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Farewell Craftsman

I went to a Sears, Sears Hardware, and Sears Outlet today. I found 5 different hand tool items manufactured in the U.S. Total. A small set of ratcheting wrenches, a screw driver set, a pliers set, a 17 piece Metric 12-point socket set, and a 94 piece mechanic's set. Everything else was manufactured in China. I bought one of each, although I am not sure why (most are duplicates of what I have). I was searching for an old stock 299 socket set. The kind that still was made in the U.S. No luck. Anywhere.

I compared the weight and construction of U.S.- and Chinese-manufactured sockets (identical sizes). The U.S. was heavier and cut a little cleaner on the inside. And, from searching online, it looks like I'm simply late to the pity party. Farewell, Craftsman. You were good while you lasted.
 



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delexploder

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Amen to that! I have been going to flea markets and pawn shops looking for old craftsman tools , the new stuff is crap!
 






toypaseo

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Some "Craftsman Industrial" is still made in USA :thumbsup:
 






BrooklynBay

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Every year, parts & labor expenses rise, so it's difficult for businesses to keep up unless they find a cheaper way of providing the same merchandise for a similar price range. The item might double in price if they have to use more metal or use a stronger metal, plus have it made in this country. Quality metal tools were made with heavy steel at a time when it was cheaper to manufacturer. A lot of tools use composites now instead of metal. Labor & material cost a lot less in China than here so it's the end of made in America items unless we could find another solution (possibly 3D printing something at home, and paying for the CAD file).
 






Turdle

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When I bought a large Craftsman tool set from Sears the sales lady-store owner assured me if a tool broke, I could just bring it in for an exchange for life.

This slowly became "bring the broken tool in and we'll ship a new one to you"
Which slowly evolved into "bring the broken tool in and we might remember to send you a new one in 5 months"

And has now become "we don't do that anymore" while looking me straight in the eye. Same person, same store.

BTW I have yet to break a Stanley socket. I know I haven't tried hard enough but I really like their "no slip" sockets. Craftsman sockets crack pretty easy compared to them.
 






Rhett

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The consequences of bad trade deals and tax policies. :roll:

Last time I was in a Sears they said they would replace for life...so I will keep on my toes next time I'm in there.
 






Flounder

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I found a few more, but not many. Still no luck on the 299 socket set.

I decided to focus on building a "legacy" tool collection (that I'll actually use) -- something to pass to my child/ren, and so on. I picked up an 18-piece set of Wright Tools metric wrenches with a polished finish. Next up, once the tool budget cools, will be the SAE. Then a slow replacement of my sockets, etc. unless I can get my hands on the Craftsman USA ones. I doubt I'll stick to one manufacturer, although price will dictate to some extent. Snap-On is phenomenal, but I don't want to mortgage my house for a toolbox full.
 






toypaseo

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I think eBay might be one of the last options for USA Craftsman. Have you dug on there?

Are you considering piecing together with used sockets?
 






Anime

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The core Craftsman tools in Sears stores has been the newer China/Taiwan made stuff for the last few years, other than the pliers and some screwdrivers. Some places still had the automotive tools that were USA-made, but they replaced most of those with Taiwan-made items this year. Little by little, it's all coming from overseas.

It was a pretty shrewd move - swapping all the core stuff for China/Taiwan manufactured stuff, to alienate their core customers and make it so they no longer wanted to take advantage of the "lifetime warranty" and exchange a USA-made tool for a Taiwan/China-made one. Although, you still have the clueless people getting valuable antique/vintage Craftsman tools at garage and estate sales, worth quite a bit of money, and instead exchanging it under the warranty for the cheap new stuff.
 






Flounder

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A brief update --

Some people try to visit every major league baseball stadium.

I have been visiting every Sears within driving distance trying to add to my existing USA-forged SAE and Metric wrenches. I have been able to complete the SAE set and have about 5 or 6 more to go on the Metric set, mostly in the large (24 mm and above) range. My brother picked up a couple from central Pennsylvania. I picked up a couple from northeastern Pennsylvania. And tomorrow I am making the drive to northcentral Pennsylvania and southeastern New York. I'm half doing it for fun, half for principle. Someday I will show my children the USA stamp and explain how, despite the passage of time, some things were still made in the USA. :)

No luck on the socket set, but thinking about it, who needs 299 sockets? The ones I have are the ones I have used in the past. I always can add to those as I need them -- preferably with something domestically made.

I haven't done anything with the Wright Metric set other than inspect it. Very nice tools. Almost too nice to use.
 






Junkmann2

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You don't have to mortgage the homestead to own Snap-On tools, unless you want new shinny one's. I purchased very few new tools, since I always had found people leaving the trade, and wanting to sell their entire boxes of tools. I acquired a lot of duplicates, and have sold off the duplicates to fund my used Snap-On purchases. I now have more than I will ever need, and I don't work on anything that has a computer. I enjoy all my antique and classic cars, and usually do all my own mechanical work. At this point, the only Craftsman that I have is a 3/4" drive socket set, and 90% of those are USA made, and the balance being made in Taiwan, back in the late 1990's. I still have a Craftsman click torque wrench, that I recently tested for accuracy, and it was within tolerances. Bought that in 1960, to replace a head gasket on a 1955 Chevy 265 cubic inch V8.
 






Josh P

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I quit buying craftsman tools years ago. A few months ago I was replacing some bushings on my jeep and I needed a wrench. Sears wanted $19, home depot wanted $4 for the husky brand.. Both made of chinesium.
 






Flounder

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After some help -- now a complete set of Craftsman USA-made wrenches in every size. Unfortunately, when if I ever break one, I'll never replace it with a USA-made one.
 

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toypaseo

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Unfortunately, when if I ever break one, I'll never replace it with a USA-made one.

Geez...
money.gif


actually, won't you pry find a new, or used, USA-made replacement...?
 






Flounder

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Well, I won't replace it with a USA-made one from Sears because there probably won't be any left.

I may go used. I also have this tucked away (not in the chest -- thinking of putting it in the china cabinet... :)) It doesn't have the big sizes, but damned if I know what I ever will use them for.
 

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toypaseo

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Nice :thumbsup:
money.gif


Most of my bigger wrenches are flea market finds, various brands and countries. I tried for the most part to stay away from ones from China or Taiwan. Over numerous trips, I only opted for them if there was no other ones to find, if "better" countries were too much more, or if they were in great condition.

In reality, for as much as I'll pry use them, any of them pry would work :shifty_ey
 






SPSully

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I stopped craftsman usage when they told me I had to rebuild my broken ratchet. Not hard to fix them, but it was the writing on the wall for me.
 






GRNMACHINE

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I quit buying craftsman tools years ago. A few months ago I was replacing some bushings on my jeep and I needed a wrench. Sears wanted $19, home depot wanted $4 for the husky brand.. Both made of chinesium.

Absolutely love that---chinesium!!


Flounder, its cool you are collecting the last of the craftsman legacy... And even the more recent usa ratchets were really inferior to the old stuff. I do like those offset tools you have pictured. May need to see if I can get a set of them myself.
 






swshawaii

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Still kicking myself for not buying these in unused condition with case from a local CL seller for $30 a few years ago.
I remember when Sears introduced these in 1972-73 for a then crazy price of $48 for an eight piece set. Apparently
they were only available in 1972 before being discontinued by Sears. Appears they command hundreds of $$$ today.

Craftsman stainless score!!
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/...=craftsman+stainless+steel+wrenches&showall=1

Craftsman stainless steel wrench set
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157403

Craftsman Stainless Steel Wrenches
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27776
 



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