Is it just me of has the quality of tools gone to hell? | GTAMotorcycle.com

Is it just me of has the quality of tools gone to hell?

Delboy

Well-known member
I bought a Craftsman socket set a few months ago. It was on sale so it was a pretty good deal.

Went to use it at the weekend to replace a rear spring on the truck. I was using it with a breaker bar and the socket spilt. Now Sears will replace it but Craftsman used to be good mid grade tools, not use once tools.

My Grandfather was a Millwright and I still have some of his tools. He had a Micrometer that was made in Sheffield back in the 1930's and its to within a 1/2 thousand of an inch of my modern digital one and its 80 years older

The thing is, i don't know which one is out by that 1/2 thousand... I would almost bet its the digital one :)
 

Michael0124

Well-known member
It's not just you...I have Mastercraft pro series ratchets, sockets and wrenches from the early 90s and the quality is on par with my snap on tools of the same vintage.

I bought some Mastercraft Maximum (their newer stuff) wrenches a few years ago on sale and noticeably lower quality...the finish, weight and balance are nowhere near my nearly 30 year old ones.
 

Trials

Well-known member
Dude, craftsman is gone! right along with Sears.
Post your micrometer and I'll post mine, then people will know what a quality tool looks like.
and omg that sounds so wrong but I'm not going to edit it lol.
 

Bobo

Well-known member
I bought all my Craftsman wrenches and sockets in the 70’s and 80’s from Sears whenever I was in
The States.All made in USA quality tools that I still have today.The Craftsman line of tools are now made in China like everything else. Gray still makes quality tools in Canada and their online sales are actually pretty reasonable.Im in the trades so I always spend a little more and buy tools that will last.I learned that the hard way.I rarely if ever buy anything from Pricess Auto unless it’s something I plan on using once.Im not knocking Princess Auto, they have their place.
 

Delboy

Well-known member
Dude, craftsman is gone! right along with Sears.
Post your micrometer and I'll post mine, then people will know what a quality tool looks like.
and omg that sounds so wrong but I'm not going to edit it lol.
Ha Ha. I wonder if my tool is bigger than your tool... On No. I feel and infraction coming on :)

I'll dig it out and take a picture when I get home
 

Delboy

Well-known member
I bought all my Craftsman wrenches and sockets in the 70’s and 80’s from Sears whenever I was in
The States.All made in USA quality tools that I still have today.The Craftsman line of tools are now made in China like everything else. Gray still makes quality tools in Canada and their online sales are actually pretty reasonable.Im in the trades so I always spend a little more and buy tools that will last.I learned that the hard way.I rarely if ever buy anything from Pricess Auto unless it’s something I plan on using once.Im not knocking Princess Auto, they have their place.
I doesn't even say the country of origin on the sockets. My old craftsman 3/8 set that I bought from Sears Canada about 20 years ago has Made in the USA everywhere. Even that box is metal, not like the plastic boxes they have today
 

JavaFan

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
even the pro tools have diminished in quality

Snap On used to be the premier brand
it's still good stuff but it's the warranty and convenience of replacement
that is the main reason to justify the premium
as the quality has dropped it's getting harder to justify

the sister brand - Blue Point - was every bit as good
but less shiny and less $$

Mac had always been #2 but the dealers are few and far between now
hard to justify that premium when there is little support

the third tier pro grade tools are the best value nowadays
Proto is good quality and value
although you have to take it back where you bought it for replacement

for personal use Mastercraft stuff is okay
and good value when they blow it out on sale days

never been a Craftsman fan
warranty was good but ratchets and wrenches are clunky
okay for homeowner stuff
but if you're wrenching steady it's not good on the hands
 

Trials

Well-known member
Decent threading tools and good files are probably impossible to find by now.
Time was you could get great deals at auctions, but a lot of the auctioneers are gone now.
 

FullMotoJacket

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Both 10 year old Maximum phillips were in the truck with roached tips to be warranted at Crappy Tire. Grabbed the old phillips in the toolbox to use in the meantime. I remember it being in the old boy's tote box in the 60s. Canadian Tire Corporation, back when the sold decent stuff. After 50 odd years the tip is still in great shape.



 

tricky

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I'm sure they made crap stuff back then, and only the good stuff has survived till now. Rose tinted glasses maybe. I've had two ratchets crap out on me, one Snap-On from the 80s and one Stanley from a few years ago. Both 1/4" drive, maybe no surprise. Probably my fault.

I've only ever felt tool quality was poor when holding a Skill or Jobmate tool. Mastercraft and Maximum is just this side of OK in my opinion. Most other brands have worked fine for me.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
I started working in a garage doing LOFs and tires at 14. Everyone needed their own tools, all I could afford were Craftsman. Got ****** on by the Snap-on guy every time he came by.

A few decades later I still have some of those tools kicking around, they are as good today as they were 40 years ago.

I don't spend much time on the wrench these days, but I still enjoy using better tools. My biggest letdown is Princess Auto hand tools, most of their tools are as junky as the stuff you see at Dollarama. I had a Princess Auto 17mm impact socket explode on me last week, a few weeks back I bought a small pipe bender -- it was so flimsy the levers bent before the pipes did!
 

Hardwrkr13

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Back around 2005 I bought a Craftsman mechanics set of around 2200 pieces and I've never broken a thing in that set. I wouldn't consider the ratchets Snap-on grade but they always get the job done.
I used to split a few sockets a year in my teens about 25yrs ago but they were usually Mastercraft. I recall going in once a year with my broken sockets to CT for replacements.
 

DJM

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Anyone heard of Williams? I have a 1\2" drive set from the 60's. The socket wrench is called a super ratchet, I've never been able to break it. Still have a brand new replacement ratchet mechanism for it.Got it all from my dad when he retired from INCO decades ago.
 

Riceburner

Well-known member
My Mastercraft set is about 30 years old and does seem to be better than the new stuff. It's been good to me so far. Have a small Craftsman set that doesn't see much use that is close to the same age, seems solid too. All homeish used.
 

Baggsy

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I don't seem to have a problem destroying tools from any era, but I've also lost quite a few. Lots of my older tools went when someone put my toolbox under the sink and later overflowed the sink into the toolbox and left it. Also, how about real tools. Putting up a picture of a screwdriver and calling it a tools is kind of like calling a bicycle a vehicle. It's technically correct, but isn't quite what I pictured.
 

nobbie48

Well-known member
Site Supporter
A genuine Robertson screwdriver driving a genuine Robertson screw has the right feel. The big box stores carry square drive and the fit is often terrible. What people call Philips head is usually wrong. There are so many variants of the X head.

Most of the power tool lines are owned by the Chinese, including Milwaukee. Good but the bean counters call the shots. Battery technology has advanced so much that lower power corded tools may become obsolete but you won't be using them ten or fifteen years from now.

My nearly 50 year old cast iron table saw is more accurate than a brand new aluminum one.

Metallurgy has improved but again bean counters aim for the sweet spot on the volume / price curve.

I only see Craftsman at Lowes and Rona (Owned by Lowes) and they seem to be trying to copy Milwaukee packaging.

Princess Auto was a dinky Manitoba retailer until the bamboo gates opened. Their better stuff is handyman grade and their cheaper stuff good for assembling lawn ornaments. I have one of PA's torque wrenches and one has to be very careful on setting the torque and making sure it stays at the original setting. Accuracy isn't bad if the setting doesn't shift. Back ally engineering IMO.

Not top end but the best tool deal around is at IKEA. Ten bucks gets you a tool kit with a multi tip screw driver with the right tip for IKEA furniture, stubby hammer with a slip on soft face, a small adjustable wrench and a pair of pliers. Suitable for the kitchen drawer and honey-do lists
 

crankcall

Well-known member
Site Supporter
almost all the time, unless you bought offshore crap, if the tool failed it was user error.
Just because the socket fits the bolt doesn't mean that socket will hold up to 200flbs of torque on a 30" breaker bar. Thats why they make 3/4 and 1" drive socket sets. And big sidewalled impact sockets.
 

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