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Old 11-28-2017, 11:37 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
My local sears is still in business and still will trade in the broken Craftsman tools but you get the inferior Chinese Craftsman stuff. Last October I traded in some items. Their inventory is starting to get severely limited and expensive.

I have in the last year went through my Craftsman tools and replacing missing, lost and damaged Craftsman tools while they are still available on the cheep in the used markets. Now in the stores you are seeing the expansion of Stanley branded mechanic tools. Used Craftsman tools are a bargain over used high end tools. They all do the same job as long as they don't break.
I had the same experience. My favorite, 30 year old steel cased tape measure finally died, took it to the nearest Sears & they gladly replaced it with a plastic cased one.

Pretty soon there is just going to be a choice between SnapOn or Harbor Freight!
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:46 AM   #42
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Mike,

Great story and analysis.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:48 AM   #43
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The problem is quality costs money. You have to make the money to pay for it. The american needs and the money to support it have split. Costs to live have gone up and the needs /wants of the current population are not the same as they use to be 30/40 years ago. Housing costs/ food costs and utility costs have out stripped the average person wages.

Compare the average persons budget 30 years ago to the budget of people in the same age groups today. Technology expenditures have taken over a much larger chunk, housing costs have taken over a much larger chunk.

Transportation and its associated costs have taken over a much larger chunk. There's no chunks left. Back in the day you use to have to have tools to fix things and if you had someone in the family that could fix things you were far better off than the guy next door that didn't have that special person.

Its just a whole different mindset today from yesteryear. The availability of credit to enslave you. The no incentive to save money and the perceived easy out of declaring bankruptcy to avoid your commitments.

Use to get 10% on your saving accounts but paid 14 to 21 % if you borrowed any money. Its just not the same world we once lived in.

So yes I still have my cheap ass Craftsman tools I have been using for the past 50 years. When the brand is gone and the 6 to 8 broken tools left in my life can't be replaced under warranty new then I will just turn to the used market for them. I also may not be strong enough to break them any more so the warranty doesn't really need to be there. Sorry I didn't support the economy like the rest of you Richie rich guys who could buy the best of everything.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:51 AM   #44
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Floyd,

It's just my humble opinion. But it is based on being in business for 40 years and working in the field all that time. Please correct me where I've misjudged the situation.
I'm not questioning your judgement, your experience, or even your facts.

Do you know the poem by John Saxe?
(I changed only one word for clarity though they easily interchange.)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"The Blind Men and the Elephant?

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
'God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall!'

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: 'Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!'

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, 'I see,' quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!'

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
'What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain,' quoth he;
'Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.'

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; 'E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!'

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
'I see,' quothe he, 'the elephant is very like a rope!'

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in economic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!
John Godfrey Saxe

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
So many of us only experience the elephant from where we stand after lifting the tail!
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:53 AM   #45
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Pretty soon there is just going to be a choice between SnapOn or Harbor Freight!
It seems to be going that way, but I have used both (actually Prince Auto, the Canadian equivalent to Harbor Freight). There actually may be a few brands at the top, and a few at the bottom, but the ones of mid-grade seem to be dying out.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:17 PM   #46
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"They all do the same job as long as they don't break."

I have to disagree on this, on some tools at least. I have both Craftsman and Snap-on tubing wrenches. The Craftsmans will slip where the Snap-on's will not and the Craftsmans are at least 10 years old so not the foreign made ones. Other Craftsman tools that I have work fine, but I prefer SK, Snap-on, or Mac. I also have some Cornwell screwdrivers that I like better than the Snap-on's
My dad was a Master Mechanic and worked on heavy equipment He was in the Operating Engineers union for over 50 years. He had every brand of tool you could think of. He also thought highly of Cornwell tools. I still have a set of Cornwell 1/2" drive deep sockets and a kit of miniature wrenches etc. (he called it an "ignition kit.".) I have a lot of his other stuff, most of it dates to the 40s-60s. S-K, Plumb, Williams, Craftsman to name a few.

Unfortunately, he retired before metric tools were common in the US so I have been forced to find other sources at times. There's a pretty wide variation in the quality of the Chinese stuff, some of it is clearly lower quality but sometimes you get surprised.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:38 PM   #47
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Well, now that Raz's original question has been addressed, it's open season on digressions!

Jon's woodcutter story reminds me of the Grapes of Wrath when Tom Joad changed out a connecting rod bearing with a monkey wrench and pliers while wistfully remarking that he wished he had a crescent wrench! Driven by economic desperation and facilitated by the relative simplicity of the vehicle, he managed to make the repair so the family could move on.

I likewise acquired my "good" tools when I was maintaining older vehicles, including everything from a '65 International pickup and '67 Travelall to more air-cooled VWs than I care to admit, along with a number of other domestic and foreign nameplates. Fast forward to 1991 when I purchased my first new car from a friend at a dealership; last-year's 1990-model VW Fox. "It was intended to provide Volkswagen dealers with a competitor to the then very successful Hyundai Excel and Yugo low-price cars." A competitor to the Yugo; that must be some kind of sweet car!

However, I was suddenly freed from changing points every 3,000 miles, bushing worn carburetor-shaft bores, jiggering the springs on centrifugal advance mechanisms, and a host of other mechanical "necessities" which attended ownership of the older generations of vehicles. Although I daily bless the folks who restore and maintain old cars, boats, planes and trains, my personal interest is more focused on simply being able to turn the key and depart on my journey. I quickly became a convert to the newer technology, simultaneously outsourcing most of my maintenance and repairs to professional mechanics. While this led to some frustrations and mechanic-shopping, I basically got out of the habit of taking care of our vehicles.

Then, about ten years ago when my 2002 AWD Passat Wagon developed a lean-run condition that a mechanic could not trace, I joined a Passat forum, purchased a basic code-reader and a Bentley manual, and assiduously researched the symptoms and error codes. Following several days of careful preparation, I took the singularly audacious step of opening the hood and removing the plastic engine cover!

Well, within five minutes I found the corrugated polyethylene breather hose which had been broken and patched with electrical tape (!) by a certain VW stealership two years previous. I subsequently rigged a "quality" repair which has lasted these same ten years, as the daughter now owns that car.

Since that time I have returned to the role of participating in and overseeing maintenance and repairs. I perform and log basic maintenances and repairs, and participate in evaluating how to approach more complex repairs. I also continue to perform quality control on the mechanics. A number of mechanics failed these evaluations, such as when they would only bleed two brakes. The blessing is that I have thereby gratefully found the ones who amply reward the trust I place in them.

The progress in design and manufacturing has been accompanied by much greater complexity. I think this complexity has had a role in reducing so much of the home “can-do” (must do?) approaches which prevailed over the decades. For my part, I have found a middle-ground role where I am an active participant, a member of the team if you will. I also see the son-in-law doing the same thing, prompted in part by the financial realities which face the younger generation. So, maybe all hope is not lost.
Along with the advent of "advanced" technology, came specialized tools. Stepping up from the monkey to the crescent, to the socket to the whatzit.
How about special sparkplug sockets and extensions followed by a sparkplug extractor tool for $110 which is only good for one particular application on one particular engine.
To change the dual clutch on Getrag's new paddle shift manual transmission requires something like $800 in special one application tools.

These seem to be something like the emerald ash borer, only they attack the spreading chestnut tree!
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:37 PM   #48
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here is a story

i was in the restaurant supply business for many years take my word for it restaurant owners are always fighting expenses. a company in ohio made a fine china they were called shenago china company. huge 2200 employees they thought they had the markets sewed up!

along came import china at 25% of their cost the china for awhile was rough looking but when it hit the floor in the dish washing room who cared. shenago is now long gone all those craftsmen out of jobs! it was sad.

another example right close to us was the a.p. green firebrick co. the largest in the world they distributed world wide. they kept raising raising prices on their product, men who worked on sat. for a big order were making 2grand for the weekend. China figured out cheaper ways to make steel, along with other manufactures in the high heat business. didn't need firebrick any more!

all closed now you go by and it makes you sick! I know example after example of things like this! we cannot deny we are in a world wide economy now what ever it is!
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:37 PM   #49
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Along with the advent of "advanced" technology, came specialized tools. Stepping up from the monkey to the crescent, to the socket to the whatzit.
How about special sparkplug sockets and extensions followed by a sparkplug extractor tool for $110 which is only good for one particular application on one particular engine.
To change the dual clutch on Getrag's new paddle shift manual transmission requires something like $800 in special one application tools.

These seem to be something like the emerald ash borer, only they attack the spreading chestnut tree!
I used to have a 70s Triumph sports car, and had to rebuild the transmission. The service manual had a whole list of "specialised English tooles" required to disassemble it. I showed it to my master mechanic father, who laughed and said "just get it out of the car."

I did as told, and watched him take it apart with pretty much a pair of screwdrivers and a hammer (okay, maybe some lock-ring pliers and a wrench or two.)

Just saying, more than one way to skin a cat.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:42 PM   #50
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ingenutiy

I would say your dad was a master and yes my mechanic has no huge computer just a cheap one he can figure out anything I never saw anyone just like him.

old school gets it every time

bob
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:43 PM   #51
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I used to have a 70s Triumph sports car, and had to rebuild the transmission. The service manual had a whole list of "specialised English tooles" required to disassemble it. I showed it to my master mechanic father, who laughed and said "just get it out of the car."

I did as told, and watched him take it apart with pretty much a pair of screwdrivers and a hammer (okay, maybe some lock-ring pliers and a wrench or two.)

Just saying, more than one way to skin a cat.
Been there ,done that, but in some cases it can't be helped.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:13 PM   #52
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I did as told, and watched him take it apart with pretty much a pair of screwdrivers and a hammer (okay, maybe some lock-ring pliers and a wrench or two.)

Just saying, more than one way to skin a cat.
Over the years, working on all sorts of machines, boilers and engines, always interested in how things work, I began to see a trend. I began to use fewer and fewer tools to do the same jobs and I was able to fix more complicated things.

I began to wonder what the limit was on this calculation. I moved from a large shop to a large trailer. I moved to a smaller trailer. I reduced my large rollaway tool box to a bucket bag. I reduced my inventory to a small table in a garage. Etc, etc. Then I went camping with few friends and managed to disassemble and repair a 35 mm SLR camera with only my Swiss Army Knife. I re-jetted my small block Chevy/Jeep, on the beach, by boring out the jets, using only a piece of string, a screwdriver, a vice grip and some sand. The list goes on and on as mechanical challenges are broken down into their most basic form and addressed with the simplest approach.

It became clear that the goal was to repair anything, while using nothing. An impossible final position, but one to work toward.

Clessie Cummins, who was the founder of the Cummins Engine Company, got stranded while out on the water in a boat. An injection pump failure in an early engine of his. He had been experimenting with materials and did not yet have it figured out. In desperation, he whisked off his leather belt and cut a piece of leather to replace a piece in the pump. It not only got him home, but he left it in to see how long it might last, and eventually, incorporated the design into his engines.

As it turned out, he fixed something, with practically nothing. Under pressure, he analyzed what he had with him and made it work. In fact, made it work so well that it became part of the design. A true mechanic that understood material characteristics, physics, and could apply unrelated items to solve problems. What a guy!

My friend had a U joint fail while away from home in his truck. He had some plumbing fittings with him and found a galvanized pipe cap. It fit, more or less, as a bearing on the U joint cross. He babied it along to try to get off the road, then on to try to get home, and after getting homes decided to run it for a while to see how long it might last. Weeks later, after commuting to work, and when it was convenient, he finally installed a new joint.

Long ago, as kid, driving my Dad's '55 Dodge, I came across a guy with a dead battery. We simply touched the steel bumpers together and jumped the positive terminals with a folding jack handle.

I often see people who do their jobs so well that it seems too simple. It's not. Simplicity is hard to achieve and those that get it right set a fine example for those that follow. Simplicity is beautiful. Just today, I was analyzing a solar radiant heating system to fix a problem. It is a very simple design. So simple indeed, that I could not figure out how it worked without a lot of thought and discussion. I love things like that! Challenged by simplicity!
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:29 PM   #53
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Just today, I was analyzing a solar radiant heating system to fix a problem.
I would have too, but it was overcast.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:47 PM   #54
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Thank you for answering my question. Most seem to have missed it. Raz
I did not miss the question. I have simply never had to return a tool to Sears.

But it is pretty easy to find out their actual policy on returning Craftsman branded tools, it can be found online at their website. Here is a link to that actual policy which explains in detail what is what.
https://www.craftsman.com/customer-c...ty-information

It does say a lot of things about having a receipt for proof of sale

I guess that leaves me out as I have not kept all those receipts considering that I started buying tools back in 1970. Do you think that making the newer cash register receipts fade out so they can't be read after a couple of years is a deliberate thing? Nowadays I have to scan them and make a digital copy for my business income tax records so they last long enough to satisfy the IRS.
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Old 11-29-2017, 05:00 AM   #55
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That's the policy. I was looking for the practice. I got my answer. Thank you.

It's unfortunate about Sears. I used to buy alot from them, especially when they had the catalog stores. They hurt a lot of people when they shut them down.

A visit to the Sears web site tells me they haven't figured things out. I used to hate going to Home Depot. Too much stuff. I always had to ask some one to find what I was looking for. And many times finding someone to ask was equally challenging. Yesterday I was in and out in 20 minutes. I looked everything up on line first. Location and inventory were all there. Prices were the same as online stores. And the self check out makes getting out quick. The perfect marriage of brick and mortar and internet. And no waiting for delivery. They've figured it out.
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Old 11-29-2017, 05:32 AM   #56
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This has been an interesting thread. As a DIYer, I must have 3 to 6 copies of pretty much all the normal hand tools with no particular brand purchased over the years. All have worked without breaking with the exception of a couple regular sockets I used with an impact gun, duh. I did have a Craftsman 3/8" breaker bar snap 10 years ago and no, I wasn't using a cheater bar on it. Sears did replace it after a bit of a hassle and I haven't been through their doors since. It is sad to see how an icon like Sears has gone down hill over the years and not just for hand tools.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:09 AM   #57
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guy who bought sears

this happens all the time mostly in the restaurant business, guy comes up with a little money and decides to go into a business. in the case of the guy who bought sears and kmarts he had a lot of money but he had no retail experience.

he has squandered billions all because of his ego and thinking he is so smart he can figure out anything. well it isn't working is it? another 2 or 3 years sears will be gone maybe less! retail and the food business take very smart people with experience running stores before they move up the ladder!

now walmarts went on a trend of hiring company presidents with no retail experience you know down were the real work is, thinking planning how to run a store.

they now have a guy running the show with that experience young guy. he isn't perfect but he is far better than some walmarts has had in the past and he knows his stuff. they are now serious about meeting amazon head on and with their brick and motor stores I think they will win.

already they are making home deliveries with groceries whatever. their stock is now up 40% I look for them to do even better. to those that want to bash walmarts think for a minute their impact on retail prices take them out and things will become very expensive!!
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:39 PM   #58
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In the end.....

With the nearest Sears miles away and preferring to have a tool of equal quality I looked on eBay hoping to find a NOS replacement to my worn 3/8" ratchet. Lots of used and a few new but pricey. I also discovered another option, a made in USA rebuild kit. The rebuild was easy to do, my ratchet should be good for another 40 years. Thanks all. Raz

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Old 12-23-2017, 03:08 PM   #59
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Thanks for the rebuild info Raz, was that on Ebay?
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Old 12-23-2017, 03:10 PM   #60
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Now you have ratcheted up this conversation, Raz!
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