What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

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Mike
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by Mike »

I don't rrally have a most important thing but I do like my long handled wire cutters and multimeters and test lights are a must have. Impact wrench and long breaker bar are up there too. Same with long extensions and bendable u-joint sockets or adapter. Rarely needed but can't do without when you do.

I'm in the Lee camp and like my books.

For Dodge it's the factory scan tool. My 04 Ram has never needed it but pretty nuch every repair or adjustment in the manual calls for hooking it up and doing something with it.
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by TonyC »

Right–crow's foot! That's the term, completely slipped my mind! I remember how commonplace they were in part stores, but not recently. I had to get my one off E-Bay.

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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by papawayne »

I miss Craftsman tools and the catalog that sold them. Wayne
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by 1Bad55Chevy »

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxbus ... turing.amp

Well that sucks. Apparently the plant is closed now...

I don't understand how they couldn't pull this off especially since the PROTO plant is here in Dallas. Proto also manufactures all the MAC tools and other high end lines for Stanley. You would figure the world's largest tool company could have pulled off bringing Craftsman back to the US.
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by papawayne »

I'm heartbroken, too. Most of my tools are Craftsman, straight from the catalogue. I bought a few from Harbor Freight when they were strictly catalog sales, but we had very little use for them, even though they were surprisingly cheap, because they were made from bubble gum steel, and sometimes bent or became deformed the first time one used them. We used to hold them in our hand and say, "looks like a tool, feels like a tool, but is not a tool. Wayne
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by Lee »

I still have and use a lot of Craftsman tools that I bought as a very young man, or inherited. My opinion: Craftsman's market went away. For most of my life, Snap-On owned the professional mechanic category, and Craftsman owned the high-level DIY and home mechanic market. When I was a kid, in our working class neighborhood, fathers up and down the street wrenched on their own cars. And we can argue about why that is so rare today, but the fact remains that the market for that niche isn't there like it once was, and what remains might very well just decide to take a chance and cheap out at Harbor Freight.
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by papawayne »

Snap-On kept mechanics in debt, because they came around to shops in sales trucks. Fathers no longer work on their own cars, because they are too confusing, (the cars, that is) and the Hayne's manuals have never been any good. The instructions always begin, "Disconnect the negative battery cable" even if just changing the wiper blades. I ran into this many years ago with my wife's first Prius. There is nothing on that car that I can do. I'm too old and too stupid. We now have a mechanic for those things, and his standard joke is "I speak all languages." Wayne
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by 1Bad55Chevy »

I don't think it's fair to say the Craftsman market died. IMO Sears was dying and the Craftsman line was what was carrying the entire company. Sears knew this and kept dropping the quality of the line to increase margins in an effort to keep the store open. We all know there was a significant difference in quality between Craftsman 1985 and Craftsman 2005. I think another issue was the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot launched their own lines of tools so while customers were there getting home improvement supplies they could also pick up tools, tool boxes, and garage organizers.

I think the big thing to remember is that the vast majority of people coming in Sears were not there to buy the Craftsman Profesional series tools but rather the bottom dollar sets that included ratchets that felt like they have been in a kids toy box. I remember working at NAPA (20 years ago) the tool rep at the time told me the Craftsman Professional series tools were the same as the NAPA Hand Tool line because they were both made by Armstrong which at the time was owned by Danaher. If this was true I have no idea but I do know the two brands looked and felt identical.

As for Snap-On owning the auto industry that is mostly still true but you are seeing a major shift especially in new techs coming into the industry. Today's professional mechanic still has to provide their own tools same as 50 years ago but now the amount of specialized equipment they need is absolutely crazy! 50 years ago a tech wasn't required to have $20k+ in diagnostic computer equipment and then required to spend $1k+ quarterly to purchase scanner updates.

Because of things like this Snap-On is becoming a tool brand that many are passing on..
https://shop.snapon.com/product/Instinc ... SGDX160BFG
Not to mention a 72" box with a hutch and a locker will be over $20k...

The argument of "you only buy it once" goes out the window when you are paying $500 for a set of screwdrivers, especially when there are other tool companies out there that carry lifetime warranty and are easier to warranty. Here in Dallas you are even seeing Gearwrench trucks pop up and calling on shops!

The Icon tool line from Harbor Freight has become a favorite for many auto professionals. They carry a lifetime warranty and the quality is top notch since the tools are sourced from top Taiwanese manufacturers. Warranty is a breeze, if something brakes you take the whole set back and they hand you another one unlike a tool truck which will typically have to order the socket and wait a week. Drive up to any tire shop, if there is a Harbor Freight locally I can promise they are using their Daytona hydraulic Jack's because of the warranty. If you buy a jack off tool truck and the hydraulic cylinder goes bad they have to send it back to be rebuilt which takes a month, tire shops can't afford to loose jacks for a month at a time.

I can go on and on about all the reasons I hate tool trucks but they are successful because they provide financing. If you haven't walked into a Harbor Freight and truly looked at their Icon tools I strongly recommend it because you won't be disappointed.
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by Mike »

What killed craftsman for me was cheaper tools came up in quality and then Craftsman started being made at the same places as those tools so after a certain point you were only paying a premium for the name.
Then a lot of people used to make the argument that you were paying for the warranty with Craftsman but a lot of those cheaper tools also held up pretty well and when they broke you could replace them several times for the price difference.
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by RMAENV »

My original tools are Craftman, vintage, 1971- 1972. Today, I don't do anywhere near the work or projects I used to and have a friend who owns his shop. I started buying Harbor Freight stuff as tools I only needed once or twice for special projects. Most have performed excellently and still perform. Also, if you have to "customize" a wrench or other tool, it is much less painful then doing it to the expensive one.
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by papawayne »

Good point about customizing a wrench. I once put an 8MM wrench in a vise and hammered it into the shape I needed. I bought Craftsman tools, even as I aged, because I was more concerned about hurting my hand than preserving a tool. A craftsman tool was far less likely to fail and hurt my hand. I drove my hand into the business circle of a fly wheel once because of a failed tool. I wasn't pretty. Lots of people wanted to give me advice after that, and most of it had to do with hand placement. If you've ever tried to get a fly wheel off, hand placement is only secondary, it's like a campfire: no matter where you sit, the smoke is going to get you. Wayne
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Re: What's your most IMPORTANT thing in your tool box?

Post by 1Bad55Chevy »

This is an interesting fact about Craftsman today...

Consumers may find different versions of Craftsman products at the different outlets that sell them, because after the sale of the Craftsman brand to SBD, the entities are free to source Craftsman from the suppliers of their own choosing. For example, a Craftsman screwdriver sold at Sears is currently typically sourced from a vendor in China, an equivalent model at Lowe's is sourced from a supplier in Taiwan, and one sold at Ace may still be the original Western Forge US-made product that was sold by Sears for many years prior to the sale of Craftsman to SBD.

I pulled that from the Craftsman Wiki page so you never know if 100% accurate..
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