and yet, you can still buy tools at sears that clearly have "made in
usa" stamped right into the metal. it's next to impossible to do that
at home depot or lowes. "made in usa" is notably ABSENT from my latest
snap-on ratchet too.
The article is apparently written with the attitude that you can
innovate once and then ride on that for a long time. It doesn't work
that way. Innovation has to be constant. One new product after the next.
Someone with 30 years developing product should have understood this.
Yes, it sucks that the patent and legal systems are set up for the bigs.
The bigs paid good money to get them set up that way. But that is really
a side story for competing on innovation. The real story is how this
government protection kills innovation by creating this expectation of
protection so people don't do the next generation or can't improve upon
a competitor's product.
Six years is a solid product life these days. Those who want to make
their way innovating need to turn their products faster than that. It's
just the way it is.
cheap chinese tools are cheap for a reason. at best, their poor
dimensional tolerances and weak metal will merely damage what you're
working on. but there's also a good chance they'll break and damage you
always buy the best tools you can - sears "made in usa" aren't the best
out there, but they're adequate, safe, and reasonable value for money,
especially for occasional users. especially especially when bought on sale.
When talking about consumer electronics, especially cell phones, 3
months is a long time. Apple and Samsung have been duking it out for a
few years now globally in the courts. and its still going on.
You could patent how to take a shit these days and sue someone
for the audacity of a bowel movement.
Sears tools seem to me not up to what they used to be. When i have
had ratchets replaced under the lifetime warranty, the replacements
did not seem as robust to me. Not junk, but not as well made.
I was just recently looking at the Maxx Access tools and thought they
might be nice to have. The good set is $80 or so. Reading the article
made me think twice about it. I ended up getting a more basic set
at harbor freight for $16 after coupon and sale.
The spline tools are nothing more than a misuse of industrial spline
drive that has been around for years (not a big seller unless you do
very specific work). Sears (and others) are telling folks how the
wrenches can be used for all the different fasteners. The problem is
that while they can be used that way they are not intended to be. The
splines have a very nasty habit of stripping the corners off fasteners
other than spline drive parts. They are also much weaker than a 6 or 12
point wrench simply by virtue of the lack of metal on the flats.
Sears has used just about every tool maker at one point or another. With
many tool makers now having plants worldwide it is harder to tell where
the tool is actually made. In reality IF they use a good alloy and
quality control it doesn't matter much. The trend of "It's China made so
it's junk" is not really true. I have seen tools made in the US that are
worse junk than ones made in other countries.
Spline tools should be used on spline heads most commonly found
in the aircraft and aerospace industries. "Flank drive", on the other
hand, is even superior to the best of the standard 6 point sockets.
in theory, with a little bit of chance taking, but there's no guessing
involved with harbor freight. and very few made in usa tools, while
finish may not be fab, will break and injure you.
that's true enough. i recently bought a taiwanese ratchet that i think
is superior to my "dual 80" snap-on of unknown origin. but that might
not be a fair comparison - snap-on seem to have really lost the plot.
quality is down, they're not prepared to fly the flag that justifies the
price, and they've been screwing their distributors - they've lost
franchisees all over the bay area.
I break "made in USA" tools all the time. I have probably 30 Snap-On and
Mac tools waiting for replacement. On the flip side I have a junk yard
set from HF that I grabbed simply because I didn't want to lose stuff
while pulling parts. In 4 years I have managed to break one combination
wrench and bent a ratchet. Both were replaced with no problem.
Same here. The tool and storage guys are both gone from my area. Not
from lack of spending on my part....
FYI for folks who are buying tools/storage through Sears. Join the
Craftsman Club. It's FREE and on some stuff it drops a BIG chunk off the
price. A $500.00 dollar top box was just on club special for $280.00
Very good point, forgot about including that gem in my
response. Being an elderly engineer and out of the daily
wrenching business for quite a while now, I don't do
much of such work anymore and no longer regularly
make large tool purchases, but I've heard of the CC
and it looks like an even better deal than catalogs alone.
I was looking for a decent chest for the home shop and got one of the
40" units last month.
Not built as rugged as the Master series I have but good enough for
normal home use.
Online shows the regular price as 529.99 With a 423.99 sale price. CC
members could get it last month for 265.00
dude, what on earth are you doing??? i've worn stuff out, and once
split a kd socket, but broken? the only stuff i've broken is stuff i've
abused like a 3/4" > 1/2" adapter marked [~] "max 600Nm" and that was
when i'd loaded to about 900. it certainly didn't break within its
design spec. and so i'm not asking for replacement.
valid point. maybe i should do that. i had a snap-on socket rail go
walkies at a junk yard not so long ago and i hate having to replace for
reasons like that. but the problem is, h.f. are a crap fit, of highly
questionable reliability and you need reliable tools at a junkyard where
stuff is usually either neglected or abused.
going back to your 30 replacements, apparently snap-on have recently
started to insist franchisees replace breakages from their own stock and
wait for factory replacement when they can be bothered to get around to
it, thus costing franchisees a bunch of up-front money. with pricing
and margins being what they are, the franchisees just had to quit - they
were being starved.
My understanding is that Snap On has been getting its tools from China
for several years now. I know guys still wrenching in dealerships that
switched to Harbor Freight because they're so cheap, who cares if they
break? And they know stuff breaks - they're not worried about getting
hurt. They're tools are good enough for most work.
Harbor freight has a place in the tool food chain. You have to be
realistic of your expectations, and know what to buy and what to
stay away from.
There sockets and such are generally good. If your not stupid
and don't abuse them, they will last indefinitely. I would not
recommend harbor for a professional mechanic that uses them
every day. But for a backyard wrench, they are just fine
for the most part. I got a 20+" breaker bar for the bone yard
runs for $9.95. Cannot beat that. It got me some pinch bolts
off that i would not have otherwise without issue.
There metric wrench sets have served me well.
Got a 1/2" impact socket set that goes up to 30MM for $19.95
Electric and battery tools are more of a question mark.
I got a 4.5" angle grinder at black Friday a few years
back for $4.95. It sounded like a bucket of ball bearing
slapping around running, but it still works with the limited
use its had.
I had a crank type lug nut tool that did break, but it was the
exception rather than the rule.
There battery drills and such are cheap, and i don't have much faith
in that end of there line
When they have a big sale, you can buy halogen shop light 500W bulbs
for $1. Cannot beat that. They might not last as long, but you can
buy a lot of them for what a normal bulb cost. And a normal bulb
will die just as easy if you drop the light.
Harbor is a carnival for the cheapskate tool junkie.
Yes, i still buy some craftsman on occasion, but at a 4 or 5 to one
ratio of my harbor freight buys.