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Tools, Why Cheap?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Tools, Why Cheap?
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, May 21, 2022 7:55 AM

Hi Folks!

      How many times? In a fit of desperation, we did something we otherwise wouldn't do? Mainly buying cheap tools. Don't feel like I am trouncing anyone, because I have done it too! After having a Tool and Die maker as a foster father, you would think at least I know better, wouldn't you?

       Well, it's always not that easy. I was in a particular location and needed an X-Acto knife. Well there's plenty out there, right? Wrong! I thought I had bought an American, Nameless Brand at a Dollar Tree type store where I was. Turned out it was far from a Quality tool. At least if it had said "Made in Japan" It might've stood up to the task.

       It said, After I threw it when the chuck broke inside the ferrule, and I Examined it closer, in little bitty letters " Made in China". Boy, that ferrule plastic was so close in appearance I thought it was metal, like others I had acquired over the years! NOPE!

       Now there's a Deeper truth to this. We may be short on cash or in a hurry. Even so, Do Not waste your money if you are not sure. Wait till you at least can get to a Hobby Lobby or Michaels. At least the X-Cel brand has a metal Ferrule/Chuck, and although a wee bit thinner with a slightly different point and being stamped Coarser, their blades Will work! The reason for this letter is to remind all of you, that if you get good tools they will last.There is another level here though. Compressors, Air Brushes and Regular tools.

         My first Compressor/A.B. combo was a set made by W.R.Brown industries( originally sold in Harbor Frieght stores, I don't know if they still exist.) Hold it! before you say junk, get this.The cheap arsed A.B. and Compressor outlasted all that have come before in that price range. The One I have now, but seldom use is a DeVilbiss Semi-Pro and I have two of their Air Brushes( Two different types)quite expensive! I have some Paasche's I have acquired over time and an old, ornery, won't break, tough as nails Binks!

         In my line of work in the beginning, I needed lots of tools, Both S.A.E. and Metric. I bought Snap-On and when I couldn't I bought the Craftsman Brand at Sears. If you bought Sears Brand they didn't have the Craftsman warranty. Remember all the tools that Craftsman and Snap-On had were covered in daily Normal use by a lifetime warranty against failure for any reasonable job. What is the one thing We Americans will do if something is stuck or hard to get loose? Why, grab a hammer of course, and hammer away at that Wrench or take a pair of Channel-Locks to the Screwdriver. That of course breaks the tool. Well, the two above named Companies built above grade tools becuse they understood the habits of even the "Shade Tree" Mechanic/Bodyman.

            Good tools aren't cheap. But I wouldn't put them in the same categories as a Diety's digits! Yes, it's a dig at the name, not the tool! "God's Hand" Indeed! And outrageously expensive! I have a Xuron set of Sprue nippers that have to be twenty years old. Still trimming fine, I sharpen or at least check the nipper cutting edges once a quarter. I also have a few that I got from good old H.L. Those I modified for special uses.They still do the job and neatly too! So, if you can, Don't buy cheap!

            Besides the cost, look at how you use the tools. Do you find yourself sometimes Abusing the tool. DON'T ! Abusing or Misusing a tool will likely result in it's failure when you need it the most. Then you will curse, rant, snd villify the tool. It's not the tool's fault. Have you ever heard of Cornwall? Not Snap-On by any stretch. I have a full set of their Tools for Marine Engine Rebuilding. By not grabbing that hammer the Cornwall Tools have lasted as long as my Snap-On and Craftsman Counterparts! And Boats Do have a lot more corrosion than cars and trucks do!!

           In closing, Spend what you can on a lesser Amount of tools, or a lesser Brand, But, make sure you have the right ones to do the job.Then, Use them properly and carefully. They will, with the right care for what they are , stand the test of time and usage! You can buy cheap and get the results. Just look at the tool carefully, and if you spot something different about it, then Don't use the tool the way you would use a name brand tool, Okay? Sometimes the situation is we go with what we can get. Don't make yourself regret it! 

 

           

  

 

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Saturday, May 21, 2022 8:45 AM

The old saying you get what you pay for has its exceptions.  I always consider what I am going to use a tool for in my modeling.  If it is only for cutting thin styrene, for instance, I do not need the edge strength that I would need in more expensive cutters.  Yesterday I bought a set of mini cutters from Harbor Freight.  They are really tiny but cost only five bucks.  They work great and the edges look pretty sharp.  I don't expect them to dull very fast using them as a sprue nipper.

 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, May 21, 2022 9:17 AM

Big fan of Xuron cutters as well for both my job and my hobbies.  As far as SnapOn goes, they're definitely good tools, but also over-priced and over-rated.  In the aviation industry, everybody is all about the SnapOn tools, and the guy driving the SnapOn truck makes a good living on our airport.  I'm the oddball, since I have nothing made by SnapOn or BluePoint.  My tools are almost exclusively from the Willi Hahn Company (Wiha) in Germany.  Cheaper than SnapOn, and if there were a Willi Hahn truck guy, he'd be pretty lonely because their tools never break.  No replacement warranties needed.  I have screwdrivers from them that get daily, heavy use that are almost 30 years old and still barely have any wear on their tips.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, May 21, 2022 2:43 PM

Eaglecash867;

     Oh! my gosh. I didn't think remembered Wiha Tools. I sold mine to the fellow that took my place at the job.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, May 21, 2022 4:12 PM

TB,

I was buying from their catalog so often one year that I ended up winning a sweepstakes that I didn't even know I had entered in.  The prize was $1000.00 worth of tools from their catalog.  One thing I got for me with that $1000.00, along with one for everybody I worked with, was their tiny needle-nose pliers...about the only needle-nose pliers in existence that have super fine points on them, yet the jaws don't twist or bend when you use them.  I think that was almost 20 years ago...still have them and use them every day.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, May 21, 2022 6:05 PM

Hi,eaglecash;

 Yeah, I wish I would have kept mine! But after many, many unfruitful years looking I found an equal pair in a Stained Glass/Jewelry making  catalogue! There's no name brand on them.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, May 21, 2022 6:27 PM

Wiha still sells them.  They definitely ain't cheap though.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, May 22, 2022 7:43 AM

Well; 

      It's nice to know. Although I have no need, as an Engineer I know that some who value Quality will still be able to acquire the "Best of the Best"

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by RickS on Monday, May 23, 2022 4:32 PM

Remember the old saying...... When a man buys a cheap tool, he's happy when he makes the purchase, and annoyed every time he uses it.  When a man buys a quality tool, he's unhappy when he pays for it, and delighted every time he uses it.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, May 23, 2022 4:47 PM

Yup, and when you break it down into a ratio between the purchase price and the number of hours of use before failure, the "expensive" tools are actually cheaper.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, May 23, 2022 5:25 PM

Oh, Rick S. So true!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, May 23, 2022 5:26 PM

Eaglecash 867; , also another Trueisim!

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 9:00 AM

Eaglecash867

Yup, and when you break it down into a ratio between the purchase price and the number of hours of use before failure, the "expensive" tools are actually cheaper.

 

Again, not always true. If one is familiar with the looks of good steel (stay away from anything chrome plated), and some aspects of mechanical design.   Last week I bought a pair of very small clippers from Hardware Freight for five bucks.  They were beautiful except that the tip was a bit too thick.  I couple of minutes with a grinding wheel in my smalliest Dremel, going slow to reduce heating, I now have the best sprue nibber I've evr had.

 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 10:43 AM

missileman2000
Again, not always true. If one is familiar with the looks of good steel (stay away from anything chrome plated), and some aspects of mechanical design.   Last week I bought a pair of very small clippers from Hardware Freight for five bucks.  They were beautiful except that the tip was a bit too thick.  I couple of minutes with a grinding wheel in my smalliest Dremel, going slow to reduce heating, I now have the best sprue nibber I've evr had.

I think you missed the overall point I was trying to make.  Using one tool to make another tool useful and taking extra time to do that doesn't make sense to me.  But again, to each his own.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 12:52 PM

Eaglecash867;

       I can relate to this. Many of the Spruecutters I have had over the years have a tip area that is too thick to slip in between some of the Frame and the P.E. parts or Sprue and parts. Sometimes I have had to thin out the tips to allow them to be used on materials when the tip isn't thin enough to slip in and make the cut!

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 1:24 PM

Tanker-Builder

Eaglecash867;

       I can relate to this. Many of the Spruecutters I have had over the years have a tip area that is too thick to slip in between some of the Frame and the P.E. parts or Sprue and parts. Sometimes I have had to thin out the tips to allow them to be used on materials when the tip isn't thin enough to slip in and make the cut!

 

Never had that problem with the Xuron 2175 sprue cutters I have.  They're ready to go right out of the package and get into spaces that my Xuron 410s can't get to.  They also work really well for trimming my cat's claws...nice and sharp and thin so they don't make little stress cracks in his claws.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, May 26, 2022 8:41 AM

Hi Eaglecash867!

     Hey, How did you know I use my Xuron cutters for the same thing? LOL.LOL! I do the cat first. If I don't, she turns into "Velcro Kitty" and sticks to everything, even me. The Chihuahua, "Deuce" Doesn't like the regular Dog nail Clippers. But with the Xurons he doesn't even move.The Sharpness is the thing.

     Oh, I did modify one pair because some of My Eduard Steel Type P.E. had Very, Very tiny spots to get into and I was bending the part. Didn't take much, just a wee bit with a file. What I wonder is how many folks have done this on a grinder and can't figure out why they got dull so fast!

      I bet, you like me know that heat destroys temper and so if you use a grinder they will lose their edge. Xuron even makes one for cutting"Hard" Brass and Aluminum. Now I don't know about cutters for Harder stuff. I do have a pair ,"About forty Five years old. Heavily modified for cutting Screws and Bolts of an Electronics nature and they still work fabulous. In one snip I get a straight final, burr free cut!

       When you are cutting multiples of say Stanchions then they are perfect! Also if you are soldering end to end on short pieces. Nice tight joint. Maybe, have to once in a while do a "tad" touch with a file. I rarely use a soldering Iron since my last commission. I found "TIX" brand Solder and Flux work best with a small flame on my Bernz-O-Matic Butane torch.

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Thursday, May 26, 2022 1:10 PM

The reason I buy cheap tools is, the less money I spend on tools, the more money I can spend on model kits.

 

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