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#36906 04/18/04 08:52 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
DougW Offline OP
Well, as luck would have it, I was offered the chance to scrounge throught a friend's parent's basement for tools and 'lectrical stuff (pics coming!) to make up for my recent theft. In inventory-ing my losses, I realized that I had bought mostly Klein & Ideal tools. Usually under the (not too unfounded) belief that "you get what you pay for", in terms of quality and durability.

As I went through the tools (previous owner was an HVAC guy), I caught myself discarding screwdrivers without a legible brand name, and second guessing pliers and such in a similar state.

It got me wondering... Am I a "tool snob"? And how much does a name brand mean to you?

Would you pass over a "perfectly good" generic tool for one with more of a "rep", or "street cred"?

Say, Klein, instead of Craftsman... (Yes, I realize that Klien makes tools under license for other folks like Craftsman).

Milwaukee, instead of DeWalt...

Vaco, instead of Stanley...

Obviously, I'm not counting the generic "made in China" Chrome plated tin pliers (although I did have a "cheapo" cable cutter before I inherited my Greenlee one)

And we'll ignore the "strips first time you use them" phillips, as these are for EMERGENCY USE ONLY (the world has ended, and you're stuck re-illuminating the last survivors with a "Tool Shop" tool set, or you're doing expedient work with your "okay to get stolen" set of cheepo keep-in-the-car tools.)

What's your take on the issue?

BTW-scored MAJOR toolage... full 3/8" & 1/2" socket set, extra wrenches, more KO punches, and a bunch of plumbing and electrical fittings. Should be back up to speed pretty quick. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 04-18-2004).]

#36907 04/18/04 09:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
When I buy tools, I buy quality tools. The brands that have proven they hold up to the stress of the trade. Sometimes I have used the elcheapo's (purchased to get a job done now and usual supply house was closed) usually to throw them away within a day or two. I consider those purchases to be money triwn away and an additional cost to the job. Rarely do those tools last very long although a cheap set of tin snips ($6.00) is still going strong after 3 years.
So yes I am someting of a tool snob

#36908 04/18/04 09:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
Yep, call me a snob if you like. I only buy the best when it comes to tools. It's been my experience that if you buy a cheap tool, it either won't do a good or quick job or it won't last long. Either way, you'll be replacing it before long. I also ecourage new helpers to buy only good tools and require good strippers and side cutters or it will cost me in lost productivity.

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 04-18-2004).]

#36909 04/18/04 09:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 105
It's a toss up depending on your work ethic- I've always wanted to buy a full set of the first manufacturer who will give a lifetime guarantee against losing! When I started out >20 yrs ago, I got what I could afford and did the best I could with it, while trying to learn how not to leave hand tools on jobsites, how to clearly mark w/ID, how not to drop off roofs or down shafts and chases... But definitely:"pass me my Kleins, my T&B crimpers, my Greenlee set, my hole hawg, amprobe, fluke...etc" I wouldn't call it snobby, just a "preferred vendor" that helps to create your style and craft. I've long passed the point of stupid losses, and if I would have started with all the premium tools, I would have been on set #4 or 5 by now-as it is, I have kleins and others over 20 yrs old. Good luck relearning and acquiring the new stuff, are you getting any deals from supply houses for basic klein sets and such?

[This message has been edited by chi spark (edited 04-18-2004).]

#36910 04/18/04 10:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
DougW Offline OP
Originally posted by chi spark -
are you getting any deals from supply houses for basic klein sets and such?

DOH! Didn't even think about that. I'll have to check with my local supply house & see what kind of deal I can work.

#36911 04/18/04 10:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 141
Oh yea, I'm guilty!

Klien, Ideal, some German stuff.

I do keep a few cheap quality screwdrivers and pliers handy in the tool bag--to abuse or loan out. Even with these, I tell the borrower that I want the tool RIGHT BACK.

But that's another issue. I recall a thread a while back about loaning tools.


#36912 04/18/04 10:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 55
I've got better deals for Klein and Greenlee at the big orange. My local suppliers cant come close to those prices. I had one supplier tell me that there cost is the sell price of H.D. Well I get most of my tools from there and online. I've found some good places that are cheap and good. And yes I am a tool snob and proud of it. You have to have professional tools to do a professional job. (or at least a quality tool.)

#36913 04/18/04 10:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 76
Guilty...Klein, Greenlee, & Milwaukee, don't use much else.

#36914 04/18/04 10:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 105
Some supply houses give deals on sets for new apprentices just starting out. The ones I have seen are always offering too many duplicates for my box, but if my box was empty.... I see you're from North Chicago/Waukegan area. That's turned into a bit of a war zone lately. Is 10th St. hardware still around? I've been up there for Great Lakes, Muppet Labs, and VA quite a bit- it's about 50 miles north of me.

#36915 04/18/04 11:27 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
DougW Offline OP
chi spark- NoChi is still the "culturally diverse" area you remember, but with a HUGE increase in hispanic families who (gasp) OWN THEIR HOMES slowly putting a dent in the Section 8 / ne'er do well renter market, we should see a turnarund shortly...

Like by the time I retire!

Seriously though, most of the political observers are waiting to see the black political block tumble like the slovanian/lithuanian one did in the late 60's-early 70's.

Oh well, I guess when you're at the bottom, there's nowhere else to go but up!

Now for the sad news...

Unfortunately, 10th St. Hardware is no more [Linked Image]

There used to be a Builder's Square @ Lewis & Belevedere - they closed, and Lowe's started sniffing around it just about the time Big Orange opened up in Gurnee. Rather than lose money to the competition, Orange bought the B2 property, expanded it, and opened up in it's place.

That was the final coffin nail for 10SH. They had better prices than 10SH could ever offer (nod to eswets), and, despite having guys who were "hardware legends" (ie they knew their arse from a hole in the wall), the overhead finally brough 'em down about 2 years ago.

Goodman Electric is still in business, however, and the guys are still as full of sh*t [Linked Image] as ever!

I actually thought about a p/t gig at Orange in the elevctrical department - every time I go in there, they're losing customers due to no staff to cut wire or answer questions.

However, I don't think that they're willing to pay a wage I'd accept, and I couldn't sell some H.O. Romex to install in Waukegan knowing it was illegal for him to do so...

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