Mickey

Got a question for you tool users

11 posts in this topic

I have more tools than a person has a right to. For the smaller stuff that I don't use all that often I'm always doing battle with myself over how much to spend on a not used often tool.

In the last couple weeks I've had need for using a tap & die set. I've some older ones, cheap, a few pieces missing and the CHEAP die handle that come with these cheap sets is a joke. Presently I can't even find the die handle. SO, I'm giving thought of buying a new set. Looking at many places and prices are all over the place $10-$15 and UP. Lot of my tools are good ones but I do have my share of low end stuff. Since this it a tool that sees a lot of stress, I need something good enough that they won't break under normal use but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Where does that price point begin? The good stuff seems to start in the $200 price range for an adequate size set that includes SAE and Metric sizes and prices in the $500 aren't hard to find.

Giving some serious thought on a set from HF that is on-sale for $40. Has 17 user reviews and they are all 4-5 star on a 5 star scale. Have taken a look at ebay (tons of set being offered) and see a few sets of Craftsman (older USA made sets) that are new or are in very nice shape (pictures look good) in the same price range as the HF set. What to do? :confused2::conf13:

So what do you guys do in situations like this? I'm just too tight with my money to buy a top qlty set for something not used over a few times a yr.

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Anymore unless you want to fork out the bucks for Snap-on, Matco, or MAC.......most if not all tools are made in China with a few in India and a few other Asian countries.

As you so well pointed out, the good stuff is outrageously expensive for what you get and you can buy the cheap versions 10 times over and still be money ahead.

The few times I have needed a tap or dies to cut threads, my el cheapo nearly 40 year old tap and dies set has done well.

I think if I were you, I would try taking a look at a Harbor Freight tap and die set. If you want a better quality tap and die set you can take back to a local store in the event that it is junk, try Lowes. Lowes has a 76-Piece Metric and SAE Tap & Die Set made by Irwin Hanson that is NOT cheap but in the upper middle of the price range you stated which is $338.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_63507-281-26376_0__?productId=3733009&cm_mmc=SCE_gps-_-gps-_-gps-_-IRWIN%20HANSON%2076-Piece%20Metric%20and%20SAE%20Tap%20&%20Die%20Set&CAWELAID=1408796547

If you look around, you can find this set on sale for around $200.

Tooltopia has the same set for about $165:

http://www.tooltopia.com/irwin-hanson-vise-grip-26376.aspx?utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=cse&utm_term=IRW26376&utm_campaign=googlebase_18u

Still a tad bit expensive for my applications and useage but may be a great set for someone who uses it much more. If you are military or retired military, Lowes offers a 10% discount when you show your military ID card which would get the price down to around $300.

Here is a nice looking used MATCO tap and dies set on eBay for $175 or make an offer:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Matco-676TD-76-Hex-Tap-Die-Set-SAE-US-Metric-76-Rethreading-Pieces-Made-USA-/300768242776#vi-content

I suppose it is just a matter of looking around until you find the set you like at the right price.

I heartily agree that a good quality tool that will last a life time is tough to beat and good investment if you use it enough or your livelihood depends upon it. For the occasional user, the el cheapo's are not all that bad though.

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Made the decision yesterday. Bought the HF set I mentioned. With it on sale @ 20% off and I added a 20% off coupon brought the price down to $32 from normal price of $50. With the good reviews and looking at the set it looks like a good value. Workmanship quite nice but the real important factor, the metallurgy one can only guess at. With the 4 & 5 star review from customers that were smart enough to comment while this was a decent set, it isn't a premium set. With the amount of remaining time I've got on the clock, these should last me until they throw the dirt in my face. :)

There will always be, for me at least, the question of how much to spend on tools that are used infrequent. DOesn't hurt that I have a son just around the corner with a decent selection of tools to choose from if needed. :D

Edited by Mickey

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I have not used the T- handle for taps or dies for many years, I have a set of tap sockets but I often use 12 point sockets and a ratchet for taps as well. For me It is easier to control and use than the bulky T-handle. Just easy time saving tips from a 20+ year diesel tech.

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I still have the Craftsman set I bought about 30 years ago, and I might have paid something between $50 and $70 back then for it. English threads only, and the taps and dies are excellent quality, the tap wrench is nothing to brag about, and I replaced it with a racheting one about a year after I bought the set. The die wrench is ok, and I've used it with success so far. In the 30 or so years I have had this, I've probably used it less than 20 times. The only thing I've added to the original set besides the racheting tap wrench was a couple of pipe thread taps, one in 1/4" npt and one in 1/2" npt. Your Harbor freight set will probably last you for years if you use it like I do, and if it turns out that you need one or two better quality taps or dies because you use that size a lot, you can pick them up as you need them without buying a whole set.

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I had an older "bigger" set of crapsman tap & dies. They were very good and i used them quite a bit, until a guy stole the whole set!

I went without for a few years, and when i needed a tap i bit&*%d that i wanted my old set back! SO, one day i drove to Sears and bought another set like i had, and yes it was expensive! But, they work when i need them and to me they are worth what they cost!

DM

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Having the tool you need/want at the time you need it - priceless! Glad to hear you have another set now. I bought one from the old Sears Outlet store many years ago, but haven't needed it for anything - - - yet!!!

Fred

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Have to agree with you Fred about the joy of having the necessary tool or even material to be able to get small jobs done without having to drive into town to get them.

Did have the need yesterday for using the tap & die set bought recently. The tap did its job quite well.

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With tomorrow being Father's day, it's a chance to buy some better quality tools at sale prices. All the relevant stores have good discounts on popular tools this week, like Ace, Truevalue, Lowe's,Sears, 7 Home depot. It's been my experience that the best deals are on Black Friday at the same stores, which is only good if you can wait.

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Joe, brother Mickey has passed away about 1/2 a year ago in case you did not know. RIP Mickey

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Joe, brother Mickey has passed away about 1/2 a year ago in case you did not know. RIP Mickey

I am very sorry, I didn't know.

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