It broke (Allen wrench)

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For many decades, I have never had an allen wrench break. Bend, yes, but never snap.
But yesterday, in trying to remove a reluctant wood(!) screw, I had an 1/8th inch allen wrench snap, and I wasn't even using a "cheater." Poked a hole in my finger, it did.
The particular allen wrench, from a company who shall remain nameless (Task Force - Lowes house brand), just smooth broke!
I went out to the truck and retrieved my traveling allen wrench set (I think the set cost about three bucks from Harbor Freight) and removed the target screw with no problem.
Analysis: The problem wrench was part of an eight-wrench set configured in sort of a Swiss Army Knife rendition. You "open" the desired wrench and twist away. The long end of each wrench is formed into a loop so that it can be attached to a small shaft on the "knife."
I suspect that the annealing process necessary to form the loop made the steel more brittle than an allen wrench should be, and that's the reason the wrench failed.
Whatever the cause, I plan to see whether Lowe's has a lifetime guarantee on hand tools - like Harbor Freight - or whether in that regard their tools are likewise inferior.
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.....when you buy cheap crap, it usually breaks like cheap crap.
http://www.filmtools.com/bonalkeyhexa.html
nb
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wrote:

I really "like" the lifetime warranty. You just send them back to the company and they will send you a new one. Only problem is the tools are from 4 to 6 bucks. It will cost that much to send them back, especially if you count your gas and time for anything.
For home use, I like the Sears tools warranty. Years ago their tools did seem to be of much better quality than they are now. Local store to go to and as much as my wife shops at the mall where Sears is, lots of trips are made to that area of town.
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....and is totally useless if one lives 100+ miles from nearest store or return point and needs the now-broken tool RIGHT NOW. I was a working mechanic in jes that situation once before and am now in a similar situation (remote). Better to pay the extra $4-6 or even $5-10 up front and have a quality dependable tool to begin with.
nb
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On 12/4/2011 5:22 AM, notbob wrote:

I always try to have backup tool sets.
TDD
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On 12/4/2011 6:22 AM, notbob wrote:

We've discussed all this on here before a few dozen times. HF is great for occasional or one-time-use tools for DIYs. If you are making money with a tool, unless maybe it it stuff that can't break like a Big Iron Bar, HF is not the place to shop. Nothing makes you look dumber to customer than breaking a tool, and maybe breaking their stuff in the process. Plus of course the extra time to run out and buy a replacement, and what that does to your day. And in general, for stuff that can get rounded off or break (allen wrenches, drill bits, etc) even in quality brands, you should have a backup on the truck.
--
aem sends...

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aemeijers wrote:

You may have a point. In the instant case, it was the tool from Lowe's that broke and the tool from Harbor Freight that didn't.
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On 12/4/2011 12:42 PM, HeyBub wrote:

Shame on me for not reading entire thread. The sub-Kobalt Lowe's house brand is no better than HF, in my experience- may even be the same Chinese OEM. I have several of the various fold-out wrench sets, and the are convenient. But every single one has at least one wrench with a rounded off end. They don't seem to hold up to production work. The best ones weigh 2x or 3x the cheap ones, and have a metal U-channel they fold out from.
--
aem sends...

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The problem that I've had with Sears is that they don't stock a lot of tools, and won't order stuff for you for warranty - they'll only exchange your stuff if they have it in store. So if you need to warranty, say, a metric flare nut wrench - the warranty is useless. (not that I've ever had that happen to me, mind you.)
On the upside, it's worked *for* me at least once as well - had to warranty a 1/2" drive ratchet, and they don't "sell" the ratchet rebuild kits anymore. It was the typical Craftsman forged-finish ratchet, and they didn't have one in the "rebuild" drawer that they use for ratchet warranties. They did, however, have the polished- handle version, and for some reason would rather give me the rebuilt polished handle one than the new equivalent of the one that I had in my hand. That did make me happy!
nate
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If Harbor Freight has a lifetime guarantee on their hand tools, they must be getting a hell of a lot of them back. Not saying HF tools are all crap, or that they are not a decent choice for some of the tools you only use once a year, etc. But many of their tools are cheaply made and won't last. Worst I saw was a set of slip ring pliers I bought. The tips, instead of expanding the rings, just bent. HF took them back, but that was when I had just bought them and had the receipt.
Does HF have a lifetime guarantee?
And IMO, just about anything you buy at Lowes or HD is a step up in quality from HF. I buy select items at HF, but not something that I use frequently, expect to last from considerable use, etc.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Yes.
Not in this case. The Lowe's house brand broke and HF tool worked admirably
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On 12/3/2011 7:08 AM, HeyBub wrote:

No lifetime guarantee on the cheap Task Force tools but most of the Kobalt brand hand tools at Lowes have a lifetime guarantee. If the wrenches are fairly new I bet you could return them and get your money back.
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The lifetime warranty claimed was at Harbor Freight.
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On 12/3/2011 11:22 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Re-read the post. He wanted in inquire whether _Lowes_ had a lifetime guarantee.
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What does it matter? A "lifetime guarantee" is what crappy tool vendors loudly shout cuz their product is junk. Sears has a lifetime guarantee, which is useless if you live 100 miles away, yer open end wrench jes broke, and you need that tool, now! Spending the extra $$$ for quality tools, in the first place, is the best guarantee.
nb
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Bullshit! Lowes does not sell Allen wrenches!
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Yep. Many brand names have become applied to the generic term for a tool. A crescent wrench, channel-lock pliers, phillips screwdriver are but a few. Not that the original was always better or a 2nd gen generic tool can't be as good or better than the original. Williams Tool made better adjustable wrenches than Crescent Tool.
Good tools are where you find them. The best pair of adjustable pliers (channel-locks) I ever owned were cheapo knock-offs made by Wizard and sold by Grand Auto. Hardened jaws and form-fitting handles at half the price. Also, many tools are simply rebranded. You don't think Snap-On actually makes all those tools, do you? They may have super good wrenches, but I once bought a Snap-On oil can that was cheap junk and broke the first time I used it. Many once great brand names have been bought by Chinese companies. I've got an old B&D 3/8" adj drill motor that's almost indestructable. Will run till it's too hot to hold. I wouldn't give eight cents for the new B&D line.
nb
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notbob wrote:

Yep. And sometimes an entity gets an early reputation and coasts. Quick, name the "best" university in America....
Most would say Harvard. Harvard was the first university in America and earned its reputation early. Since then, the school has pretty much withered. On the other hand, very, very few people can name the SECOND university founded in America...
William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA, founded 1693). That school has been trying to catch up - in reputation - for over 300 years.
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Maybe if the turn it into a penitentiary.
nb
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notbob wrote:

It already is in the sense that it's training it's inmates to unproductive lines of endeavor (Women's Studies, Black History, Leprechauns in Literature, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, etc. They even sport a "Design Your Own Major" program.).
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