Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Looked good on paper....

I've have always had a fondness for tools. Over the years I have amassed a few. My day job...well really it's more of a afternoon, night, early morning job....requires me to have my fair share of tools. Afternoon, night, early morning job sounds like a totally different profession!!!! Maybe I should rephrase that to "my paying job" requires me to have a fair share of tools. Phew...that sounds better.

Some of my tools were handed down to me by my father when I started my apprenticeship. He, too, is a journeyman as was his father and my grandfather. I believe a few of the tools given to me by my father were also my grandfather's. I also inherited some tools from my husband, who is also a journeyman. One of the tools R gave me was a very old Craftsman's ratchet that belonged to his father, who was also a journeyman. Three generations of journeymen. So needless to say........I have the tool gene.

Over time I have developed a sense for what tools work for me and what tools don't work. This is what I have learned. If the vast majority of it is plastic don't expect it to last more than a few times. If it needs a sharp edge to work properly and cannot be resharpened...save your money. Some tools are throw away tools and some are lifetime tools. If it says Snap On on it........save your money. I have a real beef with Snap On tools. They are top dollar. They are also top quality with a life time replacement. Looks good on paper. Getting that replacement tool is a whole different story. Number one, first you have to find a Snap On vendor. They are everywhere when you don't need them. Number two, if the tool that you are seeking to replace is suspected of being used incorrectly, they will not replace it. Now before you say..."well they shouldn't have to, if you used it improperly"....that would include using a slotted screwdriver as a pry bar. Come on, who hasn't used a screwdriver to pry something??? If you ask me, that's 50% of it usefulness. That's like saying a table knife can't be used as a screw driver or your shoe as a hammer. Sure you shouldn't, but you can.....and you know you did, too. It's really a judgement call on the vendor's part. They are probably more apt to replace the tool if you have purchased and are still paying on a 30K tool purchase. Also if you ask to return a broken chrome socket and they can see witness marks that it was used in a air tool. You're out of luck. Why sell chrome sockets???? Sell only impact sockets and eliminate that problem.

Now on the other hand, Sears (Craftsmen) usually doesn't even look at the tool you are returning. They throw it in a tub and give you another one and you are on your way. Craftsman is less expensive, usually there is a Sears store in every medium size town, but the quality is not up to par with Snap On. Craftsman is still a good tool though. So in the Snap On/Craftsman debate, I pick Craftsman for price, accessibility, and return policy.

I have a variety of brands. Vast majority is Craftsman. Some Snap On and some SK. If I had my druthers I would only own SK. I like the feel of their hand tools. The ratchets are knurled which I think is a must. Snap On ratchets are smooth, looks nice but impractical. SK combination wrenches have a very narrow handle area and smaller jaws which make for easier use in tight spots. SK is very difficult to find and may not even be manufactured anymore.

My precision tools are Starrett. I know....they should be German. But I have found Starrett to be of good quality. They hold their value also. Check out what they are selling for on eBay and at flea markets.

Where am I going with this??? I've fallen prey to some bad tools purchases in my day. Here are two tool purchases that I thought would save me time in restoring my sashes.

The small red tool called the Putty Chaser is inserted into your drill motor and is used to grind out the hardened glazing compound. Didn't work. It was awkward and bounced all over the place. I was lucky that I didn't break the glass. I paid $9.99 for this totally useless tool.

The apparatus behind the Putty Chaser doesn't have a name on it. I purchased it on eBay for $10.00. It heats up and is suppose to soften the glazing compound. Yes, it heats up....it reeaalllly heats up. Smoke was rolling off the coils and before I could grab it.....CCCRRRRACK!!! Broken pane.

Both of these tools fall into the category of "looked good on paper." So if you are every inclined to buy a Putty Chaser or a heats up and breaks glass apparatus, save your money. Because I just shot $20.00.....right in the.....well you know how it goes.

If anyone is inclined to own these two tools, feel free to contact me. You pay for shipping and the tools are yours.

Time invested cleaning glass panes......40 minutes. Total time invested 31 hours and 20 minutes.

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