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Tool Time


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  • Snakepit Kansas April 5, 2018, 10:46 AM

    About 35 years ago the grocery store I worked at as a teen started selling tools. Buffalo Tools. Made in China. I swear they were chrome plated pot metal. They were dirt cheap junk and people bought the hell out of them. I have stuck with Craftsman tools forever, although I can barely work on a car any longer, just the old truck.

  • ghostsniper April 5, 2018, 11:55 AM

    Everything snake said.
    Just today the big brown amazon truck showed up with socket organizers for some of the bazillion craftsman sockets I have. I am SO tired of trying to find the one I need and I finally decided to try to get some organization going on. Simple plastic devices, red for SAE and blue for Metric, 1/4″, 1/2″ and 3/4″, standard and deep. I haven’t set them up yet but I’m feeling better already. They’ll work nice in one of my top box drawers. Now I’m looking for a way to organize all my wrenches and screwdrivers. I don’t care for most of the wrench brackets I’ve seen cause they take 2 hands to extract a wrench. When my hands are greasy and I need a wrench NOW that bracket thing will go flying.

    Thinking about taking a 3′ length of 4″x4″ cedar left over from a project, route some nice edges on it then drill a series of 1-1/4″ holes down the length of the top so the screwdriver handles can be inserted so that I can see the points, rub some Johnson’s paste wax on it to keep it purty. Craftsman blue are phillips and red are straight. And it can sit to the rear of one side or the other on the workbench. 3′ is probably way too short now that I’m thinking about it. Maybe I’ll go the full 8′ length of the workbench and if I don’t have enough screwdrivers the “spiders” can live in the rest.

    Good tools are expensive but what’s that saying?
    Buy good stuff and cry once, buy bad stuff and cry twice.

    “spiders” is how you keep females out of your clubhouse

  • Eskyman April 5, 2018, 2:59 PM

    Long, long ago while travelling I badly needed a hand drill. I found a local swap meet and the tool seller there had two types: a Chinese knockoff for $5.00 or a Stanley for $11.99.

    Since I only needed it for one essential repair job, and since I was very low on cash, I bought the Chinese tool. Naturally the thing broke, halfway through my project. The chuck had disintegrated.

    As I was still in town, I went back to the swapmeet, where the seller laughed when I asked him about a warranty: just return it to China, he said, and he was sure they’d give me a brand new one! He reminded me that the Stanley did have a warranty, and that he still had them in stock. He wouldn’t take even a dollar off the price. I was furious, but was in a bind, so I had to buy the Stanley for full price (which my son now has, and which still works perfectly.)

    He said that the lesson I had learned was worth far more than I’d paid.

    He was right, although it took me a long time to realize it!

  • Rick April 5, 2018, 5:57 PM

    Bah. I’ve been using a set of HF deep impact sockets in my business for 20 years and have never broken one. At less than $20.00 they have been a real bargin. Actually just bought a brand new SAE and metric set from them. The best manual knife sharpener I have came from HF 15 years ago for $4.00 Grinder discs there are a great buy. I’d never buy a screwdriver from them or a pair of pliers but all in all I love HF. I’m just careful with what I buy.

  • ghostsniper April 5, 2018, 6:59 PM

    Harbor Freight. LOL
    I spent a week there one day.
    Have never come out of that place with less than a $300 lighter ass pocket.
    It’s like a dood’s christmas in there.

    Having said all that, my craftsman socket sets probably cost less than $20 way back when I bought em in the 70’s. I’ve heard they have a lifetime warranty but have never needed to use it nor have I ever heard of anyone using it. I drive my tools pretty hard, after all they ARE tools, but rarely have I broken any.

    Now I’m gonna step on some toes. HARD!

    I’m a strong advocate of Ryobi 18V tools and have about 30 of them.
    The old blue ones mostly, but a couple green ones in the past couple years.
    Bought my first Ryobi around 1998 – a VSR 3/8 drill and flashlight combo.
    Also been switching to the new LI batteries as all my old ones have died gradually.
    I had about 15 of the old batts.
    Now I have 4 of the 4hr models and all are charged all the time and ready to work.
    I’ve never had any problems with Ryobi tools except for the fact the only brick n mortar stores that carry them are Home Depot and the closest one now is about an hour away.
    Let the fistfighting begin.

    PS, I’ve taken old Ryobi batteries and chargers and hybrided them with other manuf batteries and chargers to keep all my cordless tools working. Example: I had a small Black n Decker blower and both batteries failed. Using the socket off a blown Ryobi charger and a dead battery from the B&D blower I cobbled a connector that allows me to power the B&D with a Ryobi battery. Also did that with a Milwaukee recip saw and a Northern Ind 16″ chainsaw.

    Weerdest thing. I hang onto broken junk for years thinking someday I’ll find a use for it, then after 10+ years of always moving the broken junk out of the way one more time I toss it and the very next day I find a use for it. I need a 5000 sf building just for all the stuff I don’t want to throw away!

  • bgarrett April 6, 2018, 2:16 AM

    Horrible Freight

  • Larry Geiger April 6, 2018, 5:57 AM

    I have the set of Buffalo non-metric wrenches bought in 1981 at Food Barn in Lawrence, KS when I was a poor college student for the second time. Used those wrenches to keep several cars on the road. Have never broken one and they are still in my tool box. Almost all of my metric wrenches are later models and Craftsman. I have replaced water pumps and alternators with my Buffalo wrenches. Pulled the oil plug and changed the oil a bunch of times. My socket set I got in high school in 1968 from Western Auto is a Westline set that came in a green plastic box. I finally retired the green box and they are now in my Craftsman roll around toolbox. Still my main 3/8 ratchet handle. I need to change out the starter in the Jeep. If I don’t use the old Westline sockets I’ll probably use the old Buffalo wrenches.

  • ghostsniper April 6, 2018, 9:16 AM

    Those starter shims can be murder.
    You get everything lined up properly, pull one of the drifts out and grab a bolt, start to twist it in the hole and it just spins and spins. Pull the bolt, look in the hole….DAM. The shim shifted again while reaching for the bolt.

  • Snakepit Kansas April 6, 2018, 10:28 AM

    Larry, you got lucky. The key to quality in manufacturing is to start with a good design, then manufacture whatever it is with minimized variability in materials, processes and equipment. Not unlike making precision hand loaded ammunition. Buffalo probably had a good design, but how hard is it to copy a Craftsman wrench? Without doubt they had variations in the quality of metal they used, their tempering or forging process, etc. You cannot test quality into a product. Sounds like you got lucky with your set of tools. There is a difference between using tools to work on a bicycle and hammering a wrench to loosen some old bolts off a spring guard shocks. I know from working at the store, the number of folks bringing the junk back in for refund.

  • Dennis April 6, 2018, 12:28 PM

    Years ago I worked as a dozer pimp for a guy piling brush with a D-6 Cat. For some reason we had to drop the oil pan there in the woods one day (replaced a gasket, I think) and had to take off a large number of bolts with, I believe 1 1/4″ or 1 1/2″ heads. Of course a number were locked on tighter than Toby’s hat band, and that required a pretty big cheater. And of course we broke a socket (better than the bolt). It was a Craftsman and so we headed to town to get another. The guy at Sears looked at us a little askance, but didn’t question us. Just got the socket and bid us a good day.

  • ghostsniper April 6, 2018, 1:37 PM

    Them Caterpillar bolts can be pretty hard. I bought some Cat 6 pt (hardness) bolts for a rear end ring gear that kept snapping standard bolts off under heavy load. The cats put a cease to it. Presuming the new socket did the trick I wonder what it was that made the old socket fail but not the new one? Seems like the 6 point sockets are stronger than the 12’s, thicker walls I guess, and less likely to slip.

  • Dennis April 6, 2018, 3:05 PM

    Yeah, I couldn’t say. Sometimes it’s just the way you hold your mouth, I think. We thought the hard part was getting the damn thing off. Getting it back on was a chore. Six bottle jacks and a stout limb for a lever bar. One guy trying to get the bolts started and on while the other leaned on that limb to hold the pan tight to the gasket. In the end we’d of been better off just to get a lowboy and take it to town. I know it would have been a hell of a lot safer

  • ghostsniper April 7, 2018, 4:28 AM

    That’s what I ended up doing with my S10 about 5 years ago.
    I couldn’t get the old one out.
    The engine needed jacked up and I couldn’t get to the mounts.
    So I called the wrecker.
    They use a “layering” method when constructing these things at the factory.
    Install the 1st item, then install the 2nd item over top of the 1st so that if the 1st needs repaired the 2nd must be uninstalled 1st. Etc. etc. I no longer have the patience for such anti-engineering.

    I remember changing out starters on mustangs, camaro’s, and a few other vehicles circa 1960’s and 70’s and there was plenty of room and none of this layering nonsense. Remember when hoods didn’t require a prop stick?