I don't know you or said "pro mehcanics", but as a professional
mechanic, myself, I can tell you Craftsman tools are not good enough
to rely on for prolonged heavy duty use. Their guaranteed replacement
policy is totally worthless if you live 100 miles from the nearest
Sears store and are in the middle of a job. I know, I've been there.
I won't say your "pro mechanic" friends don't know what they're doing,
but if I go to a mechanic and find him using Craftsman tools, I'm
back out the door and looking elsewhere.
The guys I'm referring to are in an opposite position. They are within a
stone's throw of a big Sears at a really upsale mall, so they have a
really good stock. I was talking to one of them and he said they prefer
Snap-on (and have some), but they went through a time when the Snap-on
truck was unreliable. Since the Sears was right next door, it was more
convenient to go there for a new tool, replacement, duplicate, whatever.
Why would you go to a mechanic? :-)
In my experience in music and carpentry, the tools don't make the man,
the man makes the tools.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
That sucks. Snap-On trucks are privately owned, so sounds like a bad
businessman. That's unfortuenate.
I understand. I was a beginner once. ;)
I saw that coming! ;)
I've been wrenching since I was 10. My idea of "making it" is not a
26 room mansion, a fleet of hot cars, or a yacht and a villa on the
Med. It's being well off enough to be able to pay a trusted mechanic
to fix my car!
I'm old. I'm tired. I'm lazy. ;)
I agree a tool doesn't make the man, but a man that knows what he's
doing knows a good tool.
re: "I agree a tool doesn't make the man, but a man that knows what
he's doing knows a good tool."
A lot of what I do as volunteer work and as my main hobby (which very
often cross paths) involves both hand tools and power tools. Very
often, it also involves other people using their hand tools and power
tools in close proximity to me.
When the guy next to me pulls out his brand new 47-in-1 ratchet handle-
screwdriver-claw hammer-box wrench-paint brush tool and 9.6 volt screw
gun-air compressor, I can pretty much tell the level of expertise to
expect from him.
Personally I'd be more concerned about whether the guy knows what he'd
doing than what kind of tools he uses. And part of knowing what you're
doing is knowing when you need a premium-quality expensive tool and when
something from Harbor Fright will be adequate to the task at hand.
I have some Craftsman hand tools. Their screw/nut drivers are damn
good. Can't beat their tool boxes for the price. Likewise their deep
sockets when on sale. OTOH, I'm no longer making a living as a
mechanic and have seen hard times causing me to sell off many of my
better tools. Life goes on. Lesser brands are now enough.
Work with tools long enough and you will discover no one brand of tool
is the best across their line. All of Snap-On's tools are rebranded
from other suppliers. Their measuring tapes are Lufkin, which I will
not buy. Their wrenches used to be made by Bonney, which is no longer
in business. Many other great tool brands like Williams and Utica are
no more. Things change. Life goes on. If a tool works for you,
that's good enough. If it breaks, don't buy another. Pretty simple.
I've got my Dad's set(s) of Craftsman mechanic tools (c.
1950's-1960's) and a lot I've bought since. I've broke one socket (a
1/4" deep socket w/ a 1/4 drive w/ a 1/4"-1/2" adapter and an 18" 1/2"
drive breaker bar). They replaced it.
If anything has declined, it's the "fit and finish". Most sockets
I've seen lately are 6-point, rather than 12-point. That might be OK
(who drives square bolts/nuts anymore?), or even better.
The tools to avoid (aside from power tools) are the "accessories",
e.g: "router tables" or "dovetail jigs", &tc. They're crappy and a
Also, I don;t think I'll buy their edge tools (planes, chisels, &tc.).
That's been pretty much my experience too. The Craftsman garden tools
have really crappy fiberglass handles anymore. The resin cracks and the
fibers separate. I've returned many shovels, pitchforks, and garden forks.
The hickory handles stood up much better.
Try the Craftsman socket chisels if you come across them at a yard sale or flea.
They were probably last made in the 50's. They're worth the effort to flatten
and sharpen, even if you have to make a replacement handle. Excellent steel,
and somebody may have already flattened the back for you.
The black plastic handled chisels they currently sell are made from good steel.
I spent a lot of time flattening the backs of the set I bought. Every one was
convex. They're hard chisels, hold a good edge. Too much trouble to get flat
I'll take 6 point sockets every time out of the box.
I have found over the years that 12 point are simply too easy to strip
The few I have are strictly for desperation usage.
What you need are flank drive sockets. These are designed to grab
more on the flat of a hex nut/bolt, not so near the corner. You can
actually grab fasteners that have already been rendered useless by
rounding by other wrenches.
I think it was Bonney that invented this design and it was patented,
so no one else could make them. They were quite expensive. Now, the
patent has expired and most good tool companies make a version. The
wrenches are specially handy cuz they will give you the short throw of
a 12 point but the non-rounding ability of a 6 point.
Flank Drive is the brand name used by Snap-On. I think Bonney used a
different Name. Craftman now also makes this type of wrench/skt under
still another name. Posi-Torque and Surface Drive are names from other
tool companies. You can tell a flank drive cuz it looks more like a
circular sine wave rather than pointed corners of a 6 or 12 pt.
Like one person said, it may sound "gimmicky" but they do work. I
have several sockets and wrenches of this type in the most used
fastener sizes. When you need one, they are life savers.
Or, for those twelve-point nuts (don't laugh, they DO make 'em), and
nuts and lag bolts. For an impact set, all six-point makes sense.
the twelve-pointers aren't always unneeded, and I'm usually not
hard as to fracture anything anyhow.
If I have the right size, I drive square items with an eight-point
Last year someone posted a link to the 3 major US tool manufacturers
(Stanley, Danaher, & SnapOn) and the brands they make. I couldn't
find the post but found the link.
About 1/4 of the way down. Poster is Claude_Suddreth.
Thanks for the link, Artemus. Looks like I was misinformed about a
couple things. I looked for Williams tools on the web many yrs ago
and could find nothing and thought they had expired. Maybe they just
hadn't discovered the internet, yet. Glad to see them still around.
I have Williams 4" adj wrench on my keychain that's been there for
over 40 yrs. I've used it for just about everything imaginable
including loosening some pretty rusty nuts. The thing has been beat
to death, yet the jaws will still close down accurate and tight enough
to hold a rolling paper. That's another story. ;)
S-K is another good brand. Used to be you hadda look for 'em at huge
flea markets, as almost no establish stores carried the brand. They
were amazingly inexpensive for the quality. Now, they can be found in
many knowledgeable auto parts stores, even if prices have increased.
I've never broken an S-K socket, even when incorrectly using regular
S-K sockets on impact wrenches. That's tough.
That puts Craftsman in a lot of smaller and rural markets that Sears
doesn't otherwise cover, except by internet.
What luck - you can buy Craftsman's latest useless gimmick, at
inflated prices, at the neighborhood Ace store.
I still like Ace but maybe a little bit less now :^}
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