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Mr.NutCase 08-28-2008 07:17 PM

I am in college now, am taking auto classes, next week tools trucks venders
are coming,
What should I get?
I may buy Snap On ratchets, a FC936 and the RAT803A set
I saw some SK tools on, are the prices good?
Is this SK toque wrench a good price?
I am going to use Craftsman sockets with snap on ratchets,
Will the Craftsman sockets last in dealership shop?
I like SK tools, their extenstions are good, I got a few of them at the swap meet around 3 bucks each,
Would you recommend this meter:
Are Blue Point hand tools good? Do they carry lifetime warranty?
Are they better than Craftsman?

Roy D. 08-28-2008 07:47 PM

Mr.NutCase, all the tools you mentioned are good for the price. Personally, I would get Craftsman tools. They are guaranteed forever. They are not up with Snap On tools, but the price isn't either. I've got Craftsman tools that I purchased in 1971 and they are still good. Some of them broke and wore out, but I took them to Sears and they replaced them. I guess it is what you can afford, but the guarantee means a lot!

oldred 08-28-2008 07:48 PM

If you plan to use your tools for a living then forget the Craftsman stuff! Buy Snapon, S&K (yes that torque wrench is a good one and it is a good price) or any of several other pro brands such as MAC, etc. Craftsman sockets WILL crack although their ratchets are not too bad depending on which you get but the sockets are junk, especially the 12 point which are good ONLY for rounding off fasteners! You sound as if you plan to do this on a professional level and if so I wish you the best of luck, take it from someone who has already been there and done now (retired :D ) - BUY THE BEST TOOLS YOU CAN AFFORD!!!!!! Save the Craftsman, etc for lawn mower work and around the house tinkering and don't fall for that "lifetime replacement" warranty. Even though it may sound like replacing a tool "no questions asked" might make them worthwhile it in fact will mean very little that they will gladly replace that $3 socket when you are losing valuable time and money (and sometimes knuckle skin! :pain: ). Free replacement of a tool that fails on the job, or worse ruins a costly part, don't mean squat because it is the lost time and aggravation that really matter.

It bears saying again, BUY THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD and leave the hobby tools for hobbies! Buy good tools, DON"T loan them, always take care of them and they will take care of you! :)


RoyD, apparently you posted while I was typing and what I had to say was in no way meant to disagree with your recommendations. My apologies if it seemed that way.

Soul_Hunter 08-28-2008 09:36 PM

like oldred said, Craftsman tools are fine around the house were your usually not too pressed for time. but on the job they must work everyday with very few problems.
Craftsman sockets will not last in a shop environment, that includes Craftsman extensions & wrenches too.
some of my friends use to say i was crazy for buying those expensive Snap-on tools instead of Craftsman for my job. when i got one of them on at the shop i worked at, he bought a full set of Craftsman hand tools. after the first week on the job, he told our other friends he was the crazy one for wasting money on Craftsman. within 6 months he had replaced every Craftsman socket with Snap-on & was working on the wrenches.
you can use Craftsman ratchets for the smaller sizes, 1/4 & 3/8 inch were you don't really put a heavy load on them and you'll be fine, but get a Snap-on 1/2 inch for the heavy stuff. its the same for the breaker bar too.
SK tools aren't too bad, i own a few & really don't have too many complaints with them.
Blue Point is better than Craftsman, but IMO, SKs are better than Blue Point.
for any 12 point tools i need, nothing but Snap-on will do.
i also won't use anything but Snap-on line wrenches.

Snap-on has the best 3/8 air ratchet, but its not cheap.
the Snap-on 1/4 air ratchet is also pretty good.
for the 3/8 & 1/2 impacts, steer away from Snap-on, they work great when new, but after a few months they lack power. i like Ingersoll Rand impacts, they deliver good power for a long time.

if you insist on getting Craftsman sockets & wrenches for the job, buy at least 10 each of the popular sizes sockets.
that way maybe you can make thru the week without a trip to Sears.
also learn how to take care of rounded nuts & bolt heads, because you'll have a lot of them with Craftsman sockets & wrenches.

for a DVOM, the one you posted isn't a bad test meter, but if you can, buy a Fluke.
it costs more, but will last a long time if you take care of it.

Mr.NutCase 08-29-2008 08:50 AM

I am going to get a SLF936 from Snap On,
What would get from Mac, Matco,
Man one time I had time to buy 1/2 Mac ratchet for 15 bucks, I should bought it
I have a 1/2 JH Williams ratchet, 10 in long, will this one last in shop, I head they are made by Snap ON,

Soul_Hunter 08-29-2008 11:12 PM

something that should be mentioned so you know its not an occasional thing, as long as you work on cars for a living, you will have a tool bill.
when you can, always ask what is on sale & buy the stuff that you need thats on special.
Snap-on, Mac, & Matco will own your soul,... LOL
this will be a little long, but i thought of a few other things.

the SLF936 will be good for the heavy stuff.
i've never heard of JH Williams, but with it only 10 inch long it will probably be fine.
i own a few sockets & wrenches from both Mac & Matco, they aren't quite as good as Snap-on, but they are much better than Craftsman & i don't have any complaints with them. but i really don't like Mac & Matco ratchets & extensions. for me their ratchets don't seem to last & their extensions absorb a lot of torque. on 1/4 & 3/8 inch ratchets between Mac, Matco & Craftsman, i like Craftsman better.
my newest Craftsman ratchet is my 1/4 & its around 20 years old.

some things you haven't mentioned yet, first a Screwdriver set.
my vote is for Snap-on all the way. i hate rubber handled screwdrivers with a passion, i guess some people like them, but not me. they are hard to clean. Snap-on does made a set with the hard plastic handles.
you'll need a good set of punches & chisels, i have a set from Snap-on & Mac, i don't notice much difference between them.
a good test light, i like the Snap-on.
a good flash light & a drop light of some kind.
do not buy a flash light off a tool truck, you can pretty much find the same ones at a good sporting goods store, the only difference is the name on it & the price.
i've got a couple of battery power LED drop lights i bought at Sams for about $20.00 each. they're a bit bigger but work just about as good as my bosses $140.00 LED from Snap-on.

here are some things from Mac that aren't too expensive but very handy,

you'll need a good tool box, i feel Snap-on makes the best, but they are very expensive, especially for someone just starting out in the trade.
if you buy a brand new box, start with a bottom box first.
steer away from the starter boxes, most aren't very big & you'll out grow it very soon.
better than a starter box, ask what trade-ins they have, you can usually pick up a decent used box for a good price. if he says he doesn't have any, tell him to ask the other dealers what they have. my last 2 bosses were both
ex-Snap-on dealers. i don't remember how many my old boss had when he left Snap-on, i think he had around 10 or so.
when my current boss left Snap-on, he had 8 or 9 trade-ins, 7 were complete top & bottom boxes. 3 were pretty nice & 1 of them i would have like to have had.
don't jump at the first price they tell you, the price is negotiable on a used box. what ever they say, knock at least 1/4 off & see what they say.

they look good & are nice, but i do not recommend buying one of these,
my boss & the other guy i work with has one & the slides don't last. every few months they are replacing at least 1 set of slides.

Mr.NutCase 08-30-2008 11:59 AM

Would you recommend this set from snap on:

PapaG 08-30-2008 12:29 PM

Sears Craftsman tools are good, as well as several others. If you make your living with them they will ware out quicker than Snap-on or Mac. I was able to get some Craftsman replaced when they wore out, but not every place would replace them because they said it was past the life of the tool.

So like it has been said, buy the best you can afford. Garage sales, estate sales, closing business sales, government sale and even pawn shops may be a place to check for tools to help you get started

PapaG 08-30-2008 12:33 PM

Snap on used to give you a new ratchet if you broke yours or it wore out. Then the dealers had the guts for them and would repair them in the truck. I think some would have to send them back to Snap on to get repaired at the last for us.

richard stewart 3rd 08-30-2008 01:02 PM

Mr Nutcase,
When I started out in this field I was like most others, had little money, so I bought craftsman tools & then as they broke I would replace them with one of the vendor's, snap-on, or mac, that came to the shop, then get the broken tool replaced at sears, & take it home. this kept my tool bill at a reasonable level. as for boxes check Craig's list, I see SO boxes & others on there everyday, at decent prices.
Wishing you the very best of luck in your carer choice,

oldred 08-30-2008 01:38 PM

You guys pushing the Craftsman tools are missing the point, a replacement warranty means NOTHING when that tool fails on the job! Replacing a tool that should not have failed in the first place don't mean squat, they can not replace the time you lost on the job and THAT'S WHAT COUNTS! Fellows it is whether or not the tool will let you down when you need it NOT whether it will be replaced free, that "free" replacement can be extremely expensive! Craftsman sockets for example WILL crack and slip under heavy use, the 12 point sockets are notorious for rounding the heads on fasteners which can create a serious and time con$uming problem. Craftsman ratchets will break under heavy stress and they wear out quickly under daily use. I could go on and on but being able to get them replaced free is of little help if the job has to wait while you replace the tool. If you plan to make a living with your tools don't even consider Craftsman or ANY other "bargain" tool just because of a lifetime free replacement warranty. If you are going to be a pro then buy the pro quality tools because they will not let you down and when working with them for a living the old adage "time is money" could not be more true. That broken Craftsman socket could cost you hundreds of times what it would cost to replace it in money alone not to mention all the frustration!

richard stewart 3rd 08-30-2008 02:46 PM

I wasn't pushing craftsman, at the time that's all I could afford,
& the majority of them were used, I not only replaced the broken craftsman stuff, as the bill got payed down I bought other tools that I needed, I understand about time & money, I worked flat rate for quite awhile also, & getting those tools changed out was quite important to me, but I still had to stay within the budget, buy the time I left there to open my own place, I had very few craftsman items, I never changed the box though, it's a large craftsman thing I got second hand & I still have today.
So Red what i'm saying in short is I agree with you 100%
about the tools, just like the micrometers in a previous thread, but I also know that you can't always get the best at first.

schnitz 08-30-2008 02:54 PM

True oldred, but by the same token there's plenty of "younger techs" that are into the vendor trucks so deep that they'll soon be owing them more than I make in a year. I personally know one guy (24 years old working at a "speedy lube" place) that owes between $15,000 and $20,000 to Snap-On. He had a better paying shop job, but they "downsized" him right out the door. Sadly, I'd bet we all know at least one guy just like him.

The real key, IMO, would be to do just as Mr.Nutcase is doing, asking for advice from others with more experience. He's educating himself. From guys such as you that are quite well respected in these areas. And he's also doing it off the life experiences that others have. That old saying about learning from the mistakes of others is basically a great way to save money in this case.

To Mr.Nutcase I'd only like to add 2 things, use your head and not fall deeper in debt than your budget allows (if you can't pay off the balance by the end of the month, don't get it...), and best of luck on the career path.

In a while, Chet.

Soul_Hunter 08-30-2008 03:10 PM

Nutcase, i would, both those sets are good, i didn't buy mine as a complete set like that but i do own those. other than the fact you will loose some along the way, they will last you a life time. then your kids get to use them.

guys, i'll say this about Craftsman sockets & wrenches, i have never worn one out. they always break long before they show much if any wear. i will put my 12 point Snap-on sockets & wrenches up against any Craftsman 6 point sockets or wrenches, and i will win every time. and in the shop, thats what counts.

Papa & richard are right that you can find deals at garage sales & on Craig's list. a lot of people don't know what they have & let it go for a song.
pawn shops used to be a great place to find used Snap-on, Mac & Matco tools, but the pawn shops down here know what they are & most even have catalogs & price lists. but sometimes you can still luck out & find a good deal at one.

i thought i would mention, i know you can't buy everything that has been talked about, but you can put them on your list for later on when the time comes.
when it comes time for you to get an air hammer, get the good one from SO. mine is 30 years old & still works great.
also, if you buy a battery powered electric drill, Ryobi is pretty good & cheaper than SO. Homedepot & Lowes is a good place to buy them from, not a tool truck.
buy good quality drill bites. to keep the bits sharp, buy the top of the line Drill Doctor with the left hand drill attachment.

Mr.NutCase 08-30-2008 03:30 PM

How about SK tools, would their sockets last in shop?
I have some, they seem better than Crapsman,
I also have Macto tools, I found at swap meets, 14mm, 18mm, 17mm, I
also have a Mac socket, 13mm, I bought the socket for aorund 1.50 each
I hace Snap On 1/2 socket, 1/2 12pt,
I love snap on when you find them cheap.
If you life in chicago, are there any good pawn shops?

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