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Times change

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When I typed the title I figured somebody would think I was speaking of "the time change" back to standard time. My Craftsman brand 1/4" ratchet literally fell apart a few weeks ago, and I was thinking are they still covered by the warranty? As the Sears store in Cookeville closed, I happened to find out Lowes covers the warranty. I went in today with my OLD broken ratchet and got a brand spanking new one that retailed for $29.98. Not a big deal, however I receive a $49.99 tool set from my parents in 1968 for Christmas, it contained a 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" ratchets with sockets, screwdrivers, pliers and end wrenches. Plus over the years that ratchet that broke had been rebuilt or replaced at least 2 or 3 times. I think the tool set has been a great investment. Times have certainly changed.

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I purchased a 1/4 drive socket set, from Lows, a couple months ago. I don't believe the Craftsman tools are as well built as older tools were.  

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10 minutes ago, pop pop said:

I purchased a 1/4 drive socket set, from Lows, a couple months ago. I don't believe the Craftsman tools are as well built as older tools were.  

They absolutely aren’t. Stanley owns them now and they are built in the same factories in China that build most any of the consumer grade/house tool brands. 

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Quality tools are never a bad investment. I was a professional mechanic for 42 years. Working mostly on trucks and heavy equipment. Just by the nature of the job, I was hard on my tools. You'll find Snap-on, Mac and other stuff in my tool box. But you;ll also see that the majority of my tools are Craftsman. I only bought the other brands if Craftsman didn't make what I needed. They were quality tools at a reasonable price, fully guaranteed and I could go by Sears to replace a broken one on my way home. No need to wait for the other brand's tool truck to come around. Craftsman was top quality stuff.  :up:

Unfortunately Pop Pop is right. When Sears decided to get out of the tool business, they sold the Craftsman name to Lowes. Now days Craftsman tools are made in China or some other place overseas and they aren't anywhere near the quality they once were. But at least Lowes will honor the warranty. You get a new replacement tool, it just ain't as good.  :rolleyes:

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10 minutes ago, Grayfox54 said:

You get a new replacement tool, it just ain't as good.  

Yeah, kinda mixed emotions. It is free, but not worth driving back to get another for free?? I used to make a living wrenching also Grayfox and I like Mac and Snap-on but like you said, Craftsman was cheaper and warranted. I also like Blackhawk tools, I worked at a couple of Auto parts stores in early 70's and they are pretty good. I just found out that Blackhawk were made by New Britain whom also made Craftsman and some other brands. I look at guns as tools, buy a good one and it will outlast your great grandkids.

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Craftsman tools have been crap for close to 30 years now.  They were still made in the USA when they started to decline.  Not to mention K-mart being an exclusive distributor when they were still around.

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Here's an interesting story. My father worked in the office at the old International Harvester Foundry here in Memphis for 33 years. IH bought all of Sear's broken tools and melted them down for other uses. My Dad was in charge of them. When a load of these broken tools came in they had to be kept locked up and very secure. Otherwise the plant workers would steal them and take them to Sears to be replaced.  :rolleyes:

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58 minutes ago, Grayfox54 said:

Otherwise the plant workers would steal them and take them to Sears to be replaced.  :rolleyes:

Reminds me of Johnny Cash's '49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58' 59' automobile.

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I have a lot of tools and most of my hand tools are USA Craftsman tools from the 70s.  My first tool set was a starter set given to me by my Dad.  I think mostly so I would stay out of his tools.  By the time I needed to replace my 3/8 ratchet they no longer swapped complete ratchets but would give you a replacement gear set for the head.  When that wore out again I went back to Sears and they handed me a new ratchet, made in Japan, that just looked and felt cheap.  I handed it back to the clerk and asked to have my old ratchet back.  Even though my ratchet would no longer function me and that ratchet had been through many engines, repairs and projects together working side by side with my Dad.  I eventually picked up a couple more functional USA Craftsman 3/8 ratchets at yard sales.  My Dad is now long since gone and I can buy mediocre ratchets anywhere, but the Craftsman ratchet my Dad gave me is in my tool chest where it belongs, even if it doesn't work.

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16 minutes ago, tacops said:

I have a lot of tools and most of my hand tools are USA Craftsman tools from the 70s.  My first tool set was a starter set given to me by my Dad.  I think mostly so I would stay out of his tools.  By the time I needed to replace my 3/8 ratchet they no longer swapped complete ratchets but would give you a replacement gear set for the head.  When that wore out again I went back to Sears and they handed me a new ratchet, made in Japan, that just looked and felt cheap.  I handed it back to the clerk and asked to have my old ratchet back.  Even though my ratchet would no longer function me and that ratchet had been through many engines, repairs and projects together working side by side with my Dad.  I eventually picked up a couple more functional USA Craftsman 3/8 ratchets at yard sales.  My Dad is now long since gone and I can buy mediocre ratchets anywhere, but the Craftsman ratchet my Dad gave me is in my tool chest where it belongs, even if it doesn't work.

You know, for less than $20 you can buy a repair kit for that ratchet and get it back in service. 

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1 minute ago, Chucktshoes said:

You know, for less than $20 you can buy a repair kit for that ratchet and get it back in service. 

Actually, I did not know that.  I haven't even tried.  When I went in and asked for another repair kit and they said they didn't do that anymore and handed me the cheap ratchet I spoke of, I never tried again.

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53 minutes ago, tacops said:

Actually, I did not know that.  I haven't even tried.  When I went in and asked for another repair kit and they said they didn't do that anymore and handed me the cheap ratchet I spoke of, I never tried again.

I’m not sure of the head shape of your ratchet, but that’s one of the things you have to take into account. @Capbyrd this is more your wheelhouse. Care to lend your google-fu skills to help him get that ratchet back cranking?

Edited by Chucktshoes

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Craftsman switched to Chinese junk before Sears sold them.  Stanley (the new owners) i believe have said they want to return to the old quality.  I believe they are opening a plant in Texas soon.

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When Sears told me years ago that they no longer had the repair kits and handed me the impostor, I never pursued it.  Thanks to this thread and Chucktshoes telling me kits are available, I just went to EBAY and found a Made in USA kit which is now on order.  My old ratchet is soon to be back in service.

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Stanley Black & Decker Wants to Revitalize Craftsman by Bringing Production Back to U.S.

https://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/entry/stanley-black-decker-aims-to-give-craftsman-new-life-by-bringing-production

And this is where the Craftsman story takes a big turn, hopefully for the better.
As it turns out, the folks at Stanley Black & Decker have big plans for the brand, which includes restoring the production of Craftsman tools in the United States, according to CEO James Loree.

“We ended up simply buying the brand because the products had been left to de-volve over time to the point where they weren’t high quality, respectable products they once were,” Loree tells TheStreet. “They had migrated from made in America to virtually everything being made in China and Mexico. They were in sad shape.”

That’s about to change, Loree says. Stanley Black & Decker has redesigned just under 1,500 Craftsman tools, all with American production in mind:

About 40 percent of Craftsman products will be manufactured in the United States after the initial product relaunch, which is now underway and will heat up this fall at retailers like Lowe's, Ace Hardware and Amazon (just in time for the holiday shopping season). The goal is for about 70 percent of Craftsman tools to be Made in America in the next few years, Loree adds.

Now, we profile a lot of Made in America companies here on the blog, and a lot of these folks are true believers. They are willing to sacrifice profit margins to keep their manufacturing in the United States; others operate for years before turning a profit at all.

Stanley Black & Decker is not one of those companies.

It is a global corporation that has been in business for 175 years. Making money is always its top priority – Loree spends the first half of that interview with TheStreet talking about things like “venture capital investing,” after all.

Simply put, Stanley Black & Decker would not be reshoring Craftsman production to U.S. soil if it did not see an economic upside.

Stanley Black & Decker knows that the Craftsman brand, although tarnished in recent years by Sears’ sad downfall, carries a legacy of quality. It is now aiming to reclaim that legacy, and knows restoring U.S. production is essential to bringing Craftsman back to life.

While outsourcing might have led to a temporary boost in sales in the 1990s and early 2000s, consumers are wising up.

They expect quality when it comes to the products they buy, especially with things like tools. Keeping manufacturing local helps ensure better quality – and that Made in America label carries a lot of clout in convincing customers that a product is worth their time and money.

Things are looking up for Craftsman. As consumers rediscover the brand’s revitalized American-made product line, I hope Stanley Black & Decker will make good on its intention to bring additional production back to U.S. shores – and that other companies will follow its lead.

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I think bringing production stateside would be a good thing, but it's not a given that it would mean a corresponding increase in quality. Many overseas producers have the ability to manufacture high quality products if asked, and American producers can bring some real turds to market if allowed.

I hope Stanley doesn't allow that, and that the buying public doesn't, either.

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Stanley Black and Decker also owns Mac Tools.  
 

 

and these glory days of Craftsman being made in America are kind of a myth.   Craftsman was rebranded tools for most of their existence.   Every machinist box craftsman marketed was made by Kennedy.   New Britain was a big supplier for Craftsman.   Craftsman tools were made in the USA but usually by someone else.  
 

When craftsman started taking over production themselves, that’s when quality started to decline.  They never really made great tools on their own, in the US or abroad.  Whether the new Texas plant produces quality tools remains to be seen.  
 

 

and yes, rebuild kits are available for most of the classic craftsman tools.  

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Nothing going on here that is any different than the gun industry. Make something cheap enough and there are people that will buy it, sing it praises, and if you say anything bad about it, they will act like you called their kids ugly. Because the alternative is, they don't get to have that product.

Foreign products can absolutely compete on quality. But its tough for Americans manufacturers to compete on price. It’s not just wages, its OSHA and EPA rules and restrictions that are very expensive to comply with. (I come from manufacturing; I could list hundreds). Taxes, Health insurance, Retirement, Unions and Union restrictions, training and certifications, not to mention shareholders profits; those things all add a lot of cost to the end product cost.

I try my best to buy American Made. Sometimes its hard or impossible. TV’s, cameras, cell phones, computers; I buy foreign made just like everyone else.

But the very best of the most import things in life you have to buy can absolutely be American Made. Guns, Cars, Motorcycles, and Liquor. The best of all those categories are American Made; not necessarily the cheapest, but the best.

:usa: Buy American, Hire American, American Made :usa:

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8 minutes ago, DaveTN said:

 

But the very best of the most import things in life you have to buy can absolutely be American Made. Guns, Cars, Motorcycles, and Liquor. The best of all those categories are American Made; not necessarily the cheapest, but the best  

I disagree on motorcycles. 

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11 minutes ago, Capbyrd said:

I disagree on motorcycles. 

Of course you do, you don’t own and ride a Harley; I do. But you know deep down inside I’m right. :)

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13 minutes ago, DaveTN said:

Of course you do, you don’t own and ride a Harley; I do. But you know deep down inside I’m right. :)

You make a lot of assumptions.   
 

49000829283_2054de6393_b.jpg

 

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5 minutes ago, Capbyrd said:

You make a lot of assumptions.   

Yes I do. But they are usually obvious assumptions.  ;)

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5 minutes ago, DaveTN said:

Yes I do. But they are usually obvious assumptions.  ;)

What is obvious?   My Harley in that picture seems obvious.  

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1 minute ago, Capbyrd said:

What is obvious?   My Harley in that picture seems obvious.  

And hence the obvious was incorrect; and my assumption was wrong. See how that works?

I was only wrong one other time; I thought I was wrong....but I wasn't.

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I bought my first set of Craftsman in the late 80s, they are inhabiting my Dad's hand-me-down Craftsman toolbox.

He bought his first set of  Craftsman in the late 50s. His set contains some hand-me-downs from his Dad.

Grandpa was born in 1912, so possibly started buying Craftsman in the 20s.

Some of Grandpa's tool were replaced by Dad at our local Sears, no questions asked.

I think the demise of Sears was well under way when they announced Discover Card was generating more income than retail sales.

The Lifetime Warranty gimmick: we'll replace it no questions asked vs. we are providing a Lifetime Warranty because we don't think you'll need it.

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