Buy American? Starrett measuring tools.....

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Andy Dingley wrote:

It's interesting how perception plays into all of this. Let's look at two companies that rely on the perception of their products.
Starrett deservedly enjoys a perception that their tools are the finest that one can buy. Craftsman (Sears) also enjoys a perception that their tools are the finest one can buy. The difference is Starrett owns their perception based on fact whereas Craftsman is riding on past performance. Starrett's audience is very narrow where as Craftsman's is continually resupplied by those who have bought into the hype. Starrett is under some pretty stiff competition from tool makers whose products are as good but being produced less expensively. Craftsman continues to degrade (1) but continues to thrive because the new customers have not caught on yet.
It really kinda depends on your niche.
(1) Yes I know there are *some* good/great Craftsman tools/machines but on a whole it's safer to assume that you won't be buying the best and crying once.
UA100, no solutions here, just an observation or three...
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wrote:

Really ? Now I'm in the wrong country to really be familiar with these things, but my impression was always that they were about as good as Black & Decker (i.e. not very).
Lately I've been wearing out Eclipse hacksaw blades, even the bi-metal ones. This _really_ annoys me, because I have another of their blades, supposedly identical, that I know I've been using for twenty years. If you ever let the quality slip, it does get noticed.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Sun, 05 Sep 2004 16:04:40 +0100, Andy Dingley wrote:

The Craftsman brand really did have great tools for a long time. I still use my grandfather's drill from the 40's. Many, many Craftsman RAS and TS from decades past are still in service and still outperform their current C-man kin. Their mechanic's tools are still very good.
So the perception of "Craftsman=good tools" is somewhat justified. Guys who are just starting to put their own tools together are likely to see quite a few Craftsman tools among his father's and grandfather's tools. Plus professional endorsements (Hi, Bob!) and endless commercials help to prop the image up. I've never seen DeWalt, Grizzly, Jet, Makita, General, Laguna, etc. advertise on television. Delta commercials are uncommon.
So it can take some time (and a few less than satisfactory purchases) before the Craftsman myth is truly revealed.
--
Joe Wells


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On Sun, 05 Sep 2004 10:32:23 -0500, Joe Wells wrote:

Joe,
Delta does advtertise on PBS woodworking shows like "New Yankee Workshop" and others..
Jeremy <<supercommodoreatmaildotcom>>
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On Mon, 06 Sep 2004 05:01:24 -0700, Destined wrote:

Which is why I labeled them "uncommon".
--
Joe Wells


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Andy Dingley wrote:

You impression is correct. Among the brain dead who will take the time to fill out a survey (1), it's not.
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/allnewsbydate.asp?NewsIDA9
(1) These are the same people we allow to vote for and elect our elected officials making me think this whole idea of democracy has a serious flaw and maybe a test wouldn't be totally out of line.
UA100
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Looking at that list, WD-40 and especially Bose are another couple brands that are frighteningly overrated.
GTO(John)
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Are you sure? Look at all the money they spend on advertising. ;)
Add Frigidaire to the list. Used to make some of the best appliances when they were part of General Motors.
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Unisaw A100 wrote: <snip>

Actually this survey makes perfect sense. If you ask Joe Homeowner, who uses a tool once every few months, to name some tool brands, probably the first (and in many cases only) brand name he'll come up with will be Sears. When he goes to the mall with his wife he probably sees all those cool toys and imagines them great, having no basis of comparison. As someone else mentioned earlier in this thread, few of the other companies advertise at all to the mass media (Joe Howeowner doesn't read FW, PW, AW or Wood Mag. to see the other ads).
Glen
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All of those magazines are sold in supermarkets, not to mention Family Handyman. There is no secret handshake required to flip through any of them while Suzy picks out veggies. My local supermarket has padded chairs in the magazine and book aisle! <G>
Delta, Jet, Porter Cable, Dewalt, Bosch, etc... show up in many home centers and warehouse stores, including SEARS! My local Sears and Sears Hardware stores display the good brands side by side with Craftsman and B&D. Home Depot and Lowes market directly at Harry Homeowner, if he wasn't born yesterday, he's been there.
Dewalt, Porter Cable, Bosch and Makita sponsor sports, including a ton of auto racing. Many of them sponsor or have sponsored Norm, This Old House, Warehouse Warriors, and home improvement / makeover shows that attract more and more of an audience.
Nowadays, you'd really have to have just stepped off the UFO, with your last Earth visit in the 60's, to not know of Bosch, PC, Dewalt, Makita, etc... and believe B&D or Craftsman is top notch stuff. Those companies are milking a reputation, and it may take a generation, but the reputation will correct itself.
Barry
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B a r r y wrote:

I don't disagree with you one bit, the info is out there, as are all the mags, but I maintain that the average, non-serious wooddorker does not see those ads or appreciate the difference between a quality tool and a Sears tool.

Again, I agree with you, they are there, but most Joe Homeowner types remember Bob Vila's smiling face and assumes that the Sear's name represents quality. After all, we all know that Bob Vila is a serious professional. ;-)

Here, sir, I must disagree, if only from anicdotal evidence. I can't count the times I have talked tools with non-wooddorking friends and co-workers who appear to have never heard of Delta (a faucet company?) and Powermatic (don't they make the vegetable dicers that we see on the infomercials?)
Glen

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"Industrial" names like Powermatic, General, etc... are a whole 'nuther ball game, and I'll agree with you on that. I was mainly comparing DeWalt, Makita, PC, Bosch, etc... with Craftsman and Black & Decker. Handheld power stuff, like drills, saws and sanders, that a homeowner might buy, not specialized heavy iron.
Delta really suprises me as they make plenty of inexpensive, homeowner quality tools, like miter saws, that are sold in home centers. They also do plenty of mass-market advertising. My clueless brother-in-law even has a Delta miter saw.
Have these people ever been in the tool aisle at Sears, Home Depot, or Lowes? <G>
Barry
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It can get worse. I've had discussions with co-workers who know full well what a good tool is, know the brands, and still make a passionate arguement in favor of the likes of Black & Decker and Craftsman as being great tools. Their position is that 95% percent of tool buyers can't afford and don't need "those overpriced luxury tools" ala Milwaukee, Bosch, Porter-Cable, ect.
BUT - the times I've loaned one my good tools, my DeWalt jigsaw or my PC RAS for example, they uniformy return it (in working order) and report "WOW! that works great! So much better that my old Ryobi (or Craftsman or other off brand).
The performance is the proof, but many people have yet to use a good tool for the task at hand.
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I agree if the measure is of brand recognition. I must respectfully disagree with the "perfect sense" if the survey is supposed to be an objective measure of quality.
Note the column headed "salience". That is the percentage of responders who claimed to know enough to have a valid opinion. I didn't see any indication that the "non-salient" opinions were excluded from the tally. Therefore I assume Joe Homeowner's opinion was counted whether or not he claimed to be "aware and informed enough to rate the brand".
"In my ("salient", "non-salient" - choose one) opinion that invalidates the survey for anything other than a "now isn't that nice" exercise.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Depends on the tool and the product line. Their Craftsman-brand hand tools are still pretty good. In their portable power tools they have "Craftsman" and "Craftsman Professional", with "Craftsman Professional" being quite good--they're often major brands with a Sears label and possibly slightly changed trim. Their current Craftsman Professional jigsaw is a black Bosch for example. Sears also carries selected models from other brands. Their stationary power tools are for the most part not very good, but they're apparently trying to turn that around.

--
--John
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Not compared to the 40 year old Craftsman tools I have. They have been cheapened and I won't buy them.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I'm curious. What deficiencies do you observe in, say, a new open-end wrench compared to the 40 year old open-end wrench?
--
--John
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Functional style The older wrenches were easier to use, the heads had a better angle. The box wrenches had a true offset, not just a bend on the end allowing you to put more torque on a nut. The newer ones are cheaper to make.
Some of the better screwdrivers do have a better grip (rounded for the hand) than the old ones.
The new sockets do have the size imprinted in very large numbers. That is handy for the weekend warrior, but a pro can sight the 9/16 over the 5/8 at twenty feet in the dark. The new sockets are cheaper in other ways though.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Are you talking about open end wrenches or something else? If open-end theirs seem to have the same "angle" as every other manufacturer and the new ones seem to have the same angle as the ones I used in the '60s.

Actually, they have both kinds.

A pro who doesn't need bifocals maybe.

Such as?
--
--John
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The method of forging them.
I don't recall all th e details of the differences as I've not bothered to look at them for a few years now. Find an old tool set and take it to the store with you. Chances are, you'll buy another brand after making the comparisons.
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