By now most of you folks have come to realize that I enjoy working on tech stories out in my own shop/garage much more than sitting behind a computer writing said stories. It's also quite obvious that I normally work alone, and that I'm an unapologetic tool hound as well. Working alone often does necessitate the use of specific tools-especially when it comes to moving, lifting, and positioning large heavy items like chassis components, engines, transmissions, and truck cabs. Sometimes the situation requires the fabrication of a specialty tool or another MacGyver-like problem solver-and sometimes the best way around a situation is to purchase a specialty tool from the aftermarket.
When it does come to the aftermarket tool industry there are a few outfits that are my first choices as go-to-guys. In this particular case, it's Harbor Freight Tools. These guys have it together when it comes to stocking reasonably priced shop tools and consumables-plus, they have a retail store within a few miles of my shop so I regularly take advantage of the immediate satisfaction factor of a 20-minute round-trip with item in hand.
Now that I'm finally focused on my '57 Chevy project in earnest I've been removing and reinstalling the cab as I perform the body and chassis work simultaneously. My Harbor Freight Gantry Crane has been a tremendous help, but I soon found that the chain fall used in conjunction with the gantry is a pain in the butt-with the hanging chain constantly banging against whatever it is I was lifting at the time. To rectify that situation (and to cut down on physical exertion at the same time) I recently decided to replace that chain fall with an electric hoist, and, of course, the first place I looked was Harbor Freight. And wouldn't you know, they had exactly what I'd hoped to find-and they not only had it in stock, but it was priced surprisingly low.
What I went home with was the Chicago Electric 1,300-pound capacity electric hoist (Harbor Freight PN 2954). The electric hoist has a list price of $179.99 but was on sale at the time for a more than reasonable $139.99, so of course I headed home with my new hoist in hand-and yet another home shop helper thanks to Harbor Freight Tools.