In the last issue of the eZine, Rob talked about Stanley Black & Decker’s recent purchase of Craftsman Tools, a line that has created a lot of memories. – Editor
“I’d like to share a story with you, if you don’t mind. I’ve always been a hands-on person. Loved tools, and doing and making things with them. At the age of eight, I discovered my Dad’s old homemade carpenters tool chest in the basement. Saws, planes, drill bits, electric drill, jigsaw, all kinds of neat stuff — most of which had the Craftsman name on it. Right away, I started working through what little wood he was hoarding for a rainy day. (I won’t go into the trouble I would always get into for using his pieces of wood.)
“A couple years later, I discovered his small metal toolbox in the garage (to work on my Schwinn), mostly of Craftsman Tools as well. My Dad was a Marine in WWII, and grew up in a one-room log cabin with a dirt floor until he was about 10. Then it was off to live with his grandfather, who had a tarpaper shack and farmed with oxen, no car. At 17, he left high school to join the Marines. He must have loved Sears. His 12′ aluminum rowboat was an Elgin (another trade name sold by Sears). When he built his house in 1954, there was Kenmore all over in the kitchen, and in the basement were Kenmore matching washer and dryer.
“When I started collecting tools, I followed suit and also bought Craftsman, which I have yet today. When I went to work as an auto body tech, everyone poked fun at my Craftsman toolbox, and my wrenches, socket, pliers, etc. Mine were all lifetime warrantied, same as those with Snap-on, Mac and others. The difference is I wasn’t waist deep in debt like they were. I eventually did trade in the Craftsman stack for a larger Snap-on chest. But I never invested in those expensive hand tools.
“So here I am, semiretired, waiting for my disability to start, and I read your short column. It sure did bring back many memories of my dad and I working together with his tools as a youth. It reminds me that, someday, my sons will have to fight over my Craftsman tools, to see who gets what. You know, that old Craftsman circular saw my dad had, never died. After Dad passed, my brother inherited it. I’m sure glad that the Craftsman name is still going to be out there. It does have a great history. And they are great hand tools.
“Stanley is a great name to be mated with, in my honest opinion. I wish they still made hardware. The overseas junk we get these days can’t hold anything against that old Stanley hardware.” – John E. Adams
“As a guy who is admittedly a tool snob (automotive), the very idea of buying Craftsman wrenches, sockets, almost anything they produced, wasn’t even a consideration. However, in the last several years, Craftsman has created some of the best value and well-made tools on the market. Their premium wrenches (once ugly, clunky and downright crude) are right there with Snap-on Tools, and Craftsman sockets are on par with anything you can find in the upper price range, foreign or domestic. The warranty is always honored (it breaks, they replace it free), even at my local Orchard Supply. I hope they continue to produce first-rate tools and that Stanley Black & Decker promotes the heck out of them! They deserve a place in professional settings as well as the ‘home repair kit.’” – Steve Pendlay
Several readers felt that the news raised questions. – Editor
“Like you, I’m glad that if Sears had to sell the Craftsman brand, they sold it to someone who knows tools. My concern, though, is will Stanley honor the Craftsman lifetime guarantee? More than once in my 85 years, I’ve taken a broken Craftsman tool back to Sears who (except on one occasion) simply replaced it with no question. On the one occasion mentioned, I happened to get a new hire clerk who, after I told her of the Craftsman guarantee, her boss intervened to set her straight.” – Donald Haff
“One of my concerns is the parts availability for older tools. Sears was generally very good about this. Will S-B&D keep and renew the inventory? Nobody has mentioned this aspect to my knowledge.” – Paul N. Sheldon