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  #1  
Old 10-31-2014, 06:36 PM
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The PIG Smith The PIG Smith is offline
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Tool Recommendation

My son Nathan has always been interested in Auto Mechanics, especially working our FSJ projects.
He is a HS Senior and after a visit to a local Community College, he dropped a bomb on us that he wants to go to college and study Automotive Technology after he graduates.
While this has me troubled some as he is not very studious, he works great with his hands and I think if he get past the academics of College, he will be very successful as a mechanic.

I would like to get him started with a nice set of basic tools, wrenches, ratchet set, etc for a Christmas present.
I cannot afford the really good stuff, like Snap-on, MAC or Cornwell.
So, what would you consider to be your second choice? Craftsman? Kobalt? Stanley?
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Old 10-31-2014, 06:38 PM
Ristow Ristow is offline
 
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craftsman is decent entry level. its what i have mostly. menards sells Allen,which are usa made and decent. i have a lot of those too.
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Old 10-31-2014, 07:03 PM
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Ghinmi Ghinmi is offline
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I don't have much of a recommendation on tools (I have all second hand or cheap stuff for the most part). But congrats to you and especially Nathan on finding something he likes and is wanting to pursue! Good stuff!
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2014, 07:07 PM
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ProTouring442 ProTouring442 is offline
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I left the same message on the other site, but I'll leave it here as well for any whom it might assist.

For hand tools, the GearWrench brand seems to be a nice, inexpensive brand. A nice step up is SK (I have abox full of SK sockets, ratchets, and wrenches).

For pliers, etc, Channel Lock.

For impact sockets, Gray Pneumatic, and Sunnex re nice and not so expensive.

All the above is, of course, my own opinion. On the other hand, I did sell mechanic's tools for a living for some 10 years.
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Old 10-31-2014, 08:10 PM
61Hawk 61Hawk is offline
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I'd watch for the Craftsman sets that will be going on sale over the next couple months. It seems like Sears has sets on sale every week as we get closer to Christmas.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:02 PM
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Strode Strode is offline
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Craftsman Industrial is made in USA. They dropped the Professional line, and that replaced it. I like em.

Williams is USA made too, I think it's a division of SnapOn, and nice stuff.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2014, 09:29 PM
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Tripwire Tripwire is offline
hey,does anyone here know how to.......
 
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I vote a large craftsman mechanix set ( $600.00 ) bought one 20 years ago and only had a single failure in a ratchet which they replaced no questions asked... the big boy stuff is for serious shops it will last him and his son no problem

you get what you pay for....
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:13 AM
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8man 8man is offline
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Got my first Craftsman set in 72 and still have them and use them.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2014, 07:47 AM
mokurt mokurt is offline
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Wait for a sale at Sears,or even HF will be good for a starter.

If your son does take the mechanic route,he can buy the good stuff later.

We sent our son fresh out of high school to Sequoia Automotive Institute.I think it's Wyo Tech now.
He was working at Wally World in the tire/oil change dept.,going to school at night.

After graduation,he got his foot in the door at a Chevy dealership.
He worked at two other chevy dealerships before landing a union bus mechanic job.
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2014, 12:30 AM
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blazer3664 blazer3664 is offline
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Quote:
craftsman is decent entry level. its what i have mostly
.
I have quite a mix, but a lot of Craftsman stuff as well. I dont care for their standard ratchets though, they dig into my hands sometimes. I much prefer a round handle ratchet.

That said

I would agree with those that mentioned the Craftsman sale stuff.
On sale they are about as good a "value" as any cheaper stuff, and later as he starts to go looking for a job they wont think twice seeing Craftsman in his tool box.

Quote:
menards sells Allen,which are usa made and decent.
X2
For made in the USA hand tools, Menards has Allen brand and a lot of the basics under the Master Force brand (looks a lot like S-K stuff to me) with lifetime warranty.
I have also seen Gear-wrench brand stuff there, though I'm not sure where they are made, and dont own any to call them good/bad.

As bad as some people hate to hear it...................... Functionally, and for the $$.
.
.
.
.
.
For my go to travel kit........
I have a HF 301pc "Pittsburg Pro" set, and a few other odds and ends that have impressed me, for cheap basic tools anyway.
If I were to start over on tools, I would be watching their sales and picking up all the basics on sale.
Wrenches, ratchets, sockets, breaker bar, and extensions I have from there were all on sale for cheap compaired to the name brand equivelents. So far no failures, and I use my tools regularly and hard.


For what you are talking about, and I have a friend who started the same way, I think Craftsman is probably your best bet.

Heres why...

1) Catch sets on sale and the prices are compairable or slightly higher than HF stuff when its not on sale.

2) From an employers/customers standpoint they are cheap "profesional mechanics" tools.
Some employers/customers will second guess a mechanic who doesn't take his tools seriously (HF or other "off brand" tools).
Some wont care as long as he knows how to use them correctly. My friend ran into that back when he got started.

Just my $.02 so take it for what it is.


Haveing an employment goal is a great thing in life. So many dont have the ambition or sence of sefl worth to do so anymore.
Its good to hear he does.

One of my step-sons did, one still don't. Guess which one I worry about.

Wish the boy well, and suport him emotionally if he goes for it.
Do what you can WITH him financially, there are many grants and such out there. I know they are hard to get, and a pain in the ... , but you never know till you try.
If he shares the pain of funding, and filing for funding his schooling it will help him understand the importance of finishing what he's starting.

Be sure he understands the important thing is you are there for him to offer help when you can, financial or moral.

Sorry about the long post, hopefully something in there helps.

Jim
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  #11  
Old 11-02-2014, 10:45 AM
joe joe is offline
 
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I'll toss in another vote for Craftsman for starting out. My original Craftsman stuff I bought in the 60's is still in use today. If your son needs some inspiration have him read "Shop Class as Soulcraft" by Crawford. Good read.
The world has enough lawyers and liberal arts majors. We need people to make things and fix'em.
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2014, 11:48 AM
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Cherokeeowner Cherokeeowner is offline
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I've stated on this site before I know of "Professional" truck and heavy equipment Techs who have used Craftsman as their go to tools. They may have had to buy Snap On or Mac specialty tools but that was rare.

Most of the guys buy Snap On or Mac because they can buy on credit, something I'd personally avoid.

I just spoke to our HR person last Thursday about new recruits. We are constantly trying to recruit new techs 18 years and older who are going to a trade school or college. We work them while they are off of school for summer break. This is to filter through them and find the best candidates for our type of business. Northwestern in Ohio and Ferris State here in Michigan are two of the schools they are currently partnered with. A lot of the older guys are struggling with the electronics and DPF systems. It doesn't help that the DPF systems aren't designed to operate correctly in our industry.

Good techs are hard to find, let alone any young ones. If he listens and learns this stuff, he will make a good living. He needs to remember, auto's are the lower rung and they pay less than heavy equip and truck repair.
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  #13  
Old 11-02-2014, 11:50 AM
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Cherokeeowner Cherokeeowner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe
I'll toss in another vote for Craftsman for starting out. My original Craftsman stuff I bought in the 60's is still in use today. If your son needs some inspiration have him read "Shop Class as Soulcraft" by Crawford. Good read.
The world has enough lawyers and liberal arts majors. We need people to make things and fix'em.

Amen Brother Joe!

The essay that inspired the book.

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib...awford2009.pdf
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  #14  
Old 11-02-2014, 07:00 PM
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Gurinski Gurinski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherokeeowner
Amen Brother Joe!

The essay that inspired the book.

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib...awford2009.pdf

x3
Im all for the lawers doc and computer geeks but our country is the way it is because of all the industries we lost to over seas and the decent paying jobs that went with them.

My idea would be to get a tool box and fill it like an easter basket with stuff from everywhere. My first set was craftsmen and I would still have it if I didn't take with me everywhere I went(was stolen out my 3rd car). When he graduates you can splurge a little as a grad present.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:38 PM
hookedup50 hookedup50 is offline
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I use mostly craftsman/kobalt tools(used to work at lowes). Both brands hold up well to my abuse. I also have sets of evercraft deep impact sockets. The deep impacts from HF aren't really deep as the hole that the bolt is supposed to fit in is to small. They are also thick walled as the metallurgy is not up to snuff. If I am going to abuse something to the point of failure, thats when HF shines, cause who cares. I like SK as well. Gear wrench with pivot, are my favorite for close quarters like bell housing near firewall on my diesel P/U.
If I was young, I would be at diesel mechanic school or marine mechanic, as pay scale is better. Thats just my opinion, and there is always a need for a good young auto techs.
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  #16  
Old 11-02-2014, 09:06 PM
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DarkMonohue DarkMonohue is offline
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Starting out with a cheaper set of entry level tools is probably the smart move if you're not positive this will be a long term career.

My real favorite is Wright. A lot of their stuff is made in the USA, which I really prefer. I have their ratchets (very happy with them) and satin chrome combination wrenches. The Wright Grip feature on open end wrenches really works for holding on to fasteners. It is impressive. The satin chrome finish is much easier to grip with oily or dirty gloves than a fully polished wrench. I am really sold on the brand. They are not stocked on every tool truck but you can order them from places like Harry Epstein's, etc. Prices are much more reasonable than truck brand tools.

I try to avoid Harbor Freight for most things, but have been impressed by their impact sockets, impact extensions, and some of their tool boxes. I have one of their tool carts in daily use, and for $169 on sale, I can't complain a bit. It's worth every penny.

http://www.harborfreight.com/tool-st...art-61427.html

Their 44" and 56" tool chests also get outstanding reviews. Some of this is probably the heady effects of that new car smell (although HF stores have a smell all their own), but they do seem to hold up reasonably well.

I have been extremely disappointed with HF's Pittsburgh Pro socket extensions. The wobble extensions round off easily, and if they can hold on to a socket, the end breaks off. Their quick-release extensions also like to break, locking a socket on the extension or not letting you attach a socket at all.

My old (late 80s) Craftsman sockets and extensions are in daily use. They are reasonably high quality stuff. But the stuff that Sears sells currently is not the same as the stuff we were all raised on. It is cheaper. Some things aren't what they used to be.
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  #17  
Old 11-03-2014, 08:54 AM
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Yep, Craftsman for decent stuff. If you/he gets to higher end tools, go to Cornwell. I quit buying Scrap Iron stuff. Cornwell is just as good, same warranty, and 1/2 to 2/3 the price. Mac is on par with scrap iron.
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:02 AM
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SkylinePCG SkylinePCG is offline
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I use a lot of craftsman stuff, but if I were to do it again, Id avoid buying a giant "set." Dont make the mistake of assuming more "pieces" =more workability (I made that word up.)

While the frequent discounts that show up at Sears can be attractive, youd be better off grabbing a more basic set of stuff that will get used a lot (1/2" and 3/4" ratchets/sockets/wrenches,) forgoing what is mostly filler (a thousand loose hex keys and interchangeable screwdriver bits) and then piecemeal the rest, tailoring it to specific interests and needs; channellock slip joints and wire strippers, a BFH, some safety glasses...

And then a good toolbox with some room to grow, and hes on his way.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:39 PM
gopher_6_9 gopher_6_9 is offline
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Craftsman is a good starter set, hell I wrench everyday and I still use mostly craftsmen for the basics, especially if you can luck up and find some NOS still made in the USA .

Starter boxes, IMHO harbor freight chest is the only way to go (check above link, they'll push it on you, think its a 42")
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:56 AM
threepiece threepiece is offline
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It looks like Nathan and I have similar history Brian. I struggled all through grade school and went on to get my associates degree in automotive from a community college. Imagine the surprise to all who knew me when I made the Deans List three times! Perhaps Nathan will turn things around too.

As others have said I would not get carried away with buying too many tools too soon. I would definitely take advantage of the used tool market. I know a regular dealer at a local flea market who has an abundance of good quality used tools. I have, on a few occasions walked away with some great tools at 1/3 the cost of new.
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