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Re: [Shop-talk] Quality Ratchets

Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Quality Ratchets
From: Todd Walke <>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 21:22:08 -0700
Karl wrote:

>There was a thread here years ago and someone worked at the company that
>made Craftsman, Snap-On, and a few other brands.  They don't make Craftsman
>any more.

         I've kept this post since it appeared on the list in 2003.  It was 
a repost of a message from 1999 off some other list from a guy that worked 
at Stanley:

I'm not the final word on tools by any means, but since I work in the
business, I've learned a little bit about it. Okay, here's more than you
ever wanted to know. As someone pointed out in a previous post, Lowes now
(as of earlier this year) is selling a line of Mechanics Tools called Kobalt
which is made by Snap-On. They are good tools. Home Depot's Husky brand is
made by Stanley Mechanics Tools, a division of the Stanley Works. Husky are
also good tools and have a good lifetime warranty (they'll even replace your
broken Craftsman with an equivalent Husky). Until 1994 or so, Stanley also
made Sears Craftsman tools. Sears Craftsman is now made by Danaher Tools.
They beat out Stanley on the contract over price. Danaher also manufactures
MatCo Tools, the third largest player in the Mobile Automotive industry
(behind MAC and Snap-On). Odds are, if you own any Craftsman tools that are
older than about five years ago, they were made by Stanley in plants in
Dallas, Texas, Witchita Falls, Texas, and Sabina, Ohio. Stanley also owns
MAC Tools and manufactures MAC tools in the same plants. Now here's the
kicker: MAC Tools, Proto Tools (a very expensive industrial brand), Husky
Tools, and, (prior to five or so years ago) Craftsman Tools are all made
from the same forgings in the same plants. Proto is unique because it goes
through additional testing and certification because it is used by NASA, the
military, and industrial customers (including General Motors). There are
three MAJOR players in the USA mechanics tool business: Stanley, Danaher,
and Snap-On. Stanley and Danaher (almost identical in sales revenue at about
$28 billion each) are the biggest followed by Snap-On. Each of these three
manufacture and sell tools under a variety of brands (there are many other
brands that Stanley makes that I haven't even named). The quality between
these three manufacturers is roughly the same. I know its a bit of a
let-down to hear that, but its a simple fact. Then there are a hand full of
other minor players (Vermont American, etc) and an endless list of Taiwanese
import tool companies (some of which Stanley own as well as Danaher to serve
the lower end consumer import brands at WalMart, etc). How do I know all of
this? I work for Stanley Mechanics Tools, specifically with the Proto
Industrial brand. I personally do not think that MAC, MatCo, or Snap-On
branded tools are worth the extra markup since they use the same forgings
and manufacturing processes that make Husky and Kobalt and pre-1994
Craftsman. Where you need to pay attention are things like ratchets and
torque wrenches. There are different specifications of ratchets and you do
pay for the difference. Some mechanics require a finer, more precise
ratcheting mechanism than guys like me who just bang around in the garage on
the weekends. By the way, Metwrench is basically considered a "gimick"
infomercial tool brand that is not considered as a serious competitor to
Danaher, Snap-On, or Stanley. Then again, IBM once didn't see Microsoft as a
serious force in the personal computer business.
Hmmmm.... Regards, Greg Hutmacher (now back in lurk mode)

'86 GTI, Red of course. (exciting racey car) 268,000 miles
'01 Golf TDI, silver.   (new work car)       176,000 miles
'87 Golf, Polar Silver. (retired work car)   654,000 miles <- Gone to a new 
home :( <-Ferrari & VW stuff
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