Good quality hand tools???

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  #1  
Old 02-14-05, 08:49 PM
GOT
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Good quality hand tools???

I'm in the need to replace some of my hand tools, mainly my socket set. I used to buy nothing but Craftsman before their quality plummeted (when manufacturing went to Mexico and then China). Now I have no idea what to get, that relatively affordable (Snap-On and Mac are too expensive for me... at least from what I've seen on their web-sites... couldn't get the mac site to work though... java-script probs).

Are Craftsman hand tool still poor quality stuff?

What are some good quality hand tools that are affordable?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-15-05, 12:27 AM
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Hi GOT,
- so many handtools now are of mediocre quality, it's even hard to generalise about a whole range.
I never buy from Sears any more though- as you say the tools are crap and they weasel out on power tool warranties. The best places I find to buy sockets and similar are the stores that sell to the auto industry. Fortunately around here there's lots.
For woodworking tools I go to Lee Valley Tools. They have a good website at
/www.leevalley.com /

Do it Right - Do it once
 
  #3  
Old 02-15-05, 02:18 AM
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Yeah, on the rare occasion Lee Valley offers a mediocre product, they explicitly say it is, and explain why it's in the catalogue. This is usually on the same page as several top quality competitors, higher priced. Sometimes they excuse a shoddy tool by its being the only one available anymore, anywhere.

***

If you make good sockets in Mexico, and bad sockets in Mexico, you pay a little more to assemble the first sets in USA and label them USA. Then the US consumer knows where quality is. Same with Korean handsaws sold in Japan, or even "exported from" Japan, to the US buyer as "Made in Japan" 'cause that's what he wants to read. I guess it's the same everywhere. Those "NASA space pens" are made in China, IIRC. What Taiwanese cardshop owner wants to sell a NASA space pen "Made in China"?
 
  #4  
Old 02-15-05, 05:14 AM
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i bought a set of husky from home depot , they offer the same lifetime warranty and there are a lot more home depots in my area than sears . (in fact they will take in broken craftsmen and give you a new husky )
 
  #5  
Old 02-15-05, 06:23 AM
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I base most tools on 3 loose categories in no order:

1. Price
2. Quality (Perceived or otherwise)/Ergomnics
3. Warranty

I grouped item 2 because what feels good in your hand may not feel good to me. For example, I own a number of Snap-on tools which are held as the best of the best in many circles. Yet many like to run them down to justify their ownership of a (perceived) lower quality or lower priced tool. Or others love/hate the smooth finish. With Snap-on, Mac, Matco, Cornwell you are buying more service than anything. It costs money for that truck to come to you. In a shop its great because when you break a tool or need to look around the store is in your parking lot. This is of little value if you are stocking your garage for your weekend warrior activities. There has been a little chatter about Craftsman here which still seems OK to me. The tools at HD and Lowes aren't bad and have the lifetime warranty, and you don't have to go to a mall to get there. IIRC, some of the hand tools at Lowes are made in a plant here in N. TX that also makes Mac and Proto tools. Try to place the tools you are looking at in the 3 categories above and determine what matters most to you and remember that you will be basically picking 2 of the 3.

Hope this helps,

Jester
 
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Old 02-15-05, 09:52 AM
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Jester- what you say makes good sense. I try to do the same thing and it generally works.
I wasn't aware that Proto were made in Texas (thought it was somewhere up north) -I have many of their great tools and haven't managed to break one yet

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
  #7  
Old 02-15-05, 12:22 PM
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I'm told there are some Proto, Mac, and even Craftsman, and I think Husky in the HD stores made at a Stanley plant in the Dallas area. I'm pretty sure on the Proto and Mac, the latter 2 were overheard by this guy who knows the vet of some guys dog that works there or something. I also heard that the hand tools at Lowes are made in a plant that also makes Snap-on. I like the Proto as well. Where have you seen them sold other than Grainger?

Jester
 
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Old 02-15-05, 06:44 PM
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Thanks everyone!

There is a HomeDepot and a Menards here in Lincoln Nebraska, and a Sears of course. I looked at the Wolf stuff at HD and it didn't look too good to me and seemed to much $ for a HD hand tool (?). We do have a Graingers here that I can purchase stuff from on my employer's account. I didn't think of them. Will have to look at a catalog. Also didn't think of the auto-stop-n-shops. The ones arounf here sold Craftsman last time I checked (but that was a couple of years ago).
 
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Old 02-16-05, 10:12 AM
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Hi Jester,
- I'm in Canada and we don't have a Grainger's. I guess that's a tool store?
I used to get a lot of my more technical tools from an independent mobile supplier who came around while I was in the aircraft industry. That's where I bought Proto. Now, I find the better tools in just a few local auto supply stores, and one large supplier, KMS tools.
I don't want to start another controversy, but basically I have just lost faith in the handtools sold by 'big box' stores, unless it's something simple like a screwdriver or a hammer. -I wouldn't even buy a wrench from any of them now.

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 02:49 PM
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hey GOT, a fellow Nebraskan here. Not sure if you are looking for new tools, or what- but sometimes you can find some nice quality stuff at pawn shops in town.

Have you looked into SK ( http://www.skhandtool.com ) or Napa tools? They might also be too expensive.

To me, any hand tool with a lifetime waranty is good enough for me- even Cra#sman! But then again, I don't make my living with sockets and wrenches.
 
  #11  
Old 02-16-05, 03:46 PM
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nomind'

Sorry to break it to you eh!.................... We've been invaded!
Grainger bought out the Canadian industrial supplier Acklands a couple of years ago.
Now refered to as Acklands-Grainger.

Here they are not very competitive but offer a very broad range of products.
I am lucky to be able in our small Northern rural town to get things like boxes of plated, trailer decking, self drill screws and other things like DuPont auto paint and chemicals.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 07:35 PM
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XSleeper, glad to meet you neighbor! Didn't think of Napa either. Will have to check them out too. Iíve heard of SK, donít know much about them though.

Are there any tool manufacturers that forge their tools, are those the expensive ones like Snap-On and Mac?
 
  #13  
Old 02-16-05, 09:48 PM
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Goodbye, Crescent

Thanks for the tip Greg, I'll have to check that out. We did have an Acklands in an area of town I hardly ever go to. Will check it for tools soon.
I had a major shock to the system today when I was in one of my favorite tool stores, KMS, looking for a new 6" adjustable wrench. (dropped the last one in a septic pit) ( and NO, -I'm not going to try finding it !)
Anyway, I went to the "Crescent " shelf and was astounded to find most of their products are now made in Taiwan.

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
  #14  
Old 02-17-05, 06:46 AM
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I know some people are not a big fan of Sears, but I havenít had a problem yet. I have there hand tools because like everyone else, they have a life time warranty and it is very easy to return things if I need to. I think their rackets have gotten better. I had a 3/8 ratchet and used a cheater bar on it and snapped the gears on the inside. I took it back to Sears and the guy replaced it with their new 3/8 ratchet, it has more of a rounded handle that fits better in the hand than the old style. He knew I used a cheater bar. He told me to take this one home and use the bar again and see what happens, so I did. I have to say I was really impressed. It just feels better in the hand, and the gears inside, not to mention all the pressure I have put on it over the last couple of months and it still works like new.
 
  #15  
Old 02-17-05, 04:14 PM
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So Craftsman may have improved??? Perhaps I'll have to check out Sears again (and brave that lady manager that they have there at the Lincoln NE store... I swear, she must get up on the wrong side of the bed EVERY day!).

Originally Posted by nomind
...(dropped the last one in a septic pit) ( and NO, -I'm not going to try finding it !)
Hey Nomind, just get a big magnet and tie it to a rope or something and drop it in the pit and swing it around. You'll get it. I've dropped a few tools in the sewer access and had to fish them out with magnets-on-a-string... it works
 
  #16  
Old 02-19-05, 05:24 PM
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Well after a week+ long search, and thinking that I was going to have to replace my socket sets, and after spending half of today looking for my socket tools, I FOUND THEM!!! You see, my wife put them away (bless her busy-body... heh) and I finally found them, in the garage of all places sigh...

Now I putting them all back where they belong
 
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