Noticing the recurring discussions about 'The Fall of Craftsman', I
could echo my subjective response to what I see on the shelves of Sears
any more. Thankfully, I still have my very first tool purchase -- a
Craftsman 3/8" rachet -- still working fine after 45 years. And, my
cast-iron topped Craftsman table saw - tooling along after something
like 25 years or so.
Presently am gearing up to (finally) build a decent space for a
woodshop (circa 1000sf) - and have found some local Grizzly machinery
(used, but very little and a decent price) - and am considering
additional purchases from them to round out the basics (only really
needing a jointer -- thinking of the Griz 8").
But, the discussions re: Craftsman does raise a question -- What
(today) would replace the Craftsman of 15 or 20 years ago? I
completely understand that this would depend quite a bit on the exact
tool in question - and it may be too general (and too emotional) to ask
I'm aware of the higher end stuff (assuming Laguna and others we see in
FineWoodworking, etc) - and that could be an option down the road.
But the question is more related to what has emerged to take the
(historic) Craftsman of old - not so much what tool purchases I may or
may not make in the near or distant future.
Thanks for any comments...
Years ago Emerson Electric made many of the Sears tools. Emerson stopped
making tools for Sears and switched over to making tools for Home Depot
under the Ridgid brand. About two years ago Emerson stopped making all
tools other than the shop vac in the Ridgid line. I believe the majority
of the Ridgid tools are now made by Ryobi.
Some Craftsman tools are just re-branded from other manufacturers and are
exact except for the paint. If you find one of those, buy on price if Sears
has them on sale.
I know people that have and like their cordless drills also.
Other than those, there are many brands of tools that are decent value and
quality. Bosch, Milwaukee, DeWalt, Delta, Porter Cable, Hitachi, are just a
Brands to avoid for quality are Ryobi, Black & Decker and Skil. They are
made for the one a year homeowner market, not for a pro.
I too have some Craftsman sockets, open end wrenches, etc from about 45
years ago. Far superior to what they sell today.
You know, I like my Ryobi drill press and Skil power screw drivers. One
Skil screw driver is on its second motor, and doing ok. They're
definately not for a professional drilling hundreds of holes a month, but
they're not bad tools. They're like chuck steak as opposed to sauce
covered hamburgers and definately not top sirloin steak.
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
I hear this a lot about Ryobi. But I'm on my second Ryobi Cordless
drill. The batteries on the first went and it was about the same cost
to just by a new one. Other then that I would probably still be using
it. Plus, I love the magnetic base. Don't think I'd go for the
"larger" tools, but the drills are great.
I have a nephew who, when he was about 13 or 14, used to haunt yard sales
for used and/or damaged Craftsman tools. He'd then go to Sears and get new
ones under their lifetime guarantee policy. He's now in his 40s and still
In what regard? Craftsman tools like squares, levels, hammers,
wrenches, etc are guaranteed for the life of the tool, NOT the life of
the original purchaser.
who sees nothing immoral about taking them up on THEIR gaurantee
If that were the case, there would be no reason for them to replace a broken
or worn out tool. As soon as the tool breaks or wears out, it's life is over
so the warranty is over too.
The "life of the toll" bit was added by other manufacturers in order to
appear that they offered a guarantee when they actually did not.
Sears has been sucking in hand tool customers with their lifetime guarantee
story for as long as I can rememeber. And I'm old. I own a set of
Craftsman mechanics tools, that have been excellent, for nearly forty years.
I have tested the guarantee a few times, including a ratchet handle that had
been run over buy a car and busted in the middle of the handle. No
questions - just a new replacement tool.
HOWEVER, about 15 years ago it occured to me that I was paying at least
twice the cost of Master Mechanics or other store brands offered by major
hardware stores (Ace, True Value, etc.) Guess what -- same warranty! The
local hardware store owner told me he had customers report that they found a
Craftsman socket among Master Mechanics sockets bought in his store.
In addition to gimmics, one of Sears main strategies has been the sale of
common tools, at higher prices ON CREDIT. They used to make more money that
way - until they started alienating their long-time customers.
Twenty years ago, I was a devoted Sears customer. I bought their hand
& power tools, appliances, tires, batteries and even clothes. So much
so that I took a lot of ribbing from family about owning stock in
Sears. Just about the time I outgrew their power tools, I noticed that
every time I left their automotive store, I was mad. I was mad about
having to stand in long lines to get waited on, mad about taking longer
than promised to install batteries or tires, mad about added charges
not previously disclosed, and mad about the surly attitude of their
sales staff. Same way with Wal Mart. I took my trade to local
mom-and-pop businesses and never looked back. Now, I shop the big box
stores like Sears, Wal Mart and Home Depot only when I can't find it at
a smaller store. I may be spending more money, but I spend a lot less
"Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."
After clocking in at Sears, I used to have to walk past the automotive desk
on the way to my department. Hated that trip as there was almost always a
long line there and usually a very vocal and mad customer yelling at one of
the guys behind the desk. Once a guy was yelling because his new brake job
had failed and his wife and daughter almost involved in an accident because
of it. I feared that someone would go "postal" as I walked by.
Tom G wrote:
> After clocking in at Sears, I used to have to walk past the
> on the way to my department. Hated that trip as there was almost
> long line there and usually a very vocal and mad customer yelling
at one of
> the guys behind the desk.
My father refused to have ANY automotive work done at Sears, based on
the experiences of his friends who had been ripped off.
He died in 1959.
What on Earth can you find at a big box that isn't at a smaller store?
Everytime I got to WalMart out of sheer desperation because I'm in the
middle of something and need supplies at 2am, I get nothing but blank
stares and answers like "nobody uses *that* anymore."
The little places are the ones who still have old bits of whatever
hidden away on a back shelf. Then again, it's probably me... I'm
always trying to make everything myself, and it turns out that that
isn't a very common thing to do anymore. If you don't believe that,
go try to buy an anvil. :)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.