|Review by Tedstor||posted 03-22-2011 07:30 AM||2339 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
So it seems in the world of scratch awls, the price range seems to be $4.50-24.50. Sure, there are plenty of examples of awls that are priced higher and lower, but 95% seem to fall in this range. The General 818 is in the cheap camp at $4.50. When I decided to buy this tool, my school of thought was “its a glorified nail fastened to the end of a stick, how could a manufacturer possibly screw it up?” In other words, I figured the $4.50 tool was probably almost as good as the more expensive makes/models (in this case).
I’m typically satisfied with inexpensive tools with few moving parts. My $5 claw hammer has never let me down. However this awl, for lack of a more sophisticated term, sucks. Lowes had 4 of these on the rack. One of them had a shank that was visibly bent, and another had a cracked handle. Shipping damage? Still, a smart shopper would have simply walked away, but I decided to “stay the course” and bought one of the two that were not visably defective.
The tool was packaged with a red rubber tip guard. I’m not sure why. The tip was so dull, it wouldn’t have peirced an egg yolk. It looked as if the manufacturer stabbed an anvil with it before packaging. The tip was “mushroomed”. I understand that new tools often need some adjustments, but this was way beyond that. The shank has a wavy feel to it. Forging seems to be of very poor quality. The handle is ok, but the fit is far from first class.
I did manage to put a decent tip on it after a minute or two on the grinder. It now performs OK. I still wish I spent a few extra pesos for a better tool.
Don’t get me wrong here. I realize I bought a low end tool, and I got a low end tool. I guess I’m just trying to convey that this is a case where paying an extra $10, would likely yield a 10X better product. No bargain here.
I gave it 3 stars because it can be made into a serviceable tool. We’ll see how it holds up.