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Snap on (snapped off) - tool quality?


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Well-this was a surprise!   Doing a brake job on the MGB today and got out my trusty-old-faithful Snap-On retainer spring tool.  I wasn't doing much more than getting ready to use it when the danged thing broke in half!   Looking closely I could see multiple cracks and fissures in the plastic handle.  Thought this was supposed to be such great stuff?   It was a good old original given to me by a friend who was a Snap-on dealer.  Maybe nothing lasts forever, but I expected more.  Is this something others have seen?

 

Had to go to Advance Auto Parts and buy a "high-quality" Chinese import.  Interesting reading the translated instructions on the back!   Of particular note was the warning -"Caution, may cause cancer or reproductive problems."   Hmm, let me read those directions again...

 

Terry

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Snap-On truck carries replacement handles just for this reason.

 

Most every old Snap-On dead blow hammer (the one all covered with plastic) has failed. But, they will send you a new one!

 

You pay upfront for the warranty, use it!😉

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Common problem with the older black plastic handles. Mr. Snappy will replace the handles, but he may need to order them.

I had these laying around for years now, the new handles are all in this week.

 

Mark

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I still have plenty of those old Stanley screw drivers with the amber plastic handles my father bought in the late '50s and early '60s.

They are my go to jobs when I feel the need to beat on a screw driver for what reason .None has failed yet.

Only one Craftsman handle ever broke and it was being hammered on relentlessly

I believe the black  element in the composition in many plastics makes some age out quicker.

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My 1/4 drive ratchet leaver broke so they gave me a new ratchet. The original one had made in USA on it and the replacement did not. Only problem was the ball was missing on the drive so sockets fall off. After having it replaced again I called snap off and asked where it was made and could not tell me.

I wounder if they will mark all their tools made in China???

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Has anybody had a Craftsman Tool break since ACE Hardware, Lowe's and Advance Auto are all selling Craftsman?

Does anybody stand by the lifetime warranty?   Or was the death of Sears the end of the lifetime thing?

I learned a young man that there is no such thing as a plastic handled chisel.

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53 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Has anybody had a Craftsman Tool break since ACE Hardware, Lowe's and Advance Auto are all selling Craftsman?

Does anybody stand by the lifetime warranty?   Or was the death of Sears the end of the lifetime thing?

I learned a young man that there is no such thing as a plastic handled chisel.

I work at Lowes part time. I can state that Lowes does honor the lifetime warranty on Craftsman hand tools. Screw drivers, ratchets, sockets etc. The replacement may not look exactly like the one you bring to the store, but it will be as close as possible to what they carry. 

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1 hour ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Has anybody had a Craftsman Tool break since ACE Hardware, Lowe's and Advance Auto are all selling Craftsman?

Does anybody stand by the lifetime warranty?   Or was the death of Sears the end of the lifetime thing?

I learned a young man that there is no such thing as a plastic handled chisel.

I just took 2 Craftsman screwdrivers back to our local Ace Hardware which is owned by the local grocer, Vinckier's.  The Ace Hardware now occupies space that was a Dollar Store for years which the wife misses and I don't, hardware store that is less than the 10 mile alternative trek is pretty handy.  Anyhow they happily replaced the screwdrivers, broken by total abuse using them as pry-bars to mount tires on 31 Buick split rims notwithstanding.  All they cared about was the Craftsman name on the tools and that they were obviously broken.   

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I, too, have had 3 Snap-on screwdriver handles fall apart.  Contacted Snap-on for a replacement but told tell me to talk to my route representative.  I'm not a professional mechanic, don't have a Snap-on rep, and don't know how to contact one.

 

Should I try to track down a Snap-on rep? Would he even talk to me? 

 

By the way, I consider Snap-on screwdrivers to be the best on the market. I don't say that about the rest of their tools.

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I could never afford to play in the tool truck sandbox so most of my tools came from Sears. Hope I never have to ask about a Craftsman tool warranty. All I bought at Sears itself are US-made. 

 

Several years back I was in there killing time on a rainy day and the kid in tool section asked if I was looking for anything specific. Told him I probably had one of everything on the shelf and it was all US-made, whereas seemed everything in stock now was made offshore. He says "if you have a warranty claim, we'll have to replace it with the offshore tools".

 

I'd been picking up good older tools at swap meets and auctions the last ten years or so anyway, so after hearing that, previously loved old name tools have become my go-to.

 

The only drawback is they become a collection in their own right☺️. I've dug into the history of some of those brands and found that a lot of what I had considered second-tier tools were actually very high quality and innovative in their time.

 

My favorite "accumulation" now are Western Auto's "Wizard" house brand. Like S-K and Jamestown-marked Crescent too. Tools should be a pleasure to use and these are.

 

 

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Wasn't it Marylin Monroe who said "Snap On tools are the Cadillac of tools". Maybe they used Cadillac shift lever knob  plastic for the handles. '50's Caddy guys know about that- use the lever not the knob.

 

I like the newer Stanley screwdrivers. Not hard to grab a couple while walking through Walmart. I use the automotive entrance.

 

Last week I finished buying a set of MM Snap On ratcheting box end wrenches one at a time on Ebay, limit $15.00 each, started on the inch ones now. If one has the slightest bit of tool snob in them they can feel the better balance and finish. There seen to be a lot of good deals, enough so I don't feel threatened by writing this.

 

I like them and the executors of the estate might be impressed. What more could you ask for?

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14 minutes ago, RansomEli said:

I, too, have had 3 Snap-on screwdriver handles fall apart.  Contacted Snap-on for a replacement but told tell me to talk to my route representative.  I'm not a professional mechanic, don't have a Snap-on rep, and don't know how to contact one.

 

Should I try to track down a Snap-on rep? Would he even talk to me? 


There’s a service station about a mile from my house. I asked the owner when the SO truck makes his rounds, and talked to him on one his weekly visits. You don’t need to be a pro and he will (or should) talk to you.

 

Mark

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I bought some Pittsburgh brand wrenches at Horrible Freight, of all places, and I'm very impressed with the fit, finish and hand feel. The price was VERY right and they seem to be holding up quite well.................Bob

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Does anyone else get joy from tearing down old sticky ratchets, cleaning their innards and relubing them so they work as new?😺

 

Snap ring pliers, a little brake cleaner and some synthetic grease can usually bring a neglected (not abused) ratchet back to new performance and pride of place in the "vintage tools" chest!

 

Of the dozens I've done, only one 1940s PLOMB couldn't be brought back and that was due to a rusted-away pawl tension spring I haven't yet found a suitable replacement for. Los Angeles-based PLOMB morphed into Stanley/Black & Decker thru a series of mergers and acquisitions. Wonder would SB&D have that weird little conical spring?😃 a battery spring from a defunct TV remote was close but no cigar...

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Interesting about the screwdriver handles. I have at least a dozen and have not seen one break up like that . Some I bought new in around 1980 so they are now 40 years old. I wonder if the plastic composition varies and ones from some time periods deteriorate worse than others.

I have quite a few Snap On tools and I am generally quite happy with them . Some are even hand me downs from either my grandfather or my wife's grandfather so quite old indeed but still holding up well.

 But yes, lots of other tools that are very good and significantly cheaper than Snap On.

 

Greg

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In 2019 I bought my wife two pairs of Snap On mechanics socks as a Christmas "Stocking stuffer", always freezing during winter. I didn't realize she was being very judicious about using those two pair. This year I got her five more so she has a full set. Had to order them online because the local tool truck was always out by the time he reached my village.

 

Too bad they don't make a wrapping tool.

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21 minutes ago, rocketraider said:

Does anyone else get joy from tearing down old sticky ratchets, cleaning their innards and relubing them so they work as new?😺

 

Snap ring pliers, a little brake cleaner and some synthetic grease can usually bring a neglected (not abused) ratchet back to new performance and pride of place in the "vintage tools" chest!

 

Of the dozens I've done, only one 1940s PLOMB couldn't be brought back and that was due to a rusted-away pawl tension spring I haven't yet found a suitable replacement for. Los Angeles-based PLOMB morphed into Stanley/Black & Decker thru a series of mergers and acquisitions. Wonder would SB&D have that weird little conical spring?😃 a battery spring from a defunct TV remote was close but no cigar...

 

 

I confess, I'm one of those ...

Love the old stuff the most.

 

Most of my toolbox consists of sets and practical pieces I use. I prefer anything from 1910s - 1940s that is salvageable. I've spent years accumulating from swap meets, yard sales and  estate sales. I try not to buy any current import stuff  unless the wife says my blood pressure is reading low. 

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Sears was replacing broken Penncraft, wonder if anyone does now.

My blood pressure is usually low, not getting enough salt. Is a good thing now because takes a fever to reach 98.

Have tools from everywhere. Rarely break one though have split some sockets.

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Digging thru tools at swap meets etc I rarely see any Penncraft though Montgomery Ward PowrKraft is easy enough to find. Cousin worked for Penney's a few years after he got out of USAF in late 60s and still has a big Penncraft set he got as a sales award.

 

That's how I got into Wizard, was finding it at swap meets. There were four WA within 20 miles of me as I was growing up but I never knew anyone here who had Wizard hand tools. Most everyone had Craftsman or whatever the local farm supply sold.

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My late father in law was the Snap-on guy for 35 years, retiring in the late 1980s (just about the time I married his daughter) so we’ve always had way more Snap-on bling that anyone else around our house. Over the years I’ve reduced the collection to just a few items. The collector market for the Snap-on advertising giveaways seems to have softened considerably.

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54 minutes ago, TerryB said:

Easy on the Snap-on stuff, I need their dividend checks to support my beer and pretzels habit.

 

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Never said it's not good stuff. Just unaffordable unless you're making a living with them. Only way I can afford Snap-on is "previously loved" at the swap meet, and I often wonder how much of that is warranty claim stuff. If I can get it from an estate sale that's not a concern. Just have to beat back the speculators and resellers.

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Yes, even my “family discount” prices were not cheap.  I don’t have a lot of Snap-on just enough to pretend I know what I’m doing!

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3 hours ago, rocketraider said:

Just have to beat back the speculators and resellers.

 

My grandfather had a tire shop and a car lot. Wholesale Tires, Jerry's Tire Shop and Wholesale Used Cars, Jerry's Used Cars. Four businesses. I will call you right to the front If I see you struggling.

When the kids in school were going out for sports I was already deep into the Sport of Kings. And it ain't boxing or horse racing.

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SOME TIME IT IS BEST TO FORGET THE TOOL WARRANTY! 

I had a Craftsman 3/4 inch combination open/box wrench that the box end had cracked and it would slip on a hard pull !!.

I cut it in half and bent it in a horsehoe shape, welded a 3/8 nut on it and thinned down the open end.  This made it the perfect 

tool to R&R the vacuum modulators on Ford automatic transmissions.  A tool manufacturer in Pa. had a contest for for a new tool suggestion . 

My local jobber insisted I enter my wrench!  I won the top prize of $1000 plus they sent their twin engined company plane down

and took me to their factory for a tour plus lunch with their president & the presentation of the check!

Really beat the heck out of a replacement wrench plus I got a day off and my "4 women"(wife and 3 teen age daughters) enjoyed the check!!

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I know I have spent over 20,000 dollars on the tool trucks over the last 30 years,its probably a drop in the bucket compared to what others have spent but its enough for me.  I only spent around 700 last year and nothing so far this year.

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No idea but have been buying things (still have the first wrench I bought) for twice that long and spent about a grand on "stuff" last year.

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I also have a few of those, "Black Handle Screwdrivers',; that have failed.   They turned, to the color white and fell apart. 

 

I have all types of screwdrivers, and the handles usually last decades. But not the black handle Snap-On's.

 

intimeold

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  I  purchased  these    years ago  when i lived in USA,, because they have my name on them,

and they are the best   wrenches i have ever owned----reason is they have a  terrific grip feeling when

holding, and they are not to big , really good for getting into small areas, and i have  thashed these spanners over the years,

and have never let  me down      these are   SK WAYNE i think were about made in the  1960s.

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I have some good old SK tools tool. Never broke one, even their ratchets hold up well. Snap On made the best rolling tool boxes for years. The draw slides, thickness of the cabinet metal, locks, and casters were much much better than any manufacturer. These days, with rolling tool boxes being more common, I imagine there's other companies that make either equally as good or close to their cabinets. Specialized tools by Snap On are usually first rate but again, those that I have are at least 15yrs old or more. I have all brands of tools and most are either Craftsman or SK from 1/4" drive up to 3/4" drive. When it comes to screw drivers for working on our old cars and their straight screws, I prefer an old wood handle one I have. For some reason it seems to never slip out of a screw and feels great in my hand.

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22 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Maybe nothing lasts forever, but I expected more.

That is why I buy S-K if I can. My opinion, but I think they make the best ratchet. Snap on wrenches are more ergonomic, but for what they charge for tools, they aren't worth it.

 

That plastic handle was probably a polyester resin with catalyst like epoxy etc., which never stops curing and becomes very brittle over time especially in high temperatures.

 

Ron

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57 minutes ago, rocketraider said:

If anyone gets new handles how bout a tutorial on how to put them on the tool? I always figured the handles were molded around the tool shaft during manufacture.

 

They are extremely easy to change. The blades just push into the handles. Put the shaft of the screwdriver firmly in a vise { soft jaws preferred } and knock firmly against the handle away from the shaft. Handle will usually pop right off. I saw my Snap On guy do it several times when I was working as a mechanic. He replaced a few of my screwdriver blades on warranty over the years.

 

Greg

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When wrenchin' Craftsman is the most I own, some SK....when building within critical dimensions it's Starrett and Lufkin. Just for a laugh, I have a 3/16 wooden shrink rule made by Stanley with brass ends. 

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I bought a 3/4" Craftsman ratchet at the Sears going out of business sale. Very sad. 50% off I think it was, or maybe more. Always liked the Sears setup because you could buy an individual socket or wrench, not just sets. Now maybe i should sell that big ratchet, since I have not used it yet.

 

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12 hours ago, bryankazmer said:

Your amber screwdriver handle and black handle are made of two entirely different plastics. 

 

Those amber handles are the same as Xcelite and Craftsman handles.  Cellulose acetate butyrate is the plastic. Has a bad smell too. But they take some abuse!

 

One issue with these handles is they mold. When they are kept in a humid environment, they turn white. The white can be scrapped off with your fingernail. 

 

 

11 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

I bought some Pittsburgh brand wrenches at Horrible Freight, of all places, and I'm very impressed with the fit, finish and hand feel. The price was VERY right and they seem to be holding up quite well.

 

Wait till you go there and try the new line of Icon tools! Like holding Snap-On!

 

https://www.harborfreight.com/icon-tool-storage

 

 

5 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

kids in school were going out for sports I was already deep into the Sport of Kings

 

 

I have no idea what you mean, but I have many brands of tools. One brand of wrenches is King Dick!

 

https://www.kingdicktools.co.uk/

 

2 hours ago, rocketraider said:

If anyone gets new handles how bout a tutorial on how to put them on the tool? I always figured the handles were molded around the tool shaft during manufacture.

 

I've watched the Snap-On dealer change handles and/or blades on the truck. They are made to slide the handle/blade apart for replacement. I'm not sure other brands are made to do this. Many appear to be cast onto the blade.

 

 

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