Thread: Tool kit
View Single Post
Old 05-05-2002, 11:34 AM
Billybob Billybob is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cape Cod Massachusetts
Posts: 1,427
Lightbulb Tool Quality/Value!

Most name branded tools are pretty good overall, Craftsmen are probably on the higher end of the average brands, and the return policy is attractive. Snap-On, MAC, S-K, and Armstrong are good professional tools.

Hazet, Gedore, Stahlwille are very good professional quality tools that are worth every dime they cost, which is a lot.

So for me personally it's a matter of whether or not to invest more money in a higher quality tool that will perform better and longer or less on a tool that will work good enough to get the job done.

I generally will spend the most on the tools that I will use the most. A Hazet ratchet that works as smooth as butter and has little or no play between its' moving parts is truly a pleasure to own and use and when your in the middle of a tough job its darn nice not to have the added aggravation of a "good enough" tool. So I pay the double or triple price for a tool like a ratchet that I will be using thousands of times over the years to come. An there is nothing better than a 5 degree swing when your bent over, upside down, turning a fastener that you can't see, and barely feel, in a tight space!

The second place that I am willing to spend the extra $$ is on the tool that makes actual contact with the fastener. This is, in the long run, probably the best place to spend your hard earned first. You can most likely make do with a standard ratchet to turn a high quality tool but a high quality ratchet turning a standard tool isn't nearly as effective. As you decide which tools to buy an interesting thing to is to take a vernier caliper with you to the store (Sears for instance) and when you decide to buy a socket or the like, take a measurement of the tool and measure a couple of the same ones, you might be surprised to see just how much the inside measurement of any given five 17 MM sockets vary, my experience is the .5 MM +- is not unusual! Some people will opine that this condition is desirable given the variation in fasteners in the world, but my experience with at least with MB that their fasteners like most other aspects of these machines are subject to higher tolerances than most. Some will say so what! but I will offer that when your trying to remove say the water pump or your motor mounts and the use of a low tolerance standard tool leads to a damaged or destroyed fastener and all the time, energy and money that will then be expended to make things right, the price difference between a Sears 10 MM Allen head socket at $3 and Hazet tool that costs $6 is in my opinion a very wise investment. The fit and finish of these high end tools is immediately apparent to a discerning tool aficionado.

Another thing to consider is whether the replacement of a fail or broken tool is enough. Earlier in my life I ran a sport fishing boat for a wealthy family from Palm Beach. Each spring/summer we spent three months of a fishing diving safari in some of the more remote and pristine areas of the Caribbean. We carried almost every spare part that could possibly be replaced on board and a complete outfit of Armstrong tools that never failed. Many of the repair and maintenance tasks that took place would have been impossible if a Craftsman replacement guaranteed tool had failed then and there! 500 miles from Sears is a mighty long way and time when your blower is lunched or you genset is down you and your 1/2" ratchet has a broken pawl and teeth ripped off it's gear or your only 11/16 socket has rounded out! Ditto that water pump/motor mount/brake job that was to have taken the only two hours that you had available on Sunday from 1-3 PM (Sears is an hour away, but closed!)so you could drive to work through rush hour traffic without over heating/not stopping to work early Monday morning.

Someday and sometimes it might be worth it to have a functioning tool rather than an unlimited supply of replacement tools!

Last but not least, with tools, just like your MB itself there is more value than the sum of the parts. The pride in ownership of a piece or collection of finely engineered and finished "tool art", the security in knowing that your ability to complete the task is limited by your capabilities not those of your tools, and the understanding that when than time comes for you to pass over to the big boneyard in the sky you might have passed on all this appreciation to a son or daughter who might very well be wrenching their own 85 year old 3,000,000 mile 1985 300CD with their son/daughter in 2050 using Grandpa's 14 MM Allen head socket to change out the differential fluid it will be a couple of more dollars, well spent!

What is the sense of investing in disposable tools if you don’t invest in disposable cars! Invest in the best you can afford for the long run! Just think of how much satisfaction you’d have using the same 13 MM wrench to open your oil filter housing for the 333rd oil change at a million miles and the your wrench fits as perfectly then as it did way back when, the first time you performed this most sacred of rituals! It is such simple things in life that can be so good!

By the way I have plenty of Craftsmen tools I usually pick them up in used tool stores quite cheap knowing I can eventually swap them for new! Just picked up a Craftsman 24” X ˝” drive breaker bar for $4 that will make turning the engine over by the crank much easier! Just some things to consider. Good Luck and Good Wrenching!
Reply With Quote