Thank Goodness for Craftsman Innovation: Ratchet Driver

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buroak

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Jul 29, 2014
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Wow! This Christmas season Craftsman has once more seized the cutting edge of hand tool technology. The boffins at Craftsman offer to the discerning handyman a new spiral ratchet driver. Will wonders never cease! If the handyman is truly discerning, though, he will note that the spiral ratchet driver has been on offer since the turn of the 20th century. Proud but long deceased companies like North Brothers, Goodell Pratt, and Millers Falls made who knows how many spiral ratchet drivers. Heck, Millers Falls made the OLD Craftsman spiral ratchet drivers. Bah hum-bug, Craftsman, bah hum-bug.

 

philobeddoe

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Oct 31, 2011
5,543
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I saw that commercial, it gave me a chuckle, as my dad had some of these "Yankee Screwdriver" type tools that were already old when I was a kid.

 

aldecaker

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Feb 13, 2015
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Craftsman as a tool brand has gone far, far down hill in the last 20 years. My first clue was PLASTIC release buttons and flip levers on their ratchets. They're well on their way to Harbor Freight level junk as far as hand tools go.

 

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mvmadore

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May 17, 2015
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Northern NY
I've not bought a Craftsman tool in a long time...there are others that make better tools that are either the same cost or just a bit more/less.

Too bad because as a kid Craftsman tools were awesome and took a hell of a beating.
I remember being taught how to use the spiral screwdriver and hand drill...pre electric stuff...by my dad who was a coffin maker...my first job...eight years old...was making coffins for babies...simple wooden box affairs, practically a kit that was then cloth covered...I still remember how I made them and why.

 

warren

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Sep 13, 2013
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I still have my old "Yankee" driver. The newer clones do not use the same chuck and appear to have a more limited range of bits.
The "Yankee" spent many years in my father's kit before I came to own it. I believe it is yearly 20th Century as my father used it when working on cannery equipment up and down the Alaskan coast in the 20s and 30s.
Anyone remember the run on "Vise Grip" when they announced the switch to Chinese manufacturing?

 

buroak

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Jul 29, 2014
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philobeddoe, I chuckled, too, then I got a little bit annoyed. A mix of the amusement and annoyance motivated my original post.
aldecaker, I will occasionally by a US-made Craftsman tool, but those are fewer and fewer in the catalog.
I remember being taught how to use the spiral screwdriver and hand drill...pre electric stuff...by my dad who was a coffin maker...my first job...eight years old...was making coffins for babies...simple wooden box affairs, practically a kit that was then cloth covered...I still remember how I made them and why.
I do not envy you that job, though perhaps it is best done by those too young to really grasp the gravity of a baby-sized coffin.
Regarding, hand drills (or breast drills, shoulder drills, braces), I will be especially irritated if Craftsman pretends to release more "technology". The same companies I mentioned above made amazing manually-powered ratcheting drills.
I still have my old "Yankee" driver. The newer clones do not use the same chuck and appear to have a more limited range of bits.
The "Yankee" spent many years in my father's kit before I came to own it. I believe it is yearly 20th Century as my father used it when working on cannery equipment up and down the Alaskan coast in the 20s and 30s.
Anyone remember the run on "Vise Grip" when they announced the switch to Chinese manufacturing?
Warren, there are some companies offering special adapter bits that will give your old Yankee even more versatility. Those old Yankees and similar tools were durable, but I am a little surprised your father's survived. I remember talking to a retired lineman who said his crews just plain wore theirs into oblivion. Maybe the difference was in the torque required for the work.
I do remember the Vise Grip craze. In its aftermath, I was able to find some of the models I wanted for reasonable prices. Finding good hand tools is increasingly difficult.

 

ssjones

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May 11, 2011
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Most of my mechanic tools are Craftsman,purchased 20 years ago or so. I occasionally break something and they do still honor the lifetime warranty. I replaced a 3/8" drive ratchet last year.

 

mvmadore

Member
May 17, 2015
138
1
Northern NY
I really didn't think of what I was doing at the time...they were called "preemy coffins" and while I knew they were for babies I really wasn't aware of the ramifications until much later in life.
I remember two different hand drills I was taught to use. One was a small, one handed handle push type for fine drilling. The other was a "brace drill" it had a crutch type brace that you placed your shoulder on, like bracing a rifle, and used the upper body pressure applied while using one hand to hold the bits position and the other for the hand crank...like a hand egg beater. They worked well, once you learned how to properly use them, but boy oh boy was it great when the electric drill came along...I was also taught how to sharpen a drill bit...not an easy chore.
My dad also taught me how to properly use, care for and sharpen, chisels and hand planes of all sorts and sizes...I loved sharpening them but boy was it hard, for a while, to get the blade in and the angle properly set on the planes. I still have one of my dad's planes. It is still in perfect shape and I use it often.
Also taught the importance, to my butt's displeasure, of not using your father's best finish hammer to drive spikes...pay back came decades later when I came home from work one day to find my son, maybe nine, and his friend in the back yard "breaking rocks" with my best hammers...sigh...up side I got to buy two new hammers.
Good tools, properly maintained, last a lifetime and work so well it is a joy to use them...when you know how LOL.

 
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