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Thread: New Craftsman Hand Tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Chester, NH
    Posts
    5,497

    Default New Craftsman Hand Tools

    I know we just had a thread on here about the quality of hand tools. At some point, someone shared some information about the new offerings from Craftsman - namely, which products were made in the USA and how the quality compared with other common brands. I can't find that post now...

    I see that the Craftsman offerings have changed and they now offer a "gunmetal" line of tools with a 120t ratchet. Anyone know anything about this? How about Craftsman Industrial tools, are they still around or has that line been discontinued? Originally I was working on replacing my older Craftsman tools with Armstrong tools but they are no more. I now need to build up a second set of hand tools for an R&D shop I'm putting together for work and would like to outfit it with something akin to Armstrong or Craftsman Industrial - i.e. high quality tools without the SnapOn, Matco or Mac prices.

    Any thoughts? I know SK has a pretty solid reputation and I have some Proto torque wrenches but ... I'm not super excited about either of those brands. I find their actual ratchet wrenches to be a bit uncomfortable and the knurls are hard to keep clean. I don't mind piecing together from different brands for different "categories" - e.g. I'll probably use Wiha for all the hex, Torx, and screw drivers.

    Also, if anyone wants to weigh in on what tools they think are necessities in their toolboxes, I'd be interested to see the list. This is what I've got on my shopping list so far (keep in mind this is used in an R&D shop that uses a lot of socket head screws):

    Hex key set (long arm L)
    Hex key set (stubby)
    Hex key set (T-handle drivers)
    Hex drivers
    Torx key set (long arm L)
    Torx drivers
    Precision screw driver set
    Standard Phillip's / flat screw driver set
    Stubby driver set
    Ratcheting screw driver and accessories
    Nut drivers

    16 oz ball peen hammer
    24 oz dead blow hammer
    Hand sledge
    Set of drift punches
    Set of pin punches
    Center punches
    Hook and pick set

    Large needle nose pliers
    Small needle nose pliers
    Large slip-joint pliers
    Small slip-joint pliers
    Linesman pliers
    Tin snips
    Assorted vise grips
    Panel pullers
    Pry bars / scrapers

    Flare nut wrenches
    Combination wrenches
    Stubby combination wrenches
    Ultra-thin / low profile wrenches

    1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 drive standard sockets
    1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 drive deep sockets
    Socket wrenches
    Extensions
    Universal joints and adapters
    3/8 drive speed handle
    1/2 drive breaker bar

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    On the Oil Coast,USA
    Posts
    19,396

    Default

    At my day job along with machining and welding I also act as a purchasing agent for our shop and also our industrial supply business.That includes a lot of tools and sets of tools.
    Sometimes a customer will come in and request a specific brand and model of tool and that is what we quote and supply them with.Recently one company wanted 18 complete 318 pc mechanics tool sets that they supply thier new hires with.They specified Craftsman which we supplied them with.Looking over one of the sets I was not impressed,infact the average quality at HF would have been better.

    Here is what I have seen as the best bang for the buck-

    Sockets and ratchets,Genius tools,Tekton and Sunex.All made for the most part in Taiwan,good fit and finish and durability-

    https://www.geniustoolsusa.com/
    https://www.tekton.com/
    https://sunextools.com/

    Some of Tekton's items are US made and branded with thier logo.

    For items that will see heavy use,I still prefer stuff from the Wright Tool company,it's just worth the money IMO-

    http://www.wrighttool.com/

    Pliers,especially snap ring pliers that have to be great to last any time,I go with Knipex,simply the best IMO

    https://www.knipex.com/nc/en/home/

    Hex and Torx also need to be great,the best in my experience come from Bondhus.I have some folding sets that have been in daily use for 15 years plus and they are still going strong.

    http://bondhus.com/pages/bondhus-catalog--literature

    Hammers,Estwing and Vaughn,both make good quality ball pein and soft face hammers.Estwing recently came out with a deadblow hammer that I am liking a lot.

    https://www.estwing.com/

    Pin punches,made in China,but suprisingly good,they put General and Starrett pin punches to shame.Comes with a decent center punch as well that works well after a regrind-

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/6pc-Mechani...kAAOSwYlZbiKAJ

    Tekton has a US made set of pin punches that feature the plain ends and the ends with the centering tit for roll pins.I have one in my personal set and they are worth the money IMO.

    https://www.tekton.com/gunsmith-punch-set-66564
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Southwestern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,343

    Default

    We had Proto tools at work and while they ain't pretty they held up well.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    31,305

    Default

    As far as new Craftsman, there was a press release some time ago about the craftsman line having more ,manufacturing brought back to the US.

    That can be good or bad, Frankly, a lot of US made stuff is far worse than chinese, as the makers try "to compete with china"... since that is essentially impossible, the result is cutting every possible corner, and then taking a final cut right down the middle..... the quality is low, and can be basically sub-dollar-store.

    Hopefully that will not be the approach taken. But it will be forced on the makers, and so in some ways, I'd almost rather they made the stuff in china, where they do not have to cut the corners. There would be a chance of a good product then.

    I gave up, and hardly ever buy new. I'd prefer an old Vlchek or Indestro wrench to anything Craftsman has made for decades, or will make in future, at least if made in the US.

    With regard to decent quality on most "commodity" products made in US, like ordinary tools, that ship has sailed, and it ain't coming back any time soon. If that idea offends some "patriots", I'm simply NOT sorry... Such folks need to face up to reality, and then maybe something can be done about it.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    12

    Default

    I'll second the vote for Knipex pliers. Have always had good luck with Wiha screwdrivers and hex/torx drivers (these were the German-made Wiha's - don't have any experience with their American-made line.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Buffalo NY
    Posts
    4,347

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    A friend of mine, Fran L. is high level manager at Craftsman tools
    and steers the direction of the brand. If anyone has comments
    about the new Craftsman offerings, I will send him a link to this
    thread, and you can get your comments heard by the top guy
    over at Craftsman. He was the general manager at the company
    where I work before he moved over there.

    -Doozer
    DZER

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    1,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doozer View Post
    A friend of mine, Fran L. is high level manager at Craftsman tools
    and steers the direction of the brand. If anyone has comments
    about the new Craftsman offerings, I will send him a link to this
    thread, and you can get your comments heard by the top guy
    over at Craftsman. He was the general manager at the company
    where I work before he moved over there.

    -Doozer
    Produce a 1/4 drive ratchet that doesn't strip in normal use. (No cheater bar on handle, not using large 3/8" sockets with an adapter, etc.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    327

    Default

    So far, I'm glad to see no comment nor comparison to Snap-On.
    As a work for a living aircraft mechanic, I hate krap-on.
    As pretty as they are, as chromed as they are, as shiny as they are, they are slippery when you're deep into a project, and they are a slim grip that hurts your hands, they are thin as would be like holding onto the spine of a knife blade.
    The old school Craftsman, Proto, Blackhawk, Williams, were the go-to tools for the make-a-living mechanic.
    But, if you are a mechanic that wants prissy looking tools, then by all means get snapon.
    The Craftsman manager mentioned above has to make a choice:
    The tools for oil-in-the-trenches mechanic, or, the prissy pretty guy.
    This whole trade war with Trump/China will have a lot to do with this more than likely.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Grantham, New Hampshire
    Posts
    207

    Default

    Along this line, I have been on the lookout for a decent, not super, quality sert of metric taps and dies for occasional use around the shop. m4 to m12 or so would be nice. Mostly chasing threads, bu one in a while thread a hole. I have not found any that got consistently good reviews. There were all kinds of issues, broken taps, missing taps or dies, missing and replaced with a duplicate. real crap handles and on and on. Anyone have a good recommendation?
    Peter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Buffalo NY USA
    Posts
    340

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by reggie_obe View Post
    Produce a 1/4 drive ratchet that doesn't strip in normal use. (No cheater bar on handle, not using large 3/8" sockets with an adapter, etc.)
    They did, back in the 60's. I wish craftsman would bring back the old -V- series tools and ditch everything else -- just focus on those

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