has anyone used their dual watt heat gun and can provide a thumbs up or down on it for these purposes? It's on sale this month so thinking about going back next week for it. 2014 should be the year I get into creating facades and such so am keeping an eye out for sturdy but low-cost weekend handyman tools. We have some of the very basic items and I have tool envy when I see some of your workshops. :)

Harbor Freight has fliers in the store and online, and our local newspaper will occasionally run an insert with coupons. You can also sign up for their email newsletter.
 

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GoS,

I pick up items from HFT every once in a while. I typically check their site's online reviews (taken with a grain of salt) but none the less look to get some idea if the product will last through more than 1 use. I think it's their Chicago branded stuff that is typically better made as an example.

I too needed a heat gun this year and closely looked at the models they had at HFT and in particular looked at the one that looks like a hair dryer. In the end, I went with a wagner from Home Depot for $22. It worked flawlessly as I made Jr.'s Halo like armor based upon high density foam I picked up at HFT...on sale btw ;-)

I was concerned about maybe not having enough heat settings or high enough wattage but the wagner worked great. One thing that caught my eye is with the Wagner is that it can stand upright on the back side of the gun when not in use versus the HFT one need to be hung on something or put on a stand. After using it, the end is obviously smoldering hot and you need someplace to put it and just tipping the unit upright on it's backside was a nice way to put it down and quickly move on.
 

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I needed a hammer drill to install 30 anchors in hard cement. An ad in the local newspaper said a "Tool Auction" was happening a few miles away, so I attended. It was not an auction. You just bought and paid the price as marked. They had some "factory Rebuilt Milwaukee Sawzalls that were almost twice the size of a normal Sawzall. I can't imagine any normal person being able to even use such a heavy vibrating tool! (Buyer beware!)
I took home a very seemingly heavy-duty hammer drill for $30! I drilled the 30 anchor holes, then it's gearbox failed drastically.
So it cost me a dollar a hole plus the gasoline and time to go there and come back. I hung this over-built piece of junk on my ""Failed Tool Tree" with the $19 electric drill Tru Valu sold that used oil-soaked rags for a main bearing to keep the drill spinning true. From little use this fell into junk almost a year later.
Some of these failed tools were the victims of my over-using them, but then, not having a ton of money to buy a van full of various tools, what else can one do?
A $140 1/4 HP. Milwaukee angle drill eventually failed. I paid $80 to have it professionly re-built,which didn't last very long at all.. another Failed Tool display!
I bought a new Makita grinder only to discover that each grinding wheel for this tool cost almost $4.00! (When other grinders could use any grinding wheel that sold for $1.20(at that time)
I grew up with various tools in my hands. At three years of age,I successfully dropped my Parent's heavy front door as I slowly, methodically picked at the wood screws that held the hinges on with my small,soft steel toy box screw driver. And Boy! Were They surprised!
("How did he do that?")
 

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Discussion Starter #4
EvilEye, thanks for the feedback. Actually the heat gun on sale now at HF isn't the one with the 12 variable settings I was thinking it was. I'm glad you pointed out the lack of cooling stand. Those guys get really hot and I think I would want some kind of built-in stand. My parents had a great heat gun I borrow years ago when I went to strip some varnish off of cabinets, but I gave it back to them and subsequently moved further away. I would love to have my dad's workbench and tools to use for halloween projects but honestly with shipping these days what it is it wouldn't pay to even have him ship me the old heat gun if he still had it. I may hold off on the gun there and compare features. With Christmas shopping in full swing now I suspect alot of tools will be discounted at Home Depot and Lowes.

Somethings there I think are perfect for what I need and the limited use I'll get out of them.

Gym, yep nothing lasts forever. Love your door story.
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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The dual setting heat gun from Harbor Freight works just fine. Mine probably runs 100+ hours per year and I've had it for 3 years.

However, I'll give you a one-up. Also invest in a plastic welding kit. This is basically a multi-setting heat gun with a very fine, torch-like nozzle. With plastic welding rods, you can literally weld two pieces of plastic together. It is also good for cutting plastic, too, but then again so is a soldering iron with a blade nib.

So yeah, I can corpse skeletons with my heat gun, but with one extra tool now I can also make serious repairs to my pose'n'stay skeletons when they break, and I can fabricate my own PVC skeletons from scratch, for which I will do a tutorial once I'm able to make nice looking ones.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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I bought my heat gun at Harbor Freight a few years ago. I think it was only 10 or 12 dollars and it works great!

I used it to soften my Garden Ridge skelly's hands and wrap them around the stirring stick when I made my cauldron creep.
 

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Mad Monster Maker
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Harbor Freight is one of my favorite brick-and-mortar stores :). Last year I bought a compound miter saw from them, and it made a HUGE difference in building my cemetery columns. Most recently I bought some extra 12" clamps and stocked up on quick-setting epoxy while it was on sale. Hopefully I'll be able to afford a good air compressor next year :eek:.
 

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Pumpkinhead, FWIW, I too was going to get a compressor from them. I was looking at the 8 gal unit and with the coupon it was going to be $100'ish. But I found the Husky 8 gal unit at HD marked down to $100 as well and instead went with it. I felt better about having the name branded unit but when I looked closely at the HFT one after going back for something else, they looked almost identical. I wouldn't be surprised if they came out of the same, overseas factory.

Anyhow, I'm finding that sometimes the HFT prices aren't always the lowest (but most of the time they are) as well as for sure the quality can be hit or miss.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I bought a little Chicago cutoff saw that I use on rebar and PVC...well worth it.

I also bought several of those furniture moving dollies or whatever they're called. Basically carpeted wood with four swivel wheels....any way makes moving my horse and funeral carriage much easier. If my driveway was flat, I would probably build most of my props on them just for the ease of moving around
 

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Going bump in the night..
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I've sworn both "by" and "at" Harbor Freight Tools for almost the same reasons - low cost tools.
When they're good, they're really good.
When they're not, they suck out loud!!!

So, for my part, I go to Harbor Freight with the understanding I'm very likely getting what I pay for.

Having said that, there are some pretty darn cool things to be had.
Example:
Glow in the Dark Polypropylene rope (link)
I haven't done so myself, but I'm betting this would be fantastic for those making huge spider-web settings, and want it to glow under black light. It would eliminate the need for trying to treat the rope with something that might wash off in the rain.
 

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I shop there to but usually for just little stuff like tarps,batteries,gloves and zip ties. But I do like to read there flyers with all the sale prices.
 

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Mad Monster Maker
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Having said that, there are some pretty darn cool things to be had.
Example:
Glow in the Dark Polypropylene rope (link)
I haven't done so myself, but I'm betting this would be fantastic for those making huge spider-web settings, and want it to glow under black light. It would eliminate the need for trying to treat the rope with something that might wash off in the rain.
Funny you should mention this...I bought a bunch of these that GITD rope this past summer when they were on sale, for just that reason :D

When I buy power tools that cost more than $50 or $60 dollars, I buy the extended warranty just in case :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've sworn both "by" and "at" Harbor Freight Tools for almost the same reasons - low cost tools.
When they're good, they're really good.
When they're not, they suck out loud!!!

So, for my part, I go to Harbor Freight with the understanding I'm very likely getting what I pay for.

Having said that, there are some pretty darn cool things to be had.
Example:
Glow in the Dark Polypropylene rope (link)
I haven't done so myself, but I'm betting this would be fantastic for those making huge spider-web settings, and want it to glow under black light. It would eliminate the need for trying to treat the rope with something that might wash off in the rain.
I like the rope for that purpose or for using as a guide rope thru a dark area like a garage haunt maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
In way of a reminder, check your newspaper (sometimes separate full page flyer, sometimes a page ad in USA Weekend newspaper insert--ie the 10/25-27 or 11/22-24 issue) to save some extra cash on an item (25% off coupon for one item). I started saving my ads w/coupon for future purchases there since they usually don't expire for 4 months out.

Don't think anyone has mentioned this but HF has a nice-looking, static owl which has a hollow bottom, with haunt possibilities, for 13.99. Had my eye on it. With coupon, 10.50. Not bad for an owl you could add to--lit eyes, motion detector for sound, etc. I'll come back and post a photo of it.

I also noticed they have a 3-pc 18-inch auger drill bit set that I was wondering if it could be use to "drill" holes in hard ground for tombstone anchoring. Anyone try something like this?? Figure the auger design will spit the dirt out and keep going downward. One year I was so frustrated trying to get stakes in my ground I pulled out my regular drill but couldn't do much of anything with it. These bits have nice length to them.
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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The augers are a huge help if you have compacted soil, and a bargain compared to the cost of having your yard "aerated."
 

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What Hump?
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My harbor freight tool/utility collection. Bought primarily to build the Fright In Falcon haunted maze and all of the props inside:

Mitre Saw
Table Saw
Drill Press
Power Drill/Driver
Grinder
Airless Paint Sprayer
Roll-around tool box
Compressor hoses
Compressor hose reel
Pressure pad
Driveway motion sensors
Various other small tools and consumables

Yeah, I like Harbor Freight.
 
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