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  #1  
Old 12-15-2011
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Tools Aboard - Where do you buy them ?

As an adjunct to the tool storage thread, where do you buy your tools ?

Whenever I look through e.g Sears or Home Depot I see some really clever tools that I cannot buy down under and at very good prices .... but what about quality ?

Traditionally American tools have been of a very high quality but I notice a few complaints re current quality of Craftsman tools.

What say ye fellow SailNetians .... where do you buy your tools or where would you LIKE to buy your tools ?
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Old 12-15-2011
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I buy all the cheep Chinese home depot Husky brand unless and I need a special high quality tool there fine.

The Roybi battery tools stuff is as good as anything on the market unless you go for festool money

Up here I always stock up on there Christmas specials


I have a lot Craftsman stuff and it is still fine And USA made BUT they have sunk in a bunch of Sub brands to keep up with the Home depot husky brand and the lowes kobalt brand
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Last edited by tommays; 12-15-2011 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011
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harbor freight

OK some of the stuff is rubbish but there are lots of great bargains to be had.
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Old 12-15-2011
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Disagree totally with the above. I used to buy Ryobi tools all the time; with moderate to heavy usage you'll find the battery life is for sh*%. Makita is better, Bosch is also good. Avoid Husky/Harbour freight/ Chinese built if at all possible, especially for engine work. Look at pawn shops/estate sales for older American tools, especially fitted wrenches, sockets, and things of that ilk. Older Craftsman, or better yet Snap/On or Mac. Channel Lock still makes ok stuff for the pliers and pipe wrenches. Klein makes good electrical tools and screwdrivers.

Better quality tools make the job easier; they are less likely to strip that important nut or bolt on the hard to reach side of your engine and will last a lifetime. Lesser quality tools lead to more cursing and a more difficult project.

Just some advice from a carpenter by trade.
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Old 12-15-2011
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I try and buy quality tools unless for occasional use only.

Craftsman 19.2 drills - I have 2
Dewalt 12 volt lithium small frame drill
Ridgid switchable head with multi tool and right angle drill heads
seldom used 12 volt Black and Decker drill and one old corded drill
Festool jigsaw - replaced a Bosch that I had for 15 years
Dewalt orbital sander
Black & Decker mouse sander
Makita laminate trimmer
Porter Cable router
Dremel Multi tool
Stanley socket set
and many hand tools, full collection of electrical including cutters, strippers, and crimpers for all gauges up to 4/0, several multimeters, etc

The scary part - I live on my boat.

But I own a van
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Old 12-15-2011
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I forgot to mention the Fein MultiMaster. An incredibly useful little device with oh so expensive blades and attachments but really incredible for some jobs. For power tools the choice between premier brands often comes down to ergonomics - where are the relevant controls you want and how easy are they to manipulate during use? For that reason I've ended up with a Milwaukee router, Porter Cable belt sander, Bosch jigsaw, and a DeWalt chop saw - each one offered what I wanted in that tool and belonged to that 'seems ok' crowd of tools that compete at similar price points for the offering.

I live on my boat too. I have a storage unit to hold the lathe, table saw, etc.
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Old 12-16-2011
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We use Craftsman tools almost exclusively and for the most part are very happy. Most times you will break off the bolt before the tool breaks. Often times that's with a pipe as a extension.

So far our exp. is with fresh Lake Michigan water, I wonder how well those same tools will fair in salt water climates though????
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Old 12-16-2011
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Most of my tools come from Canadian Tire. Their hand tools have a lifetime warranty, and their power tools are very decent at a price point. Mastercraft is the brand name that belongs to the store, but they also carry other brands that usually aren't as good.

BTW, I don't care for cordless tools for home use. I would rather lug around the cord then wait for the battery to charge. We use Hitachi 18v cordless tools at work and I love them.

Last edited by PaulfromNWOnt; 12-16-2011 at 01:10 AM. Reason: additional comment
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Old 12-16-2011
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In Vancouver we have a great tool store - KMS. They have stores all over B.C. and are expanding across Canada now. I've been buying my tools from Stan since before he had shelving, literally. He opened a storefront back in the 70's and was only open a couple of evenings a week and Saturdays while he kept working as a heavy duty mechanic.

They have the best prices around and sell every level of quality in every kind of tool imaginable from bargain bin junk to Festool. I can't imagine buying EITHER myself - $600 for a cordless drill? Puleeeze - I can buy 10 DeWalts for that. How much quality can you use?

I buy my tools for home use on a cost benefit basis - I have pretty expensive American combination wrenches but a Taiwanese chop saw for example - the saw doesn't get used much and I can buy three for the price of a high quality one. So what if it took me an hour to get it adjusted to cut accurately? KMS had a special on some Chinese combo wrenches - SAE & Metric in long and stubby for $40 - I picked up a set for the boat. So what if they get rusty? Better them than my several $hundred good ones. I could have got ONE Snap-On or Mac for that price. I acquired a B&D 18V VSR drill with charger & 2 batteries from Air Miles - free. It's still doing everything I ask of it.

My attitude is buy the quality you need for the job you need to do with it. Not many of us need the very top end pro tools so use the money for something else.

One thing I will NEVER buy again is a Craftsman power tool. Starting in the late 70's, I have had a 4X24 belt sander, a 3/8 drill and a 2 Hp router - all JUNK. The belt on the sander wouldn't track no matter how you adjusted it, the drill died in short order and the router had a phoney collet setup where the end of the motor shaft was split instead of having a real collet. They have been living on a reputation made 50 years ago and haven't lived up to it for decades now. Pretty well ALL tool vendors offer a lifetime guarantee on hand tools now - it's pretty meaningless really - when was the last time YOU snapped off a combination wrench? I've never had a hand tool that could've warranted a replacement except a Snap-On screwdriver that had an overly hard tip that chipped.
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Old 12-16-2011
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So, it occurs to me that the OP didn't really specify which application these tools were for. General boat maintenance? Redoing the brightwork? Engine repair? Rig tuning? Woodworking on board, or some combination. So I may have been a bit hasty in the 'buy the best possible' outlook. I would never purchase a Festool drill either, although their sliding circular saw/track setup is very nifty and a godsend in the right circumstance (usually residential paneling, but headliners do come to mind). But it all comes down to what you expect to do on board and what kind of sailing you're doing. Going offshore for an extended period? You'd better have everything you can think of in the best quality possible. Occasional daysailor? Probably you can get by with a screwdriver, hammer, pipe and crescent wrenches and lots of tape. It all depends on what you hope to do with your boat, the complexity of the systems you have onboard, and how often you expect to see a port or mooring where you have access to other resources. One thing I will say is that I have more propensity to take care of my good quality tools and I tend to care less about the shitty ones. I'd bet that everyone on this thread has owned an awful pair of needlenose pliers, the kind that have tips that shear at the slightest rotation, they corrode quickly, bind, and then instantly become the only tool you have that can get you out of a situation you'd like to be rid of in a hurry.

I'd close with something I've heard from the carpentry world - 'If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.'

Best of luck,
h
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