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View Bill White's profile

Just wondering about the Craftsman brand....

by Bill White
posted 02-17-2012 06:47 PM


22 replies so far

View unisaw2's profile

unisaw2

179 posts in 1786 days


#1 posted 02-17-2012 07:32 PM

I’m still a fan of their wrenches, C clamps and several of their other hand tools. The lifetime guarantee is nice.

Just not sure if it’s a guarantee for the lifetime of the tool, or the lifetime of the company. Just wondering if the handtools might just outlast the company.

-- JJ

View Loren's profile

Loren

7825 posts in 2399 days


#2 posted 02-17-2012 07:46 PM

Craftsman never specialized in the pro power tool market. The
brand has been targeted at the do-it-yourselfer for generations.

You have a lot more choice now in terms of available machinery
and hand held power tools. Craftsman has been and is today
a value-oriented brand. They source the power tools to the
same factories with the same quality control as many other
power tool brands. In terms of power tools these days they
are probably all sourced from Asia.

In contrast Dewalt has some superior Italian-made tools in its
lineup. But the Dewalt Asia stuff is made in the same factories
making the Craftsman Asia stuff.

If you want quality power tools, looking at the country of origin
and the economic factors driving quality control in exports from
that country. Higher quality country of origins in my experience
with machinery and power tools are: Germany, USA, Canada,
Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Japan.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View pvwoodcrafts's profile

pvwoodcrafts

226 posts in 2673 days


#3 posted 02-17-2012 07:48 PM

Craftsman is a very bad word around my shop However pre 1975 tools were OK

-- mike & judy western md. www. pvwoodcrafts.com pvwccf1@verizon.net

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1278 posts in 1048 days


#4 posted 02-17-2012 08:25 PM

Craftsman stuff back in the day was manufactured by Parks, King Seely or Walker Turner and it was good quality. Not Delta good, but at least Delta Homecraft good. Today many of the power tools are made by Emerson, who makes RIDGID but I think you probably get a better warranty from RIGID. My first big tool purchase was a table saw, and unfortunately at the time I believed it when the sales person told me that direct drive was better than a belt. My Craftsman compressor was made by DeVilbiss. I know that name from milking machines and milking parlor pumps – quality stuff. I think Craftsman wrench sets are now overpriced considering everyone else, including Harbor Freight, offers a lifetime replacement warranty. I read that the company that makes Kobalt for Lowes also makes Snap On tools in the same Chinese factory.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3524 posts in 1722 days


#5 posted 02-17-2012 09:01 PM

Today’s Craftsman wrenches are certainly not the Craftsman wrenches of years ago. They may have the same warranty, but the quality is not there. Not saying they will break, but they are about twice as heavy and clunky now. I have some old Craftsman wrenches I bought as a teenager and they fine quality tools, thin and light and strong. The thickness is consistent, the openings are centered, well finished. Today they look just like the crap wrenches from HF. In fact, while Craftsman seems to be in a race for the bottom in quality the HF stuff seems to be improving.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5606 posts in 2127 days


#6 posted 02-17-2012 09:03 PM

AFAIK Emerson no longer manufacturers power tools….they contract most of those out to TTI/Ryobi who also makes some of the Craftsman bench and power hand tools, as well as the 21829 (BT clone) table saw. Steel City/Orion makes their granite top 22116 hybrids saw, and Dayton makes the 21833 hybrid style contractor saw (but they import it through Colovos). At one point SC/Orion made their 6” stationary jointer too, but that was 5 or 6 years ago. Chervon Power makes their current routers. Also AFAIK, Richen Enterprises, who owns Rikon, makes their bandsaws. At one point Freud made some of their Professional saw blades, and it appeared that Bosch made some, which makes some sense since Bosch now owns the Freud cutter business….dunno who makes their “regular” blades.

I know that Sears no longer stands for what it once did, and that many prefer to lump the entire “Crapsman” line of tools into one unacceptable bundle, but the market place is no longer that simple. If you’re selective, do the research, and win their sales game, they can still offer some pretty decent shop tools for hobbyists at good prices.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3587 posts in 2711 days


#7 posted 02-17-2012 09:04 PM

I fully understand the issues. I still wonder if Craftsman branded folks ever see our issues.
Some of my stuff is KingSeely, Dayton, etc. It rocks!
Has Sears gone deaf and blind? That’s the question.
I also live in an area that has a defunct Delta mfg. plant that is for sale. That’s a shame too.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Mike's profile

Mike

66 posts in 1133 days


#8 posted 02-17-2012 09:13 PM

I’m with unisaw2 on the hand tools I used their sockets and wrenchs for years, I’ve got a scrollsaw that works good but I’ve burned up a few drills and circler saw

-- But hon I need this tool.......

View Dwain's profile

Dwain

323 posts in 2610 days


#9 posted 02-17-2012 09:24 PM

I have a King Seeley / Craftsman drill press, a Parks made Craftsman planer and a 1950’s Craftsman table saw (backup for smaller work) I am happy with all of them and believe (especially with the planer) that they are better then what is available today. Also, I purchased them for next to nothing. $40 for the Drill Press, $40 for the table saw and $150 for the planer. With a little work, they are great tools. I don’t think I would buy anything new from Craftsman unless I was really cautious. The last tool I bought from Sears was a two base 2HP router when it was on sale for $79.99 a few years ago. It is a good router that I used for hand work. I don’t count on it as a workhorse in my shop, but I am happy with it.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View bobsmyuncle's profile

bobsmyuncle

110 posts in 1442 days


#10 posted 02-17-2012 09:26 PM

Sears has PO’d me just a few too many times for me to cast a shadow in their tool department.

IMO, they are cruising on their reputation for the last 40 or so years. I would still buy their mechanic’s hand tools, if I needed them, but there are plenty of other options like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Gear Wrench, that sell comparable or better stuff without having to sink big bucks in Snap-On, Matco, etc. I can now buy Craftsman tools, though in limited selections at Costco, Menards, Ace Hardware and perhaps more.

Their power tools do not interest me at all. One of the problems is that they go with lowest vendor du jour and good luck finding parts after another vendor has underbid them. I can still buy parts for my 25 year old Porter Cable, Makita, and Bosch tools over the counter at several local dealers and even have choices such as “what firmness do you want in those random orbit sander pads, we have soft, medium and hard.?”“

I know several people who bought Sear’s “Flex drive” table saw and agree that it is complete junk.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1860 days


#11 posted 02-17-2012 09:30 PM

The thing to keep in mind when looking at Craftsman tools is that they have a professional line of tools and their Sears/Kmart line. Unlike many tool companies, they did not use a different name for their cheaper line like Bosch (Skil) for example. As a result, many people think in terms of the low grade tools they see at these locations and compare them to the tools Craftsman was more renowned for in earlier years. Unfortunately, it also set the expectation that their economy line should meet the same quality controls as their professional line and that is just not the case with any tool company.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 1084 days


#12 posted 02-17-2012 09:34 PM

I have quite a few late 90’s to early 2000’s Craftsman tools and they are decent. Nothing to be amazed by, but they work.
One Craftsman tool I really like is the Dado set. It works just as good as a Freud or a Forrest dado.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View rdjack21's profile

rdjack21

265 posts in 1678 days


#13 posted 02-17-2012 10:25 PM

I’m with a few others here I do like there hand tools but I’m staying away from their power tools.

-- --- Richard Jackson

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3587 posts in 2711 days


#14 posted 02-17-2012 10:45 PM

Still if wonderin’ if the Sears folks read our opinions???
Maybe they don’t give a crap.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1820 days


#15 posted 02-17-2012 11:07 PM

I have a large collection of Craftsman mechanics tools some of which I bought 50 years ago. They’ve served me well wrenching on several cars and trucks over the years. I’ve also had several Craftsman wood working tools over the years, but have replaced most of them with better grade tools since I “went pro”.

One Craftsman tool I’ll keep is a commercial grade router that SWMBO bought me for my 30th b-day. I replaced the trigger switch several years ago, and it still works fine. Another is this wobble dado cutter a neighbor gave me. I have a nice stacked dado set, but the wobble cutter is easier to set up and gives excellent dados and rabbets. I used it today on a hutch I’m building for a customer.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View teejk's profile

teejk

1215 posts in 1436 days


#16 posted 02-17-2012 11:52 PM

IMHO…Craftsman marketed very good power tools until the early 80’s (how many of us still have one of their RAS’s bought when there really weren’t many options???). And I still have an old 1 HP router from that era…not a PC 690 but it’s all I could afford at the time.

then something happened…a few xmas gifts hit the trash with very few hours on them (in the case of a router I’ll say minutes) because they failed.

now I see the brand being marketed outside of Sears (e.g. my local Ace and now Menards). They look to be better made but it will take some time to get me back.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile

RibsBrisket4me

1414 posts in 1257 days


#17 posted 02-17-2012 11:59 PM

I guess I am a nostalgic Craftsman fan. Being in the military I was stationed in places like Del Rio Texas, and Altus, OK before the internet and the advent of big box stores being everywhere. But no matter where I was stationed, I could find a small Sears store that was privately owned. Those folks took great care of me during those years. I am grateful for that.

My table saw, jointer, router, compressor and hand tools are all Craftsman. They are good, decent tools. Not top of the line and most times a bit overpriced.

I agree that their practice of having several “levels” of tool quality all being named Craftsman has hurt them in the long run.

As a kid the Sears Christmas catolog was the greatest thing I ever saw. Because of that, I am actually dissapointed with how “glitchy” their website seems to be.

As of late I recently bought several Craftsman Decals with “pin up” girls on them. Framed them and put them in my shop. I will have to post pics, but it reminds me of a time when Sears was a great American company, and people would by their appliences, tools and decades earlier even their homes from Sears.

-- http://www.PictureTrail.com/gid6255915

View woodymays's profile

woodymays

106 posts in 2023 days


#18 posted 02-18-2012 12:04 AM

I say no more Crapsman power tool for me, the quality just isn’t there.

-- Behind every great man is his wife with rolling eyes.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1455 posts in 1850 days


#19 posted 02-18-2012 12:13 AM

I won’t buy ANYTHING with the name Craftsman and I have no reason to ever go into a Sear’s store.
Anything I have ever bought from Sears in the last 15-20 years has been a disaster with Sears running interference when I brought products back for replacement/repair.
They even found a way to render K-Mart impotent.
I look for the day they file Chapter 7.
Too bad. They were the go to dept. store for my folks in the 40’s through the 60’s. They can’t grab their Ass with both hands.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View Cgwendling's profile

Cgwendling

10 posts in 1192 days


#20 posted 02-18-2012 11:38 AM

I’m not a craftsman fan but I do have a few things. I have a hand tool set I bought in 84 and I broke the 1/2” breaker bar several times.
I have the first year of their hybrid table saw, came with the Biesemeyer fence. No problems with the setup or operation for the last 11 years. Same with my radial arm saw. I also have a 1/4” 1hp router that I’ve had since 89 and for small bits it’s my goto router.
Over the years I’ve had a few other craftsman power tools that were just plain junk, but to be fair I’ve had Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, and Bosh hand power tools that were junk too.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2985 posts in 1995 days


#21 posted 02-19-2012 08:38 PM

As far as quality is concerned, you have to fault the actual manufacturer of the item, but that doesn’t get Sears off the hook. They are still guilty of employing manufacturers who produce poor quality goods. If they just sold name brands like Stanley, Dewalt, Bosch, etc and dumped the Craftsman name completely, they might be better off.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1455 posts in 1850 days


#22 posted 02-20-2012 12:54 AM

They are living on a name that was quality back in the 50’s and 60’s. Their marketing people are so stupid not to realize anyone who bought their tools back then and are loyal, are long dead.
Sears is all China crap with no quality control. They are strictly stockholder targeted with no concern for the consumer.
I predict they will be gone in 5 years or less.
Too Bad.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

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