Is it due to global warming?
Have the earth's magnetic poles reversed?
Is it the end of civilization as we know it?
What am I talking about?
The new issue of Wood magazine and it's article on the hot new tools
Not one, but two, count 'em, two of its picks are Sears Craftsmen tools
Has Sears changed?
Are the editors at Wood eating strange mushrooms?
And finally the big questions:
Will we ever learn? Is there anyone left on the wreck who will
sacrifice all and admit they bought a new Craftsmen tool, knowing they
will beaten into the ground by the anti Sears lobby?
Stay tuned for the answer
Let the games begin!
I used to work for a large company (rhymes with Nordson) in the spray
and powder coating industry, so I was intrigued to see the Sears home
version of a powder coat system.
Yes, Sears quality isn't what it used to be (and never was, to
paraphrase somebody or other)
Yes, Sears always seems to make things a little skimpier and cheesier
than they ought to be.
Yes, Sears stuff is often crap.
(shields *way* up)
But it is sometimes innovative crap.
I have absolutely no good reason to do so, but I'm going to buy one
just to play with.... (so there!) (well, I suppose the high voltage
supply might be useful in the bedroom, ahem, but that's another
--Paul (who emphatically states he doesn't own any Sears power tools,
at least not any more...)
My non-electrical hand tools are heavily laced with the Craftsman brand.
Simply put, IMHO, for the non-professional mechanic, they are the best bang
for the buck and have been for decades.
I have lots of hammers. I have Estwing, Stanley Anti-vibe and plain, Plumb,
Vaughn, but my hammer of choice is a fiberglass handled Craftsman 16 oz,
bought almost 40 years ago. I have a Plumb wood handled 13 oz, that my
father gave to me, that his father gave to him that I really like, however,
my Vaughn 13 oz is a fiberglass smaller twin of the my favorite Craftsman so
I tend to switch back and forth between the two hammers.
I have a set of Craftsman Professional chisels. They are solid, hold their
edge, and provided they are sharpened correctly, I simply do not know how
any set of chisels, no matter what the price, could perform better, but I've
never had occasion to use any of the higher priced brands, so I can say for
I have three Craftsman brand nailers along with a Porter Cable nailer and a
Pasloade framing nailer. They are all perfectly adequate for
non-professional shop use. Since my retirement, the Craftsman finish nailer
and the Porter Cable brad nailer are used almost daily.
I have a couple of different cordless tools. One Craftsman 14.4. One
DeWalt 18. One of the Craftsman 14.4 volt batteries will no longer hold a
charge and the second is beginning to act up. The DeWalt is twice as old as
the Craftsman and used twice as much. I will not replace the failing
Craftsman brand with a Craftsman. Right now, I'm leaning towards Makita,
but if pushed, I will go with DeWalt.
I have a Craftsman recripicating saw. It was cheap, and it is cheap. Yet
it works perfectly adequately for my purposes. (Which is about once every
six months.) For me, throwing money at a high dollar recripicating saw
would have been foolish.
I have several routers. I count Bosch (1), Porter Cable (1), Skill (2) and
two older model Craftsman routers. All of them work perfectly well.
However, I simply do not like the shape, the color, nor the balance of the
new Craftsman routers. I would not buy one.
I have four different brands of corded drills, including Craftsman, Makita,
DeWalt and Black & Decker. I am fully satisfied with the relability and
performance of all of them.
I have a Delta compound miter saw. It required a bit of initial tweaking,
but it now does yeoman work, and has done so for some time. I would
consider a Craftsman brand saw as a replacement, but it would have to
significantly beat out a comparable Delta in price, to be the final choice.
I have a rebuilt Craftsman 5" trim saw (that I suspect was made by Porter
Cable) that is four years old. I would not trade it for anything. In fact,
it is used MUCH more than my DeWalt 7 1/4" circular saw.
I have a Grizz cabinet saw. For a replacement, I would not consider a
Craftsman, in any form.
I normally have little use for most Ryobi tools. Yet, I bought a used Ryobi
laminiate trimmer four years ago, and now I use it almost every single day.
($40 at Cummins tools) I keep a 1/2 roundover bit in it. If I every get
back to the big city, and I find them on sell, I will buy another one, maybe
two, depending on how much money I have in my pocket.
For me, it seems that which tools to acquire is a very individual decision,
and that decision process could well change as time progresses and skill
levels increase (hopefully) and interests changes. But for the rational
buyer, there has always been a dance between price, quality and value.
In other words, it all depends...
Sometimes, the lowest price tool is the best value, and sometimes it isn't.
Sometimes the highest price tool is the best value, and sometimes it isn't..
I think Sears is working on improving products, but they are no longer really
Sears anymore, because the company was bought out by K-Mart. And so has
anybody noticed the resulting changes? They are hard up for cash. They now
charge more for interest on card use (their own card), and charge a minimum
of like $119 for per monthly payback bill. That's gotten pretty lame IMHO...
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
Eyeah. What an amazing coincidence that the minimum payment goes up
just about the time that bankruptcy restrictions go into effect.
I'm glad my financial and medical family disasters came along some
years ago and not now. I'd have never gotten out from under with the
current set of laws.
The credit card companies were put on notice some years ago by the
Federal government to make this change. As I understand it, there is now
a requirement that the minimum monthly payment be at least 1% of the
outstanding balance exclusive of interest (?).
The point of the law was to help people *avoid* bankruptcy in the first
place. I personally don't think the minimum payment is any of the
government's business but that's the law.
FWIW, the lenders are the ones taking the risk when lending money. They
should be prepared to absorb the losses from people who do not repay
them with the same vigor they exhibit when they profit from interest on
the outstanding balance of people who do pay them back. The government
should just butt out. This would force the lenders to exercise more care
when deciding who gets credit and how much. OTOH, people who cannot
repay their lenders ought not to be able to hide behind bancruptcy while
still retaining ownership of major assets like houses and cars - IMHO,
that amounts to theft .
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
Of course, you know that the same Chiwan stuff arrives in many colors.
I've got a 15 1/2" drillpress that is so superior in fit/finish/usage to
anything currently for sale for three times its price that I only wish I
could get a retrofit table crank control to benefit my aging back.
If it wasn't for the fact that there's nothing wrong with them, I'd get new
sockets with the large print sizes to replace my old.
Hmmmm ... only things wrong are my infirmities?
I think they still sell good hand tools (wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers,
etc.) and their lifetime warranty has been a real selling point. Problem is
others such as Master Mechanic offer the same warranty at a fraction of
Sears Price. Why buy Craftsman?
I used to go to Sears anytime I needed a tool - didn't even shop. Then I
noticed that I was replacing certain power hand-tools more frequently than
before. They didn't hold up like earlier equipment. I quit buying them.
I have a 25-30 year old Craftsman drill press in my shop that remains a very
good tool. Only thing I have done is replace the belt a couple of times.
If the machine collapsed on the floor tomorrow I wouldn't buy another
What's my problem? I simply think Sears turned their back on a pretty loyal
bunch of home workshop owners 15-20 years ago in favor of profits. A lot of
us just quit trusting them. Trust is hard to regain.
The last two Craftsman power tools in my shop are a 1/4" router that I
bought about 15 years ago and a 10" TS with cast iron wings. That
router is setup to make 1/2" 1/2 blind dovetails. Permanently.
The TS would have been replaced long ago 'cept all the upgrades have
made it useful enough that it's not a pressing need. You know - new
fence, zero clearance insert, link belt, steel pulleys.
The motor is still original and that's it's biggest problem now.
Craftsman seems to win a fair amount of "best buy" or "top tool" style
awards these days. Surprised me. Some years ago I bought a CMS that
would move off vertical if moved off 90d. Used it for some yard work
and sold it when I stopped doing that. No good for shop work. Also
bought a belt/disk sander where the belt would not track unless
constantly adjusted. Sold that too, replaced by a Ridgid oscillating
That said, I still own early 1940s model 12" bandsaw and scrollsaw (ne
jigsaw) and a 60s drill press that are keepers.
Just chiming in.
A lot of what I consider my 'portable' power tools (like cordless drills,
circular saws etc...) are all Craftsman because I bring them with me to a
place where tools are known to walk away.
I'd much rather lose the Craftsman tool than have to constantly guard a
'higher end' product.
Being a female with not much upper arm strength meant buying the more
powerful cordless drill however. I just couldn't hold the wall steady enough
to screw things to it with a 'weak' drill.
So my conclusion is that it really depends on where and how you are using
the product as to what you should buy.
Other opinions are always appreciated by me because I'm still learning what
works best. For some reason my Dad thought my brother would be more
interested in this stuff so I was left out of a lot of the 'guy talk'. :)
There's my $1, spend it how you like. :)
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