I have a couple of old Craftsman tool chests that have been good, but I would like to consolidate all of my tools into one chest, and Craftsman doesn't seem to make a good one today in the size I want. I've looked at the HF, NT, Home Depot and Lowe's chests, and haven't seen what I consider a quality chest. I would prefer to continue using multiple chests rather than having a new one whose drawers don't open without wiggling.
Anyone have a larger size chest that you recommend?
Surplus military tool boxes?
My best 1/2" ratchet is a REBUILT Craftsman that I bought in 1963 for $3.00 from Sears. I have went through about 6 Craftsman 1/4" ratchets in the last 4 or 5 years, pure junk.
And thats the rub isn't it? You can either pay top dollar today for a quality tool, or many times for lesser ones, but in the end you wind up still paying more.
Now, important tools like my drill-press, band-saw, etc., I'll spend the money for a quality unit. The break-even point on the cheap unit isn't as attractive, and the thing is complicated enough that poor quality may show up much, much earlier. I think my tube notcher is a good example of that, and one where I made the wrong decision. I went cheap and now I'm having to practically rebuild the tool to make it really work. I made a poor decision in that case, but there are definitely times when buying the cheap tool, knowing it will fail more quickly, is still the better option in the long-run.
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau
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If I were earning my living with these tools, and having one die would cost me a lot of dollars, then I'd probably get the better ones. But if I drop it while I'm up on a ladder, I don't expect the Bosch would fare any better than the "Chicago Electric." I think it's cool the way they often include replacement brushes and springs with the tool --and I've used them.
My favorite HF items are the blue nitrile gloves, the almost free LED flashlights, and the corded, nonprecision power tools. The noisy little pancake compressor I bought there is also holding up well -- but I've gotten tired of compressed pancakes/
In the 1950's and 1960,s There were foundrys and welding shops every where. Now with the EPA regulations no one can make anything in the USA. In 1967 I worked at Petersons Manufacturing at Dewit Nebraska making Vicegrips. The government drove them out of business. Now the Chinese use there name and those 400 American jobs are gone.
Exactly. Naked self-interest. Nothing wrong with it on a level playing field. But the concept of a level playing field is only a theoretical construct
That is not the point. Think about it.
There are tools that are complete garbage from Harbor Freight, and some that are decent. Sometimes they sell both versions of the same tool - They have a set of decent impact sockets I've had for years, and the even cheaper set that is painted instead of hardened.
Although they may be inferior, there is a definite advantage to cheap tools as long as they are serviceable - it is much better to have an inferior tool you can buy that will get the job done than it is to not have a superior tool that will last longer but you can't afford at all. Many people will never use the cheap tool enough that it matters. There are also a lot of HF tools that work great if you make a few small modifications, if you have more time than money.
There's a couple of great threads over at Weldingweb.com about Harbor Freight (they actually have a whole forum about HF):
Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck
Harbor Freight Tools that suck
Some tools from HF are total crap. Others are surprisingly well-made considering the price. It just depends on the tool. I've had very good luck with most of the stuff I bought from them, including:
Bench-top drill press
14" chop saw
HVLP spray gun
Blind rivet puller
3-in-1 framing nailer
Free tape measures
Step drills/unibits (and normally I stay away from their consumables!)
It all depends on what you're doing with the tool and how long you need it to last. I know the $100 nailgun might not last as long as the $300+ name-brand one, but I only really needed it for the framing portion of my workshop build. That phase is over now and it's still working, even after being left out in the rain once, so I saved myself $200. I use the HVLP gun for shooting primer, and it works just fine--the poor paint job is the user's fault. Would I buy these if my livelihood depended on them? Probably not. But for most of the rarely-used items, their useful life still probably exceeds my total lifetime utilization of them.
Go in with realistic expectations.
I reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than I was yesterday.