Are Craftsman power tools okay?


Old 05-08-01, 07:03 PM
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I don't know if you folks are into giving your opinions on different power tool brands, but I am in the market for a new router and router table. It will be used for occasional do-it-yourself projects... nothing heavy. Sears seems to have the best deal right now with a 2HP model and table for $150. Has anyone had any problems with Craftsman power tools lately? I hate to spend the big bucks on a Delta or Porter-Cable if I really don't need to.
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Old 05-09-01, 06:40 AM
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I've always gotten good service out of my Craftsman power tools and currently have a Craftsman router that's about 10 years old. Other than a variable speed adjustment switch that broke (easy fix, just need to remember to order new switch one of these days; runs fine at fixed speed) I've had no problems. I recently bought a new router table from Rockler woodworking supply. Came with table, fence, and router mounting insert; only had to built leg/stand to mount it to and I wish I had done it long time ago. Previously I had a Craftsman router table which was adequate at best. My biggest warning on router tables is what type surface is used. My new Rockler unit is melamine
surfaced and works really well. My old Craftsman table was a cast aluminum surface with ridges running parallel to the fence so when you pushed your workpiece across the table you would leave marks on the underside where it slid on the table and the somewhat coarse surface made it harder to push a piece across due to the increased friction. Also the table surface was pretty small (obviously there are different sizes). Price is a drawback as the Rockler table runs $150, but if you mean to do any serious routing work it's well worth the expense.
Old 05-09-01, 10:17 AM
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Cartsman power tools are made by many different contractors. Just a few years ago many were made by Ryobi. They are as good as you need them to be.

The man makes the tool............
Old 05-10-01, 09:48 AM
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The first three digits of a Sears model # correspond to their vendor. Ex: 123.456789

For instance, their tool cabinets start with "706" which is Waterloo Industries. I own a 1960 version of one, I know My parents 1979 Craftsman garage door opener is "139." That is Chamberlain Industries. My "919" air compressor is a DeVilbiss, etc, etc.

Many table saws that are Craftsman are Emersons in disguise. There was a recall by Emerson on many Craftsman units due to a safety problem with the blade guard. I have published that on the "Product Recalls and Alerts" forum of this site.

Sears tends to have their own customized versions of vendor's products, but the advantage is they keep parts around for many years and many parts are interchangeable between various models, so that helps with future parts ordering. If you can track down their vendor, you can save a few bucks, as they tend to naturally drop ship vendor's parts and mark them up . I saved probably 10% or so by buying direct from Waterloo Industries on my tool cabinet parts.

Sears also offers parts direct from their website, (then click parts), as well as online parts catalogs (the best I have seen).

Overall, I am mostly satisfied with Sears products in general. With regard to hand tools, I pick them up at estate sales and garage sales for a few bucks and then turn 'em in and get a new one .
Old 05-10-01, 10:01 AM
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Thanks Joe_F

How did you find out the manufacturers for various prefix numbers? Is there an online list somewhere?
Old 05-10-01, 10:48 AM
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The Craftsman compressors made by Devilbiss also have the metal tag still on them which also say Devilbiss.

Many of the pneumatic tools are also made by Devilbiss.

Hammers and pry bars by Vaughn.

The Wormdrive saw is an exact replica of the Skil. Wonder why? LOL
Old 05-10-01, 11:59 AM
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Through some thorough research and comparison .

Jeff1 of the Appliance forum has some of the Sears prefixes and who makes them on his site as well. Most are for appliances though.

As stated, sometimes the giveaway is a name plate, or more recently the part numbers in the literature. Sears used to assign their own SKU # to each part in their system, now they are using the vendor's part numbers.

I was in Sears a few weeks ago, and the toolchests by Waterloo with the Sears name have the instruction sheets with the Waterloo part numbers on them .

So does the 1979 instruction sheet with the door opener. I believe those to be Chamberlain numbers.

Hope that helps.

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