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Snap on (snapped off) - tool quality?


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I went in an Ollie's Bargain Outlet last week and they had a couple stacks of Craftsman tool sets in plastic cases. Two sizes. Next time I go in there Ima see if the case label says made in USA. They were probably clearanced out with all the store closings. Not in the market for another tool set right now and don't even have a gearhead high school kid graduating this year. A Craftsman set was a go-to gift for a kid who had been in HS automotive classes and done well.

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1 hour ago, OHMJR said:

Just for a laugh, I have a 3/16 wooden shrink rule made by Stanley with brass ends. 

 

You knew someone in the foundry business? Not many people know what a shrink rule is for.

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I know what the "shrink rule" is - as a rule, the amount of money in my wallet usually shrinks the minute I walk into a good swap meet. 

 

Dittos on the comments regarding S-K tools.  The first totally new tools I ever bought was at a USMC Exchange in the DC area back in the early 70's.  I bought 3/8 and 1/4 inch socket sets and they are still pristine and my favorites.  They have held up extremely well and still look almost new. 


Regarding replacement handles on the Snap-on tools, that brake shoe retainer spring tool I've had a problem with has a handle that's obviously screwed onto the shaft, and it appears if there is some kind of "glue" in there helping hold it.   I'll try to get a good photo of it and post.

Terry

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15 hours 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.

Yes Paul, I had a 54 year old Craftsman  1/4 drive ratchet strip gears and Lowe's replaced it for free.

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7 hours ago, rocketraider said:

I went in an Ollie's Bargain Outlet last week and they had a couple stacks of Craftsman tool sets in plastic cases. Two sizes. Next time I go in there Ima see if the case label says made in USA. They were probably clearanced out with all the store closings. Not in the market for another tool set right now and don't even have a gearhead high school kid graduating this year. A Craftsman set was a go-to gift for a kid who had been in HS automotive classes and done well.

I'm pretty sure those Craftsman tools were made by Vermont American. For 20 years now I've had one of their foldout sets in my vehicle. Saved the day more than once. Along with jumper cables, Slime air compressor and tow strap.

 

91AscIpwYWL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

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The assembled handle is a less-used method, but does allow for replacement. Most are injection molded, not cast, whether butyrate or polyamide, preferably compatible enough to bond but sometimes just held by the shrinkage during cooling. or polypropylene.  The soft grip ones have a second shot of elastomer.  A mold with a bunch of , say, screwdriver blades sticking up goes in the molder, a bunch of screwdrivers come out.

 

I've had pretty good luck with Klein, but because of the hardened tips more than the handles.

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58 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

I've had pretty good luck with Klein, but because of the hardened tips more than the handles.

Hey, Klein do not fit mechanical type fasteners, they are only good on electrical screws! Or tightening conduit locknuts with the blue handled hammer hitting the Klein screwdriver!🤣

 

 

d2139ne.jpg

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Used to watch the plant electricians trying to put new grips on their Klein pliers. They'd boil them, use wire pulling lube, one even resorted to putting the grips in the microwave to soften them enough to slide onto the handles. Usually accompanied by inventive swearing!🤬

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Have a smaller 2 piece Penncraft roll around in the front garage and a pair of full size black Craftsmans in the back (one mostly SAE, other mostly Metric), all bought on sale. I can see in the top shelf since collect "stuff". Never needed anything larger.

 

For on the road and junqueing I like the $40 (on sale & consider disposable) HF 4 drawer chest.

 

hftoolbox.jpg

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12 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

I know what the "shrink rule" is - as a rule, the amount of money in my wallet usually shrinks the minute I walk into a good swap meet.

The first Charlotte Autofair I ever went to, back in early 80s, I had just got inside and figuring out how to attack the biggest flea market I'd ever seen to that point.

 

There were three old guys figuring out their plan of attack and of them says "gawd will you look at all the sh*t, and I didn't bring but two hundred dollars!"

 

OK- I might  have been 30 at the time, so them being 60+ they were "old guys". Now I'm one of those "old guys"!👴😛

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I remember not being able to see the other end of the Pomona swap meet (well the smog was pretty bad, never understood why so many wanted to live in the "Valley of Smoke" but at the time was spending more time in Long Beach, Goleta, and Sunnyvale than Florida.

 

 

 

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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59 minutes ago, padgett said:

never understood why so many wanted to live in the "Valley of Smoke" 

 

 

 


You would understand why if you lived out here in the “Domain of Dampness and Gloom “. Yes, here in the wet side of the Pacific Northwest, our Summers are among , if not THE greatest in the world. Trouble is, Summer usually does not last very long. Summer of ‘71 lasted 18 days. Next year was fantastic at an unusually long 5 months ! Conversely, California has done an incredibly successful job in cleaning the smoke out of the valley. I worked at Pacific Airmotive , across the runway from Lockheed’s “Skunkworks” at the  Hollywood-Burbank airport back in the late ‘60s. Smog, REAL smog, made much of the area uninhabitable from the point of view of many, this fresh-from-the-woods , hick-town, rainwashed, country boy included. With the decades-long successful environmental clean-up, I sure wish I had bought a piece of California back 30+ years ago during the last real estate bust. No Californian appreciates home so much as the temporary transplant who returns back down South to get warm and dry out.            California Dreaming,    -   Cadillac Carl 

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18 hours ago, OHMJR said:

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. 

 

Foundry pattern makers used the shrink rules to make the Master Patterns which obviously have larger dimensions than the blueprint show net shape desired.  This is a "two shrink" scenario (master pattern-to-production pattern-to casting desired dimensions).

I recall a few times over the years when replacement casting issues from folks came up here.  They wondered if they could take an existing casting, clean it up, then have a foundry use it as a pattern.  Well they did not know that the iron would shrink to below the desired net shape.

 

Today most working patterns are produced via CAD and the shrink dimensions are included in the end model.

 

Example customers over the years:

 

Stanley Tools, New Britain, CT:  Wood Planes, Straight Edges, Bench Vises, etc.  All gone offshore now.

Millers Falls Tools, Millers Falls, MA:  "       "         "          "           "           "              .

L. S. Starrett Co., Athol, MA:  They made precision machinist' tool, gauges, bench vises, etc.

Brink & Cotton bench vises of many sizes.

 

As for Terry's case the handles virtually shattering I can only guess it is due to age.  Plastics as we know turn brittle due to being petroleum based.  Wonder if they did not have hairline cracks that were unseen ?

 

Regards,

 

Peter J.

 

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Posted (edited)

Peter you've very accurately described what's happening to all of us -falling apart due to old age!  Your description of shrinkage in the casting process is correct too. My Father-in-Law was a castings engineer with J.I.Case and Allis Chalmers and I have great memories of his stories in the foundaries. 

It's been great looking at everyone's input. I'll just toss the broken tool. I learned I can do just as good with a sturdy pair of pliers.

 

Terry

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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GM plastics of the late 60s and 70s were the worst, often would just crumble. Went through so many armrests for my Sunbird that I suspect still have a pair and were always gaps around Caddy bumpers. Now it is very expensive headlamps. Hopefully repops are made of something better.

 

Microsoft had the right idea about Bellview - warm climate, clean air, no state income tax. Spent a lot of time a bit north of Hanford on the other side of the Cascades. Not so warm.

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20 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

I learned I can do just as good with a sturdy pair of pliers.

 

If you like pinching yourself.... I tend to not do the painful routine and still use my KD or Lisle red handled brake hold down retaining tool from 50 years ago.

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Gets me right in the web of my thumb. Once popped a vein there that was hard to stop, have may odd scars: Jags always liked to slice.

Been just about everywhere that glows in the dark, can get some really great honey in Hanford.

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1 hour ago, Frank DuVal said:

 

If you like pinching yourself.... I tend to not do the painful routine and still use my KD or Lisle red handled brake hold down retaining tool from 50 years ago.

When I discovered real brake spring tools I thought I was in high cotton! Did it the hard way with pliers and screwdrivers for too long. Even sprung for a drum brake gauge and boy did that thing pay for itself quick! 

 

Couple weeks ago I bought a 5-drawer roller cart at HF. The brake tools and tuneup stuff live in it. Rolling it around beats the life out of lugging plastic totes around.

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3 hours ago, rocketraider said:

When I discovered real brake spring tools I thought I was in high cotton! Did it the hard way with pliers and screwdrivers for too long. Even sprung for a drum brake gauge and boy did that thing pay for itself quick! 

 

Couple weeks ago I bought a 5-drawer roller cart at HF. The brake tools and tuneup stuff live in it. Rolling it around beats the life out of lugging plastic totes around.

My tools are sometimes as far as 50 feet away from where I am working. I use the time walking back and forth to get the right Craftsman tool to polish my coarse vocabulary. Shaking my head back and forth while walking to and fro is good stretching exercising.  I don’t need no stinking roller cart.  Zeke

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The Snap On dealer did not put new handles on the screwdrivers I’d purchased in the 70s. He just replaced them all under warranty. Forgot that my brake spring tool handle had also disintegrated, so he ordered a replacement today.

 

Mark

B6F284B4-FDC2-4FF0-83D2-2F8AA24E6308.jpeg

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On 3/21/2021 at 9:31 PM, Frank DuVal said:

 

You knew someone in the foundry business? Not many people know what a shrink rule is for.

Yup, me.... 40+ yrs a Journeyman Pattern and Model maker. Got lots of steel ones too. Starrett and Lufkins. LOL, not many know what I do, seems when I tell them I get the "Deer in the headlights" look! 

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2 hours ago, zeke01 said:

 I don’t need no stinking roller cart.  Zeke

My dad did everything the hard way, because that's how my grandpa and great-gran did things. By the time I was 15 I had made up my mind if there was something made to make my life easier, I was going to have it when I could afford it.

 

Work smarter, not harder. 

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On 3/22/2021 at 3:05 PM, Peter J.Heizmann said:

Foundry pattern makers used the shrink rules to make the Master Patterns which obviously have larger dimensions than the blueprint show net shape desired.  This is a "two shrink" scenario (master pattern-to-production pattern-to casting desired dimensions).

I recall a few times over the years when replacement casting issues from folks came up here.  They wondered if they could take an existing casting, clean it up, then have a foundry use it as a pattern.  Well they did not know that the iron would shrink to below the desired net shape.

Yep, master patterns were sent to an aluminum plate manufacturer and reproduced in single or gang configurations using plaster molds, 1 shrink...molded at the foundry in sand 2nd shrink. they were designed for high repetitive production generally on squeezer and Hunter 10 and 20 molding machines. Long ago they even used Magnesium to make the plates. 'Bout the only casting you can cast from itself would be cast in Ductile Iron, shrink lays in at 1/10 of an inch per foot...ok for small products with no machining involved but larger and machining needed a new tool is required. Gray Iron sits at 1/8 per foot and the numbers just keep going up from there for all other ferrous and non-ferrous metals. For the last few decades my shrink rules sit idle, I prefer to use dial calipers and convert into thousands of an inch...it keeps the tolerances closer to +/- .000".😉

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On 3/23/2021 at 9:23 PM, OHMJR said:

Yup, me.... 40+ yrs a Journeyman Pattern and Model maker. Got lots of steel ones too. Starrett and Lufkins. LOL, not many know what I do, seems when I tell them I get the "Deer in the headlights" look! 


 

Starrett is great stuff. I just bought a bunch of pre WWI tools as the quality is beyond anything you can get today. The company is from Orange Mass, home of the Grout steamer. Many of my precision measuring devices are from Starrett.......and all of them are twenty year older than I am.

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Try that with Harbor Fright trash.

 

Yes, Harbor Freight does not have the resources to make special tools for one person, nor do they need to find used tools for one person. But, they have their place in the supply chain. You would me amazed at what they actually make well for home mechanics. Not everything in the store... But some are good, and the new ICON line fells great. I have not used any yet, as I am not in the market for any wrenches. I'm sure if 99% of the people on this forum asked their local Snap-On dealer for he same special service you did, we would get NOTHING!

 

A professional mechanic needs the tool truck to come visit to keep production up., But, if a wrench you need breaks 2 hours after the truck leaves.... the next day the truck is 75 to 100 miles away in this area. It took two months to get my Snap-On torque wrench back from being calibrated. My other off brand torque wrenches did not need calibrating!  

 

1 hour ago, edinmass said:

It’s cheaper in the long run, and you get better results when finished.

 

I agree with a professional mechanic needing tools that work well, but if an off brand (SK, Cornwall, King Dick, Harbor Freight) wrench works, just how is the finished result better using Snap-On brand tool? That sounds like you drank the Kool Aid!  I am not talking about poor fit wrenches that leave your hands bloodied and fasteners rounded off, that's obvious. And once you leave the wrench/screwdriver category, better equipment is available from other suppliers, like Miller, Lincoln, National Detroit, Milwaukee, Schaumacher, Channellock, Ridgid, etc. that are better at what they build. I only own a few Snap-On pliers because they just are not as good. Not the right "feel". But I have friends in the business that buy everything Snap-On because the truck stops by and instant financing. My cheap Solar plasma cutter works just as well as their Snap-On version that's twice the price.

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Frank.....I have KD, Blackhawk, King Dick, and a bunch of others also in my box. I even have some Harbor Fright stuff. Over the weekend last month I needed a puller to remove a bearing and didn’t have access to a good quality puller, and tried to use a HF unit. Tightened it to the max and it failed. It slipped and galled a surface of the hub. During the week, I got an OTC and it pulled the bearing off in thirty seconds. The damage caused by a slipping puller added two hours to my job. It was also a 104 year old hub.........replacement from damage would have cost thousands......if it ruined the part.......and it was a close call. Working near fragile areas like a radiator where a slipping socket or wrench could punch a hole in the core...........on say a 540k or other exotic where damage could cost numbers beyond belief is just not worth it. If you look in my trailer, the entire tool set is used Craftsman or HF stuff. On long trips we just toss in Snappy wrenches and sockets for added coverage. Certain brands just don’t fit my hands (or others) well, so we avoid them. There is a place for cheap hand tools, and sometimes they work fine. It’s the fifteen to twenty percent of the time where it’s critical that the Chinese junk simply isn’t a choice to use. They often gall fasteners and damage the finish on them. Driving by a Goodyear service shop at lunch yesterday, I looked into the bays as I was road testing a V-16. Just from the tool boxes in the shop, I wouldn’t have taken my car there for service. If the technician isn’t going to invest in tools that will last a lifetime, I rather find a shop and technician who is dedicated to their chosen craft. Fact is, you get in this world what you pay for...........from tools, to information. Would you take a new car to a shop that doesn’t have access to the technology to properly fix you car? Without service bulletins, recall notices, calibration information, and wiring diagrams your car is likely going to be damaged by people or shops taking short cuts. It’s unfortunate, but tools and equipment are just a portion of servicing a car today. That said, even with every top tool and equipment available the brains of the tech are the most important thing you have access to..........and experience is definitely the most important of all required items to get things done right the first time. In today’s world of flat rate repairs most people just give up on difficult problems. Usually by the time a vehicle gets to me, it’s been through several peoples hands.........and is in worse shape than when it started out. Fixing things that other people can’t is rewarding.......and much more profitable on a per hour basis  for me. 

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When it comes to precision tools I have mainly Mitutoyo and have passed some of it on to my son in the past year. I replaced the digital screen on one of the verniers last year at a cost of $95 US. But with shipping & handling from the US the total cost came to over $200 and package would fit in the palm of your hand. So the shipping was expensive but with replacement value of over $700 it was still worth it.   

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)
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On 3/23/2021 at 10:00 PM, padgett said:

Lazy people tend to be inventive.

There was a plumber on one of my jobs, he pulled out a blue tarp that was all rolled up with all of his plastic fittings spread out in the room. Dug through for the part he needed. When finished at the end of the day he grabbed the 4 corners and threw it back in his van. It was kinda sloppy but ingenious at the same time. When I made a comment he replied ' if you want to find the easiest way to do something, ask the laziest guy to do it'.  With this guy truer words have never been spoken!  

 

 

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Probably use 10% of my tools 90% of the time but when I need something really odd it is really needed.

 

Living at a hub, I buy much more from Amazon than HF (though my 9KW genny came from there).

Ran into something similar last year removing pitman arms from a couple of Saginaw steering boxes for my Judge, one had been unsuccessful for thutty yar (didn't need and nut is specd for 270 lb-ft so really on there. Since 1970).

 

ARES 70841 1 5/16-inch 33mm Pitman Arm Puller was not expensive but did the job with my air impact so essential.

 

Friend had a Snap-On truck but only item I have is an insulated tumbler, have always been an amateur.

 

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11 hours ago, OHMJR said:

prefer to use dial calipers and convert into thousands of an inch...

When I make patterns I build 3D models in a solids modeling program and add the shrink and draft. Then generate G-code and machine them out with a ballnose endmill in a CNC machine. It's cheating :)

-----

Harbor Freight, Snap on and SK are all comparable? Things must have changed drastically.

 

-Ron

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7 minutes ago, Locomobile said:

When I make patterns I build 3D models in a solids modeling program and add the shrink and draft. Then generate G-code and machine them out with a ballnose endmill in a CNC machine. It's cheating :)

-----

Harbor Freight, Snap on and SK are all comparable? Things must have changed drastically.

 

-Ron

 

 

Like this? Gary A was the gentleman who helped me with this project...........see his Stude Indy Car build.......fantastic thread.

impellers cast 1.jpg

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2 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

digital screen on one of the verniers

That's two different things. Vernier is a system of compared scales to determine a sum, no encoders electronics or rack gears and dials. Vernier is the most reliable system ever devised.

 

Ron

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Agree, just what I've seen in my lifetime has been one of constant change and from "not available at any price" to "cheap".

 

Take TVs. Remenber B&W and channel 1. Paid $500 for a 25" Admiral with OTA only (before cable there) in 1973 to same price for a 4K 75" Philips with streaming in 2019. Saw similar for $228 in 2020.

 

EVERYTHING has gone that way but some has gone waaay downhil. K-Mart was bought by Sears which then went broke. (Both sources of automotive tools and parts in the last millennia, use to swear by Sear Heavy Duty Shocks ($5) for street use. Bought Quaker State 10W-40 by the 24 qt case. R-12 was $1 a can.

 

GM divested of all mid-line cars except Buick which the Chinese liked, now more Caddys are sold over there than here.

 

Modern Times. OTOH if I lived a century ago would be deaf and blind.

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Sorry for making this confusing for some and using a common  short form for the word vernier caliper . Here is what I was referring to as a vernier for those that are confused. A picture is worth a thousand words. 

I think I will take a nap now and sign out and also having my 12 to finish and getting on the road. 

https://www.wish.com/product/5d6414c8fe85da3c6ce50d71?from_ad=goog_shopping&_display_country_code=CA&_force_currency_code=CAD&pid=googleadwords_int&c=6493229759&ad_cid=5d6414c8fe85da3c6ce50d71&ad_cc=CA&ad_lang=EN&ad_curr=CAD&ad_price=58.00&campaign_id=6493229759&exclude_install=true&gclid=CjwKCAjw6fCCBhBNEiwAem5SOx861LscxxbEA4WrzxaMaTVNsnnPow00Q3El7Cn3wLZf_Vg3kq3ccBoCw6gQAvD_BwE&hide_login_modal=true&share=web

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7 hours ago, edinmass said:

Certain brands just don’t fit my hands (or others) well, so we avoid them.

Agreed on "feel"  is different between brands. 🤔

One cannot write a specification on "feel", for purchasing agents. Like obscenity, you know it when you see it.😁

Agreed emergency use can get by with not as good a "feel" than everyday use 8+ hours a day.

 

7 hours ago, edinmass said:

It’s the fifteen to twenty percent of the time where it’s critical that the Chinese junk simply isn’t a choice to use.

 And AGREE on that!😉

 

And we agree the HF pullers have very few uses.... with modification, mabe a few more, but not for high loading removal at all. Thread too coarse, lips too broad, of course I only know the 30 year old stuff from them in pullers....  But the 37 year old 12 ton press is working GREAT, even after abuse in the shop environment. Bent a little... but still fine... no hydraulic leaks... Not sure if current production is similar, so YMMV on new stock.

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Not bad but I tend to avoid any tool that needs a battery.

Also have a 12 ton press and several "racing" jacks but also a 1 1/4 ton (rated differently 75 yeas ago ?) Heine-Warner I've rebuilt twice.

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I still say if you're making a living with tools you can justify the expense of Snap-On or other tool truck brand. For hobbyists not so much, though I know plenty who like the snob appeal aspect of tool truck brands, and most of those folks do little of their own wrenching🙄.

 

I have some HF and Northern Tool stuff; also some Snap-On, Matco and MAC. Otherwise my only requirement is a US-made quality name brand. Meaning I find myself digging thru swap meets and estate sales to find that. A well-cared-for old American tool is treasure.

 

I've also accumulated a lot of Borroughs and Kent-Moore Oldsmobile/GM dealer specialty and essential tools. I've actually had only a few occasions to use any of them, but I like the idea of using what the carmaker designed for its service people to use.

 

Local NAPA is running an oil sale tomorrow with the added attraction of a tool truck. Newspaper ad didn't say whose, but it's a good way to spend part of a morning.

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22 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

Sorry for making this confusing for some and using a common  short form for the word vernier caliper . Here is what I was referring to as a vernier for those that are confused. A picture is worth a thousand words. 

I think I will take a nap now and sign out and also having my 12 to finish and getting on the road. 

https://www.wish.com/product/5d6414c8fe85da3c6ce50d71?from_ad=goog_shopping&_display_country_code=CA&_force_currency_code=CAD&pid=googleadwords_int&c=6493229759&ad_cid=5d6414c8fe85da3c6ce50d71&ad_cc=CA&ad_lang=EN&ad_curr=CAD&ad_price=58.00&campaign_id=6493229759&exclude_install=true&gclid=CjwKCAjw6fCCBhBNEiwAem5SOx861LscxxbEA4WrzxaMaTVNsnnPow00Q3El7Cn3wLZf_Vg3kq3ccBoCw6gQAvD_BwE&hide_login_modal=true&share=web

I was just clarifying the difference between the two. It must be a thing where in some locales ''vernier'' is used as a slangular term to name all beam calipers. In my haunts we always referred to them as simply calipers which isn't really accurate, as there are several different types even ''hermaphrodite calipers''🙄

 

Ron

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Heck I have and know how to use a slip stick.

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