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Advice for a new mechanic building his toolkit?

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Alabama Hammer, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Alabama Hammer

    Alabama Hammer Member

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    What kind of toolbox am I going to need starting out? Any recommendations for an economical, solid box?

    I am also trying to pick up the rest of the tools I will neee, where should I be looking? I check pawn shops, etc. I have most of my basics, but can anyone recommend somewhere that I can find affordable tools to start out?
     
  2. AzIron

    AzIron Well-Known Member

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    Harbor freight boxes are pretty stout for what you pay mine is jammed full of my big stuff that I don't carry in my pickup its held up ok if your using it every day it will get you a couple years down the road

    As far as tools for myself I am really liking sk you can order them off Amazon and you can mail in a warranty

    If I am buying tools that the crew uses its was Pittsburgh but now its tekton it's just really good value for the price
     
    Alabama Hammer likes this.
  3. Former Wrench

    Former Wrench Senior Member

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    A big consideration should be use. If you are going to leave it in the shop on a bench it does not have to be as tough as one the is welded down to a service truck traveling off road.
     
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  4. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    Craigslist check tools for sale every day you will always find something new popped up. There's always somebody who decided they don't want to be a mechanic anymore after spending a ton of money letting it go for pennies on the dollar
     
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  5. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    And somebody on this site said tool boxes don't fix machines
     
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  6. Alabama Hammer

    Alabama Hammer Member

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    Good point. I'm looking at the Harbor Freight tool cart, it seems like its perfect for me.
     
  7. repowerguy

    repowerguy Senior Member

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    I’m with Aziron on the Tekton tools,the 3/4” drive stuff I have is pretty good and the wrenches are decent too with a good warranty.
     
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  8. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    Biggest mistakes I made starting out were:

    Buying an 18" deep toolbox. In less than 3 years I ended up upgrading to a 24" deep box.

    Buying cheap air tools. Most of them got tossed after a year. Just did not have the power to do the work.
     
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  9. Mechanically impaired

    Mechanically impaired New Member

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    Nothing wrong with second hand tools and boxes to get u started. It' always great when u can find a retired mechanic selling off his whole setup for a deal.a good way to save money and usually get better tools
     
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  10. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    Might as well buy used good tools to get started instead of new junk. As soon as you start beating them around in the field they will be used tools anyway so might as well buy them used.
     
    Bootheal likes this.
  11. RZucker

    RZucker Senior Member

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    Yep, Make friends with the tool truck dealers and watch Craigslist. You can find a lot of lightly used tools that way.
     
  12. DARO

    DARO Well-Known Member

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    When you are starting out. Buy only what you can pay cash for and you will truly buy only what you NEED. A used name brand box cpuld be a better deal then a new tin can.
     
  13. catman13

    catman13 Well-Known Member

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    I went to harbor freight and got their biggest bottom box for a little over 1/2 price, it was a floor model and they had lost the keys and went to ebay and got a new set of locks for 20.00 bucks. and top box 1/2 price it was dented in the back .
     
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  14. RZucker

    RZucker Senior Member

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    Those boxes are a good deal, heavy construction and really good drawer slides. They make the same size Snap-on and Mac boxes look like junk. I know, my everyday box is one of their 44"x18' rollaways with the matching top and side box. Fits through the bays easy and holds most of what I need for most projects. I have a huge Matco rollaway that holds my specialty tools and just sits in the corner.
     
  15. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    One thing I forgot to mention, when it comes to boxes. Big wheels are best . Nothing worse than getting it moving only to get stalled by a zip-tie or pebbles.
     
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  16. JD955SC

    JD955SC Well-Known Member

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    Harbor freight box or used truck brand box. Get a big box and get a cart like the Harbor Freight cart.

    Hit up flea markets and eBay for used tools

    Just get 3/8 and 1/2 in impact only. You are gonna be using air and battery tools so much that chrome is kind of a waste

    Don’t cheap out on hammers and punches and chisels. Buy quality brands of each.

    Go used for 3/4 and 1” impact sockets and wrenches. So expensive new but fairly available for pretty good prices used

    Angle wrenches. Get them. Cat and Snap On are same, Cat has better prices

    If you work at a Cat dealer you can get employee pricing on the hand tools out of the Cat hand tool catalog. It’s all good stuff from snap on/Williams

    But good quality air tools. I like IR.

    But taps and dies individually off of EBay and get US made HSS ones.

    There are tons of industrial brands that you should get to know and buy from. Williams, Wright, Proto, SK. Tool truck quality at half the price or better. Most US made to boot
     
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  17. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    Chrome sockets are handy on hydraulic valves though. For some reason they like to countersink plugs into them sometimes. Other times they save you from having to pull a bunch of crap out of a valve so you can access the one cartridge buried in the back, which is usually placed tight against another cartridge or a mounting bracket :mad:.
     
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  18. repowerguy

    repowerguy Senior Member

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    Just got to thinking, the 20’ connex boxes are getting pretty cheap nowadays, some shelves inside and boom you have a walk in toolbox! maybe with a break room also.
    I try to think innovatively of course.
     
  19. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    Good quality ball-ended hex keys are another must have. I love my impact swivel sockets too. Great for tight spots like around starters and pumps.
     
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  20. RZucker

    RZucker Senior Member

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    I bought the impact swivels before any others.
     
    td25c likes this.