Junk Tools

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by proppastie, Jul 10, 2015.

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  1. Jul 11, 2015 #21

    akwrencher

    akwrencher

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    Just my experience, but I won't buy the cheep HF or Northern power tools any more. Or any other store brand for that matter. In the last 15 years I have replaced a random orbital sander with a Bosch (cheep one lasted about an hour I think. The Bosch is still going strong), a chicago electric with a real milwaukee sawzall (the cheepo was so bad it wouldn't hold on to a blade hardly...), cheep angle grinder with dewalt, jig saw with makita, chop saw with dewalt, cordless milwaukee's, and probably a few more I can't think of at the moment. I regretted every wasted dollar spent on the cheep crap and now I only buy name brand on power tools. Cheep air tools tend to be better than the cheep electric ones. I never buy cheep screw drivers. I don't even bother with craftsman on those. Rather get used mac or snap on ones. Pullers and such that are subject to high stress generally are worth spending extra on. I can't count the number of cheep tools I have destroyed on the first use or two and had to replace with better quality ones. Drill bits for steel are worth a little extra.....yeah. I'm pretty picky on the cheep tools I get these days.....
     
  2. Jul 11, 2015 #22

    jimson

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    I buy a ton of stuff at Harbor Freight but it's for hobbies. I don't have to make a daily living with them so they work fine.

    It's great for cheap tools you only need to use once or twice. If you buy them for daily use and are disappointed, then you are just stupid.

    The other day I heard someone in there returning a hacksaw complaining about cheap Chinese junk and I thought "No kidding, What did you think you were buying?"
     
  3. Jul 11, 2015 #23

    JamesG

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    Problem is that the same forces (cost) that make HF and other low price sellers popular is creeping into even supposed "quality" brands. Every year tools and products get more lightly built of lower quality materials in the endless drive to keep squeezing profits out of the same product.
     
  4. Jul 12, 2015 #24

    akwrencher

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    Exactly. Craftsman sockets and such are a prime example. They are still decent, but It's sad when your old rusty ones seem like better tools than the new shiny ones.....(no, not emotionally attached to sockets. I mean the fit and finish....)
     
  5. Jul 12, 2015 #25

    ekimneirbo

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    Here are some examples of tools which make Harbor Freight look more worthwhile. These are adds from the local Craigs List.

    Snap on tools great price

    $30 each.......really? Or a 24" breaker bar thats used...$100 Doesn't do anything better than my Craftsman or HF bar with a pipe on one end.

    Snap on tools for sale

    A $50 dead blow/ball pein hammer or an 8MM wrench for $20

    And the last example ............ Guess how much this toolbox and set of tools is priced at..............no peeking till you guess

    Snap-on Camaro Tool Box with Tools
     
  6. Jul 12, 2015 #26

    Jay Kempf

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    Yikes!

    My tools set is a mix like most people's. I have a mix of Craftsman, some name brand stuff and I have a bunch of really cheap stuff I get at coupon or clearance prices. The real worth of the cheap stuff is that you have no qualms cutting them up and welding them to something else to make a special tool. Because you end up making a lot of tools if you keep wrenching on engines and any other systems. Recently the computer diagnosis stuff has been heading towards cheap interfaces (wireless) with free apps for smart phones which is fun. There are even oscilloscope apps now and little interfaces to get the data through a USB or Bluetooth connection.

    I also buy cheap bench top tools to modify into other DIY stuff. For instance I bought a couple HF 1" x 30" belt sanders (knife sharpeners), took them out of the box and cut them up to make edge grinding power tools for sharpening skis. I have a LOT of skis and they need to be sharp all the time to survive Vermont conditions.

    Always buying stuff and bastardizing it for purposes not intended by the manufacturer. So to me the source of the tool is less important than the task and what you are willing to spend to accomplish it. The stuff you rely on every day has to be quality stuff if your ability to charge money for the task is dependent on it. Beyond that everything is a cost benefit equation. Even my CNC is made of stuff not intended for the purpose.
     
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  7. Jul 12, 2015 #27

    Himat

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    There is no Harbour Freight in Norway, but I guess the tools from the same Chinese factories turn up here under other house "brand" names. With equal quality. Still there is similar shop chains here, aiming at different price and quality levels.

    Mostly I find that the quality correspond to what you pay, with the exemption that really expensive brands are not that much better than the mid level. The difficulty is often to find the excellent quality among the mainstream priced stuff. And this does exist, often when "house brands" have been manufactured by one of the known "brand" names.

    Typical last years model Bosh, Hitachi... power tool in a different color, less some fancy bits rebranded some shop "house" brand. Not the cheapest possible tools, but usually good buys. I have seen the same with wrenches and sockets, for some years it was possible to get Kamasa tools labeled as shops "house" brand here.
     
  8. Jul 12, 2015 #28

    Jay Kempf

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    Anybody that thinks that their American or European brands are made in the USA or Europe is just deluding themselves. I know for a fact that every single US major tool brand manufactures in China. I have first hand accounts of the vast majority of the brands moving parts manufacture off shore. Some of them are coming back slowly due not to pride or ethics but due to the fluctuations of world currencies and labor costs. Stanley, Craftsman, Dewalt, Porter Cable, yadda... It ain't about where it was made. It is about who was watching and controlling how it was made and with what. There is plenty of VERY efficient and high tech manufacturing going on in China under good management. It is not the majority but it is there.

    I have a much more broad view of it than brand snobs. Brand snobs break tools too. But the brands have so much margin they can be absolutely obscene about replacements. Buy a cheap tool and break it and don't expect much. Buy an expensive one and you "expect" the manufacturer to replace it without receipts and without questions. They can afford it because they made it in China to their design and sell it to you at top dollar. Nothing magic about manufacturing tools for the most part. Forging, casting, broaching, machining, same as it has been for a century or more.
     
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  9. Jul 12, 2015 #29

    KAF

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    Now here's a funny story which I can neither confirm or deny: My father-in-law spent many years in post-war Japan and he said you could buy astonishingly high quality items there, even back then, and that they exported junk.

    He wasn't one to make stuff up, so I've often wondered if the same is true in China.
     
  10. Jul 12, 2015 #30

    JamesG

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    Where we taught the post-war Japaneses about high rate and high quality control production, and they killed us with it. We taught the Chinese "just-good-enough" low cost production, and we are killing ourselves with it. Very different eras and economic situations.

    Sure, but quality adds costs. But not nearly what raw-to-finished costs in the US/West. There really is no comparison. Apple Inc. has very good quality control from its PRC and Korean suppliers, but it still only pays 20-30% of what it would pay to build iThings in America. But that doesn't stop it from charging "American Made" prices... Gotta love a good racket when you get one.

    Production really isn't coming back. Some "final assembly" is coming back to the US, but only for items that have regional specialization and where shipping is cheaper in pieces or as "knock down kits". But that doesn't stop corporations and the media from spinning it like they are "Bringing jobs home! Hajelluahuuuu!!" It isn't happening.
     
  11. Jul 12, 2015 #31

    Jay Kempf

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    With the tenants of the Japanese culture it makes perfect sense whether true or not. Japan completely changed modern manufacturing post-war. Well, we felt bad so we kickstarted them to get into modern manufacturing and their culture took what we tried to do and took it places we couldn't even figure out or weren't willing to do not unlike today with China. We taught China a lot about manufacturing by going after their cheap labor. Started with large corporations like GE. People think it is a recent thing. Not even slightly. The funny thing is that people believe that cheap stuff coming from the other side of the planet is different than the stuff we build here. Not the case. They make the same stuff in the same factories a lot of the time. This box of parts goes to DeWalt or Stanley and this box of parts goes to Harbor Freight's assembly facility. It's all in the negotiations of the client. There is a lot of real quality stuff coming out of China, Korea, Malaysia, India, South America, etc... But there is also garbage. Up to the customer to facilitate which they get. Those that get duped don't last long so really are a rounding error in the overall mix. So if you are getting a cheap tool from an American supply company, chances are the American company negotiated the quality specs and knows exactly what they are doing. They know exactly how many warranty claims they get and exactly what they cost and it is acceptable to them within their margin strategy.
     
  12. Jul 12, 2015 #32

    BJC

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    I never was much of a Camaro fan anyway, but I certainly had lots of fun and "adventures" in my Mach 1.


    BJC
     
  13. Jul 12, 2015 #33

    BJC

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    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?

    Thanks,


    BJC
     
  14. Jul 12, 2015 #34

    JamesG

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    Surplus military tool boxes?
     
  15. Jul 12, 2015 #35

    Autodidact

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    What is that guy, a TV repairman or something? :cheeky:

    [video=youtube;QN_Nod65e7o]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN_Nod65e7o[/video]
     
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  16. Jul 13, 2015 #36

    Pops

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    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.

    Dan
     
  17. Jul 13, 2015 #37

    JamesG

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    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.
     
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  18. Jul 13, 2015 #38

    Topaz

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    And sometimes that trade is worth it. Take my angle grinder. $14.95 on-sale at Harbor Freight. At that price, I decided that if it lasted a summer of light-duty use and I had to go buy another one each year, it'd still be well more than five years before I broke even on a "high-quality" unit that might not actually last much longer than that. And by that time, who knows what might happen, both to my situation and the angle-grinder market? In the end, I'll be darned if the $15 angle grinder isn't proving to be a darned fine little unit, and it's on its second year of use. Light-duty, I'll grant, but the thing still runs like brand-new.

    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.
     
  19. Jul 13, 2015 #39

    Vigilant1

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    It sure is. I have a HF hammer drill that I use occassionally to drill through masonry. It has done a great job for me for 10 years, maybe 150 holes through block, slabs, etc. A Bosch would be a nicer tool, probably less vibration and better longevity in the bearings, etc. But if I'd spent 4 times more for it, it would have given me zero extra utility over the last 10 years.

    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/:)
     
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  20. Jul 13, 2015 #40

    Joe Fisher

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    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.
     
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