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Brand name and source for good taps and dies?

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  • Brand name and source for good taps and dies?


    [This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-19-2004).]

  • #2
    I recommend Dormer. There is a huge difference in quality from the good to the bad. Dormer taps cut clean and don't break. Taps are not the place to try and save money, in the long run cheap taps will cost you more in ruined parts. If you can't afford or justify a full set then buying one at a time as you anticipate needing them is how to go. Dies aren't quite so fussy and tend to be used much less often, at least in my shop. When I need external threads I either cut them on the lathe or buy them (bolts etc). For storage of taps I use a board with appropriate sized holes drilled in it.

    [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 09-29-2003).]
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


    • #3
      I have had good luck with most common brands of taps. The user/abuser is frequently the cause of breakage. Sets generally cost much less then by purchasing individually. Yes, most sets will have all the NC and NF you are likely to use. If you need an oddball size, you can get them as you need them. You will mostly use plug taps. I often make bottoming taps out of old or broken taps.
      Location: North Central Texas


      • #4
        I'm partial to Hansen-Whitney taps from Travers Tool Co. but like Joel says, any of the common industrial-grade brands (Sossner, Brubaker, etc.) are probably okay. Generally, the good ones cost more, but are worth it. The first time you use a really good tap, after using the cheap ones, is a revelation.

        The Travers "house brand" taps and dies are pretty good too, generally made in Poland or Czechoslovakia.

        I have a tap and die set, and it's been handy, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. When you eventually start buying 3-tap sets (taper, plug, bottoming) and taps and dies for oddball threads (1/4-40 or whatever), there's no place to put them. I eventually bought one of those plastic 60-drawer storage units, labeled all the drawers, and now have a place for every fractional size, I think, from #0 to 1/2", NC, NF, and NS. Some of the drawers are still empty, but when the time comes I need an oddball tap or die, I'll have a place to put it.

        Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
        Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
        Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
        There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
        Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
        Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


        • #5
          I "Second" what SGW says about Travers Tools own dies and taps. Being on a very limited budget, I appreciate being able to buy a complete set for what the price of one tap of the "Name brands" would cost. So far, I have found them to be much better than those found in the local hardware stores, although, years ago, Belknap Hardware had the "Bluegrass" Brand that was very good, but alas, they are no longer in business.


          • #6
            I also have been buying the Hanson Whitney brand lately and have been very satisfied with them. That choice is mostly due to the fact that those are the brand McMaster-Carr stocks and I usually purchase there. I also purchased a set of six metric sizes from Grizzly a few months ago and they seem to be very good also.

            The Ace and other hardware store brands are, IMHO, inferior and should only be used to restore damaged threads. The better brands have ground threads and a much better surface finish which significantly lowers the friction while tapping and there the breakage. Coatings can also help.

            The word "set" has two meanings in regard to taps. There are "sets" of differrent thread sizes and there are "sets" of three taps intended for the same thread. If you are cutting new threads, I would recommend that you always purchase taps in the "sets" of three: taper, plug, and bottoming and ALWAYS use them in that order. This will save a lot of broken taps and frustration. You may not always need to use all three but threads ahould always be started with a taper tap then if you need threads closer to the bottom than the taper tap will allow, use the plug. Use the bottoming only if you need threads to within a thread or two of the bottom. Do not mistake the hardware taps for the taper variety. The taper on a hardware store tap is not as gradual as a true taper tap and it will break quicker.

            As for "sets" of many different sizes, that's really up to you. If you have none, then a good set can save you a lot of $s getting started. If you already have a number of sizes, it may not. Yes, they do indeed cover the most common sizes.

            Dies are something that I use very infrequently. They are used for restoring damaged threads and can be used in a tailstock holder on the lathe. Starting a die on a full size steel rod without cutting partial threads first can be a real challenge. If you need an exact diameter thread, an adjustable die can be used to finish threads that were started on a lathe. I wouldn't recommend them for cutting an exact thread pitch for any length as errors can quickly add up. I recently tried to restore a 3" long 5/16 thread with a die and had to stop after about 2" because the pitch was a little different and the die started to get out of phase with the original thread. I use taps a lot more.

            If you don't already have it, get a McMaster-Carr catalog. They are a great source for many items for the shop and they ship anywhere. They often do not list brand names but you can almost always trust their choice. They take CCs, ship the same day, have a tremendous stock, and a great on-line site with complete stock list and priceing.

            There are many other sources, most with on-line sites. Grizzly, Enco, MSC, etc. If you are in a medium to large size city there should be tool and die suppliers in the area. Most will provide literature on their product lines.

            Paul A.
            Paul A.
            SE Texas

            Make it fit.
            You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


            • #7
              Much of the time, I use those Chinese tap and dies, for most things they work well. The only things that I seem to break are those racketing tap handles.

              I do have a nice set of Tap and Dies from KBC, with a few add "ons" for special threads, plus I have all three of taps on many of the sizes and a few specialty taps for different alloys.

              I think Crypto on this list is a good source of information about the care and handling of taps and dies.



              • #8
                The best I have ever used was OSG,Japanese I do believe,but damn good although$$$$

                Dolpha(Bison)are also excellent taps and real affordable.

                Greenfield is okay,but overpriced.

                Cleavland Twist Drill are made in Mexico these days and suck.

                As for sets-vs-singles,buy a cheap set of China taps from somebody like Grizzly,they got a 1/4-1"NF AND NC set taps and dies for like $98.00,the handles are garbage,but the taps and dies are good enough for occasional use,the neat thing is you get a full set for cheap and as they break or get dull you can get new name brand singles.
                I just need one more tool,just one!


                • #9
                  I only buy alloy taps & dies - preferably APM or M-42. I have never broken a small alloy tap yet - quality makes a big difference! For stuff larger than 1/4" almost any tap will work unless you are doing Titainium or super alloys.

                  I have OSG Blue Merlins, Blue Wizards, Warrior (WW2 era HSS) - Yamawa (like the Blue Wizards), Butterfield, Norseman (best damn taps, dies, & drills), and some other bastard brands from auctions & what not.

                  You can buy an OSG tap without worring about quality - expensive, but worth every penny.


                  • #10
                    I used to buy the Vermont American taps, what you find in hardware stores. Since I've gotten into metalworking, I now buy Yamawa, because they're available on a moment's notice at a local shop. Night and day difference is quality and ease of tapping. I'd still take the Vermonts over that chinese set I bought. I'm still choked about that purchase, what a piece of **** that set was. If you're inclined to buy a set at a cheap price, don't unless you can open the package and handle the pieces. Check to see it they're properly made. Mine weren't, and without exaggerating at all, none of the pieces were useable at all. I couldn't even clean up threads with the dies, and the taps wouldn't start, even if the pilot hole was sized for less than 50% thread. I don't mean to be down on chinese tools, but there is more and more garbage out there than ever before, mostly from china.
                    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                    • #11
                      Here is another source, wouldn't worry too mych about brand names if your are tapping standard holes in ordinary material. MSC has several brands import or domestic.


                      Paul G.
                      Paul G.


                      • #12

                        [This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 11-16-2003).]


                        • #13
                          pgmrdan, no, I haven't compared the sears parts with others. I have seen many vermont american tools at sears, though. Maybe that is their source. My two problems with the taps, don't know about dies, I almost never use one, is that they are not straight, and they are not as easy to turn as the better hss ones, Yamawa being the ones I can get locally to compare to. My first Yamawa tap went in so easily that I thought something was wrong, maybe I drilled the pilot too large, or something. But they work like butter compared to the Vermonts, and every one I have purchased has been accurately made. I can't speak for the larger sizes, as I mostly use 4-40 to 1/4 inch. The ones I have broken make better center punches than the carbon steel taps. I will concede to Thrud and others when it comes to the many makes of good quality parts. With luck, I will remember some names if and when I actually purchase a set. As for my chinese set, I am reluctant to toss it out since it represents a tool purchase, and one doesn't normally throw tools away. But it belongs in the garbage dump, actually, it should never have come over on the boat.
                          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                          • #14
                            Take a close look at Vermont American, Sears Craftsman and other hardware taps. Most are carbon steel. They will work OK, but won't last for long.
                            Good name brand HSS, M42 and the more exotic will last forever. I have a TIN coated 1/4-20 I have been using for about 8 years now. The name has worn off, but I think it is a Bendix.
                            China & other Asian heat treat is between butter & glass, and dimensions are all over the place. Japan & European are usually good.
                            Make a tap guide of a piece of flat stock about 1/2" thick with clearance holes for the various size taps. Use this to start your taps straight, and you will never break a tap.
                            Jim H.


                            • #15
                              I use Regal-Beloit when I can get them. I have also used Japanese,Polish,Yugoslavian and French and found them all good hss taps.