Currently USA made hand tools?

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REDONE
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Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby REDONE » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:33 pm

So I kinda feel like a putz asking but internet research is yielding very little useful info.

I just started a new job at CoorsTek as a machinery wizard, which after three weeks I can still say I absolutely LOVE my job! However, all my good tools have gone to work in my rollaway. I'm a little spoiled, as over the years working as a mechanic and fabricator in the civilian world I have garnished a superb collection of quality tools off the tool trucks. My SAE is all Proto, my metric is all S-K, my odds and ends are MAC and Snap-On (ok, ok, there's a lot of Bluepoint in the Snap-On stuff), but that has left me with two bent screwdrivers and a rubbermade tub filled with every 9/16" combo wrench I thought I'd lost over the years...and a bunch of stripped out sockets, for working on stuff at home. It's just not practical to try and guess exactly what I'll need and bring it home with me. I've tried that and it always leaves me halfway through a job and realizing I need something that's at work.

It's time to start building a second set of tools so I can do what I need to do away from work. I've been equally impressed and burned by Sears, Lowe's and Home Depot so I have no bias at this point. I'm not talking trash or being negative with that comment, the Sears in Aurora, CO and Everett, WA have both given me $#!+ trying to exchange stripped out ratchets, and the Lowe's patron botherer that bugs you as soon as you walk through the door RAN to replace my screwdriver with the cracked tip so I wouldn't have to walk through from the entrance to the exit. I know full well that it just depends on the store, the day, the moon phase, whatever :P . The tool trucks don't come by my work and the nearest Jobber tool shop is off 6th Ave in Lakewood, but I don't feel the need to pay jobber tool prices for my second set of tools. Besides, all the jobber brands are "Globally Sourced" now anyways (show me the "made in USA" on that snap on screwdriver that's less than 10 years old).

American made is important to me but not a deal breaker. Quality is a deal breaker. As far as what I'm looking to pick up I need a ratchet and basic wrench set with a box like this for ~$200:

Image
(craftsman ratchets and sockets are not made in USA anymore :x )
EDIT>>> First hand research has shown that this is not entirely true. The regular old "Craftsman" ratchets, wrenches and sockets are still US made, You start getting into other stuff and it gets sketchy.
Image
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Then a screwdriver set like this for ~$40
Image
Image
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Then a tool box like this for ~$40:
Image

That way I got room to add hammers, big wrenches, prybars and such as I go.

So my question to the masses here is can anyone confirm that what, if any Husky or Kobalt hand tools are being made in the US? Those screwdrivers look identical to the craftsman screwdrivers that ARE made in the US but the website doesn't say. If you have anything to add about the quality of anyones hand tools or recent experience with their warranty services I'd like to hear it. Thanks!
Last edited by REDONE on Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby wewillsurvive » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:48 pm

Early this year I took some ratchets into our now closed Sears outlet, their repair guy was gone so I had them give me my ratchets and the kits I took the kits home and drove to the sears in the next big town, they rebuilt them on the spot or replaced what was broke. Craftsman stuff has always worked for me, I have about $4000 tied up in tools and boxes every company builds stuff that breaks it's how they fix that issue that I support.


I would buy husky or kobalt if I didn't have all the stuff I do.
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby Blazer3664 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:44 pm

Not made in the US, but I have a lot of Stanley hand tools that have served me well. When/if I ever get my rig on the road, I will be setting up a Stanley kit to stay permanently in it.

Many dont realize it, but they are lifetime warranty, just mail them in. Never had any reason to myself, but I am thinking about sending in one of my ratchets I managed to strip. Friend of mine has sent in a couple of things, got new ones in a couple weeks.

Somebody somewhere makes tools in the good old US of A. I just dont know who.

Jim
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby hutcho » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:02 pm

I know you can get a klein screwdriver set for around 40 and nut runners gonna cost about the same. Could probably get them for half that if you get it at a supply house and know some people.

Can't say if they are made in USA or not but I really like all the husky tools I have used to date as well. Seem to be pretty good quality at a fraction of the cost.

Lastly the only thing Iike of my craftsman stuff lately is my go through sockets. These things are awesome! No need for a deep socket ever. Anyway thats just my .02 worth. For what its worth I use all of the mentioned tools daily, and even though you didnt ask milwaukee power tools all the way!!


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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby Blazer3664 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:07 pm

Was just looking to see what Stanley stuff is stil US made, and learned something.
Their Proto line is all US made, .... from their site......


WE ARE MADE IN AMERICA.
We make tools in America; Not because it’s cheaper and not because it’s convenient. We don’t even do it out of a sense of pride (although we are proud of the U.S.A.). We make tools in America, because put simply...it’s how we can ensure making the best quality tool we can. And in the rare instance when we can’t make a tool in America, we do so because... again, making the highest quality tools comes first.


Hmm, I may go that route when I outfit my heap/ I mean Jeep.

Jim
1978 Cherokee chief AKA = Butt Ugly
Current status = BACK under construction
modified body w/TJ flares
AMC 360, junkyard TBI, 4L80e
NWF doubler w/ upside down 203
SOA D60/14B-FF
custom shackle flip w/F150 springs
H1 wheels + (for now) tires
-----Coming Soon-----
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby REDONE » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:21 pm

hutcho wrote:even though you didnt ask milwaukee power tools all the way!!



Haha! When I worked in a boatyard on Puget Sound I learned to regard powertools as consumables, but I'll give you this much, I've paid for or had employers supply every brand of reciprocating saw under the sun, from makita to dewalt to bosch. Nothing compares to the original Milwaukee Sawzall! The old fashioned set screw types have all stripped to the point they can't hold a blade. The fancy new lever-lock types all break so they won't LET GO of the blade. That twisty doo-hickey on a Milwaukee has never let me down. ;)

Thanks for the feedback so far guys. I know that Craftsman (non-professional series) combo wrenches and screwdrivers are still forged in the US but don't know about Kobalt or Husky. I'm hoping they are because they're both real close by, while the nearest Sears is lots of city traffic away.
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T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
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4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby REDONE » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:33 pm

Blazer3664 wrote:Was just looking to see what Stanley stuff is stil US made, and learned something.
Their Proto line is all US made, .... from their site......


WE ARE MADE IN AMERICA.
We make tools in America; Not because it’s cheaper and not because it’s convenient. We don’t even do it out of a sense of pride (although we are proud of the U.S.A.). We make tools in America, because put simply...it’s how we can ensure making the best quality tool we can. And in the rare instance when we can’t make a tool in America, we do so because... again, making the highest quality tools comes first.


Hmm, I may go that route when I outfit my heap/ I mean Jeep.

Jim


Yes, Stanley-Proto is a huge govn't supplier and why my SAE is all proto (I bought the NASA promotional set that goes all the way up to 1 1/2"). What their quote doesn't reveal is that they are the only Barry Law compliant supplier of most hand tools. This means that at least half of the allen head sockets, stubby wrenches, and other common-but-less-than-common hand tools bought by the gov't are bought from Proto. :-bd
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304/Performance Fuel Injection TBI/MTA1/SP2P/Magnum rockers
T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
Grizzly Locker Rear
4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
Chevy style HEI (ECM controlled)
Dolphin "Shark" gauges in a fancy homemade oak bezel
3/4 resto, rotting faster than I've been fixing it.

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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby Stuka » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:42 pm

The majority of Stanley, Craftsmen, and some others are still made in the USA. I have actually always been very happy with my craftsmen stuff. Had it for many years, always worked well. You can always spend more and get snap-on or the like.

Or you can go here: http://www.toolbarn.com/usa-made-tools
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re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby REDONE » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:50 pm

Awesome link Stuka! I'm glad to see Super-Khrome is still proudly American, but those are still jobber prices. I'm still looking for "second tool set" prices, and "I broke it and need it exchanged on a Sunday" warranty. :oops:
79 J-10 (The Money Badger) KE0LSU
304/Performance Fuel Injection TBI/MTA1/SP2P/Magnum rockers
T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
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4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
Chevy style HEI (ECM controlled)
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3/4 resto, rotting faster than I've been fixing it.

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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby srobertsfsj » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:34 pm

REDONE wrote:Image


I have to ask, is this a tool set or just a tool box? I cant find it when i search on the home depot website. Do you have a link to the product page for it?
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby REDONE » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:37 pm

It's this one:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Mechan ... kT9DoYWJAc

The box pic is in the "additional images", since the product pic doesn't include the box. I like this one because it's got the holsters for the allens. The other two don't show allen wrench holsters...

However I regard those "changeable bit screwdrivers" as a crappy 1/4" nut driver and nothing more. I hate those things. :P
79 J-10 (The Money Badger) KE0LSU
304/Performance Fuel Injection TBI/MTA1/SP2P/Magnum rockers
T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
Grizzly Locker Rear
4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
Chevy style HEI (ECM controlled)
Dolphin "Shark" gauges in a fancy homemade oak bezel
3/4 resto, rotting faster than I've been fixing it.

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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby Blazer3664 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:11 am

However I regard those "changeable bit screwdrivers" as a crappy 1/4" nut driver and nothing more. I hate those things. :P


I thought I was the only one that hates those :D . To me they are just a way to inflate the # in the "XXX piece tool set".

Jim
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Current status = BACK under construction
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby Southern Gorilla » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:29 am

I'm fairly sure they're made in Taiwakistan, but even if they were made right next door to me and sold for a nickel a pound I wouldn't buy any more Kobalt tools. I'm honestly planning on throwing away the ones I have. Got them with a gift card, so it isn't like I'm out any money.

And I third the sentiment on Milwaukee power tools. Best stuff on the planet.

While I'm at it, if you're in the market for a quality "round the house" cordless drill/driver check out the Black & Decker "Matrix". I got one last Christmas and it has far surpassed my expectations. I nicknamed it "Sparky" because you can see the motor spark through the cooling vents when you pull the trigger. How can you not love a tool that throws sparks when you turn it on? I'm not sure it would handle heavy work like drilling a frame rail. But for general use it has been indispensable. I've only used the drill and saw attachments for it. But they have both worked more than adequately. Home Depot carries them, but not all the attachments. Oddly, I've found everything for them at Wal-Mart.
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby whsii » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:39 am

NAPA sells the same tools that Sears sells, if you watch for their sales, you can score.

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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby hutcho » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:48 am

Just remembered I got my gear wrenches at napa. I used ro break the 9/16 from overuse and they replaced it every time no questions asked.

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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby jamesdart » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:04 pm

I have such a mix of tools between 2 top and bottom roller boxes everything from snap on to harbor freight. from what I have seen, the kobalt ratchets, sockets and wrenches are no longer usa made. it was said they used to be the same tools as craftsman. I bought the 3/8 long handled flex head ratchet. I found it was 2 or 3$ cheaper at sears for the same thing. now if it brakes and I return it, Ill get some foreign jun kin its place. that alone makes me want to buy kobalt or husky ever again. even now foreign made, they definitely aren't cheap. it is now said there sockets are the same as harbor freight. I grabbed 2 wrench sets and 2 1/4 drive socket sets at lowes on clearance. it seemed like a good deal at % off coupon too. if im going to buy Chinese, I just go to harbor freight anymore. of all the hand tools I bought there, only one thing I broke, a torx bit trying to remove the seatbelt bolts in the 1/2" impact gun. which brings me to the 1/2" earthquake gun from HF, it is a great gun for the price. there are still things from snap on, id really like to have.

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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby Tin Medic » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:13 pm

I just picked up an adjustable Craftsman wrench, made in Germany. WTF
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby bigwalton » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:43 pm

I didn't read through all of this but I love estate/yard sales where you can score used old (in other words good) Craftsman before they went to hell. Generally for pennies on the dollar.

Just a thought.
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby jaber » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:13 am

I must confess, I'm addicted to the Mac Tools truck. It doesnt help that hes builds custom motorcycles from scratch. We get along well... :-bd
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Re: Currently USA made hand tools?

Postby REDONE » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:03 pm

Well I jumped on my high horse, and went to all three stores and looked at all three tool sets in real life. After less than awesome encounters at Lowes and Home Depot, I pulled the trigger at Sears.

The whole story,

HOME DEPOT: Went to the tools and found the set pictured above. Made in China, straight up. Like Jamesdart, I will pay chinese prices for chinese products. I recently got on my high horse at "Intermountain Safety Shoes" here in Golden for the same thing. They had two pairs of boots not made in China and tried to tell me that there are NO US made steel toe boots anymore. I told them I'd buy Chinese boots at Chinese boot prices at WalMart, but for $400 it better be made by an American at a decent wage and benefits for his/her family! Then I went to Arvada Army Surplus and bought some US made Carolinas.

Back to HD and being on my high freekin horse, I did not buy Chinese tools, but they had a small plastic shelf deal (US made) I wanted so I decided to get that. Went to check out and they had ONE register open with a line at least 100ft long. I stood there long enough for the manager to come out and try to get people to go to the self check out lines. Nobody moved so when he tried a second time I said "If you wanna pay me to do that guys job I'll check myself out!" . The rest of the people in line were very encouraging, but I had my non-confrontational 6-foot redhead GF with me, so things got pretty sketchy pretty quick. I IMMEDIATELY wished I'd have just walked out, but now just had to finish the fight and be right to save face. So when he looked at me and said "Folks you can stand in line or you can use the self check out", I said "No, YOU can open another register or I can call that 'customer satisfaction' number on the wall right above you and go to Lowes". I had rehersed this in my head the few second before and had already pulled my phone out, holding it at arms length. I watched as a bunch of people infront and behind me had there phones out and did the same. My first thought was that we were ALL going to call the "customer satisfaction" number at the same time, but then I realized, They're shooting video and THAT'S why my GF was mortified! But I won, and within seconds 5 registers were open and one manned by a very special person that I'll explain more at the end of this post.

Long story short, if you were at the Denver HD under I-25 that's a PITA to get to on Saturday, and there was more than one register open, you're welcome! :-bd


LOWES: I'm amazed my GF stuck with me for this, but she told me after Home Depot that shopping with me is exciting, haha! We went to the Lowes on South Santa Fe and I found the tool set pictured in post #1. I flipped it every which way looking for "made in -xxx-", making a huge ruckus as the stuff inside rattled about. Maybe "high horse" isn't the right phrase, I mean I came all the way into the big city for tools so maybe it was more of a "WAR-PATH", haha! Unsuccessful I set it on a blue Kobalt tool cart and start ripping the carboard sleeve off it. Finally an employee said "If you open the packaging you have to buy it". I said "If the packaging said where it was made I wouldn't have to remove it."

If you're one of the members that's met me, you can picture me saying it with the way I smile. I like to smile. He told me he was sure it was made in China and I pointed out that it was made in the Republic of China (Taiwan), not the Peoples Republic if China (Communist China) through the plastic bag holding some of the wrenches, but that it didn't matter because I was looking for US made tools. He expressed his disdain for all tools being made in China now and I told him that if that was gospel I'd start my own foundry. He wished me well and we left empty handed.


SEARS: I haven't lived in Denver since 2005 and had completely forgot about the Sears on west Colfax across from Harbor Freight. My GF was being my guide so I went to the swanky Sears at the Cherry Creek Mall. I found the tool kit pictured in post #1 and was elated.

Image

Also, the snot nosed Abercrombie reject young-Ben Afleck clone salesman was POLITE, halfway knowledgeable, and while he failed to upsell me into a $6000 yard tractor, convinced me that he wasn't a total douche bag. He DID get me to update my "Craftsman Club" info though, so I'm sure my yahoo account will be bombasted with junkmail sales fliers again.

Also, it included loose allen wrenches which aren't in the pics or description. Every single item is marked "U.S.A." and are the familiar craftsman tool markings if you've bought traditional craftsman tools in the last 20 years. A lot of their newer stuff, and not just the "EVOLV" crap, but "Professional" and regular "Craftsman" too, with the "Laser etched" or "Black finish" or "Random Gimmick", isn't the same as it was, but this tool kit is real Craftsman. :-bd

This set was right next to it on the shelf and the packaging said "Made in China", even though in the pics on the internet the sockets say "Made in USA", the cardboard sleeve over the mess said China.
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-189-piec ... ckType=G17

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE CONTENDERS:

HUSKY: The case was the most solid. The box didn't rely on any blown plastic detents to hold together. If you had this thing loose in the back of your rig while wheeling, you would take the whole mess to the back of your head, not just a couple of random sockets. The latches lock the whole thing shut. The Kobalt trays slide in past a detent to hold them in, the Craftsman has two little flaps that push into detents to hold the trays in.

KOBALT: The color coding thing is pretty neat. Everything they make SAE is red, everything metric is blue, and this isn't just the tool kit pictured, it's across the board. If you're a neat freak, it makes it very pretty.

WHY I CHOSE CRAFTSMAN: This tool set is regularly $300 vs the $200 on the others. What you can't see on the internet is that the craftsman kit is at least 50% bigger and 50% heavier.
Image
(The screwdrivers were bought separately and I will commment on those shortly)
I had the box empty and it felt like an empty blow formed plastic box. This tells me there's 50% more useful stuff in it. None of the tool kits say on the outside exactly what's inside but they look comparable. It's clear after looking at all three in real life, and even though I didn't take an itemized inventory of each, that the other two are trying to swindle those looking at the craftsman. The sockets and drivers in the Craftsman kit are the same ones sold individually on the rack. I know for sure that the 3/4" six sided socket has the exact same part number as the one on the shelf, I pulled it out and checked before I went to check out. I know the MAC truck gave me a little crap trying to exchange a screwdriver for a new one because the part number was for one out of a kit. I used to love the MAC truck as much as Jaber, but when you pay $30 a screwdriver for a 10 screwdriver kit (yes, $300 for 10 screwdrivers), I don't want no crap when the tip chips off of one. And I'm still a little pissed off that the replacement's handle doesn't match.

JUST A QUICK WORD ON SCREWDRIVERS:
This isn't about my work screwdrivers, but the Butylite handled Husky and Kobalt screwdrivers were identical except for the the last two letters in the P/N and USA made, but they're different from the Craftsmans. I dug a stray husky out of the tupperware bin to demonstrate:
Image
They're similar enough they probably came from the same factory, but even the serations on the blades are different. The top is a Craftsman and the bottom is a Husky.

Now as a pro I don't recommend any of these for pros. When you wrench for a living your hands hurt after lunch, and that clear plastic handle feels like it'll rip the bumps off your callouses. Think about it, your knuckles are as big as golfballs and thobbing like boiled hotdogs, what's easier to wrap those sausages around?
Image
Lets just say that you can reach a point where a $30 screwdriver seems worth it.

Now for a weekend warrior, that clear plastic butylite or whatever it's called WILL rip the bumps off your callouses they grip so good, so it's a good thing for Sunday afternoon projects.
Image

THE SPECIAL PERSON AT HOME DEPOT:
I promised I'd get back to this and it's pretty funny. The "patron botherer" at the dowtown Home Depot was a transvestite. Not the Rue Paul type neither. It was a 60 year old white dude with shoulder length hair, purple eyeshadow, red lipstick and a 5 o'clock shadow. The rhinestone bedazzled jeans was icing on the cake. Now, I consider myself to be pretty progressive and I like to think I support the LGBT community within reason. Everyone deserves to be happy, at least in that respect. Now even if you DON'T feel that way, it's freekin funny. Home Depot didn't just give that dude a job, they stuck him out in front and I think that's pretty cool, one way or the other. Even though the chinese tools and i had to publicly embarrass the manager to open up more lines, I will probably shop at that home depot again. :D
79 J-10 (The Money Badger) KE0LSU
304/Performance Fuel Injection TBI/MTA1/SP2P/Magnum rockers
T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
Grizzly Locker Rear
4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
Chevy style HEI (ECM controlled)
Dolphin "Shark" gauges in a fancy homemade oak bezel
3/4 resto, rotting faster than I've been fixing it.


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