Monday, July 7, 2008

American Made Hand Tools

Snap-on USA


Over the last few weeks I have found new friends over at My Tractor Forum. It's a forum that discusses everything that has to do with tractors. I myself own three tractors and I have been a mechanic for most of my life. I don't work on tractors for a living so I ask advise from some of the more experienced fellows and ladies over at the Tractor forum.

Now when I do have to use tools to make make repairs or do maintenance I use my Made in the USA hand tools. I have a collection of tools from different manufacturers but they are all Made in the USA. I have Snap-on, Craftsman, S-K and Mac tools some Willams wrenches I inherited from my Father who taught me to be a mechanic. The Craftsman hand tools are made by the Danaher Tool Group as long as it says Craftsman and not Sears on the tool itself. Most Craftsman power tools are imported. It would be hard to determine which ones are Made in the USA so just look the tool over before you buy to see if it's a cheap Chinese import.

I have a roll around Snap-on tool box that I bought when I was an auto mechanic. I worked in a Cadillac/Rolls Royce dealer for a number of years after I got off active duty from the Navy. After that I went on to work for the railroad repairing and maintaining locomotives and passenger coaches so I know the feel of a wrench or socket that's going to do the job or not. I've owned some Japanese tools over the years but they didn't last. I advise my trainees not to waste their time and money buying tools made in China.

There are other American made tools that are of very high quality so let's hear some stories and suggestions from my friends at My Tractor Forum.com and anyone else.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

The future of the tool industry in the USA is sadly on the decline. Most tool manufacturers are spinning of tools made in China with brand names that were once American icons in the tool industry. The last time I was on a Mac tool truck I asked the sales guy why there was no tools with the country of origin stamped on them? His response was "This is a world economy." We have been sold down the river for the eternal buck I thought. I am glad that I have the collection of tools that are made in the USA. How much longer will they be made here is another guess. I always question where the tool manufacturers are buying there steel from nowadays. Most steel manufacturing is done outside the USA nowadays. Hats off to Klein, Channellock , Armstong, Snap-on, Williams, Craftsman, Cornwall, Estwing, Rigid, Thomas & Betts, and any one else I missed. For the most part all their tools are stamped USA. As you will find most electronic hand tools are made in China. Williams tools is still alive and well under the Bahco North America flag which also owns Snap-on. If you notice some similarities don't be surprised. Check with any local industrial supplier that carries Williams and they will warranty your older broken ones.

Anonymous said...

No way, most of the tool companies like Snap-on, Craftsman, Rigid and Milwaukee either have their hand tools made in China complete or almost complete and "final touch" in the USA only. These companies are just cheating us!

Anonymous said...

Went to Lowes to buy linemans pliers, wire strippers, and a combo screw driver. I bought Greenlee, a good old American product, I didn't even read the package. That was a mistake because the whole sheebang was made in china, and bangladesh.
I took them back and got my money back and told them why. The manager asked me where I was going to get American tools this day and age. I told him Home Depot. Dead silence. I went to Home Depot and bought all Channel Lock, still made in Meadville, Pa. It cost me $25 more but this country is where I make money. Today I heard Craftsmen are made in Japan, anyone know for sure.

Paul Wisecarver said...

Bicycle Research Tools have been manufactured in the U.S.A for more than 30 years. Paul Wisecarver,Owner BRT www.bicycletool.com

Anonymous said...

Whoever said that Snap-on makes their hand tools in China and then just finishes them in the US doesn't have a clue! Why don't you go visit one of the 4 factories in the US where Snap-on makes their hand tool snad tool boxes from start to finish right here in America, paying American wages to Americans! Don't just shoot off the hip when posting comments - you are completely out of line and completely clueless!

Anonymous said...

Hey Your Blog Is Too Good. Thanks For Providing Information About This Tool.And List Of Items Which Made in America is Really Amazing.I am Basically Collecting Information About Hardware Tools Which Made And Sale In America.My Project Name Is Hardware City.

Anonymous said...

I have seen a snap on wrench stretch. they are made in china now. everything is too expensive

Anonymous said...

Nice tool its very helpful for me. i was searching for hardwareandtools discount codes hope this will help you for more tools with great saving.

Lynda said...

We bought some Emeril by AllClad cookware because we read on the box it was made in USA. It is awesome cookware, and we're planning to buy more whenever we need cookware.


We found a Milwaukee power tool set that said on the box that it was made in Mexico. So we didn't buy that. It's so confusing these days to buy American even if you want to.

bloodyknuckles said...

My tools pay my wages. Most of my tools are Craftsman but a lot are Snap On too and those are growing every week. The guys in my shop swear by Snap On because when you work on stuff up here in the rust belt Snap On is what works. Sure it's expensive. I can't afford it either but I'd rather buy stuff that actually works. Besides, whether or not these guys have factories here they could have factories other places too; just because the tools say they're made here, they may or may not be. If they want to trick you with where stuff's made they probably can if they try hard enough. Point is I'll trust that some of these American tool guys are telling the truth still and have some integrity. And as far as the "foreign steel" goes..... GMs, Fords and Dodges usually conk out way before the Hondas and Toyotas. I hate to say it but the imports run longer, faster and usually don't rust as bad. Don't mean my three Fords are going anywhere if I can help it but I bring tools on trips. :) Besides, EPA and the president will have us all driving Priuses soon anyway. Buy American tools once and for life and be nice to your mobile tool jobber.... they have to deal with some real jerks.

TONY said...

I noticed you did not list Red Wing Shoes in you made in the USA section. They are still made in Red Wing, Minnesota. They manufacture shoes and boots that are considered by many to be the toughest work boots made.

Chris said...

Port Austin Level is another manufacturer that still makes their levels in the USA. Please consider adding them to your list: http://portaustinlevelandtool.com

Anonymous said...

I thought all craftsman hand tools were made in America & companion hand tools imported.I was going thru my craftsman combination wrenches the other day to find my 3/4 marked Japan. Does aynone else have these? Who can we trust?

Anonymous said...

As far as toyota's lasting a long time I thought that too until one left me stranded between new orleans and houston in the middle of no where I own Two Camaros and a corolla. I bought the corolla because I thought the same thing too now look at them in the news Toyota let me down and left me in the swamp for twelve hours I will never drive one again and as far as tools stock up on american as if the end of the world is coming because soon they will be all gone...

Anonymous said...

Someone should start a "Made in USA" only business. I bet it would do good business. I only look for items made in USA. Our "blue collar" engine of America has been lost, and we need to bring it back...!!

Prof D said...

Here are some other Made in USA tool sources to check and re-post:

Estwing (Rockford, IL)
Klein (Chicago area, IL)
Eklind
General

Sources: Individual home pages, and www.usstuff.com/tools.htm

Though a Christian, and from a military family as well, I'm less inclined to accept arguments connecting our faith and the "buy American" ideal, because the household of faith that is a Christian's first family knows no national boundaries. "Do good to all men, especially those in the household of faith."

BUT, my opinion changes in the case of Made in China products -- because to buy items sourced there, we're supporting a manifestly corrupt political system (where the military/state are fundamental business parters), and a system where workers and the environment (the former made in His image, the latter intended to declare His glory) are in largest part bearing the brunt of the price difference for their manufactured products. Our "gain" (lowering of prices) is their loss (human, environmental), and their loss is to His displeasure.

If I were purely a US nationalist, and not a Christian, I might make the argument ... to "Do as much low level (non-IP containing) manufacturing in China as possible. It will drive up the standard of living of their lower classes, raising their economic and political expectations, leading to radical political political change in the shorter term. Out of this they will arise not as a competitor, but as an economic laggard -- because, like the former Soviet Union, they will have created such an inefficient system of business, and such an industrial environmental wasteland, that it will take them many decades to begin to recover."

But I'm not (just a nationalist), and so, I say, "Yes, buy American, or from any place where the brethren are know to be looking out for His creation, human and otherwise."

Stephen said...

Hello. I really appreciate your blog...

I was born and raised on a farm for most my life - and have worked w/ a number of tools etc...

Ethically, economically, socially, and in the end (practicality), are all reasons why buying real tools made by real folks who live in your own country, and who use real materials and have a real warranty is just plain good.

It's so hard for me to afford and find these sorts of things any more.
And you know what else, these days the prices on imported goods really seems to be hardly any better than if they were made here in the USA.
For crying out-loud, I can't find a shovel in this town that's made in the USA. ...& they're about 15 bucks... tell me a USA manufacturer couldn't do better for about the same price?!?

Anonymous said...

It's a pity that America is now "made in China" and this not the case with just tools. American babies are also made in China, yes we import "made in China" babies thanks to "Adoption", but is there a dearth of homeless American born babies that we cannot adopt. How can you expect Americans to support America when even the American flag I received during my naturalization ceremony as an America Citizen said "made in China". So where is the patriotism in this country.
Personally I pride my collection of USA made tools that I inherited from my father and till today I rather spend a little more on a US made tool than compromise, unless forced to because of availability.
Hats off to Menards for regularly carrying USA made stuff.
The quality is in the feel of the product as compared to the imports still being sold at outrageous prices and the profits head straight for the manufacturers pockets.

Jori said...

Here's a nice resource for identifying what companies are still manufacturing in the United States.

http://store.harryepstein.com/origin/

Pete from Baltimore said...

Estwing is a great source for hammers.And not only do thier hammers last a lifetime[ my Estwing clawhammer is 14 years old and still going strong], but they also only cost a little more than imports.

Baltimore Toolworks in Baltimore makes some great chisels that cost the same as the imports[ i dont know if HomeDepot carries them outsode of the Baltimore area].The company recently was sold to Stanley.But while oneof thier factories in Baltimore closed, the other one is still open.

Union Tools still makes most ,or all ,of its stuff in America.And while Milwaukee usually just assembels its Sawzalls in America with foriegn parts, its the only manufacture that still assembles power tools in America .Plus they have the best saws.

If someone wants to buy American , they should check out local workshops. Home Depot and Lowes are going to carry a lot of imported goods.But smaller workshops can compete with China by making custom made goods. "American Alloy Foundry [ www.americanalloyfoundry.com/ ] in Baltimore , survives by making custom made parts or for factories and custom made products for individuals.

The owner said in a recent newspaper article that he wanted to stay small and do good craftsmanship.He said that if he had gone large and had gone into mass production that he would have been crushed by chinese imports.But that he can deliver his custom made parts cheaper and fasster than the Chinese can.

Another local wordworking shop in my neighborhood was in the news for making a custom made wood flagpole for the White House in Washington DC .


So anyone interested in buying American should check to see what local workshops still survive

Not only will you be helping the American economy..But also your local economy.Plus the quality from a small family owned company is almost certain to be better than a mass produced product from China

Hand Tools said...

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Hand Tools

Anonymous said...

Craftsman tools are also made in china stamped china

Anonymous said...

Having a heck of a time finding a mattock made in the USA. True Temper tools at Lowes are made in Mexico. Collins tools at Home Depot are made in India. Now I'm trying to get a mattock from Council Tool, legitimately American, but they make it tough with no sellers listed on their website, no answer of phone calls or emails...do they want to sell their stuff or what? It's tough to find made in USA, but I'm willing to go the extra mile to help out our economy.

Anonymous said...

You are missing one of the best and oldest shoe makers in the USA. The Redwing shoe company is still making one the the worlds best boots, 63 different models, here in the USA. http://www.redwingshoes.com/footwear/filter-usa

Anonymous said...

Most tool companies offer more than
one line, A US made line and a cheaper imported line. It is very important to check for the made in Us stamp and not just buy because of name branding and price. If the import line out sale the US line, it will definitely be phased out.

Mike Hamner said...

Don't forget about Wright Tool at www.wrighttool.com

This company is small and makes a full line of industrial hand tools.

Andrew Klossner said...

I recently launched a website featuring American made products. Tools is one of the types of products we are trying to focus our attention on. I think what is sad is that we haven't been able to find any power tools that are still made in the USA. We have found some good stuff though. Bully Tools makes good shovels and rakes, and Loggerhead tools make very good hand/multi-tools.

Check out the site http://www.americanmadedeal.com. We are adding new products everyday and we guarantee what we sell you is made in the USA or your money back.

Anonymous said...

I find tools at estate sales, garage sales and auctions and won't touch anything not made in the USA. Most of my hand tools are vintage, and I have a lot of good old tools made by Plomb,a Los Angeles company, which became Proto and then became Challenger (they're all good quality). Unfortunately, the Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, China sell out put them out of business, but I can still occasionally find them and other U.S. tools at flea markets

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David Hurley said...

Well, I've been seeing a few news articles mentioning how some manufacturing is coming back to the USA...not much but some. I don't think tools are, at least not in a big way.

One way to help is for people in managerial positions to promote buying of American made goods. I used to work at Land O Lakes (before they shut down) and they had a policy of buying locally and 'American made' whenever possible, which I thought was really classy of them...not many organizations will do something like that.

Here is a place to look for American made goods including various types of hand tools.

http://usamadeproducts.biz

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Jim said...

We have been manufacturing by hand USA made hand tools generally for the HVAC Trade along with other sheet metal associated trades. We are a small family company making tools for over 70 years. Our pride is American Made and the best quality tool you can find. However, every time I try to move the business from a backyard garage style business to the next level I am told to have them made overseas. I tell them my Great-grandfather would roll over in his grave. The rebuttal is, "Do you want to make money or make your tools in the USA, you have a choice?" We are very proud..but very behind in orders ;-) Honestly, I just don't have the resources or network to move to the next level, Honestly a shame considering what we could become. We have a couple distributors we been selling to for almost 50 years, some 30 years. We have made many custom tools solving many peoples problems,to note a few quickly, a tool to reach in to fix dings created in some fendors stamped out for GM from a die that was damaged. Custom notchers to save Chrysler from tossing about 3000 valve covers into the trash, notchers for de-icing systems for helicopter blades. All this outside the HVAC trades. We have removed about 20-30 items from our catalog and that is a shame as well. We may be a tiny little business, However, we are a little bit famous. And very proud to continue to make tools that are made in the USA!!

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Anonymous said...

This blog has a lot of helpful information in it about tool maufacturers still making tools in the USA. I wanted to contribute a few more names to the list that I have not seen above.
1. Wilde Tool - American made hand tools.
2. Vaughan - American hammers and prybars
3. Dasco Pro - Chisels and Prybars
4. MagLite - USA flashlights
5. Proto - Stanley's high end mostly made in USA brand
6. Marshalltown Premier Line - Trowels and Marking/Taping Knives.
7. Bondhus - Along with Eklind, USA made hex keys
8. Hardcore Hammer - High end framing hammers
9. Oreck, Kirby and Riccar - American vacuum cleaners
10. Midwest Snips - Tin Snips and aviation snips and other cutters
11. Channellock - Pliers are great and made in USA, but screwdrivers, levels and wrenches are made overseas. Their pliers are their flagship anyway.
As for power tools, we may be screwed. Festool makes good power tools but is German. As always, check labels because more and more tools are being outsourced all the time. Any info provided here is subject to change over time. If ordering online, call or email the company first to verify country of origin. We can no longer trust that all Klein tools, all Craftsman tools, all Armstrong tools are made in the USA. Let the companies that still manufacture in AMerica know you appreciate them and tell them that's why you are buying from them.

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