As you might be aware, Craftsman has been working to open a new USA-based hand tool factory.
ToolGuyd readers have been asking for an update as to when the first wave of USA-made Craftsman tools will launch, but unfortunately there’s little new information to share.
Back in May 2022, we reported that Craftsman’s new USA-based hand tools facility was “built and nearing completion,” as had been conveyed to ToolGuyd by Craftsman and Stanley Black & Decker.
I was told that:
The first USA-made Craftsman mechanics hand tools built at this facility are expected to launch by the end of 2022, and will include 59pc, 88pc, and 134pc tool sets.
I was also told that, following the initial launch, Craftsman would be ramping up production and expanding their USA-made hand tools in 2023.
I checked Lowe’s stores and Craftsman’s online retailer partners several times over the past few weeks, and could not find any USA-made mechanics tools SKUs for this past holiday shopping season.
It is now December 29th, 2022, inarguably “the end of 2022,” and it appears that Craftsman had missed their anticipated launch window.
Shown above is a mechanics tool set recently promoted by Craftsman’s social media account, but it appears to be one of their existed imported SKUs.
Towards the end of November, I asked Craftsman for an update, and they said:
Our Fort Worth facility is currently open and operating. We have produced tools at the Fort Worth facility, but we are not yet ready to provide a further update.
This is still positive progress, that their new facility is currently open and operating, and that tools have been produced.
The launch delay could have resulted from unanticipated hindrances, a strategic executive decision by Stanley Black & Decker’s new CEO, or other factors.
But, also keep in mind that neither Craftsman or Stanley Black & Decker has made any concrete announcements yet; all of their updates so far have been via social media teasers.
Thinking aloud, I have been wondering what Craftsman’s long-term strategy will look like. The brand launched premium – and pricey – V-Series tools in late 2021, but I don’t believe they expanded upon those offerings in 2022.
Craftsman V-Series tools deliver great performance, and in my opinion should be more enthusiastically promoted by the brand and adopted by end users. Hopefully the eventual USA-made tools will be promoted by Craftsman and their retail partners with greater energy.
Has Craftsman expanded upon any of their hand tool offerings recently? Have there been any innovations recently? I’m sorry, but no – the paid-entry “innovation awards” Craftsman has been patting themselves on the back for don’t count.
Are we – tool users asking for Craftsman to get back to USA hand tool production – even the target audience for the tools they have planned? How many of us are in the market for mechanics tool starter sets, and how many of us would buy specific open stock tools or tools other than those commonly included in socket sets?
I know that Craftsman launching USA-made hand tools is important to me, but what am I looking or waiting to buy? I have relied on Stanley Black & Decker’s Proto line of professional and industrial hand tools for certain tool and accessory needs.
Craftsman is unlikely to want to cannibalize from their existing pro tool lines. Without further details from Craftsman, and just going by the limited information they shared so far, I’m not convinced that any of their initial offerings will suit my particular needs or wants.
Because of all this, I try to be forgiving of the lengthy delays. It might be a while before there are USA-made Craftsman hand tools that suit my personal tool needs.
Craftsman committed to USA production when Stanley Black & Decker acquired the brand. Here is some of what they said in 2017:
We are committed to bringing Craftsman’s manufacturing back to the United States, using materials from around the world…
Stanley Black & Decker will focus on U.S. manufacturing, using global materials…
Stanley Black & Decker also believes it can bring innovation and investment back to Craftsman…
We’re about to enter 2023.
Despite the wait, there is nothing to suggest that any of these goals have changed.
I expect for Stanley Black & Decker and Craftsman to make good on these claims, and hope it’s just a matter of waiting a little longer.
What will a couple more months of waiting now going to matter 5 or 10 years down the road? All of this will likely be forgotten or forgiven by then. Or so I keep telling myself to stave off my impatience.
Earlier Posts and Updates
2017 (March): Stanley Black & Decker Pledges to Bring Craftsman Tool Production Back to USA
2018 (April): So, the First Wave of New Craftsman Mechanics Tools Are Made in…
2019 (May): New Factory Means More Craftsman Hand Tools will be Made in the USA
2020 (March): Craftsman Tool News: Select Mechanics Tools and Sets to be Made in USA
2020 (December): Craftsman USA-Made Hand Tools – Coming Soon in 2021
2021 (July): Craftsman Tools USA Factory News Update (July 2021)
2022 (March): Five Years Later, Where are Craftsman’s USA-Made Tools?
2022 (May): Craftsman Tools USA Factory Update (May 2022)
2022 (July): Tool Brands’ USA Expansion Updates – Dewalt, Milwaukee, Makita
I… Genuinely don’t know here… They may say that it’s a Craftsman plant, but… SBD owns it. It may be operational, but it might be for early testing of the logistics situation in North America right now. Crossing the Borders and State/Provincial lines, is full of red tape right now. And although the products are being shipped to fill various warehouses to be ordered from, it doesn’t mean they have produced enough stock to start offering the new USA-Made tools yet.
Supply and Demand, right? This is a brand new facility… In my own opinion, they may just be operating enough to prove they can produce product, while SBD themselves work the new facility into their Logistics systems so they can reliably Supply these products to the places begging for them.
I don’t exactly have high hopes for the facility. And it’s not the company, or politics, or anything in particular that has me down on it. It’s kind of a whirlwind of bad things happening, from weather issues, right on up to protests and global unrest. Inflation worldwide, and the slow amount of Liquidity for the general public to have for purchasing. These are really fluctuating as a whole, and it’s just a matter of waiting for some more concrete developments to truly trust what is going on in the lifespan of this factory.
I have used craftsman tools for over 60 years and have become a non please customer this past year. I bought about 15 ratchets in 2022 and at least 6 of them I had to repair the first week. Internal tolerances allow them to break. I’m switching to kobalt to give them a try. Also can’t get stores that sell craftsman to repair or replace tools unless I can prove I purchased at that store. A good brand going down the tube.
Craftsman has played around with the Japan stamp on their tools for so long besides Sears is long gone. S&K Ratchets will work for me , harder to find a dealer in Southwest Indiana. Wrenches Proto works fine yep Craftsman they went out with A J Foyt
I’d stay away from their new ratchets. They’re very poorly designed.
When Milwaukee beats them to market with USA made stuff it may cannibalize more than Craftsman hand tools if people switch wholesale. There is still value in being able to buy x-brand anything and know you are getting a good tool – a lot of people purchase this way.
I’ve been buying from HJE but still have a list of things I would buy, for the right price, from whoever comes to market first (although if it’s the same price as the high end stuff…) It isn’t mechanics sets, but I have friends who would buy those on recommendation. Socket sets are high on the list though
While I am a diehard fan and professional user of Milwaukee tools, their hand tools/mechanic’s tools are a bit too pricey. They are relatively new to the market, so I will give them some slack when it comes to barely having anything to offer by comparison. However, the price is a bit too high, even for me. There isn’t a lot of innovation in those tools to justify the price, not to mention they aren’t manufactured Stateside,… yet.
if Milwaukee shows up with made-in-USA hand tools I’m all aboard. If I never buy another craftsman tool again it would be too soon.
I would rather support an American company with production in Taiwan, Mexico, Vietnam (and yes, China) than a Chinese company with some production in the US. Most of the profits return to that mothership.
For geopolitical reasons, I am not going to buy Chervon or TTI tools, just not going to do it and wish others would take the same stance. And I own several good ones, but moving forward, no more.
Too bad they could spend (wasn’t it?) nearly a $B acquiring the brand name “Craftsman” and then just let the WF US factories literally die.
I wonder if any of the SB&D “executives” who made these decisions even still are employed by B&D?
I think too many of us have moved on and American tool buying demographics in general have moved on.
Ideal closed Western Forge in 2020. https://toolguyd.com/western-forge-usa-hand-tools-sears-craftsman-supplier-closing/
Would Western Forge have added to SBD’s know-how, or their production capabilities? I’d say probably not.
Stanley Black & Decker has acquired manufacturing capabilities, such as with Waterloo a few years ago. They recently acquired Troy-Bilt and other OPE brands.
I’d assume that a brand and manufacturer like Western Forge wouldn’t have simply disappeared if it were a valuable asset.
Profitability and viability balanced against asset liquidity and profits from investing the value of said assets…
I used to be acquainted with a manager from a now long defunct shipping company called Time DC. The employee union went on strike and made unsustainable demands from the company owner. The accountant for the company gave a report to the owner of the value for the rolling stock and assets, if sold and invested, balanced against company operational profit points based on the union demands, and the owner made a counter offer that would allow the company to remain in operation, based on the information from that report, that would allow him a certain level of profit as well as keeping the union members employed.
The union outright rejected the offer even though they were informed that there would be no further discussion or counter considered should they refuse said offer.
The manager mentioned that, even though he was losing his job too, it was one of his best days ever to hand out the final paychecks with pink slips in the envelopes to every company employee at the end of that pay cycle.
Being able to retire while still earning profit trumped dealing with the stress of running the company on a daily basis while making a lower profit.
Thank you for sharing that!
One thing I try to do is imagine myself in the position of a corporate decision-maker. When companies make unpopular decisions, such as in closing brands or discontinuing products, I think about whether I could or would have done things differently. Sometimes the answer is yes, other times no.
Occasionally, this type of thought exercise highlights huge gaps between my wants as a consumer and what is realistically possible for tool brands to do.
Yes. Thank you for sharing that story. (And I actually remember that company. But not the story of their demise)…
They acquired Paladin in downtown Akron,Ohio which make skid steer equipment a few years ago. They finished acquiring the MTD, Yardman, TroyBuilt lines with the last 18 months also local in Valley City, Ohio. I worked for for former Airtool plant on the east side of Cleveland. They have 130 years of legacy on manufacturing these products. They must have lost in the Brain Drain in the consolidation of brands. Even the airtool plant was making special sockets, heat treating, and high quality tools for Assembly lines. But what is left of that division has alot of specialty tools make abroad and race to get things thru Customs to meet the deadlines for the new DC electric tools they now make to replace the airtools.
You are right. I occasionally drive past that Paladin facility, and they changed the sign a while back. You are also right about MTD – I know somebody who works at the Medina location. I think they are now using imported engines on the OPE, which does make me a little bit nervous…
Back in the 60s when sears owned the craftsman brand I worked at Proto tools and we made all craftsman hand tools at that time in California
I really have no interest in Craftsman at this point.
I’m one of that generation that never considered craftsman a preimum – they were junk as I was in HS (early 90s) compared to things you could buy elsewhere. That’s probably the bigger issue is they were only rebranded sears tools when I was able to go to HD or Lowes or actual tool stores (we have a place near here called Tool Expo – they sold things like SK, Klein, Proto, and others)
SO I don’t expect much which is sad when SBD is also MAC tools and I like some of the MAC tool line – using their locking flex head ratchet had me sold on using one for a daily driver and getting rid of the standard ratchet in my go bag. Why there isn’t a craftsman or dewalt model of the MAC ratchet and socket with perhaps less warranty I don’t know. But there should be.
Meanwhile DIY people and many shadetree mechs go to Gearwrench or HF or __________. TEKTON has made huge inroads as a go to even for professionals. Hell I’ll just buy 2 more if this works out for this job…… etc etc.
With the recession actually on I don’t expect them to introduce anything but if they do I’m sure curious. There are things I need to replace or add to my sets, and I know people that need some complete sets that I would point them that direction but for the most part today I’m having people go to Tekton for basics and gearwrench for unique items. (They make a automotive sensor kit that is awesome for the money)
I think a lot of Craftsman’s legacy is really rose-tinted glasses. Even the generations before you and I, when talking about Craftsman tools it’s usually the warranty that comes up, and that you could always swap them out at a Sears store. The tools themselves, even the oldest ones, were just basic stuff. I’ve got a craftsman hatchet (handle has definitely been replaced many times) and some screwdrivers that are probably 50+ years old… But they’re really no different from stuff I can buy in Home Depot today. Heck, I looked it up and Husky handtools apparently have the same no-questions-asked warranty that made Craftsman famous.
Maybe their wrenches were truly magic, but I’m not a mechanic and everything I’ve used of theirs (very old and new) has been nothing to write home about.
You’ve burst my rose tinted memories!
Kidding. But truly nostalgia is a very real part of “our” long ago tool-centric memories.
My wrench and socket collection is mostly USA Craftsman but they’re my least used tools. Vessel, Wera/Wiha/Knipex/Klein/Felo and even Channellock have been my go to hand tools since maybe the mid ‘90’s?
And even a few of my actual Craftsman tools are rebranded. Hmmm.
A large part of the Craftsman appeal to me was that they were basic tools. They were sfrong, USA made, and reasonably priced. They did a real god job balancing them to provide a good value. Better wrenches cost more, and cheaper wrenches weren’t as strong. The warranty was the icing g on the cake.
Yup, right on. I returned screwdrivers more than anything, and the wrenches weren’t magic – I remember hand selecting some of the smaller ones to avoid box ends which were thinner on one side than the other. It was all about the convenience of the local Sears store, the shopping experience, and the warranty.
I think you are probably right about this. Thinking back to my childhood in the 1970s and 80s, I learned about tools from my dad, who was an avid DIYer (not a pro). He had an assortment of Craftsman tools (which were considered “good”), and a smaller variety of “other” tools from K-mart and the like, which were imported junk. I still have some of those, and they are, in fact, junk. Back at that time, the alternatives to Craftsman that were available to homeowners were far more limited, and mostly very poor quality imports. (I know better brands like Snap-On existed, but they weren’t readily available.)
Nowadays, the alternatives to Craftsman are still imported, but mostly pretty good; Kobalt, Husky, Tekton, and HF tools are all easily available at retail, and FAR better than the junk from Kmart in the 1970s. The quality differences were bigger back then, so Craftsman had an aura about it that it will not be able to regain today, even if they succeed at producing them in the USA.
I agree completely that (generally speaking, anyway) Craftsman tools were not high-end. What they really offered was a decent tool at a fair price with a great warranty. The warranty especially stood out to the average Harry Homeowner or DIYer, and there was a huge retail presence too with Sears stores in so many malls across America, not to mention Sears Hardware stores too.
The problem is that while Craftsman once stood out in that space now they are lost in a sea of competition. A no-questions-asked lifetime warranty is now the norm for most brands. Nowadays people aren’t limited by what they can find at a Sears; every hardware and home improvement store has their own equivalent (Kobalt, Husky, Ace, Carlyle (NAPA), etc.) and there are plenty of 3rd party competitors too, Tekton, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Gearwrench, etc. HF has low and mid tier lines. People can find those at brick-and-mortar stores even more easily than picking up Craftsman from Sears back in the day. And of course today there’s also online where people can conveniently purchase anything from the cheapest knockoff import to the highest end brands. I don’t see how Sears is going to differentiate themselves. Even if you look at the “made in USA” angle, Milwaukee and Tekton seem to be beating them to the punch.
We forget (or never knew) that the Sears Catalog was akin to the Internet of its day. As a teenager in the 1950’s their tool catalogs were leafed through by me and many of my pals. Sears basement was a “toy store” for teenage boys. There was nothing really equivalent. Most local hardware stores were small – and had limited selection. Industrial supply houses catered to tradespeople. Home centers sold tools – but mostly low-end junk. If you were into cars, you might frequent a larger auto parts store that catered to “Speed” – but prices were high for brands like Blackhawk. Bonney, Proto, SK etc.
I think that is one of the great ironies of Sears’ corporate downfall. They were an innovator in their day, the Sears Roebuck catalog and mail-order made them what they were. Yet it was competition via mail-order which was their ultimate demise as well, just in the form of the internet rather than the old paper catalog.
I might add, that their internet presence, and especially their website was horrid. You could not do a search, and find what you were looking for half the time. I was searching for a torque wrench one time, and all it brought up was torx bits, and kitchen utensils.
Then, when I did order, only half my order showed up. Yes, customer service took care of it, but my order took 5X longer to make, plus another half hour on hold for the service department to make it right. I could have ordered from ebay, Amazon, or even the Home Depot website, and had a seamless experience.
One would think that a mail order giant like Sears, would be a natural transition to internet sales, they already had the warehouses and distribution network, as well as brick and mortar stores to fill in the voids, but their internet experience was so bad, I really think that is as much what killed them as anything.
You’re not wrong, their website was indeed terrible. Their search called up so many hits it was nearly impossible to find what you wanted among all the results. Even browsing was tedious.
Frankly Amazon is bad about this too, though admittedly not as bad. You can search for the exact name of an item, with zero spelling mistakes and the part number/SKU included, and that item will rarely be the top hit in the search and is quite often on page 2 despite it being a perfect match for your search string. Google’s site search command is very useful for finding items on Amazon.
When the new owner/CEO shorts his own company, you know there isn’t going to be any innovation coming out of the company.
Ha! I recently found a dozen or two annual Sears Craftsman Tool Catalogues in a old pre lateral file cabinet. Good memories. But, fred, like you said there was no viable internet or even local consumer centric retailers to compete. (And Monkey Wards* barely tried)!
*This is a test of Stuart’s once historical tool brand/source knowledge. ;-)~
I don’t believe that I ever owned a tool from Montgomery-Wards. They had a store that was somewhat close. My parents would sometimes take us there – but what was on sale always seemed to me to be clothing that was out of style. Not that I liked Sears much better for clothes – but at least they had tools.
I really don’t know much tool history or happenings beyond ~2006 or so.
Sears had three lines of hand tools tools, not counting whatever random brands they may have sold. They had Sears, no warranty, Craftsman, mostly the exact tool as Sears but lifetime warranty that is still in effect, and Craftsman professional. I don’t know who make the pro but they were really nice. If you took a Craftsman for warranty and didn’t have it they would upgrade to the pro.
As for Craftsman being low quality tools, many were rebadged snap on, knipex, proto, Klein, Mac, ect.
They also had a DIY’er brand they called “Companion” and an upscale brand they labelled “Craftsman Commercial”
After Companion came “Craftsman Evolv.”
And that was to me at least the very weakest of their late era branding efforts. Green color way like somehow more earth friendly?
Not to add insult to injury, but I’ve seen a few peoples inquiries regarding the USA tools deleted from the comments section of Craftsman’s Facebook posts.
Are they hoping everyone will eventually forget about it and move on? Personally, I don’t like being strung along and lied to.
I think I speak for many of us when I say all we want is a little more honesty and transparency from the Craftsman brand and it’s owners.
It’s possible they’re not interested in rehashing their likely failure to correctly visualize the future? Which, of course, is now.
I wonder if this will be the type of situation where they wait to make an announcement until the tools are on store shelves. I think a lot of people like the idea of USA–made, so a premature announcement may slow sales of currently available tools…
It is not like I am interested in buying their imported stuff anyways. The Home Depot is near if I was getting imported tools, which I am not. I just recently bought the Made in USA WGM drill and impact, but those were hard to find as it looks like they have discontinued the Made in USA WGM power tools (along with Dewalt) that were released only a few years ago (Stuart toured the factory back then).
I don’t buy Craftsman but factories intrigue me. I think this is it:
Google has not updated street view yet:
Looks like it is near a highway, airport, and Walmart and LG warehouses:
milwaukee and tekton hand tools are on my do not buy list so i am hoping for a us made craftsman offering. i use dewalt power tools fairly exclusively and i also pass on much of their hand tool offerings.
the milwaukee stuff just does not appeal to me and tekton, well tekton is just the same old warmed over import mi (michigan industrial tool). their us made stuff is just overpriced rebrands so i just buy the real thing.
i have no idea what the holdup is but i am not overly convinced it will ever happen. not unless it is a plant that makings a variety of offerings for other sbd brands as well.
OK so who then makes the TEKTON screwdrivers and where would you buy them? If that’s just a rebrand. I know their storage items are rebrands to some degree.
The punches if I recall are made for them by Mayhew. Don’t know about the picks. Things is Tekton while Taiwan made for the ratchets and sockets and as far as I know the wrenches, is still better than most of stuff out there and you can get your hands on them. They apparently stand by their warranty too.
Not to get overly defensive but I have to say they’ve come along way and are well positioned as on option. The one thing that I don’t like is there isn’t a store front to get them at. but that’s a minor issue I can’t go in a store to buy Wera, Stahlwile, Hazet, or others either.
And in difference to the name – I can’t apparently get SK anymore either except on line.
the screwdrivers? i don’t know., but the proto duratek would be a good alternative. prybars, pliers and punches are most likely wilde.
as far as better than most stuff out there? that is debatable and i don’t know how one would know that other than well i have not broke one but i could say that about a lot of brands but that doesn’t mean one is better or worse than the other.
tekton makes nothing, if they did there would a place with a sign on it that had an actual location. pick almost any brand that claims to make things here and you can find a location that they make things. i called out a rep and asked him where they made their usa stuff and the response was crickets. they wont tell you a city or a state that their items are made in and that is bs..
as far as the sk question. time will tell if they actually make anything here and if they him and haw and beat around the bush like tekton i will call them out as well.
it is not unreasonable to ask what city or state your product is made in if you are claiming us mfg,
The pliers are for sure Wilde and the punches etc likely are too. With Tekton you get the full lifetime warranty done with a simple picture which Wilde doesn’t do, and they’re actually *cheaper* than buying Wilde directly. I should know because I do buy Wilde directly. Some of the pliers aren’t Wilde because they may be getting them via Wilde but Wilde isn’t the ones actually making them, they don’t do long nose themselves. If you download their product catalog it has indicators for what they actually make vs what they aren’t making themselves.
The screwdrivers may or may not actually be getting made directly by Tekton. Certainly nobody else is making that wild handle shape of their high torques. They may also be doing their own crowsfoot and open angle wrenches, I’m willing to give them benefit of the doubt unless someone can provide proof it’s someone else. I’d rather not buy their open angles though because they’re just cut out of stock with a laser rather than being drop forged.
I’m no auto mechanic – but my observation is that Tekton (the Amash Family Business) has done a great job of marketing. The former brands that were used by the Amash family – like: Grand Rapids Industrial Products (aka G.R.I.P) , Mechanics 2000, MIT and Pit Bull seemed to have been applied to many products that did not inspire much confidence. Many of them were consigned to bargain bins at auto parts stores. Now – whether they have moved to different OEMs or done something else – they are certainly trying to portray themselves as selling professional quality tools. And – FWIW – reviews of many of their products (on Amazon anyway) seem to be quite positive – like this set:
They’ve definitely moved to different OEMs. I have a couple old “GRIP” tool knocking around – they’re basically identical to Harbor Freight tools, down to tiny details.
I have a number of newer items from Tekton, particularly some of their made in USA items. It’s pretty clearly not the same stuff at all, and definitely higher quality on average.
Some of their items have clearly identifiable OEMS. E.g. dead blow hammers by Trusty Cook, chisels by Mayhew, etc. I’m not sure which USA OEM makes their screwdrivers but the tips have a familiar looking profile.
I think there’s a business-like method to the madness here. At least from their mindset. I do believe they’re being delayed by the same constraints as literally everything else in the country, staffing issues. Amongst other things.
However, with Craftsman somewhat recently being announced as the title sponsor for the NASCAR truck series again, what better way to tout that and their USA production resuming other than USA made tools launch right around mid February (17th) when their season starts in Daytona. Just a thought. I was and still am eagerly awaiting their USA production, not impatient at all. It sucks that they have been teasing us for so long, but in the end that won’t matter. Having the tools in my hands will, and I can wait for that.
You may be onto something with the NASCAR thing or staffing but I guess it’s wait and see. At this point though they’re already pushing a pulling an Eagle Grips where the announcement was made soooo far ahead of the actual release that the hubbub is all gone. And they also were saying they were aiming for the end of this year. Could have really made a splash taking advantage of the holiday season where grabbing tools for dad or whatever is a common occurrence, they probably would have sold like hotcakes wandering through Lowe’s for gift ideas and bam, there’s actual US-made Craftsman brand new on the shelf just like the old days that pops pretty laments being gone now.
Craftsman is for all intents and purposes a dead brand and a new (cheap) brand is now using the name. I believe any reference to the former brand is unfair to both brands. If I was young and just starting my tool collection, I would not consider this brand. Sad but a reality.
Has anyone seen any of the Craftsman rebranded Facom tools in real life yet? I was pretty excited when I saw them come out, even the if the MSRP was higher than I expected. I thought they would make there way into Lowes by now, but I haven’t see any in the several Lowes I visit.
I have a number of Facom wrenches and odds and ends and they seem very well made indeed. Most I believe before SBD acquired them.
Griot’s Garage online was my original introduction and source.
Facom (aka Société Franco-Américaine de Construction d’Outillage Mécanique) at one time claimed that they were the largest mechanics tool manufacturer in Europe. At one time they owned SK. But by 2005 when Stanley acquired them, I think that they were struggling. The old made-in-France stuff was first rate. While I think many of their tools are now made in Taiwan – they still have a good reputation. Other European brands like Beta and USAG also seem to be looking east for their manufacturing. One has to wonder how long others like Elora, Gedore, Hazet, and Stahlwille will remain with most production in the EU.
the launch of the Craftsman V series recently has to be the worst tool brand launch in history. No in store presence, minimal online sales availability, and little to no You Tube coverage or trade publication info.
However, I have a good chunk of their offerings obtained on sale at Lowes, Amazon, or Ace Hardware. 1/4 compact socket sets, 3/8 & 1/2 drive blow molded sets wherein the extension serves as the set’s handle, a couple of screwdrivers, ratcheting wrench set (long pattern), combination wrench sets, and a pair of flush cuts.
My observations: Everyone says the Craftsman V series are Facom clones. I disagree. I think they’re USAG clones. Of the tools I have, only the flush cuts & screwdrivers are made in France. Everything else is made in Taiwan. Since SBD owns USAG & Facom, only SBD knows for sure. The Craftsman V series ratchets suck. They should have copied USAG/FACOM but, they didn’t. The ratchets are thick headed, non-serviceable, have probably the highest level of back drag of any ratchet, and are bulky but, that’s just my opinion. The V series also screwed up omitting 15 & 18 mm sizes in their ratcheting wrench sets. I get that those might be uncommon sizes in some markets but, if you’re going to sell metric wrench sets here, 10-19 mm without skips should be the norm. The fit and finish of the V series tools is outstanding. The sockets might be a little on the tall side but, they’re well finished inside & out. Their combination wrench sets are basically Facom or USAG 440s at a fraction of their price if you shop around. The last thing I’ll bitch about, is the limited offerings of the V Series. FACOM/USAG have pretty extensive tool catalogs, yet we only got a very small taste in a few sets, no open stock available. Perhaps the launching of the V series was just an experiment in marketing and the lineup will disappear soon.
A lot of Facom tools these days are made in Taiwan or don’t specify COO.
Many Facom and USAG products seem to be cross-branded.
Steve from Ultimate Garage (Facom & USAG supplier) says: “The lines between Facom and USAG have become increasingly blurred. I’d estimate that 60%+ of the USAG products are rebranded Facom items (or vice versa).”
The V-Series quiet launch and lack of promotion surprised me too. I agree that it does seem like some kind of experiment.
Absolutely. I remember the days I spent poring over every tool and kit when the large Sears tool catalog came out. Same with the Radio Shack catalogs.
Yep. And Radio Shack, not unlike my (now) old but pretty trusty Craftsman tools, still offered some decent (even occasionally Made in the US of A) bench testing gear. I still use some on my HO scale endeavors.
I think SBD bought the Craftsman name just so, no one else could.
I don’t think you will ever see made in the USA Craftsman tools on the scale of your Grand Dad’s Craftsman.
It’s a bitter pill but, I really feel that’s how it is. Sorry
I know the Craftsman saga is just another Darwinian business outcome. But like many others I have an emotional attachment to Craftsman. Heck, Craftman seems to generate the most comments per column inches of article by Stuart.
When my Dad took me through a Sears store, he would point with profound respect to Craftsman tools, and intone, “They stand behind their tools.”
That was his value system, you stood behind what you believed in, you didn’t cut and run, you didn’t optimize. Craftsman were his aspirational tools. He would shrewdly get the most out of the few he could afford, using them in a variety of applications the designers never anticipate and frankly would cringe seeing. So, yes, I really hated them being cheapened.
Really pathetic honestly. Has SBD lost the ability to actually manufacture anything, instead of just ordering stuff from Chinese white label tool manufacturers? Multiple brands have launched entire lines (even some USA tools) while SBD spends years stringing us along that some day they’ll assemble (“from global materials”) a socket set in Texas.
Regarding Stuart’s musings: would I actually buy their vaporware if it existed? I might. But I will say in the years they’ve dallied around doing who knows what I’ve pretty much moved on.
My first large and extensive tool set was a Craftsman expansion set. These sets were great because as you grew, you could buy additional sets and expand your collection and didn’t have a bunch of doubles in your boxes.
For everyone saying that pre 2010 Craftsman tools were not “professional grade”, I will simply state that I used my entire set up right next to guys with Snap-on, Mac, Matco and all the other high dollar tools, and had just as many exchanges as they did, which was rare. The deal was, those guys had to wait for the tool truck and hope there was a replacement on board. I could easily go to the nearest Sears, make an easy swap and get back to work. I didn’t need to spend as much money as those guys did, unless of course I needed a specialty tool that Craftsman didn’t make. Even my tool chests were able to withstand the daily wear and tear. If it hadn’t been for my crazy ex-girlfriend, I’d still have those tools today.
But the current offerings don’t get me excited. I have recently inherited a smaller set of older US Made Craftsman tools, and unfortunately one of the ratchets is not working properly. I will not exchange it for anything hanging on the shelves at Lowe’s today.
And that brings me to another point. I can’t stand Lowe’s, and rarely ever go in there. Now I am more into construction, remodeling etc., so I am constantly visiting Home Depot. I am in the market for a new and expandable set of hand tools. I am a diehard Milwaukee tool user on a professional level. However, they only recently started making mechanics tools and are limited. They are also pricey. So I am looking at the Husky tool line. I have many Husky Tools already and have never had any major issues with performance and just like Sears, I can simply walk in, show the customer service associate my broken tool, walk over and grab a new one and make the exchange. Rarely have I had to drive to another HD location for a replacement tool, as they are well stocked.
Oh, and these warranties are a True, NQA Lifetime Warranty. A majority of the higher end/priced tools are Limited Lifetime Warranties. They mandate that you have and show proof of purchase, and when you die, so does the warranty coverage. Also, many are set up so that you must send them a picture of your broken tool and they’ll send you a replacement. That takes more time than should be appropriate for any professional that uses tools on a daily basis. Who has a few days to wait? I should just buy from the truck brands and get raked over the coals for that matter.
Hand tools are basic tools, and unless they are super low quality, a Craftsman or Husky will turn a fastener just the same as a Snap-on or Mac.
I know this is long winded, but I don’t see Craftsman getting my business any time soon, US Made or not, and that makes me sad in several ways, if even on a nostalgic sense. Eddie Lampert basically ruined this experience for myself and millions of others.
Lowes needs to get the warranty process streamlined… it should be way it always was.. bring in your broken tools and walk out with a new/repaired one… I’m sick of being jerked around on the phone to get a return order or whatever…
The warranty will never return, that’s a guarantee. I go German quality these days. Beats anything I’ve heard of.
My grandpa was into wood alot as a “get away” enjoyable hobby for over half a century.. He and grandma took care of my little brothers and i for years and he ONLY used craftsman tools. So growing up thats what I enjoyed using although at the time that was the only availability tool. Till this day I use his old router (Power-kraft TEB-8553A) from Montgomery Ward) that thing is a beast and his lathe that says sears all over but looks dangerous as hell.
Now growing up I’ve relied on personal experience and other people’s reviews or opinions. Craftsman WAS the best but now is very close to bottom of the barrel. Pockets seem shallow a lot when you want the best in your own opinion when you’re starting your own collection of tools. A lot of people say that you get what you pay for and other people are like prove it. I used to work for AutoZone for years a long time ago and I’m not going to lie, Duralast is not a bad product I have a lot of their tools and I’ve had no problems and they have a lifetime warranty however the one thing that seems to be missing (after stocking the shelves) is the 10 mm
Everybody is right, now with the way politics are and the money situation everybody wants to have, older companies trying to start up or rebuild themselves as well as the “little man” are too late. Gotta have money to make money and that seems to get harder and harder to acquire.
So Sry to say Craftsman, you may have been the best back than but now you may have to pull a miracle out your ass to make a huge profit. Y’all hit snooze too many times and are behind foe what the future holds. I dont have high hopes for ya, but best of luck!
Happy New Years everybody!!!
Now who wants help and asshole, that never has time to, put this motor back together on the mustang because of a blown head gasket
Sorta off topic, but I just inherited my wife’s grandfather’s socket set that contains half a dozen USA Craftsman ratchets from probably 1960-1990. Where can I find rebuild kits?
I personally don’t know where to source parts for those tools these days, but prior to 1990 (I pretty much stopped shopping at Sears after that year) you could enter the service dept. in any store, use the micro-fische to search old tools from decades past and locate part numbers. You could then order those parts from the service counter. I was able to order parts for an old paint spray gun that Sears had sold sometime in the fifties once. The ability to find parts for the tools they sold was a primary reason for purchasing from them, not just for the warranty they offered. It really was a one stop shop for many years…
Have a number of late 60s/early 79s Craftsman wrenches/sockets/ratchets. Was always my go to back then. One day I was shopping for tools at their Paramus NJ store and noticed a 7/8” Craftsman combo wrench with the box end broached off-center with a thin spot on one side. Looking closer, all three on the hook were that way. I brought them up to the counter to show them the defect. Was told “ they’re all coming in that way now”. Coming from a machine shop environment I could see having that wrench fail suddenly and getting hurt. Between that and the $129 3 year warranty for an $89 shop vac I started buying from the MAC Tools truck that came to our shop regularly. They were pricey but still less than SnapOn.
I moved on from Craftsman tools. I still own quite a few of the vintage USA tools but now I buy Koken Japan and brands from Germany for hand tools. SnapOn is waaaay overpriced imho. Craftsman is ok if you tinker.