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Sarge

Favorite hand tools/brands

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Thought I'd post up some of what I consider to be really favorite hand tools I've built up over the years - the amount of stuff I've worn out is amazing and recently I've had to start replacing a lot of things . Finding good quality without going broke is tough , but here's some good examples.

 

One of the best places to get high precision with incredibly tough steel is Japan - their idea of a screwdriver makes the rest of the world look pathetic - Vessel is one of their top companies. Philips screws , as some may know , are designed to "cam out" at a certain torque limit. Japanese Industrial Standard cross head drivers are intended to easily exceed the torque limit of the fastener - and never slip. The angles of the tips are slightly different - use a Philips driver on anything made in Japan , such as a motorcycle or Japanese car and you'll absolutely ruin their cross-head screws. Use the right driver for the job - it really applies here.

Nice part - use that JIS cross head driver on a Philips screw, it grabs so hard they can snap the head off before slipping.

US market distributor is JDV products on the east coast - Larry is the best contact in sales and can help answer any questions. I have set up a discount code for IH8MUD members - maybe I can get him to set up a Red Square discount as well - he's done us a great service.

https://www.vesseltools.com/

Take a gander at their Impacta line - it has a built in breaker mechanism in it for use with a hammer and they truly work quite well. Even the rusted, nasty screws on my old Land Cruiser snap right loose with their tools. Vessel supplied Toyota as well as KTC , Kioto and a few other companies in the included tool kits in their top line trucks and cars. The tool kits in some of the older Land Cruisers were amazing - a nice canvas roll that even included a mini grease gun . These trucks were designed to live in the worst corners of the planet and survive, nothing else like them.

Just a few of the Vessel drivers I have, didn't have an Impacta silver one handy as they live in the Cruiser at all times, lol...

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My absolute favorite hand drivers I've ever used, super comfortable on the hand and excellent grip - very hard but not brittle tips that will knock the most stubborn fasteners loose easily - made by KTC with dark lacquer wood handles, beautifully built and not very easy to get . They have to come directly out of Japan - no US distributor will bring them over for some reason.

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When it comes to pliers I've worn out every brand you can think of - from Crescent, Channelock, Klien and everyone else including some German built. They all wear out their teeth and really never work like they should - Knipex beats everyone as far as I'm concerned. Oldest pair I own is 8yrs old, not one sign of wear on the teeth yet and they grip far better than anyone else.

 

Knipex Cobra pliers - try these and you'll melt your Channelock's out of disgust - these grip far better, have a wider range, more torque transfer and far harder teeth . They hold so well they will stay on a round object by themselves.

 

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Knipex high-leverage diagonal cutters - rated up to very hard piano wires, small bolts , ect. They can even handle my 3/32" 312 & 316 SS tig filler rod that would destroy any Channelock or Klien cutters - dented both brands on that stuff already, these handle it fine but take some force.

 

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For that heavier 1/8 Stainless filler in higher grades, bolts or anything else that will fit in the jaws - Cobolt compound leverage cutting pliers from Knipex , love 'em and effortless in how well they work. These have been through about 4lbs of ss wire filler already as well as other odd jobs including hardened metric screws . Barely started to remove the jaw coating....lol.

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Knipex 6" angled needle nose pliers w/cutter. Very well made, excellent grip strength and tips that don't wear or bend, unlike everyone else.

 

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Knipex S shaped special needle nose pliers - these reach those pesky cotter pins and hair pin clips while allowing you to actually see what you're doing. Perfect for working on carburetors, wish I had these 25yrs ago.

 

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More to come soon - show us your favorites, it's interesting to see opinions on different brands/uses/durability . I've learned the hard way over the years you replace cheap tools again and again, learning the whole time if you'd have bought better quality you'd have only done it once. I do have some literally throw-away stuff - and it shows it's been used for that very purpose, but I keep those cheap tools around to prevent destroying an expensive specialty tool, some of this stuff is very expensive but worth every penny when it lasts and does the job. One lousy special long-armed puller cost me $500 back in the day when I was working in the shops, but still have it and use it far more often than I'd like despite the cost, it's well paid for itself over the years. Wish now I'd spent the rest on the complete set of heads/arms/attachments - today they are worth a lot of money above what they originally cost but it's done the job well with some attachments I've made to fit it . Just pulling the hubs, steering wheels and hitch pins on the Horse was worth the cost alone.

 

Sarge

 

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You really took this topic to another level.  I am little bit of a tool snob, but I haven't done this amazing level of analysis.  I will begin searching for everything you posted.

 

Small Shark Pry Bar $18:  I bought this on a whim because of the high reviews, and I use it all the time.  It has been stolen twice, and it was replaced because it si super useful!

 

 

Milwaukee 11 in 1 just $8 at HD:  I am a big fan of the M12 power tool line and many of milwaukee's hand tools.  This is an incredible value.  I want everyone in my family to have one.

 

Milwaukee 11 in 1.webp

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Milwaukee 11 in 1.webp

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8 hours ago, jellyghost said:

You really took this topic to another level.

I agree.

Well done Sarge.

I'll be following along to see what everyone says. .....

 

 

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All my tools would be throw away to you Sarge. lol  Most of my shop hand tools are Craftsman, Powercraft, and crescent that i have had for over 30 years. The new tools i pick up at wherever i find what i need or estate sales.

Idid see a knipex vendor in Phoenix last fall very impressive German made pliers. We bought some combo pliers for our give away drawing at our company Christmas Party. Very nice tool @ 60.00 a pair. 

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Not necessarily, I have a lot of older Craftsman and other brands here that get used often but they are all from a different era before they farmed out everything (almost) overseas. The older US made stuff is valuable even used since it was made to a much higher level of quality. Older Channelock pliers were good and lot better built - decent forged tool steel and hardening. Now days, the use cheaper steels and either laser harden the teeth or some other process - the hard layer is very thin and the base metal is crap - that's why the teeth round off so easily. My older wire cutters were the Channelock #338, perfectly angled head and they cut very nicely but two pair got into hot wires within the same year and were destroyed - couldn't shut off the mains in a box that was a jumbled mess. New pair couldn't handle standard ER70SD2 tig filler - it dented the cutting edges so I went with the Knipex instead. I prefer the old pliers and their head angle ,but the Knipex are just better built and through-hardened so they should last a very long time.

 

Knipex isn't cheap - but you get what you pay for. I think the lowest I've seen any one pair of pliers starts at $25 - most are in the $35-$60 range and some even higher. The thing is, spend more money once and they last for 30yrs or more - or go cheap and spend more over that lifespan instead. I've had so many needle nose pliers that just woudn't grip much of anything without bending their tips, even on light work like pulling small hair pin clips off carbs - the Knipex don't bend and their teeth don't wear off so they're worth the cost to me and a lot less frustration to do the job. All the Channelock pliers I have are being downgraded to sitting in the work box I carry in the truck for job sites - if they are stolen or get rusted I don't care, as far as I'm concerned they are disposable now due to quality issues. Too bad for a US made tool, that's a real shame.

 

Sarge

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23 minutes ago, Sarge said:

Knipex isn't cheap - but you get what you pay for

Quite a few years ago, maybe 10 ?, they had a display for these on the counter at a store in CT. When I saw the price, I thought these people were stupid and crazy! BUT part of the display was a piece of 3/4" pipe bent in such a way in which you could try the tool out on and apply some hard pressure to. It was impressive how hard they gripped and didn't spin but when the guy put that pipe thing on the floor and stood on the pliers, that was REALLY impressive. He weighed 200 + lbs, even bounced a little and those things didn't budge on the pipe. SOLD, think it was around $50 and still one of the best purchases I ever made. Just lucky they haven't gotten lost or taken so far.

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Here are my favorite pliers. They were a gift from an uncle that retired from a plant in Colorado where they were made. There is no name on them because they were the set he used in the plant. I have had them for over 25 years.

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Back in the early '90's when I worked as an auto body tech I built a rather large collection of Snap-On tools, all of which I still have. I've made my living out of that tool box since and have had very little trouble with any of their tools. Only issue I have now is that the Snap-On dealer does not stop where I work, so when I do have an issue (which is not very often) I have to try to track down a dealer/truck to take care of it.

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I know that most people don't think much of Harbor Freight, and for many good reasons, but I have had very good luck with their tools marked with the "Pittsburgh" brand.   They're probably made by the same company that makes some big-name brands, but at a much lower price (especially when they're on sale.   Check them out.

    Jim

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My dad was a huge Craftsman guy so I kinda followed along in his footsteps. Somewhere along the road their quality took a turn for the worse, probably to stay competitive with the big boxes, and I started picking up a thing or two off the Snap-on truck but yes you don't see their trucks as often as you used to. I had one stop by my shop years ago and loved to go drool over things. One does have a tendency to fill his drawers ( not the tool chest ones) when you see their prices tho!  :lol: When one does have to put bacon on the table with tools I guess the cost is justifiable.  Every once I awhile I will see a Mac or Cornwell truck and go on to browse but they're becoming scarce as well what with online shopping, fleabay and the likes. Lately been on a Milwaukee thing.

 For work I have the tendency to buy the cheapest crap I can lay my hands on as chances are I'm gonna leave them in someone's dark dingy basement! I do pick a thing or two from HF Jim and most of their stuff is fine for hobby work but if I were a auto tech or diesel mech.  I would spring for better stuff.

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I got just about everybrand imaginable. Snap -on,Mac, Proto, Craftsman. For HAVC it's Ritchie/Yellojacket and JB. I got lots of HF stuff. I bought an needle scaler from them that works fantastic. I'm only particular on 3 things. Tool Bags are Veto Pro Pac. Meters Fluke and Fieldpiece and pipe wrenches are Rigid. Pliers I have Knipex and Channellock. No cheapie pliers that spread and slip the joint and give you a blood blister.

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Rigid pipe wrenches and cutters, Mid West offset tin snips hands down the best , Malco 14”R classic shears along with the rest of their tools to fill my HVAC tool bag . I always used Craftsman tape measure,screwdrivers and pliers just for the replacement/warranty  Back in the day they just handed you a new one. As far the most important tool it would have to be my Sharpie marker and a piece of cardboard for that list of things you forgot :lol:.... @WHX14 you know what I’m talking about. 

 

As for mechanic tools I had the usual Craftsman (USA) and SnapOn stuff . Some of the best tools however were the Bonney tools (made in PA.) that Allis Chalmers sold in the dealerships (my dad had a whole toolbox full) . There was just something about the feel of those  tools as I always was grabbing my dads. John Deere sold the same tools but were branded as JD of course. They went out of production in the early 90’s . These tools weren’t cheap and were built to last a lifetime . Some of you may recognize their sister company Utica as they made some of the best torque wrench’s out there .

 

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Never worked in the trades during my income producing years but Harry the Home owner. I am 70 so my purchases were made in the US from the good stuff. Always made it a practice to buy good tools . Craftsman, Channel Lock , Milwaukee  , Rigid and others. If I am at a flea market I look for the old stuff and purchase it to use , not to look pretty. I do have some HF stuff but they are not my main tools. I have a couple of battery operated drills but prefer the corded . I just wish some company made good quality drill bits, everything is junk.

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This is a great topic and I have a share of many tools, but mainly S-K.  We even sold them at my family's business when I was younger.  In my area they were kind of the gold standard!

 

I love my image.png.6dd58a78f19d102eddf5cf5f2556b23b.png

 

But sadly, I believe the last business that carried these near me just went out of business, so I'm not sure how I'll get new ones or replacements :confusion-confused:

I will miss the service and people of these business's very much!

 

C-85

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Well said C-85... SK was one of those quality brands that everyone seemed to forget about.

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Nice topic, i make a living with tools so quality is important but the cost really kinda hurts of snap on ect. I mainly buy from mac tools and we have a guy that comes around with a tool book with SK and a bunch of other brands normal compare prices on stuff and take a gamble if its a big difference and i get 25% off book price which helps alot some times, lately my fav tool is wrachet wrenches lot of time saved 

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I stopped getting anything from Mac when Stanley bought them out - they mostly stopped having their own stuff made and went with off the shelf Stanley stuff, couldn't see the point of it . What little I have left of mine or Dad's is mostly just worn out and broken from age/use - but no decent rep locally so I need to track one down. Their usual answer on replacement is "we don't have that model #$#$# anymore" - so basically telling you the lifetime warranted, big dollar tools you spent a year paying off are worthless and you can go pound sand. Nice.

Snap-On has almost completely followed suit but some dealers will do whatever it takes to replace things the right way. One model of stupid expensive 1/4" short handle ratchet was changed and I got the new updated model instead since no parts were available to repair the old one , that was good but I prefer the handle on the old one better, usually how it goes. At least they try, others just don't and that's a really fast way to get chased out of the shop with a broken tool flying at high speed right behind them...Mac is not allowed around here at almost all the shops and our local rep is an idiot - he is not allowed to set foot on the property, ever and he's already met the German Shepherd. I normally get along with even people I don't like - but that guy just has the wrong attitude to deal with mechanics.

Dad, during his last year working snapped the square drive head off of a very expensive torque wrench that he just got back from being calibrated - Mac wouldn't honor it and the sales rep tried pretty hard to sell Dad a new one instead - bad idea, lol...you'd think the guy would learn.

 

I've gotten 2 sets now of the Gear Wrench reversible combination wrenches, they are ok but the open ends one them just isn't very good - too thick and a lousy working angle. I like the ratcheting style, but until someone can get the clearance down tighter they only work on certain places out in the open - they do save time when you can use them. Probably the biggest time saver and it was a bit unexpected was the Bosch 1/4" drive impact driver. I wanted one particular model 1/2" Bosch hammer drill/driver (brute tough industrial line) and the only way I could find one was in the combo kit - that was actually cheaper than buying the drill kit alone or the whole game of the bare tool, batteries, charger, ect. Came with a nice soft case too, but that stupid little impactor will remove lug nuts off my Dodge or the Cruiser and drive huge lag bolts, screws or anything else you want. Used with adapters - that is one little compact and very handy power tool. Lightweight and delivers 125ft/lbs of torque, geeze...I use it on everything and it's head is getting worn out now finally. When I bought that kit the drill got used a lot around here, but the impact sat mostly, until I found out just how much power it has - the thing can whip a lot of my old air tools easily and doesn't have an air hose to drag around, duh...great tool I wouldn't live without now.

 

I'll be in the shop the rest of the day - maybe grab some pics of other odd favorites..

 

Anyone else ?

 

Sarge

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35 minutes ago, Sarge said:

Anyone else ?

 

Very interesting thread . I have learned about a few Brands that were unknown to me. I believe also that the decline of tool availability and quality is in a big part also directly related to the decline in skilled labor and the lack of young people dedicated to having a trade where manual skills are necessary. Tools are the main addiction here. However I always made my living as a woodworker so my hand tools are a bit different than what has been presented so far.

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Bemis & Call Company Springfield MA  Made a heck of adjustable wrench.  This one has been "on Loan" from New York Central Lines, since about 1930.  Father, Grand Father, and Uncle all worked at the West Albany Shops (not sure who "arranged" the loan.  You can see the hammer marks where it was beaten upon.  Can't ell you how may times a long piece of 1-1/2" pipe was put over the handle then beaten some more but hasn't broke yet.  may have a problem getting replacement parts However....:P

 

 

 

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Can't beat good forged tool steel. Surprised with how the threaded portion is made it's hasn't snapped off, hard telling what mixture of alloys they used but it must be some tough metal. Lot of folks overlook tools from that period since the steel technology wasn't there, but considering the quality of castings at the time there were some artists working in those foundries that really knew what they were doing. Railroads in particular were never afraid to buy quality equipment for their service shops since it's critical that time spent on repairs is as short as possible - same with the aircraft industry and their tool costs reflect that . I have a lot of my grandfather's tools still here and use them often despite their age and sentimental attachment, they just work well and do the job. A big favorite around here is my wife's grandfather's bench plane - an old Stanley Bed Rock that still performs perfectly and I treasure that thing and use it now and then, very nice casting and cuts easily without losing it's blade adjustment like a lot of them will - rock solid tool.

 

Just fyi for a wood worker - that was my original hobby and love but I just never had the space to do much of it. If you use cordless impact tools and bits to drive screws you might want to look at Vessel - their bits are not cheap but the quality is second to none. They cover nearly any drive design out there and if you talk directly to Larry he can make up mixed orders of different driver bits or inserts so you don't have to buy their 10 packs. These bits are industrial quality meant for manufacturing and rarely ever wear out - I've beat mine intentionally trying to create wear and they just keep working as intended with no issue of slippage. Their JIS compatible cross heads work so well on Philips screws you'd never believe it, as well as other driver types - especially the Torx head bits. They also carry #2 Robertson square drive -

https://www.vesseltools.com/custom-filters/power-bits/?custom_f_39[0]=313238

 

Be aware, last order I did on these they are all priced in 10 packs, so take the advertised price and multiply X10...but they are worth it . I've sold a ton of these to other tradesmen at work at my cost - they love them and some have wanted more in different lengths when we're on long-term jobs. Once you see the quality and how effective these are - you'll never want another bit off the shelf in any store. I've destroyed just about every brand made in a short time around there and these are the first I've found that just won't wear out despite driving hundreds and hundreds of screws. They even beat brands like Wiha and other German built tools easily since those makers follow the geometry of the Philips head, Vessel does not and use the JIS standard on their cross heads.

#2 JIS compatible cross point - https://www.vesseltools.com/custom-filters/power-bits/?custom_f_29[0]=3532

 

Vessel also covers just about all of the different types of hand drivers - got stuck screws ?

Try this - https://www.vesseltools.com/handtools/screwdrivers/megadora/980-series-detail#video

 

Want weapon-grade heft (weight) to a driver ? These are designed for demolition work - and they mean just that as they are quite heavy and will take a beating

https://www.vesseltools.com/handtools/screwdrivers/megadora/930-kit-p123-detail

 

I can't say it enough - this is worth a read - https://www.vesseltools.com/handtools/screwdrivers/whatsjis

Nothing I hate worse than a tool that won't do the job, nothing from this company has ever let me down.

 

Enough ramble for now - headed into the dungeon to work on the Atlas/Clausing some more today.

 

Sarge

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Old tools, not a thing wrong with them and one I use constantly to extract collects that are stuck in the tig torch is this old pair of "Mephisto" pliers. I suspect these are some sort of splicing plier, probably for telephone work. Just judging by how they were made, most likely from the 1930-1950 range. Cutting edges are still pretty good - it's the tip design that makes them so useful around the shop.

 

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Yesterday was spent welding a bad lathe scar up on the Clausing's column tube. 3-1/2"x3/8" wall spun-cast tubing - this thing weighs right at 80lbs. When I drug this thing home there was some serious damage to the column and had intended to replace it with a better one - but that size is odd and due to how the head is designed this one is much longer than a lot of other floor models, not to mention far heavier . Upon further cleaning , here's some of the damage that had been done to this machine -

 

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I had welded all of the major scars up and filed them down by hand, one at a time - this was days worth of work but no real choice since it affected how well the table could travel along it's length. When they were all finished it went to the shop next door and the welder turned it true for me on his bigger lather - my Enco is only a 12x36 so no way to run this thing in it. The whole thing cut fine, except on one spot where I had tried using a different filler metal instead of the ER80SD2 tool steel - the bit caught that spot of 309L and drug it around in a groove almost 1/4" wide right in the middle of the tube. I was just going to finish sand it and call it good - the thing after all was far better now than when it got here, but that scar kept driving me nuts and as it turned out was right exactly where the table will rest most of the time. So, fired up the MIller 200DX and had at it once again.

 

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Had to use a 2.5PPS pulse setting (which will drive your eyes nuts) and run the backround at 50% of the total 125 amps with the Miller's square wave in full effect. This allows a deep but non-widening puddle with less heat input - but controlling travel speed is tough when it's pulsing like that , you have to fight your eye reaction to the on/off nature of the light. Some automatic welding hoods at wild pulse settings will kick on/off along with the welder - can't have that and my old Miller Digital Elite has had some sensor issues with that . Used the Optrel 2.5 Vega View instead - besides, it's got far clearer optics and true color versus the MIller's irritating green. Since getting the Optrel things have been a lot easier for my messed up eyes to see and other than the old Jackson straight 10 gold hood I haven't used the Miller much as a result. For the money - no one can touch Optrel's hoods, their design nor their optics by a long shot. I've tried the 3M Speedglass - in my opinion, it's a waste of money in comparison. These welding hoods is all that Optrel does over in Switzerland and it shows.

 

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Ground flush with the Ingersoll band file prior to sanding. The ER80 tool steel filler is a great match on this old tubing which can be a real fight trying to achieve. Final sand/polish with the larger pipe sander brings it to this surface finish - no more scars but some very minor coloration change marks visible.

 

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4 heavy coats under heat with Johnson's floor wax (yellow can - yes, they still make it). Between the final 3M Scotchbrite belt and an old hair dryer I could keep the tube at a nice and even 125*F to soak that wax deep into the casting to prevent rust. When I worked at the old cabinet shop this was how we kept the machinery protected from moisture in a steel building - the trick is trying to heat castings enough without hot spots or risk severe warpage on machined parts , not fun but it works and lasts for years.

 

Shoulders and back were pretty sore last night , but glad it's done. I let this thing go far too long last year and paid for it with surface rust - just had too many other projects with the D, the shed and that stupid trailer...just the way it goes . Thinking back, it's been apart over a year now - I've never put off something this long, ever. Next up is to weld a broken spindle sleeve tooth (how can you do that, anyway?) , as well as the matching damaged down feed shaft teeth, then onto getting the gears in the table/head lift repaired. Really, really not looking forward to that one, suspect those gears may be cast iron but seriously hoping for cast steel - the way they were designed with a stepped reduction blind cut is not going to be an easy repair. Almost nothing left of the teeth on all 3 main gears - 2 bevels and one flat drive gear. Also have to machine a new acme lift screw - someone torched the old one off at one time in it's life but I was able to get a new raw shaft - just have to machine the ends for the drive box. Probably saddle my buddy with that job - he's a master machinist and has a huge lathe...lol.

 

Sarge

 

 

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On Wed Feb 21 2018 at 10:36 AM, Achto said:

Back in the early '90's when I worked as an auto body tech I built a rather large collection of Snap-On tools, all of which I still have. I've made my living out of that tool box since and have had very little trouble with any of their tools. Only issue I have now is that the Snap-On dealer does not stop where I work, so when I do have an issue (which is not very often) I have to try to track down a dealer/truck to take care of it.

Snap-On.  Easy to find a better price but hard to fine better quality.  But should also say they aren't the only great brand.  Mac, Matco, J H Williams (Snap-on connection here) and I'll add SK (rest it's soul) as a good brand as well.  Oh!  Kobalt too.  J H Williams used to make them.  And keep an eye on Milwaukee! They are entering the hand tool biz and have big plans. 

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Unfortunately, Milwaukee as many other brands are living on a past history of quality - they are outsourcing to China like everyone else. Even Bosch is doing it unless you get your stuff out of Europe and it's known German or US built tools, which is rare. Shame on the entities that own these companies as they have ran them into the ground with spotty quality and most are still charging the higher premium prices. Frankly, even US made Channelock has gone south as they are evidently taking short cuts in their manufacturing methods - just look at how the teeth or cutting edges stand up to normal work, it's pathetic. The older tools I own from those names are still going strong and I'd be buying from them today - but I won't pay a premium price for a Chinese tool just so they can make higher profits. It's not even about competition anymore but all about profit margins - in years past those companies were plenty profitable and invested heavily in new technology but remained solid to their core value and quality for the price , those days are about gone now. I hate to be so negative or have to buy from foreign makers to avoid that game, but handing over very hard earned money for junk is just not something I'm willing to do - besides, it's counter-productive for my needs. After the last Bosch drill I bought I'm done - no more from them either when they can't even get a chuck to run straight or lock as it should - they out to be ashamed.

 

In the Optrel hood pictured above you'll notice an odd looking pencil-like tool - it's called a Stilo Tig sharpener from Italy. Here's how they work - using only friction to spin the tungsten and get a very even and fine finish on whatever angle you want to grind your tungsten to for the job .

 

 

Used with a diamond wheel on that little cordless Hitachi rotary tool (far smoother running than the Dremels and more torque) I can cut off or sharpen a tungsten quickly anywhere - even out in field work. It adjusts to different lengths up to a full 7" long new uncut tungsten - the locking mechanism is within the outer knurled handle/clip part. I keep it in my pocket quite a lot when doing tig work in the shop and the Hitachi handy - beats carrying around spare tungsten when I dip it by mistake or it gets crapped up from contamination from the metals and saves trips to the area I store all this stuff. Trying to get a lot more organized but haven't had time and need to get all these small parts/accessories in one place neatly instead of wandering around the shop looking for whatever I need.

 

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CK Worldwide makes some of the best tig welding equipment I've used yet - their Master Series line of torches are excellent and so far I believe they are the only ones making a torch with an adjustable head design instead of the usual flex-heads. Far easier to rotate the head to the best viewing angle as well as hand comfort - highly recommend them. For now, unfortunately, only available in air-cooled versions up to 150 amps - I love this thing and have even used it in conjunction with a mirror to tig weld in behind places I can't get to well enough to see what I'm doing. I have yet to figure out how to video that but I should some day...

 

FlexLoc 150 (non-valve version) with Superflex cable - #FL-1525SF

http://www.ckworldwide.com/130-150-amps-flex-loc™.html

 

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Also pictured is one of Mike Furick's "Moose Knuckle" #14 glass gas lens cups - excellent gas flow control and for it's size only runs @30cfm .When doing sensitive work, especially on stainless steel this thing really pays off and holds the gas column coming out of the torch perfectly. Due to the wide dispersion of the gas it prevents problems with sugaring on stainless work and the resulting corrosion or cracking. It is limited or recommended for DC work only up to 180 amps unless running pulse programs. Use on AC could melt it , so that's a no-no but he does make more rugged duty #8 glass cups rated for ac aluminum work, just fyi...

https://furickcup.com/product/moose-knuckle-14-cup/

 

Another heavily used tool around here - squares. Last fall I finally got tired of fighting various clamping methods on this table and got a pair of "kit" form squares from Fireball Tool. These are made with the precision tab and slot design for easy assembly and to keep them flat - pretty tough to mess these up unless you over weld them with higher amps which is not necessary. Very accurate and sturdy for welding - the adjustable one works really well for odd work and positioning odd shapes.

 

Here's the pair I have now - eventually want at least one of those larger cast models but they aren't exactly cheap, as with anything in welding. Just for fun I checked the triangle designed one with a precision square - it's within .002" across 8" in length, not bad ....

 

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That's all for now - need to get back on the Clausing project and get it done before spring gets here and outside work starts up. Still have several parts to repair as well as parts that need blasting and painting. Going to have a lot of cleanup from the D and it's blade, wow..

 

Sarge

 

 

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@Sarge I agree with you on the quality of the name brand tools that are out today. I do enjoy the information that you provide on welding equipment . To be honest I don't have clue about what you are talking about. I have never done any welding and not sure that my old brain cells could handle the task. The current Dremel tools are basically junk compared to the old models. Since I am the Harry Homeowner type of guy with a hobby. It is hard to find good quality tools unless you hunt yard sales and flea markets. I don't true feabay or CL or catalogs. I touch the stuff , look around for other items then make the buy decision. I retired and don't have to be any where so I like to take my time.

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To be honest - I have folks out hunting certain things with pictures on their phones that frequent the garage/yard sales and auctions as well as on FB. Some of the older stuff shows up in odd places - at times in new, unused condition as well . Many times they don't know what it is nor it's value - good for guys like us. The amount of tools I own is staggering, but I use them to earn a living when work is slow and the last 8yrs have been really, really slow. My sister in law was about 2 minutes too late and watched a guy with a big smile walking to his truck - he had spotted that Milwaukee Mag drill from almost 100' away when he drove by on the street. Slammed on the brakes and practically ran to the garage while ripping his wallet out of his pocket - said he gave them $40 for it , looked new from the pic she showed me. I hadn't even considered putting that on the list - but it is now as I've wanted one forever for fabrication work. Beats having to hire the next door shop to bring his over and cut holes for me - like on the 1,150lb welding table downstairs, otherwise I would have drug it over there. Welding for me is a passion and I love it, always learning new things and it's a good challenge as well as keeping me sharp and thinking. Besides, someone always has something small they don't want to bug the shops with or the local shops won't touch it - that's what I do here in off-times.

 

The old Lincoln 180AC buzz box that literally sits outside with a heavy duty garbage bag over it came from an auction - a picture from my brother in law and a $25 bid on the old thing even got it delivered. He got a free lunch for his efforts, and sore back as well - those things are tanks with all those internal copper windings. It's been out there now for 3yrs and works just fine for doing a lot of 6011 tack welds in prep for bigger work.

You'd be surprised, I've taught some older folks (at least older than myself) to weld their own repairs. They are great students and want to learn so they are easy to teach and have the patience that younger folks just haven't learned yet - maybe not the steadiest hands but you'd be surprised at how well they pick it up.

 

Sarge

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