Official word just came out that Ideal Industries has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase certain assets of SK Hand Tools.
The headline of the press release is also very reassuring: Ideal expands its commitment to its Made in America mission by keeping manufacuring of iconic tool brand in the United States.
This may be a reach, but if this isn’t indication that Ideal has ambitious growth plans, I don’t what is. Pretty soon we might be seeing increased marketing efforts and distribution of Ideal and their subsidiary brands’ tools. If not, then someone needs to make this happen. These days we NEED more companies to be steadfast in their USA manufacturing ideals.
Doug Spitler, VP and GM of Ideal’s Retail & Industrial Division was named as the head of the new wholly-owned Ideal subsidiary, and it looks like he will start things off with very inspiring plans. Doug’s first words about the acquisition:
Acquiring SK Hand Tools will expand our focus on American-made quality, service and value. Loyal customers can count on the SK brand being re-energized under IDEAL ownership as the premier ‘Made in USA’ line of professional tools
The sale is expected to be finalized on August 25th, and Ideal’s purchase of SK Hand Tools comes after its acqusition of other American tool manufacturers, Western Forge and Pratt Read, earlier this year.
While Ideal is committed to keeping SK tool production in the USA, it is not yet certain whether they will “integrate its production into their existing plants or build a new state of the art facility”.
I may be interpreting this the wrong way, but it looks like SK’s factories were not included in the sale. A separate source has conveyed that SK only had a handful of employees left in Chicago, so hopefully not too many folks lost their jobs.
What else does Ideal own/make? I’ve never heard of them before the SK rumors started swirling. Pardon my ignorance.
Ideal (link added to post) makes electrician tools, test & measurement equipment, and supplies. Some of their tools and other products are available at Lowes and Home Depot.
Their two newer subsidiaries, Westen Forge and Pratt Read, produce hand tools (mainly pliers and screwdrivers), some of which are rebranded and sold under other brands, such as Craftsman.
Ideal and their subsidiaries don’t heavily market themselves to consumers, so it’s not uncommon to be unfamiliar with them.
I recall a time when SK tools were sold as SK-Wayne mostly in local Auto Parts stores. I think that they were then part of Dresser Industries. I think that they also had some stint as a marriage with FACOM and then more recently were taken private once again. So now Ideal buys the brand name – and if not the factory – do they get the tooling, dies etc. or just the ability to slap the SK name on a new line of tools and/or use the brand as an OEM like Pratt-Read and Western Forge – selling under names like Craftsman (at Sears) and Husky at Home Depot? Ideal seems to want to compete with Klein and Greenlee (Textron) for the Electrician’s hand tool market – and with Fluke (Danaher) in the wiring instruments business – so Maybe SK rounds out the portfolio – to compete with Easco-Armstrong-KD-Gearwrench and other brands at Danaher- that also work as OEM for some Craftsman and Kobalt (Lowes) tools.
This should be interesting. SK has been one of my favorite brands for years, and I still have sets of SK combo wrenches and socket sets in daily use that I bought over 30 years ago. I have three broken sockets that I have to get replaced under the “lifetime” warranty, and I wonder if this will still be available.
I too wonder if the actual factory dies and tooling will be part of the sale. I’m always afraid that whenever a brand is sold these days it just becomes a licensed name placed on products not even close to what the originals were. Snap-On is playing this game nowadays, with third-party manufacturers making mostly cheap stuff like flashlights and other trinkets outside of the Snap-On product line, and these are being sold at wholesale clubs and Ace hardware stores and the like. I hope the “new” SK will be “real” SK, not a China-sourced licensee agreement.
As soon a Ideal Industries purchases SK, Ideal already have a “hand tool kit” category on the tool section of their website. I just hope that SK factory are part of the deal or at the very least include the tooling, dies, and press. Hope its not just another cheap made tools with a SK logo slap on top of it. And most of all keep in American made and high quality.
Off topic, sad to see Craftsman going overseas, Maybe it should be re-brand as Crapsman
I don’t think that Ideal is looking to use only the name – it would be far too costly to abandon SK’s designs and tooling and start from scratch. Besides, if they wanted to start from scratch or bring in outsourced tools to relabel, they would have went about things in a completely different manner.
It will be some time before it becomes clear what Ideal’s motivation and business strategy are, but I believe they’re going to try to make SK competitive once more. I would be very surprised if there aren’t other plans in the works to round out the brand and its subsidiaries’ product lines further.
I saw Ideal electrical tools in Lowes today and noted they were all made in the USA, at least all the ones I picked up. I also noticed the company has a warehouse in my town, so I felt kind of ignorant again, not having known the name until recently.
Does anyone know if SK is going to honor warranties from old manufacturers???
I haven’t heard anything about this yet, but I imagine that Ideal/the new SK won’t want to drive away existing customers. Until SK is fully reestablished, you might want to get in touch with your SK retailer/distributor for warranty inquiries. It’s worth a shot.
I work for Ideal and yes we bought the equipment and are building a new manufacturing building in Sycamore IL. Go to Sk tools web site to see about warranties.
Hi Frank, thank you for the confirmation!
We recently posted about your new facility, temporary production, and new warranty policies.
I just contacted SK at the 1-800 number to replace a broken tool I have been waiting for, for over a year. The Lady that helped me at SK explained the BK to me ( I was unaware of it) and the new company was running things she found my order in the old file system and honored my warranty plus another broken tool I have. I intend to continue purchasing and using my SK tools and hope they stay US made.
That’s great, thanks for sharing the experience with us! It’s good to see that warranty replacements are being handled so smoothly with the new leadership.
I have always been an S-K fan. Most of my S-K tools are stamped S-K Wayne. That stamping was only used 1964-1968 following Symington-Wayne’s acquisition. My S-K tools have served me very well. I do have a broken 1/2″ dr – 3/4″ socket I would like to replace under their lifetime warrantee. I just need to find a store that sells S-K now. I tried SEARS and was treated pretty rudely by the tool salesman and told SEARS only sells S-K from their catalog online. I asked him how to replace a broken S-K tool and he just told me to contact S-K. Next to S-K, I like WRIGHT hand tools. That is one of the few quality tool companies still making there tools here in the USA(Barberton, OH). Wright also has a lifetime guarantee against breakage .