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jkolantern 10-15-2009 08:27 PM

Old school v. new: What would you ideally get in around the house tools
 
So I've always been a fan of old cars, old books, golden ages of sports (before free agency and such) and a lot of the time, even when it isn't totally valid, I like the old stuff.

Now that I'm assembling my own tools (been borrowing Dad's all my life, and most of what I have are his cast off duplicates) I'm curious-what would you folks get new, what would you hunt for used, and what are some of the old stuff you have that you'd replace right after they pried it from you kicking and screaming.

So far, my only new stuff has been a set of the Ryobi 18V cordless stuff that was a gift at some incredible discount (battery, charger, light, circular saw, dustbuster, and drill, plus a free tool that Dad scooped (at like $60, my parents bought a set for me, themselves, my brother, and my brother in law and kept the free tools-I think they got a chainsaw, reciprocating saw, jig saw and not sure what the last one was), some hand tools, and my rigid shop vac.

For used stuff, I first got an old Craftsman circular saw. All aluminum, with the steel case and even the original parts flyer. $15 with an extra trim blade. I then bought a two-fer earlier this week: Hitachi non-compound 10" miter c10fb and Makita variable speed reciprocating saw, jr300v-$45 bucks for the pair.

So what kind of things would you guys just get new and not mess around, and what stuff, if well taken care of, is from the older really is better quality school. I know that with so many things farmed out to China, is it worth keeping tabs on what is USA or Japan, even if 10 or 20 years old? Are there any pretty much commonly agreed upon if you find X product from the Y era (like say a circular saw, from the 70's, from Porter Cable in good working shape, that's handsdown THE best) tools out there?

user1007 10-19-2009 03:05 PM

Well, basics first. It amazes me how many crappy simple tools I run across in client homes. Invest in a good set of screwdrivers and a real hammer just to start!

And get a decent and safe ladder or two!

You will also need nicely finished cast metal and machined items like nail sets, wire cutters, pliers, needle nose pliers, channel locks, vicegrips, pipe wrenches, basin wrench, etc. If you need sockets for anything get good lifetime warranted ones and a ratchet to go with them (I have had Craftsman tools for decades). Same for box or open end wrenches.

You can never have too many clamps of different sizes and types.

Get at least a socket tester, voltage tester and continuity tester. Or, invest $50 for a halfway decent multi-tester (or up to $300 or more for the real deal if you can afford it). I use a romex and wire stripper a lot but I do not know that the everyday homeowner would.

I think a small rechargeable screwdriver sitting ready to go on a counter somewhere is very useful. Also, if the drill and driver combo that came with your kit is mediocre, do get a better one. You will use it a lot. Buy case hardened screw bits and drivers for the thing and get good drill bits too.

Sounds like you have the saw situation covered. Be looking for orbital sanders.

Get a real level, carpenter's square, etc. A strong flat bar is a must.

I do a lot of hanging of things for galleries and find some of the new measuring and laser line tools to be very useful. But please bite the bullet and pay the price for a measuring tape of quality.

Buy nice painting tools and especially decent brushes.

jkolantern 10-19-2009 03:40 PM

Hey, thanks for the reply sdester. I wasnt' so much asking about how to start a tool collection but more of a for buying stuff, what is a boy they don't make them like they used to item, and what is a boy, I'm glad they don't make them like they used to because they used to totally suck!

For example, it seems like one of, if not the, admitted gold standard for radial arm saws is a 60s or earlier Dewalt. Most seem to think those are better in most ways than almost anything you'll find today.

I'm just curious as to what else people think falls in the category of old is generally better (if well maintained) and what is something where you're better off, if you can afford it, going new (like rechargables, which seem to get better each passing year).

Han'D' 10-19-2009 03:42 PM

I love my Bostitch pancake compressor. Came with finish nailer and I have spent a couple bucks on grinder, pneumatic grease gun and some other toys that have proved invaluable around the house...

I have a modest collection of tools and am always looking for something new...You'll find you will navigate twd what you need over time. Keep eye out at flea markets for the 'find'. I have two Dewalts that cost next to nothing...Luv me some DeWalt!!

Good luck and remember to take care of what takes care of you!!:thumbsup:

hyunelan2 10-19-2009 03:50 PM

I think tools are one of those things where constant improvement has had to take place, or sales would not be made. In a lot of cases, people only buy new tools because there is now something better. Sure, occassionally you break/lose something, but I would venture to say the majority of tool purchases are "upgrades." If tools weren't constantly improving, there would be fewer upgrade purchases.

Comparing power tools from even just a decade ago, they are lighter, stronger, more powerful, and safer than they were then. Other things equal (like price & condition), I would typically choose the newer tool over an older one every time.

user1007 10-19-2009 03:54 PM

I see that there are cheaper versions of this type of tool now (like the Dremel in the pop up ads on this page) which would be good for the DIY person. I have had my Fein multi-purpose tool for over five years now and use it as much as anything else I own save for my drill/driver perhaps. It is pricey and the cost continues with the consumables like blades but it more than pays for itself over and over.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000U8S3QA

cdat 10-19-2009 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jkolantern (Post 342872)
For example, it seems like one of, if not the, admitted gold standard for radial arm saws is a 60s or earlier Dewalt. Most seem to think those are better in most ways than almost anything you'll find today.

I have two of those sitting in my shed right now collecting dust. They are good. Too bad my 3rd one is still so good, I don't need to swap them out.

cdat 10-19-2009 07:33 PM

I always (ok, 99% of the time), buy the good old American made professional grade tool.

Salem747 10-19-2009 11:20 PM

One simple phrase "Paslode Fuel Framing Nailer" This thing is awesome. "New" technology of a potato gun connected to a framing nailer!

user1007 10-20-2009 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Salem747 (Post 343084)
One simple phrase "Paslode Fuel Framing Nailer" This thing is awesome. "New" technology of a potato gun connected to a framing nailer!

Wow! A blast from the past! I introduced this product for Paslode in a PR life. I thought it was a wonderful advance and am glad to hear the concept stuck. We did affectionately call it the "Fart and Nail" for the smell the cartridges gave off though. Use with a window open!

I put myself through school in part by designing and building outdoor furniture and features like decks and trellises, fences and such. I would have loved a gas powered nailer for such things! As it was I had to walk miles barefoot in the snow and use a long framing hammer.

Mr Chips 10-20-2009 03:37 PM

Vise's and anvils (if you need/desire an anvil that is) are best if you find an old one from a metal shop that is shutting down orsomething similar, the new ones, even expensive ones, just don't seem to hold up

NailedIt 10-21-2009 12:45 AM

I've been using tools professionally as a [framing] carpenter, remodeler, and on 18-wheelers since I was knee high to a bullfrog, er... well about 16 years now, and I honestly can't think of anything that I'd rather have the "old" version of. I have however returned 2 cordless kits in the last 30 days. 1 was a Ryobi 18v Li-ion drill/impact driver/flashlight that a component died on during home use (full frame replacement of [4] windows) and a Ridgid 12v Li-ion sub-compact drill/light that the drill died on. It died installing a wire closet-organizer. I never had a NiCd or NiMh drill die so quick.

Salem747 10-21-2009 07:30 AM

Most of my power tools are Dewalt, I have had good luck with them. One great tool that I have had for about a year is a cordless 1/4" impact drill, this thing is awesome! I bought a Makita impact toolkit to go with it, it came with drill bits and socket adapters along with a whole bunch of driver bits. I rarely use my regular drill anymore, usually only when someone is over and we are both working with drills.

user1007 10-21-2009 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Chips (Post 343289)
Vise's and anvils (if you need/desire an anvil that is) are best if you find an old one from a metal shop that is shutting down orsomething similar, the new ones, even expensive ones, just don't seem to hold up

Yep. I was trying to get at this point with my comment about getting good pliers and so forth. I don't know why, but nobody seems able to cast and tool metal anymore. Nothing worse than a vice or its jaws that fracture when you need it most.

And by the way, I used to do product returns and rebuild ratchets for Sears for a time. The company really does stand behind its lifetime warranties on tools and things. It was not uncommon to see someone coming in with a set of ratchets and even sockets (in dreadful shape) obviously purchased at garage sales for no questions asked replacement. I am sure Sears doesn't want a habit made of such things but keep your eyes open for Craftsman tools when wandering around sales.

Salem747 10-21-2009 09:56 AM

I have always appreciated Craftsman hand tools. Some may disagree but I find it hard to believe that Snap-On or MAC are 6 times better than Craftsman and deserve 6 times the dollars. Somebody has to pay for a guy to drive around all day peddling tools!!!


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