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 So you are new at this and need tools?

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Join date : 2010-11-22

PostSubject: So you are new at this and need tools?   August 12th 2014, 6:52 pm

Well, you have just decided to get off your rump and get started in repairing old radios.
What! you look at the new prices of the tools you will need and have had heart failure.

Yes, there are the "El Cheepo" Chinese import crap that breaks the first time you use it, the ones with the crappy handles that break when you drop them on the concrete floor.

So what do you do? Spend "Big Bux" on the better quality tools or try to use something not made for the job?

I started going to the thrift and antique stores for tools to use.

I can get Craftsman, Proto, Snap On, Mac, Williams, Xcelite, Vaco, Easco, Bluepoint, Husky, Kobalt and others for about 1.00 per item-- or less-- in my area.
This includes nut drivers, wrenches, sockets, pliers, wire cutters, soldering tools, some soldering irons, etc.

Get to know the owners of the shops.
Now the minute I walk in the door, the owner of one place calls out to me "I just got a load of tools in" !

So I head to the tool area and plow thru the boxes.

I came home last week with: 20 sockets, Mostly BlackHawk, Proto, Williams and Craftsman, a handful of Proto and Craftsman wrenches and Channel lock pliers, Diamond wire cutter, Waldom crimp tool, a full set of Craftsman Allen wrenches, soldering aid tool, a tire iron for removing tires from the rim, and a bunch of other stuff for $30.00. About 20 lbs in all. I figure it was well over $ 200.00 in tools. (Keep in mind that as a general rule: the more tools and other items you want to buy from one store, the more the owner will negotiate downwards on the prices).

SAD NOTE: Craftsman has changed their store replacement policy- per the Olympia WA store. If its a stock item, they will exchange it, if no longer a stock item, you get a "gift card" for the last lowest price it sold for. I have been unable to replace several tools I have because of this policy change. Mad  Evil or Very Mad  Needless to say, I no longer buy new Craftsman tools, and the used ones I do buy, if not in excellent condition, I verify are still in stock items. , so I can exchange them out.

OTOH this is good news, as Proto, Mac, Snap On, Kobalt (Lowes) , Husky (Home Depot), Pittsburgh (Harbor Frt. Tools), etc. still will happily handle exchanges for their tools.
Even better is the fact that many pawn shops and stores charge a premium for the Craftsman tools, where as Proto, etc. are ignored as "less desirable" tools; and are prices way lower- locally like .25-.50 for a socket that's not Craftsman. Same mfgr's. warranty- lifetime.

Don't overlook the Habitat For Humanity stores as well. I have gotten some great deals at the smaller ones. Locally here the Olympia one tends to price many used items at way more than new prices, like an electrical switch box (New price at Home Depot .19) for 1.00 used.!!
Find one of the out of the way ones. they seem to be the best. I love the Shelton one. Great prices and some really nice folks there. Charles is especially helpful, and a nice guy too. The HFH stores vary a lot in their stocks too. Some are best for electrical, others for nails, tools, tile, etc. At least visit them once a month. I have purchased many electronics hand tools from the Shelton one, and several of the others over the last 5 years
. If in Shelton, don't forget to visit Pioneer Antiques too. The owner, Annette, has several boxes of sockets ( a buck each) and wrenches in the very back of the store, as well as some test equipment and antique radios scattered around the place.

You will find Xcelite and Vaco nut drivers quite common, as well as Craftsman from time to time.
I also recommend getting full sets of Allen head SAE & Metric wrenches, nut drivers, and screw drivers.

Yes, they make Metric ISO head screw drivers. the most often found brands are Husky and Xcelite. Craftsman is NOT ISO tipped on the Phillips # 1 and 2 drivers. I stripped out many screw heads before I discovered that Husky had the ISO tips, after wearing out Xcelite ones in under 6 months.(Even the "hardened" tip ones). The Husky brand ones seem to last much longer(, and no having to ship back to Xcelite only to find out that its considered "normal wear", and you are hosed.)
So if you work on imported radios and such, the correct screw driver is very important. (My Snap On screw driver is not ISO either)

A set of 1/4" and 3/8 inch drive sockets, including deeps in SAE & Metric are helpful too.

A hacksaw of good quality is great to have- look for twisted frames and missing/broken/ worn tensioners. A cheap one with poor handles will cause blisters-fast!

I feel an asst. of ball peen hammers are nice to have for re-riveting sockets, straightening shafts and unbending dented chassis. Typically you will spend .50- $3.00 for a good used hammer with a good, uncracked handle. Remember- light rust comes off with an electric wire brush or by putting the head in molasses & water ( 3 pts water 1 pt molasses) for a couple of weeks. Wash clean, wipe with denatured alcohol, and prime and paint the head immediately. Works well on almost any rusty tool too.

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Cliff Jones
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Join date : 2010-11-22

PostSubject: Re: So you are new at this and need tools?   June 17th 2015, 9:26 pm

Pop rivets help repair elongated holes in sheet metal, replace needed screws in a jiffy.

I'm a Science Thinker, Radio Tinkerer, and all around good guy. Just ask Me!
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Join date : 2010-11-22

PostSubject: Re: So you are new at this and need tools?   June 18th 2015, 5:51 pm

Good score at a HFH store:
3 sets of Starrett number stamps and one set of alphabet stamps, all different sizes for under 10.00!!!
Needless to say, I saved my whoopee! for when I was down the road.
 Harbor Frt. Tools also carries these under a different name-(and quality I suspect).
Great for lettering & numbering panels for projects.
Fill in with a white paint stick or lumber crayon and wipe surface off.
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