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Thread: Bad tools!!!

  1. #1
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    Default Bad tools!!!

    I've had it with crappy tools and they're not worth their cheapness!

    After breaking several tools lately and giving myself bad gashes on my hands, arms, head and elsewhere, I thought I'd start a thread about bad tools. Pretty much every tool you see nowdays says "cromaloy" on it. But there's clearly a huge difference in the amounts of different metals, as some are undamagable and some are like butter.

    The other day I broke two 3/8 inch socket wrenches trying to load a belt tensioner and one of the wrenches, when it gave way, became a spring loaded flying chunk of metal that almost knocked me out.

    I want to hear some similar stories of crappy tool mishaps, so that I can learn which tools are worthless and also how to steer-clear of knocking myself out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by owendaniel View Post
    I've had it with crappy tools and they're not worth their cheapness!

    After breaking several tools lately and giving myself bad gashes on my hands, arms, head and elsewhere, I thought I'd start a thread about bad tools. Pretty much every tool you see nowdays says "cromaloy" on it. But there's clearly a huge difference in the amounts of different metals, as some are undamagable and some are like butter.

    The other day I broke two 3/8 inch socket wrenches trying to load a belt tensioner and one of the wrenches, when it gave way, became a spring loaded flying chunk of metal that almost knocked me out.

    I want to hear some similar stories of crappy tool mishaps, so that I can learn which tools are worthless and also how to steer-clear of knocking myself out.
    Hmmm. Maybe we might have a crappy technique thread instead.

    Keep your crap tools for when the fair-weather mate wants to borrow your tools.

    Regardless of how good or crappy your tools are, never ever pull the tool directly towards your face or your nuts. You know exactly why not to now.
    Try pushing the end of the handle with an open gloved hand and exerting the pull pressure on the handle where the extension attaches.

    Thats up there with the knife rule, cut away from your self. Never pull a sharp or cutting tool towards your thigh or belly. People have bled to death in seconds after the femoral artery is cut.

    Also when using a screw driver, dont work it so if it slips out of the screw it stabs your hand.
    Same with drilling through your hand with a high speed drill, totally avoidable and just as easy to do with a crap gmc or an expensive bosch.

    Unfortunatly i have learned all these rules the hard way (except the death by blood loss bit)

    Soft alloy cheap spanners are great to make new tools from, being cheap and soft.
    I cant remember where I needed it (maybe fuego PS hoses) but I needed an offset open ender spanner like nothing in any catalouge, and one of my cheap stubby softies was perfect for bending in the vice with a hammer and some heat.
    I tried the same with an old 1950's forged spanner and it just laughed at me and sent the most painful vibration back through my arm when i whacked it with the hammer.
    Jo

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    I am not allowed give you my story, as my wife keeps telling me "A poor workman always blames his tools". She also has another saying "A poor lover..." but that is off topic.

    I have broken many 3/8" and even 1/2" ratshits. In the old days, when they used to sell metric only socket sets in tin trays, I would buy them, replace the 13mm socket with a Sidchrome and buy a good ratchet. I also favour the single hex sockets as the double hex ones from cheap suppliers can be dodgy.

    May I suggest a 3/8" Bahco metric set from Bunnings. Around $69. Comes in an orange plastic case. Good quality single hex. At least have a look.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    I am not allowed give you my story, as my wife keeps telling me "A poor workman always blames his tools". She also has another saying "A poor lover..." but that is off topic.

    I have broken many 3/8" and even 1/2" ratshits. In the old days, when they used to sell metric only socket sets in tin trays, I would buy them, replace the 13mm socket with a Sidchrome and buy a good ratchet. I also favour the single hex sockets as the double hex ones from cheap suppliers can be dodgy.

    May I suggest a 3/8" Bahco metric set from Bunnings. Around $69. Comes in an orange plastic case. Good quality single hex. At least have a look.

    John
    NOOOOOOOO Not the cheap 'single hex' bacho socket sets.

    Hang on , this is the crap tool thread... The bacho qualifies with flying (orange)colours.

    I had one and sold it after a few weeks for whatever i could get. I actually fealt guilty even selling it dirt cheap it was that badly engineered.
    Buy padded gloves for using those sockets, and have a good set of sharp jaw vice grips and an oxy on standby after the nut rounds off.

    Jo

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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    Hmmm. Maybe we might have a crappy technique thread instead.

    Jo
    For sure. I should have mentioned crappy technique, as that's probably the main problem (for me) a lot of the time. Certainly if I'm not 100% sharp when doing things.....

    I know its "bad technique", but I quite like getting the old RP7 or WD40 or something else nice and flamable and giving bolts a bit of a heat-treatment when I get particularly angry with them.
    It makes me feel better and sometimes helps get 'em loose.
    Last edited by owendaniel; 23rd February 2011 at 04:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by owendaniel View Post
    I know its "bad technique", but I quite like getting the old RP7 or WD40 or something else nice and flamable and giving bolts a bit of a heat-treatment when I get particularly angry with them.
    It makes me feel better and sometimes helps get 'em loose.
    Ah, a pyromaniac too.
    I was talking with Clive today over lunch and I suggested the love of boobs, burning stuff, blowing it up or chopping it down seem to be set into the male DNA.


    I have a Burs-0-matic (propane?) torch for those moments.

    There is a whole new way of injuring yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by owendaniel View Post
    I've had it with crappy tools and they're not worth their cheapness!

    After breaking several tools lately and giving myself bad gashes on my hands, arms, head and elsewhere, I thought I'd start a thread about bad tools. Pretty much every tool you see nowdays says "cromaloy" on it. But there's clearly a huge difference in the amounts of different metals, as some are undamagable and some are like butter.

    The other day I broke two 3/8 inch socket wrenches trying to load a belt tensioner and one of the wrenches, when it gave way, became a spring loaded flying chunk of metal that almost knocked me out.

    I want to hear some similar stories of crappy tool mishaps, so that I can learn which tools are worthless and also how to steer-clear of knocking myself out.
    Any fastener which is really tight or needs a lot force applied I use the 1/2 inch SD set, and sometimes even use an impact hex socket on 1/2 SD the handle.

    I aways use the pivot end handle rather than a ratchet handle.

    My 1/2 drive set is a Sidchrome from the late 60s. My 3/8 drive is Kinchrome. I've never broken either sockets set.

    I've always found the 3/8 drive stuff a bit "girly" but very handy in tight spots. So loosen it with a ring spanner first and use the socket afterwards.

    I also have some 3/4 drive sockets for crank nuts and suspension bolts.

    My opinion is that if too tight for 3/8 drive then upgrade to a stronger tool. Most times the tool costs less than paying someone to the job, so buy the core tools and purchase the extras as you need them.

    Reserve the lengths of pipe as handles for cheap tools.

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    Get a cheap set and replace the things that break with Sidchrome. That way you are not paying good money for things you hardly ever use. There is a reason my 13mm ring/open end spanner is a Sidchrome.

    The good handle tip is a good one. I like the sliding T type handle. I also have a short (about 5 inch long) socket handle which has a 1/2' drive on one side and a 3/8" drive on the other. Handy for tight places.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    NOOOOOOOO Not the cheap 'single hex' bacho socket sets.

    Hang on , this is the crap tool thread... The bacho qualifies with flying (orange)colours.

    I had one and sold it after a few weeks for whatever i could get. I actually fealt guilty even selling it dirt cheap it was that badly engineered.
    Buy padded gloves for using those sockets, and have a good set of sharp jaw vice grips and an oxy on standby after the nut rounds off.

    Jo
    I've had one of these for a while and it has been excellent, what problems did you have?
    Graham

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    Default Bacho socket set.

    The neoprene handle was hard to get moly grease off.
    My tools may get used in a bathroom renovation so the ability to clean them is a must. Satin finishes are not as good for cleaning.
    The sockets had a tendency to roll on the nut and change the direction of my load
    This would see the socket slip off, the nut damaged and the knuckle skinned.
    The socket would not fit well on worn nuts so was almost a 'use once' tool.

    I now use crapy repco thin-walled sockets for light 1/2 inch jobs and the '70's made in australia sidchrome set for the big jobs. All get used with an indestructable sidchrome australia handle and random extensions.

    I've cracked a few of the bigger sockets in the repco set as there is not enough metal there, but repco just change it over for me no questions asked so I dont realy care too much.
    Jo

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    I've had one of these for a while and it has been excellent, what problems did you have?
    I'm puzzled, too. I've had a Bahco 1/4 inch drive socket set for 3 years now and it has been marvellous. While it has up to 13mm sockets, I defer to 1/2 inch drive of another make for 12 & 13 mm work. The smaller 1/4 inch drive ratchet and extension bars, however, are so handy for lighter and less accessible nuts & bolts that they have become my most-used tools. No issues with fit, wear or cleaning either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John P View Post
    I'm puzzled, too. I've had a Bahco 1/4 inch drive socket set for 3 years now and it has been marvellous. While it has up to 13mm sockets, I defer to 1/2 inch drive of another make for 12 & 13 mm work. The smaller 1/4 inch drive ratchet and extension bars, however, are so handy for lighter and less accessible nuts & bolts that they have become my most-used tools. No issues with fit, wear or cleaning either.
    I dont think a 1/4 or 5/16 will see the type of use which made me form such a low opinion of the set.
    My issue was with the 1/2 inch set on heavy jobs like front end end and head bolt extraction.
    Maybe my technique is based around my old quality thick walled 12 point sockets and ring spanners but a few slips was enough to bin the set.
    I cant afford too many slips as I'm a muso, and a weekend or two of premo gigs off sick with a serious cut or sprain would pay for a gold plated snap on set, and I dont want to even think about braking bones in the hand.

    I also dont like my 1/2 inch to have its gear switch on the top, and prefer the mid mounted button like the sidchrome
    That way when working short handed or doing weird jobs (where you need to stretch around a firewall or floorpan) you can use a lump of wood or something against the top of the handle to apply pressure down the shaft towards the nut/bolt without fouling on the gear lever or changing direction.


    Also..Seeing this is a crap tool thread...

    Almost without exception, any cheapish tool with a high grip sythetic rubbery handle is a probably a bad tool.

    Pliers, cutters and linesman tools should have hard plastic handles to last generations and ones with neoprene type from the $10 bin are not worth having.
    Wait until you have a critical holding job and the handles start slipping off the metal shaft.

    There are two tools I'm more than happy to have cheapy flea-market versions of.
    Stubby spanners and stubby pivot socket ratchets.
    The way i use them they only need to be of 'beats using your fingers' quality.
    Neither needs enough torque to notice its badness and I really only use either for quick assembly. Once the nut is done up finger tight I get a proper tool onto it, but they are handy for assembly or holding the nut on the other end of the air rachet's bolt.

    Jo

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    any screwdriver with chrome vanadium etched down the shank of them are crap

    BTW single hex sockets are very strong and bahco in my experience have always been very good tools

    this is from someone who has swung some great lengths off bahco tools in the deep dark depths of coal mines
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    I've mainly got stanley stuff now after going through a few lots of cheaper tools. I remember stanley stuff being more upmarket/expensive a few years back, but they seem to have moved into the mid-range now. Also, they're making lots of car specific tools. Maybe it bought out another company or something.

    Another of my recent top grade efforts in destroying tools was when I was undoing a shock insert top nut. I didn't want to use an air impact driver as I read that they can ruin koni adjustable mechanisms, so instead I ruined a few hex wrenches and sockets by the end. Eventhough I wore thick gloves, I managed to hurt myself a few times.
    Last edited by owendaniel; 23rd February 2011 at 10:53 PM.

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    I will stick with my opinion on the 3/8" Bahco single hex socket set. Single hex gives a far greater surface area on the nut. In my opinion, the only thing better are those sockets that ONLY operate on the flats, not the corners. Tell me what is missing on a rounded nut? Isn't it the corners from crappy double hex or AF (near enough) used on Metric?

    I have 1/4" and 3/8" socket sets for my 2CVs. Apart from the wheel nuts which need 1/2" or 3/4" plus long extensions, the smaller sizes are best. About 75% of all nuts on a 2CV are 11mm. There are some 10mm, 8mm and 5mm which suit the 1/4" and some 12mm and 13mm for the 3/8". The 3 cylinder head bolts only need a ring spanner and a gentle touch (18 ft lb).

    Horses for courses. If you have 2 horses (duex chevaux), 1/4" and 3/8" are the best courses.

    Hummers are bummers. Try 3/4".

    John

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    John,

    Didn't know you were a poet - well done!

    I have several Bahco tools, particularly my larger adjustable wrenches, and have had them from my apprenticeship in the 1950's, and are still finding them to be totally serviceable and are in regular use. (Arm on my 16" has become flattened by flogging with hammers to release tight nuts, but the jaw mechanism and alignment is still excellent. This abuse would not be tolerated by almost any other brand I have used). Top of the list for shifters.

    Single hex sockets / spanners are infinitley preferable to double hex for tight fasteners. If the nut is shallow grind the inner radius off the edge of the tool to get greater surface contact.

    My experience has indicated that the Yanks generally build pretty good tools, although not necessarily of good finish, the Euro / Pommies are as good but of better finish, and most others trail well behind. I am speaking of older established tool brands, to suit the older collection of an older muganic.

    I have used Koken impact sockets with arms welded on to flog off tight axle nuts with good results for many years.

    As has been pointed out always assume the tool / fastener / whatever is going to fail unexpectedly, the tool will unexpectedly fly off - make sure you are out of harm's way if this happens.

    Sidchrome Australian was mediochre in the 12 / 14mm flat double ended ring spanners needed to tighten Traction inner uni bolts - busted two or three a year regularly, but always replaced (with a grimace) by the local dealer. Their flat series open-enders were always a disaster, would spread with no effort, but were the only readily available spanner to fit those hard to insert places. Again, almost all my Imperial size tools are Aussie Sidchrome from the 1950's, in regular use, apart from the flat series openenders.

    The suggestion to buy an el cheapo set, and replace the few most used items as they fail with a quality equivalent sounds like a bloody good idea.

    Regards,

    Fento

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    I found that a good source of cheap top quality tools are Cash converters in Adelaide. I found quite a few old school Japanese and german made sockets, open end and ring spanners. One which gets used every single time when force is extreme is the offset ring spanner 17/19 german made (don't remember the brand) I picked up for 50cents. It is 12 point and indestructible. You can pick up a lot of impact driver sockets too for peanuts. I guess a lot of tradies dump them when they change trade, or perhaps when bussineses are liquidated they throw everything in a bin and auction it off. That way you can rest assured tools are of good quality and if they made it through a few years of abuse, they'll last forever.

    Bahco is a Swedish company (or was at its inception) and are of very good repute. I have two shifters from them both made in Sweden and they ooze quality. One is a narrow jaw for undoing Renault 365 gearbox layshaft speedo wormdrive which requires 200Nm to undo and you can't fit a normal size open end on it. Top quality. I have seen however some Bahco tools at Bunnings but they don't look the part. Mine have a huge ''Made in Sweden'' cast on the handle.

    Another brand I am particular to is Wiha, they are very expensive, but again top quality, again made in Germany.

    Wurth makes the nicest torque wrenches, with a very smooth adjuster and a nice, easy to read scale, protected by a little window in the handle. Expensive as death, but possible to pick up a bit cheaper on ebay if sellers are willing to post here.

    Bearing separators (knife edge), pullers and gear extractors are some of the most expensive, but you can get a few decent brands here (SKF, Sikes Pikavant).

    I have a crap lathe but does the job, and a crap hydraulic press that is good enough.

    I still don't have a decent vice.

    If I need specialised tools for a job, I normally get a few quotes for the job and then look up tools and add up how much it cost to do it myself. That's how I accumulated a lot of quality tools that have paid for themselves the moment they've done their first job.

    The crappiest tool I have seen was a twist drill which was indeed a strip of flat steel twisted around in a spiral and soft as butter. No cutting edge of course. Not sure who imported that and where from, but it was sold in a 2$ shop. Way overpriced.

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    Bought a set of Intertool sockets in the early '80s. They've been pretty solid to date. Anyone know where I can source them today?

    P

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    Default Crappy tools

    Bought a pair of "heavy duty" pop riveters from our friends at Bummings. Had a seemingly strong construction with cast body and handles, did two 1/4'' rivets, hard to pull, leverage seemed wrong, handles broke in my hand under hard squeezing. Bad cut across palm and thumb. Lots of blood, threw the junk back in packet still covered in blood, and returned them to Bummings. Grunted at checkout girl, pointed at blood, Money back. They were made in Italy. Happens a lot with Bummings junky tools. Appearances are no guarantee of quality.

    If you want quality tools that last, buy the very best and leave them in your will. As a qualified mechanic/ diesel fitter I prefer Snap On sockets, ring and open enders, socket extensions and reducers. flex drives, breaker bars, tension wrenches and ratchets. Guaranteed for life, free check on tension wrench accuracy when ever you like. Used to use Proto, worlds best in my opinion, not available now.
    Not many uses for 1/2' drive these days but neccessary in the toolbox all the same.
    For pliers, cutters, circlip pliers and the like, I use Italian Pastorino's, will even buy second hand they are that good.
    Don't overlook Chinese Diamond brand for good circlip pliers either. Surprise Surprise.
    For Multi Grip pliers I only use Multi Grip brand [Snap on]
    Koken make a fairly good socket as does Chrome Vanadium from Germany.
    Specialist pliers, cutters etc from Snap On are crap.
    Kingchrome is rubbish. soft, jaws and rings open up, chrome plate peels and cuts your hand.
    Sidchrome used to be good, not now, too soft, only slightly above cheap Chinese quality.
    For hammers I prefer German, but will settle for English, avoid Aussie, bad tempering.
    German Baco stuff is top quality, but these days its made in China, crap, look for the Made in Germany logo. Try second hand shops, cheap. Adjustable spanners are good, but again German.
    A lot of, which were once good brands of tools, are now unfortunately, just crap.
    It pains me to say it but Japanese Fuller adjustable spanners are good quality [if you can find them] and open further than most 'shifters'. And the chrome doesn't come off. Which has been a common source of ripped hands from many cheaper brands of tools.
    Avoid Snap On "shifters", their clumsy to use, fat, heavy, and don't open as far as others and you'll need a bank loan to buy one.
    Mostly it comes down to how much you can afford, what type of application you want them for, and what kind of job you want to do.
    Even pullers and the like can be had for little money, and what does it matter if it's stuffed after you've done the job?.
    Keep a few cheap tools, except screwdrivers, for modification for different jobs, and if they do break, you won't feel ripped off when you chuck 'em at the neighbor's cat.
    I once had a long 300cm screwdriver slip and go right through my hand, almost up to the handle. Didn't feel it then, pulling it back out was the fun part. Still got the screwdriver.
    Remember quality tools, will help you to do a quality job.

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    Does anyone remember the bumper bar jacks that were Ford Falcon and Holden standard equipment in the 70's?

    These things were diabolical because the car only had to move a wisker and down she would come. How these things ever made it onto the market is anyones guess.


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    Default cheap impact wrench

    I had a boat trailer to disassemble a few years back so bought a cheap impact wrench from Aldi, sucked in by the price. Am truly amazed that anyone (taurus brand) anywhere would make a product that simply does not work, more amazed that Aldi import it.

    They even went to the extent of writing a 15 page booklet/manual. It can do up nuts to finger tight but that's it. I expected it to work for awhile and then break down, perfect for a one off job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 59 Floride View Post
    Does anyone remember the bumper bar jacks that were Ford Falcon and Holden standard equipment in the 70's?

    These things were diabolical because the car only had to move a wisker and down she would come. How these things ever made it onto the market is anyones guess.
    Those jacks are crap. I have a similar one and the only way you can get it into a slightly decent position is by having hard against a part of the car which stops the jack from slipping.

    I'm sure some people would have been hurt in the past because of those jacks.

    Dangerous design!

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    I inherited most of my fathers small hand tools, some of these are upto 75 years old.Spanners and sockets have names like 'Snap-on' , 'Stahlwille' ,'Tipco' , 'Britool' , I have never broken one and they still undo nuts with out rounding the flats. Screw drivers by 'Lincoln-Turner' and 'Turner' (Australian) I guess in his day standard tools were top quality nothing else available.
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    My favourite is the strap type oil filter tools - yet to find one made in asia that does not break before a tight filter loosens.

    Regards,

    Fento

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    I was amazed at how many types of oil filter tools one can find on the market. The reason is (as I worked out through the years) that none works. The worst experience was trying to unde the Mi16 filter. First of all, nothing fits in any decent position down there, and then when it does, it doesn't move either way. Reverted back to the old screwdriver through the filter technique.

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