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    Thread: Sears closing more stores. Do Craftsman tool users care?

    1. Member
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      12-27-2011 10:55 AM #1
      Sears/KMart is going to go through another round of store closings, 100+ locations. It's no wonder why if you've been inside either in the last many years. IMO, stores are tired, understocked, etc.
      I've got some Craftsman tools, quite a few from years ago. I have a 2 ton floor jack bought new in 1988 that's still going strong as a Sherman tank. Lots of other handtools, timing light, dwell meter, all bought around 1990. I worked there from 1986 to 1994 or so and I watched quality start to whiddle away. They took more and more tools off the "guaranteed forever" roster. Tape measures, lots of pliers, etc. Basically tools that had the higher chance of failing were no longer guaranteed, but they didn't drop the price on them. They last two times I took screwdrivers back to replace, they didn't have them. It's a pain to deal with going all the way in to a mall store to come up empty.

      Where does the Craftsman brand rank in TCL? Will they be missed if the bleeding and store closing doesn't stop?

      Last edited by Viener Vanker; 12-27-2011 at 01:05 PM.

    2. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 11:01 AM #2
      I like Craftsman. Obviously they don't have the snob appeal of Snap-On, etc, but as a garage tinkerer/hobbyist, I don't need to buy $25 screwdrivers and $300 wrench sets. And I have a free-standing Sears near my house that I frequent before/during projects.

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      12-27-2011 11:01 AM #3
      I'm a fan of Harbor Freight for general tools/throwaway tools, Mac and SnapOn for my good stuff, and Craftsman for all my general use and lendaway tools.

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      12-27-2011 11:04 AM #4
      I have a few Craftsman tools and I like them. I'm also not too demanding about my tools though and refuse to pay for Snap-On or any other high end tool set. If Craftsman was to go away I'd just by Stanley or Kobalt tools.

    5. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 11:04 AM #5
      I don't buy knucklebusters, but most of my hand tools are Craftsman. I suppose I'll have to go exchange that ratchet that skips. And that other one that skips.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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      12-27-2011 11:13 AM #6
      Craftsman tools have been going downhill fast in recent years. More and more of their tools are being made in China and sold at inflated prices, and the quality of the US-made stuff is pretty poor. For the same price, you can get a much better value from Taiwanese tools like Gearwrench, Duralast, Toptul, Genius, Sunex, or even Harbor Freight for some things.

      I do like the fact that Sears stores are everywhere and have a decent selection of tools in stock, it's great when you need something on short notice. Now that Advance, Auto Zone, Napa, and Harbor Freight stores stock a decent selection, I find myself visiting Sears less often.

    7. Member vasillalov's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 11:20 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Afazz View Post
      Craftsman tools have been going downhill fast in recent years. More and more of their tools are being made in China and sold at inflated prices, and the quality of the US-made stuff is pretty poor. For the same price, you can get a much better value from Taiwanese tools like Gearwrench, Duralast, Toptul, Genius, Sunex, or even Harbor Freight for some things.

      I do like the fact that Sears stores are everywhere and have a decent selection of tools in stock, it's great when you need something on short notice. Now that Advance, Auto Zone, Napa, and Harbor Freight stores stock a decent selection, I find myself visiting Sears less often.
      THIS!

      Also, I seem to have very good success with Kobalt tools (house brand for Lowes).

    8. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 11:26 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by vasillalov View Post
      THIS!

      Also, I seem to have very good success with Kobalt tools (house brand for Lowes).
      I've been very happy with my Gearwrench and Kobalt stuff. I have plenty of craftsman in there too, but the stuff I've purchased lately has been along these lines.
      Looking for a ratty Miata? My '90 is for sale.
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      Quote Originally Posted by mhjett View Post
      4+ pages and at least 1 death threat in a compact-car comparison test thread - oh wait, this is TCL.

    9. 12-27-2011 11:43 AM #9
      I build and fly Kitplanes so I have tons of tools. I have Matco, S&K, Craftsman for my main tools and some Snap-on, Kobalt, and of course Gearwrench. Craftsman tools are decent and I only buy items on sale - and they always have sales going on. It is too bad to see the Sears brand having difficulties and if it looks like they may go under eventually I will shop any big sales they have on their tool line. Sears Craftsman line may get sold off if the company is near liquidation - that line has value.

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      12-27-2011 11:44 AM #10
      most of my "hard parts" are sears/craftsman. I've got a torque wrench from them, most of my box wrenches and sockets are craftsman (most are a lot older than me). i've never had any of this stuff fail me.

      i have no strong preference for my tools, as long as they are reasonably priced and don't break...
      Regarding DD'ing a tuned Evo:
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      12-27-2011 11:45 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by AeroBuilders View Post
      Sears Craftsman line may get sold off if the company is near liquidation - that line has value.
      I've heard that it's basically Craftsman tools and appliances that keeps Sears afloat. No idea if it's true, but it sounds plausible enough.

    12. Member Smokin Joe's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 11:46 AM #12
      Funny this would come up today. I was planning on going past the mall so I went through my tool box to dig out all the old broken Craftsman tools. I have a ratchet that hasn't even wore off the sticker from the last time it was replaced in the bag of dead soldiers. I have pretty much decided to not buy anymore of their tools if I can get away with it. Their ratchets will break if you look at them too hard, the tips of the screwdrivers twist or chip at the first sight of a stuck screw and their prices really aren't that good. The Kobalt tools at Lowes are much nicer and the same or less money. I bought a few of them that were on sale to give them a try. So far nothing has broke and the grips on the screwdrivers is pretty nice for working around the house. It only needs to be oil resistant to be just as good for the car.

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      12-27-2011 11:47 AM #13
      Craftsman is being sold at Ace Hardware stores and Summit Racing now too.
      Do you want to ride to 60 in three seconds or drive there in five?

    14. 12-27-2011 11:50 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by patrickvr6 View Post
      Craftsman is being sold at Ace Hardware stores and Summit Racing now too.
      I did not know this - interesting.

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      12-27-2011 11:55 AM #15
      I saw a Craftsman set at Costco yesterday too.
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      12-27-2011 11:56 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by patrickvr6 View Post
      Craftsman is being sold at Ace Hardware stores and Summit Racing now too.
      Yep. I bought a Craftsman shop-vac at Ace last year.
      Looking for a ratty Miata? My '90 is for sale.
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      Quote Originally Posted by mhjett View Post
      4+ pages and at least 1 death threat in a compact-car comparison test thread - oh wait, this is TCL.

    17. 12-27-2011 11:57 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by AeroBuilders View Post
      I build and fly Kitplanes so I have tons of tools. I have Matco, S&K, Craftsman for my main tools and some Snap-on, Kobalt, and of course Gearwrench. Craftsman tools are decent and I only buy items on sale - and they always have sales going on. It is too bad to see the Sears brand having difficulties and if it looks like they may go under eventually I will shop any big sales they have on their tool line. Sears Craftsman line may get sold off if the company is near liquidation - that line has value.
      I used to use S&K sockets and rachets for much of my Airline Aircraft Maintenance work with 1/4" drive stuff and 12 pt sockets, Matco, Craftsman, and Bonney wrenches for all the other main stuff. I remember when Gearwrenches first came out - they were all over the place in no time - LOL!

    18. 12-27-2011 12:01 PM #18
      This is a decent box from Craftsman I may have to pick up soon - maybe better pricing in the weeks ahead! Good general purpose box and I love the finish - http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_101...1&blockType=L1

      S&K tool - I love these - http://www.skhandtool.com/products.aspx

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      12-27-2011 12:02 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by AeroBuilders View Post
      This is a decent box from Craftsman I may have to pick up soon - maybe better pricing in the weeks ahead! Good general purpose box and I love the finish - http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_101...1&blockType=L1

      S&K tool - I love these - http://www.skhandtool.com/products.aspx
      Yep, I'd expect discounts in the near future.
      Looking for a ratty Miata? My '90 is for sale.
      http://www.speedsportlife.com
      Quote Originally Posted by mhjett View Post
      4+ pages and at least 1 death threat in a compact-car comparison test thread - oh wait, this is TCL.

    20. Member Deserion's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 12:14 PM #20
      I have a Sears ~2 miles from my house and just go to the Home Depot .5 farther.

      Honestly, I prefer Husky for my "everyday" tools. Lifetime warranty (on most things), HD stores are everywhere, and no hassle on getting replacements. I'm not baller enough to splurge on Snap-On, Mac, or Matco. My dad has a ton of Mac tools (from his days of owning his own car shop).

      These days I don't see the draw to Craftsman when other competitors offer great quality and a long warranty as well.

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      12-27-2011 12:18 PM #21
      True Value "master mechanic" brand is manufactured by Craftsman. I have a set of those and are also guaranteed forever. I brake Craftsman and MM sockets frequently and would be quite upset if they went under.

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      12-27-2011 12:37 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by AeroBuilders View Post
      This is a decent box from Craftsman I may have to pick up soon - maybe better pricing in the weeks ahead! Good general purpose box and I love the finish - http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_101...1&blockType=L1
      I have one with more drawers. It's freakin awesome. Love it. It's amazing how much fits into this one compared to the traditional narrow one that you slap the top tool chest onto.

    23. 12-27-2011 12:40 PM #23
      I care, I hate to see Sears go down since I do buy a lot of Sears "stuff". The tools may not be the best but I broke a 10 year old ratchet, took it back to Sears and the guy gave me a brand new one off the shelf - no questions asked. Gotta love that.

      The main thing I like about Sears brand items are parts availability. Seems like if something breaks I can count on the replacement part being at Sears . If I want an accessory for a something labeled Sears/Craftsman, I know that Sears will have the correct accessory for whatever Sears/Craftsman brand item I bought there. I like that a lot of old guys work there that can help me too. You buy something from Lowe's/Home Depot and you're just not guaranteed the replacement part will there for that item - like parts for a Honda mower. I mean it's probably online or at a local Honda store but it would be nice if Home Depot kept replacement parts on hand.

      I feel the same way with Ace Hardware, exact same deal. They generally have old guys working there that have "been there, done that" that always seem to help me out of whatever jam I've gotten myself into.

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      12-27-2011 01:06 PM #24
      I used to be a die hard Craftsman guy, but I've had enough ratchets break on me to change my mind. I am wrenching on my car, a friends car, or some other tool-using project every weekend and on any day off I get.

      I love my Stanley tools. They have beenlasting much longer then their Craftsman counterparts - and carry a lifetime warranty.

      I would say the same for tools from some Auto Parts stores. I have some "GReat Neck" tools that have lasted forever - and my favorite ratchet set is "AMPro" from Advance Auto years ago. It's still kicking - and I have used it to break bolts my craftsman are destroyed on.

      FWIW I don't car as much about brand as about lifetime warranty and ease to replace. I buy a lot of tools at Auto Zone lately - haven't broken any yet but I know they will take them back.
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      12-27-2011 01:40 PM #25
      Most of my tools are Craftsman. My dad used them too , which I still have some of.. Maybe that's why I keep buying them. Maybe because they are affordable and easy to get.

      I'm saddened by this story.

      I may be more saddened that another great American company is slowly falling apart because of quality.


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      12-27-2011 01:49 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by sullie View Post
      I care, I hate to see Sears go down since I do buy a lot of Sears "stuff"...
      Quote Originally Posted by McBanagon View Post
      Most of my tools are Craftsman. My dad used them too , which I still have some of.. Maybe that's why I keep buying them. Maybe because they are affordable and easy to get.

      I'm saddened by this story.

      I may be more saddened that another great American company is slowly falling apart because of quality.
      Yep. We don't need another company, which has great service and good quality compared to the el-cheapo stores, to fail on us. It's disheartening.

      I also have the issue of having all of my appliances being Kenmore. When we remodeled the kitchen, we did a lot of research and Kenmore won out easily. They're about 3 years old now and I'd hate to not be able to get replacement parts if something Kenmore specific failed.

      People don't realize that the company is nearly 120 years old. It's as American as GM and apple pie. Your great-grandparents probably had their catalogs - in their outhouses. Really.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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      12-27-2011 02:21 PM #27
      Most of my tools are Craftsman and I've owned them for almost 20 years. The main thing that I've had to replace is 3/8 drive ratchets. I use my tools regularly, not really sad stores are closing. The last few times I went to Sears has been to replace a ratchet.

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      12-27-2011 02:22 PM #28
      Its the downturn in the economy. People arent buying as many durable goods- ie washers, etc- as they were a couple of years ago. I use mostly Craftsman and they have never let me down. I will be extremely sad to see Sears go but dont think that will happen. They can cut down all the non appliance and tool stock and focus on being a home and garage style supplier. From what I have read, they are losing out in the price battle because they have enormous overhead due to all of the stock of other stuff they have to keep. I dont think Kenmore or Craftsman will be going anywhere. Sears has been around forever selling just about everything. They might just have to become market specific now.

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      12-27-2011 02:24 PM #29
      I love Craftsman hand tools and air tools/compressors.

      I don't care for the floor jacks and a few other things.

      Regardless, if Sears goes under, the Craftsman brand will get spun off/sold and will be distributed through other channels. It's an enormously valuable brand and it won't just disappear.
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      12-27-2011 02:25 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      I've heard that it's basically Craftsman tools and appliances that keeps Sears afloat. No idea if it's true, but it sounds plausible enough.
      Isn't it true that the appliances are just rebranded Whirlpool/Maytag/etc?



      either way, don't care about Sears. Electronics are overpriced, clothes are crap (except Land's End) and the tools aren't that great. I have a Lowes and Home Depot closer to me. Why would I go to Sears?

    31. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 02:25 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by grantndub View Post
      Most of my tools are Craftsman and I've owned them for almost 20 years. The main thing that I've had to replace is 3/8 drive ratchets. I use my tools regularly, not really sad stores are closing. The last few times I went to Sears has been to replace a ratchet.
      So because you have had a few ratchets break you don't care if thousands of people are laid-off, supply chains are disrupted, warranties are voided and I can't get a replacement ice maker in 10 years? Is that what you're saying?
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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    32. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 02:26 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by SaagPaneer View Post
      Isn't it true that the appliances are just rebranded Whirlpool/Maytag/etc?
      Some are. Some are GE. I think there are others as well. Kenmore is big enough to demand more than just rebranding, though. The manufacturing is done those places, but the specs are done by Kenmore.

      Quote Originally Posted by SaagPaneer View Post
      either way, don't care about Sears.
      You're really young, aren't you?
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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      12-27-2011 02:28 PM #33
      ^^^ Agreed. Craftsman tools are sold in places besides just sears stores now so I imagine the brand would live on, even if Sears did not.
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      12-27-2011 02:28 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      You're really young, aren't you?
      I would say so, yes.

      But realistically, what do they sell that I can't buy somewhere else?

      Electronics? I have Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, etc for that
      Clothes? who buys clothes from Sears anyways?
      Tools? Home Depot/Lowes
      Yard appliances? again Home Depot/Lowes

    35. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 02:33 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by SaagPaneer View Post
      I would say so, yes.

      But realistically, what do they sell that I can't buy somewhere else?

      Electronics? I have Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, etc for that
      Clothes? who buys clothes from Sears anyways?
      Tools? Home Depot/Lowes
      Yard appliances? again Home Depot/Lowes
      That's great and all, but we as a country won't be able to survive simply selling things to each other on-line. There's a paradigm shift going on and it will likely take decades for it to shake out. This means pain for those working in jobs that won't exist in a few years.

      I suppose we could all get a job at warehouses in shipping and receiving, until the automated-storage-and-retrieval systems take those jobs, too.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

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