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Thread: Craftsman tools not the same old tools

  1. #1
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    Craftsman tools not the same old tools

    Sad days indeed. I bought a used 3/4 socket set the other day off of Craigslist, all Snap-on sockets, with some other ratchets and bars. In it was a Craftsman ratchet, that looked pretty good, but was missing one of the screws to hold the head together. I told the Mrs. that we would just swing by sears and get it fixed. She said " I heard that they're not all made in usa any more". I had seen the cheap chinese sears stuff, but it always before had another name on it, not craftsman.

    After telling the Mrs. she didn't know what she was talking about, I walked in and handed them my ratchet, and the sales lady handed me a new one. Sure enough, it was a little different looking, and didn't say USA on it. (The wife was right and I was wrong which is hard enough). I asked the girl behind the counter, and she said all their new individual ratchets are now made overseas. Only some of the old stock sets are still made in USA, and I imagine once the tooling is up, and the old stock is sold, they will all be chinese. I told the gal to steal the screw out of the chinese ratchet, and I would just keep my USA one.

    The sad thing is my 10yr old boy had gotten a wrench set for Christmas. He noticed that is was cheap Chinese, and we took it back, and went to Sears and he got a nice full made in USA set. He looked at me when I was switching ratchets, and asked "my set was still made here, wasn't it?". I tried to explain corporate races with Walmart, to sell the cheapest stuff with the highest profits, but it all sounds, and feels, awfully hollow.

    Am I wrong to be bothered by this? The tools look the same, and I can just hear the guys in the boardroom at corporate headquarters justifying it. Same tools, less cost to us, same prices, happy stockholders, we keep our good jobs and get a good bonus. Sears, as a company, is in a real rough patch, but I don't see how this helps long term.

    It actually makes me want to talk to politicians (and I think very little of ones of either party), and tell them to slap tariffs on all this cheap stuff, but they'll just howl about free trade and global economy. Talking with a friend about it and all he could say was "thats whats wrong with this country". Which I agree with to a point, but I don't want to live anywhere else.

  2. #2
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    Yes,it's very sad that we have become a nation of users instead of producers as before.Anyway,I have found that Sears still does have the USA lines of hand tools in my area at least besides the POS Chinese ones.
    Just remember when the old lady laughs at your expense for trying to sell what she thinks is a worthless piece of garbage"There is an a** for every toilet seat ever made"
    Formerly Skull-Finder-{found the skull to the famous mastodon in Hyde Park,NY in 2000

  3. #3
    Senior Member DPete's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear, Craftsman tools have never been my favorite but they are easy to get and good warranty $ price. Another step backward when we need steps forward. Thanks NAFTA, 30+ years of free trade and look where we are!!

  4. #4
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    I was at sears not long ago and foun their shovels and rakes to be now made in the USA witch before was mexico and china. I looked at some hand tools and more than half were made in the USA I thought it was coming back to the USA made. Untill we as consumers stop buying the chineese crap they will still sell it.

  5. #5
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    I've got a lot of craftsman tools, been a while since we've had warranty done on any, are all the tools still warranted for lifetime no matter where they are made? I as of yet have never seen any made overseas, but as of yet the only complaint I've had with craftsman tools is they went away from etching the sizes in on some of the sockets and went to writing them on instead, almost impossible to see what size they are unless your in the right lighting and they are completely clean. Just how do you tell the difference between the usa made and overseas made stuff from craftsman?

    Not to downplay the idea here, but decades ago, my wife's grandpa had bought a new socket set from craftsman, it turns out it must have been one of the first sets ever made, I never knew it at the time, but we ended up with the set after his death, nobody else wanted it. He absolutely loved that set of sockets, I hated them with a passion and finally the ratchet gave up and didn't work anymore so I traded it in on a new ratchet that worked right and was handy to handle and use. That was when I learned it was one of the first sets, after I traded it in, someone at corporate looked it up and discovered it was one of the originals and kept it for a keepsake of the origins of the company making tools, we got a letter at the time to see if we had the sockets to go with the ratchet, I called and said no, those were replaced over the years with new one's as they broke or worn out.

    I guess something I learned over the years was this, just because they are different and have changed doesn't make them all bad, I thought the ratchet was total junk, it was to her grandfather the greatest thing ever made, he hated the newer one's and insisted the old one was the only one craftsman ever made that was any good, my opinion was the opposite, so to sum it up things do change and time does cause evolution of things. At one time I had five different style's of ratchets all made by craftsman over the years as the designs changed and also the wrenches did too, not sure if they are all good or not, just a different design and style is all, my main concern is the warranty, any time I wear one out or break one, I've never had any problems getting a new replacement for the broken one.

  6. #6
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    Good luck trying to replace a Craftsman ratchet under warranty. They'll hand you an exchange allright, but it'll either be a cheap POS or a repaired one. I've got several that slip etc. and I've tried exchanging them. what I get is not worth the trip going after it. Say what you want about imports, but todays Harbor Freight ratchets are a big cut above Sears. I prefer to buy american, but I won't pay SnapOn price, and even theirs are being made off shore from what I understand.

  7. #7
    Senior Member heavylift's Avatar
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    The chiner made craftsmans tools now carry the name "Craftsman Evolv"

    Sears over the years have discontinued many craftsman tools, replacing them with Sears brand... one tool that I remember was aviation tin snips, you can no long get a craftsman set...

    I don't buy too many new tools, auctions, garage sales and the occasional bargain at the now over priced pawn shops.

  8. #8
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    The only difference in the 3/4 ratchet I was exchanging was the new one didn't have "usa" on the handle. Craftsman name on the front, same size, handle design, everything. There was some craftsman evolve series there too, they have always been china made.

    I did look at a professional series set of craftsman ratchets, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 ratchets, the fancy high polish series, which I have some of (usa made), and right on the back of the packaging said made in china.

    Also looked at individual craftsman smaller ratchets, the "standard" ratchets. The front ones in the rack didn't have usa, but the very back one was.

    I don't think sears is going to highly advertise the fact, but the counter people knew what was up, and admitted the fact that it was changing over as soon as I asked about it. They didn't know how much was being changed to overseas, just that all of the new stock they have been receiving is no longer made here.

    I don't buy very much new either, I also try to buy used good stuff. The new Snap-on and Mac prices are way out of my budget, I buy some off auctions (only if the prices aren't crazy-people often give more than new price there). I picked up the 3/4 set I was talking about for $150 off Craigslist. Snap on sockets, extension, and break over bar, wright ratchet, and the craftsman ratchet. The guy said over the phone "they aren't very pretty, no high polish". I told him I wouldn't care when I have a 6' cheater on the break over bar.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CRAFT's Avatar
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    My very first set of mechanics tools was Craftsman ...... I was so proud as a teenager to save up and buy them on my own ...... those were the days ..... I used to live for the next tool catalogues......

    Over the years some of the originals failed, as posted no problem with warranty BUT the replacements were getting cheaper and cheaper with each failed piece ....

    Sears/Crapsman got their Pee-Pees slapped a few years ago, regarding a court action over the aquizition of the Patend for the quik release socket system on the ratchets ..... they lost the case and cost them (retroactively) $$-Millions-$$ ......... (kind of like the Ford case over how they were the first with the electric variable intermittent wipers ......watch the movie .... but that's another story) .................. anyways that's about the time others started to have the same feature on their ratchets about when I started to notice the CHEAPNESS and lack of quality of the hand tools ...... loose fitting sockets and combo wrench's ....now we were stripping heads off ...........


    OH WELL ! ... I guess they call it progress ...too bad they wanted to go after the masses instead of maintaining quality .... jm $0.02 worth

  10. #10
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    I guess this is good to know cause if I sell any of my old craftsmen tools, I am going to get the price I am asking for and if they don't want to pay they can go and buy the cheap crap! The phrase " It' s proud to be an American" is slowly eroding away.

  11. #11
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    This is all good to know. I have a Craftsman set consisitng of a half, three eighths and quarter inch socket set and wrenches from about 7/16 up to 3/4 and corresponding metric sizes which I carry in the truck all the time. My good stuff for the shop is all Wright or SK. The Craftsmans set is still US made, but I have had it several years. The Wright and SK are top shelf American made.

    I did get a pleasant surprise a few weeks ago. While on a job in Houston, Tx I needed an adjustable wrench. Went to Home Depot and found a "Cresent" 14 inch adjustable stampled as big as life MADE IN USA. Cresent shipped all their production off shore a number of years ago. At least some of their stuff has returned home for production. This big ol 14 incher is a dead ringer for the other one I have in my box.

    Seems as though lots of companies who make more durable goods like this have learned and are bringing them back where they belong.

    Now only if the people that make "Visegrips," I think it is Irwin would wake up and do the same thing. To get decent "Vicegrips" now I buy them at auctions when ever I get the chance because the new ones coming out of china are pure **** too.

    I have ranted and raved on HEF for at least the last two years about the crap quality of everything that comes out of china be it dog food, tooth paste, tools, steel, castings of all types and everything else that they make there.
    After 25 years of industrialization they still do not understand producing a quality product and don't think they ever will. This could be their down fall in the industrialized world before it is finished. Lets hope it is.

  12. #12
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    I agree on the vice grips, a new pair can be had for $15 i will gladly pay $18 for a used American made set at an auction.

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