Author Topic: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted  (Read 4783 times)

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Offline TOOLTOWN

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Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« on: March 19, 2017, 11:44 PM »
Hello all,

I'm looking for recommendations for mechanics tools for my personal use.  I don't need anything quite at the price point of Snap-On, but I would like a brand that's a bit more refined than Craftsman.  I have many craftsman tools from back in the day, but the new ones seem to be of lesser quality, and with the sale to the Stanley conglomerate I question the future consistency of the brand. 

I need to re-outfit myself with some new ratchets, sockets, breaker bars, box end wrenches, combination wrenches, etc.

A good warranty is a must, lifetime is even better.  And as much as I want to say made in USA, Germany, etc, I may be able to bring myself to buy from China etc given a good product.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Ken

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Offline RustE

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 11:52 PM »
Off the top of my head:

Channellock (adjustable wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers)

GearWrench (ratcheting wrenches)

Proto Industrial Tools

SK Tools

Offline leakyroof

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 12:06 AM »
You could go  with used and get Snap-On , MAC or Matco tools at bargain prices compared to new. That's how many techs starting out get tools. Craigslist, Letgo, or Pawn Shops or even Estate Sales.
If new is what you're set on, Gear Wrench makes great ratcheting wrenches in flex and non-flex head versions.
You can mix and match. Buying Snap-On Ratchets but Craftsman or Husky sockets.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline RustE

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 12:14 AM »
Kobalt sockets are decent.  Think these are made in Taiwan?

The 1/2-inch Kobalt torque wrench (click type, vernier adjustment) that sells for around $80 is a good buy to use on lug nuts.

Offline #Tee

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 02:33 AM »

I used to be a tech for benz and used craftsmans/snapon, but now for home use i prefer wera sets along with their super cool and affordable screw driver set. So I ditched most of my snapon ratches/sockets/wrenches for and replaced them with wera. i just love the feel and quality of them better.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 02:36 AM by #Tee »
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

IG: tee212

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 02:43 AM »
Hello all,

I'm looking for recommendations for mechanics tools for my personal use.  I don't need anything quite at the price point of Snap-On, but I would like a brand that's a bit more refined than Craftsman.  I have many craftsman tools from back in the day, but the new ones seem to be of lesser quality, and with the sale to the Stanley conglomerate I question the future consistency of the brand. 

I need to re-outfit myself with some new ratchets, sockets, breaker bars, box end wrenches, combination wrenches, etc.

A good warranty is a must, lifetime is even better.  And as much as I want to say made in USA, Germany, etc, I may be able to bring myself to buy from China etc given a good product.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Ken

Hi Ken

I appreciate that this may be a bit too expensive but if I were buying some really good mechanics tools I would start by looking at Wera. They are a German brand and I have a number of their smaller kits. I have been to several shows where I have looked carefully at the larger socket sets and so on and it is all very desirable. I will probably replace my large Proxon socket set at some stage.

I have made a video about the smaller stuff:



Good luck.

Peter

Offline #Tee

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 02:53 AM »
about 4 mins in i was sold lol

When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

IG: tee212

Offline Huxleywood

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 03:24 AM »
The majority of my mechanics tools bought over the last few years are Wera, Wiha, Felo, Knipex and NWS.  German Amazon, Zoro, Chads Tool Box and KC Tools have been my major sources the last three only used when I had significant coupons. 

I have found the ergonomics are much better with the German tools than most American brands and do my best to avoid Chiwanese except in the case of one use tools when I may even call upon Harbor Freight for my needs.

Offline rvieceli

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 07:42 AM »
Ken - You might want to head over to the Garage Journal http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/ and ask that question there.

It a great forum with folks ranging from pro mechanics to extremely talented amateurs. It is more mechanics tools focused and that question comes up a lot. There are also posts on good deals on these types of tools.

Ryan, the administrator was recently over here asking a similar question about outfitting a Festool kit.

Ron

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 09:27 AM »
   I am interested in this topic too as I am looking to add/ complete/ improve my hodge podge. Lately I have been diving into ratchets, wrenches, sockets, etc. I have just started to buy some "try them out" items after a bunch of research. I am after a complete set of sizes. EX- I am tired of maybe having a 12mm socket but needing an open end wrench only to find that the metric wrench set I bought 20 years ago (Craftsman) skips over the 12mm. That sort of thing combined with a variety of quality has prompted me to get a better set up.

   I don't use tools of this type all that much. That fact plus wanting a really complete set moves me away from Snap On and probably away from SK, Wera and some others too. Thought about going for used Snap On but getting a complete set that way can still be expensive and more of a hassle to get say all open end wrench sizes. The Craftsman products aren't what they used to be and seem to be hit and miss. Not all bad though. There are definitely some that I am planning to get.

    So far the winner standing at the crossroads of completeness, bang for buck, and seemingly quality, features, etc. looks like Gearwrench.
   

Seth

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 09:29 AM »
Ken, if you ask on Garage Journal please link it here.  I have found a bunch of useful topics on GJ by using google searches.

Seth

Offline neilc

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 09:42 AM »
Check out www.tekton.com. I bought a number of their ratchet and combination wrench sets.  Guaranteed for life.  Got a problem, take a photo and email it and they send you a new tool.  VERY responsive.  Made in Taiwan with a nice finish and features.  Good reviews on Amazon and in YouTube videos.  I learned about them in Garage Journal.

I looked at big box brands and even higher end brands but found them to be a good alternative for non-professional use.  Still prefer Wiha and Wera for screwdrivers, but have been happy w Tekton for wrenches.

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 10:25 AM »
I would say the same on screwdrivers  ...... it is hard to beat the Wera, Wiha, etc. even when comparing price  barring cheapo screwdrivers.

A very nice alternative to Knipex and the like for pliers is Channellock.

Seth

Offline TOOLTOWN

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 11:07 AM »
Lot's of great responses here.  Thank you to all that responded. 

I have some GearWrench ratcheting combination wrenches and I do like the fit and finish of them, along with the lifetime warranty.  I've broken a couple and have had good experiences with getting them replaced.  That may be the way I go.

I will pose this question over at the Garage Journal and link back over here for all who are interested. 

If anyone else has any input I am open to all of it.

Ken


Offline TOOLTOWN

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2017, 11:12 AM »
For anyone who is interested here is the link to the post over in the Garage Journal forum. 

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=6393623#post6393623

As I get responses over there I will try to summarize the results here.

Ken

Offline coug

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 11:16 AM »
I am going through the same thing.  I moved my craftsman screwdriver set into my truck / RV toolbox and am just picking out the Wera's I want.  I bought a SK ratchet set for the truck.  I have a few knipex tools and they are fantastic.  I am shopping for a new torque wrench and breaker bar.  The Knipex stuff is expensive, so I am replacing things as necessary.  GJ is a great forum.  I lurk there all of the time

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2017, 11:17 AM »
A note on the Gearwrench ratcheting combination wrenches. There are several different variations. The standard length original have a lower tooth count/ higher swing arc than the XL version. And there are two versions of the XL. The newest has red / blue filled size stamps and small 3 degree swing.

In any case be sure of what you are ordering. You will find sets for as little as $50 but those are almost all the original version. Previous XL is about $75 and the current is about $100.

Same for ratchets and socket sets with ratchets.   There are previous version 84 tooth and the current 120XP which have a 60 tooth double pawl. They look exactly the same except for 120XP markings.  Again be sure of what you are ordering.

Seth
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 12:51 PM by SRSemenza »

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2017, 12:08 PM »
For anyone who is interested here is the link to the post over in the Garage Journal forum. 

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=6393623#post6393623

As I get responses over there I will try to summarize the results here.

Ken

Hi Ken

Gosh some of their members are good looking !

Peter

Offline RKA

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2017, 12:14 PM »
I tend to prefer certain brands for certain types of tools (and in some cases do NOT like some brands).  I'm just a DIYer though, so I don't have experience with everything, but I'll summarize my preferences below.

Ratchets - Snap On, I really like their ratchets.  I haven't tried the high tooth Gearwrench ratchets, but heard very good things and would try without hesitation if I needed more ratchets.  Nepros is another interesting brand, hard to get, beautiful quality (toolbox jewelry), not cheap and completely unnecessary considering what we readily have access to, but I have one ratchet and one adjustable wrench and love them!  I tried a Wera and didn't care for it much.  I think it was too short (but not short enough to replace my short craftsman ratchet), the odd handle and plastic bits didn't sit well with me.  For some applications that swiveling head can be useful, but for auto work, this didn't appeal to me. 

Sockets - Williams USA made if that floats your boat, or their Taiwan line.  Easy to discern what's what from the part numbers.  Wright Tool is also good.  I've not been pleased with SK (finish is a little rough, chrome plating flakes off).  Koken (Japan) makes some really nice sockets for a reasonable (but not cheap) price.  I prefer 6 sided sockets for fasteners under 13mm.  Koken makes an interesting lobed profile socket to avoid rounding over fasteners, but it certainly makes it interesting when you're not sure whether the fastener is SAE or metric because that socket will always have a little more play than a standard straight walled socket (so many will not like this). 

Impact socket sets - Sunex or Gray Pneumatic (both Taiwan I think)

Socket bits - After breaking a few torx, I ponied up for Snap On (gold colored bits) and they have been really great.  I would spend money on good torx if you encounter them frequently.  VIM Tools (Taiwan) offers some good quality socket bit sets.

Screwdrivers - Snap On, Wiha (their heavy duty version).  I also have some older Craftsman Professionals that are very good, no idea if they still are?  There is a lot of personal preference in the handle design and ergonomics.  As an example, I can't stand my Wera's.  The handle design isn't all that appealing and the tips aren't durable either.  Vessel (Japan) also has some nice screwdrivers. 

Ratcheting screwdriver - I like my snap on, but mostly because of the handle shape. 

Pliers and Cutters - Knipex, Channellock.  Durability of Knipex is outstanding and some of their pliers are truly unique.  Channellock is high quality USA made stuff.  Grip On makes some nice locking pliers (I think they make them for Snap On).  For slip joint pliers, I have a set of Snap On's that have a cross hatch pattern in the jaws that are terrific!

Ratcheting wrenches - Look for something with a low swing angle.  I have Snap On's, but they are stupid expensive and I know you get Proto, SK's or other good quality at a better price.  The Gearwrench pieces I have are okay, but don't have a low swing angle. 

Picks and hook sets - I got some from PB Swiss that haven't broken on me, even the miniature set.  I would get them again if they were lost.

Pry bars - Craftsman Professional when it's on sale.  They will take a beating and the handles are nicer than the non-Pros for a little more money.  But the non-Pros are also good. 

Torque Wrenches - I have a precision instruments split beam with a flex head for the larger bolts (which I love) and an all metal SK clicker for the 3/8" stuff and a Snap On for the 1/4" stuff.  All are great.  The plastic locking rings on many of the craftsman's wear out, I gave mine away after 20 years of faithful service.  Harbor Freight actually has cheap all metal clicker style torque wrenches and they are accurate and consistent!  At $10-12 they are a bargain and a fraction of the cost of the others.  Usually this isn't a place you want to economize, but I know several people that have bought these and I checked every one. 

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  If there are specific types of tools you're interested in, post that and I can add more detail. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 02:29 PM by RKA »
-Raj

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2017, 12:54 PM »
The Gearwrench 120XP (double pawl 60 tooth that equates to having 120 teeth) ratcheting wrenches have a 3 degree swing which is much less than the original ones. I have a set on the way. I will post about them when they arrive.

I noticed on the Tekton  ratcheting wrenches that they are 6 point rather than 12 point. I get that this may have a better grip on the fastener but seems counter to part of the purpose of a ratcheting wrench, that being access and convenience getting the tool on to the fastener in a tight space. Yes, you can just turn a couple clicks but that still seems like a nuisance in tight quarters to have to mess with it.

Seth
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 12:58 PM by SRSemenza »

Offline Hank77

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2017, 01:02 PM »
Quite a few years ago, I would work on my cars regularly.  I decided to stock up on quality tools, after some miserable experiences with cheaper tools.  Here's what I ended up with:
  • Stahlwille combination wrenches:  These are German made, and they are fantastic.  They feel good in the hand, have a nice satin finish.  Expensive, thus I never built a full set
  • Beta tools sockets, ratchets:  I believe these are Italian made, nice finish on the sockets and ratchet.  The ratchet is one of my favorites.  It has a slide selector for direction, which keeps the head a fairly low profile.  I believe the one I have is a 60 or 72 tooth, so the ratchet swing angle is fairly small.  On the pricier end, but I managed to find someone emptying out old inventory.
  • Facom ratchets, screwdrivers:  French made, great finish quality (other than one with a knurled handle which is frankly, disgustingly low quality), but one of my 3/8" ratchets doesn't ratchet anymore.  I believe there's a rebuild kit for it, and one day I'll get to it, but I'm using my Beta ratchet instead.  I have a set of insulated screwdrivers.  They're nicely made, but the handles aren't terribly comfortable.  On the pricier side, tough to find good deals
  • Proto combination wrenches and ratchets:  Rougher finish than the European brands, but as tough as you can imagine.  Made in the USA.  Pricier, but can often find decent deals on sets and individual pieces.
  • Wright combination wrenches:  The finish is rough, the size stamping is crude, but the wrenches are solid.  These are my primary combination wrenches, and I really like them.  Made in the USA.  Not sure of pricing, I got them from some obscure site that had bought out Farm & Fleet surplus.
  • SK wrenches, torque wrenches, sockets, and ratchets:  SK bought Facom quite a few years ago, so some of the SK stuff I have is actually badged as Facom.  The wrenches are nicely finished chrome, US made, I've never had any issues with comfort or failure.  The sockets are the same, chrome, US made, good quality.  My 1/4" SK torque wrench just liberated a bunch of oil after sitting in my tool chest for a few years.  Not sure why that happened.  It's about 15 years old, so maybe it's time to send it off for calibration.  On the pricier side, deals can be had occasionally.
  • Wiha and Wera screwdrivers:  I have some smaller screwdrivers by Wiha.  The smaller slotted ones (sub 2 mm tips) are all torn up from light use.  I think maybe it was a case of wrong tool for the wrong job.  The larger ones have held up great.  I bought the basic Wera set years ago, and I loved it.  The grips were the best I'd had, and left me craving for more.  Recently, Amazon has had some stellar sales on Wera so I ended up picking up a few different Wera Plus (green and black) sets, insulated removable blade driver, and I just got some individual stainless (grey and black) drivers.  The lasertip heads on the Wera Plus drivers really work.  I was pretty astounded on how much less time I spend worrying about camming out of a philips head with the lasertip heads.  The quality of the stainless drivers is pretty awesome.  Oh, the Wiha drivers were made in Germany, and the Wera drivers were made in the Czech Republic.  Decent deals on both through multiple online retailers.
  • Toptul sockets, ratchets, screwdrivers, wrenches:  I haven't found much on Toptul lately, but I picked up a bunch 10 years ago.  They're Taiwanese made, and I feel as though they are excellent quality.  Finish is top notch, and I would put them against any of the European and American brands.  I think their distribution in the US has dropped off since I purchased them though.
  • Gedore and Hazet wrenches:  On a whim, I picked up a few loose wrenches to fill in some gaps and pick up some offset wrenches and just some open end wrenches.  Of course, these are all German made.  By a tiny margin, I would pick Stahlwille as the top German brand, just based on finish and comfort.  I'd think they're more than serviceable for the hobbyist.
I built up my tool chest slowly, looking for good deals along the way.  I never worried much about having a warranty since these don't have too many moving parts (other than the torque wrenches).  Hope that helps!

Offline Cheese

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2017, 01:09 PM »
I'm a huge fan of Snap-on screwdrivers. Mine are over 30 years old and for many years they were used on a daily basis. Guaranteed for life, they keep extra blades in the Snap-on truck and Snap-on will remove and replace the damaged blade on the spot...no questions asked.

The screwdriver blade tips are hardened and vapor-honed to provide a surface with a little bit of tooth to hold/grab the screw recess more securely. If mine were lost or stolen today, I'd purchase another set of Snap-on screwdrivers tomorrow...they're worth the money.

Offline RobBob

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2017, 09:32 PM »
For anyone who is interested here is the link to the post over in the Garage Journal forum. 

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=6393623#post6393623

As I get responses over there I will try to summarize the results here.

Ken

Hi Ken

Gosh some of their members are good looking !

Peter

Lol.  I'll say.

Offline Lettusbee

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2017, 09:35 PM »
Has anyone tried the Dewalt sockets/ratchets and wrenches?   They actually seem pretty good from playing with them in the store. 

Offline johninthecamper

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2017, 02:12 AM »
Williams tool was purchased by snap on years ago,many Identical items for less.blue point is the place you probly want to be,owned by Snapon, warranty is there,made in Asia,so its cheap.you can buy a (500 piece!) set for about what craftsman costs . Problem is the warranty is long-time,my truck only had sets ,would not break them for a $2 socket (got a few common items to use(lose) for stagework),I had to order the things I got,felt like I paid at harbor freight and royal mail delivery and royal mail for the broke one(my fault,used a cheater bar)

Offline TOOLTOWN

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2017, 01:36 PM »
For anyone who is interested here is the link to the post over in the Garage Journal forum. 

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=6393623#post6393623

As I get responses over there I will try to summarize the results here.

Ken

Hi Ken

Gosh some of their members are good looking !

Peter

Haha I'll say!

Offline TOOLTOWN

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2017, 01:38 PM »
I'm surprised how many people are into the Harbor Freight junk over at the other forum.  I can't stand walking into that store, it literally stinks of cheap plastic. 

I think I'll be investigating the Gear Wrench lineup.  I have some of their stuff and like the fit and finish of it.  I'll also investigate some of the brands listed here that I've not considered in the past, see how they perform.

Thanks for all the insight.

Ken

Offline leakyroof

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2017, 08:53 PM »
I'm surprised how many people are into the Harbor Freight junk over at the other forum.  I can't stand walking into that store, it literally stinks of cheap plastic. 

I think I'll be investigating the Gear Wrench lineup.  I have some of their stuff and like the fit and finish of it.  I'll also investigate some of the brands listed here that I've not considered in the past, see how they perform.

Thanks for all the insight.

Ken
. WHATtttt.... That's the smell of Victory...... [wink]
Okay, more like a smell of light oil that permeates every Harbor Freight on the Planet.... [embarassed]
I never dismiss old HF, there are strange, almost indestructible deals lurking in there. You just have to be daring at times and buy it , to try it....
I would actually really miss it if they went under.... [sad]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline TOOLTOWN

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2017, 10:25 PM »
I'm surprised how many people are into the Harbor Freight junk over at the other forum.  I can't stand walking into that store, it literally stinks of cheap plastic. 

I think I'll be investigating the Gear Wrench lineup.  I have some of their stuff and like the fit and finish of it.  I'll also investigate some of the brands listed here that I've not considered in the past, see how they perform.

Thanks for all the insight.

Ken
. WHATtttt.... That's the smell of Victory...... [wink]
Okay, more like a smell of light oil that permeates every Harbor Freight on the Planet.... [embarassed]
I never dismiss old HF, there are strange, almost indestructible deals lurking in there. You just have to be daring at times and buy it , to try it....
I would actually really miss it if they went under.... [sad]

Don't get me wrong, when I needed a hand truck to change my water heaters, or moving dollies I went straight there.  I got a hand truck with 12 inch pneumatic tires for about $35 with a coupon, sure the tires leak, but at that price I'm cool filling them up each time i need to use it. 

But for a hand tool I do take fit and finish into the equation.  Case in point, when I got the hand truck I had to file down some sharp edges (I cut myself loading it into the car).  I don't want that aggravation on hand tools. 

But all of us here definitely know the difference between price and value... We do all buy Festool after all [thumbs up]

Ken

Offline leakyroof

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Re: Mechanics tool recommendation wanted
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2017, 09:37 AM »
I'm surprised how many people are into the Harbor Freight junk over at the other forum.  I can't stand walking into that store, it literally stinks of cheap plastic. 

I think I'll be investigating the Gear Wrench lineup.  I have some of their stuff and like the fit and finish of it.  I'll also investigate some of the brands listed here that I've not considered in the past, see how they perform.

Thanks for all the insight.

Ken
. WHATtttt.... That's the smell of Victory...... [wink]
Okay, more like a smell of light oil that permeates every Harbor Freight on the Planet.... [embarassed]
I never dismiss old HF, there are strange, almost indestructible deals lurking in there. You just have to be daring at times and buy it , to try it....
I would actually really miss it if they went under.... [sad]

Don't get me wrong, when I needed a hand truck to change my water heaters, or moving dollies I went straight there.  I got a hand truck with 12 inch pneumatic tires for about $35 with a coupon, sure the tires leak, but at that price I'm cool filling them up each time i need to use it. 

But for a hand tool I do take fit and finish into the equation.  Case in point, when I got the hand truck I had to file down some sharp edges (I cut myself loading it into the car).  I don't want that aggravation on hand tools. 

But all of us here definitely know the difference between price and value... We do all buy Festool after all [thumbs up]

Ken
  Oh the tires... Not only do they leak, but THAT SMELL......It never stops coming out of them. I think I bought some different ones from Mc-Master Carr because I got tired of the smell in the area where my Hand Truck was stored... [eek]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....