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Master Mechanic Tool sets

1629 Views 33 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  slimpartywagon
So back in October some one stole all my hand tools... when I say all, I mean all. All I currently have is a set of staking pliers a #2 philips , and a 6” crescent. They broke j to my Bronco and stole all of it while I was pulling the engine.

So now I am in a position to get a new tool set. Originally I was just going to get me the tools needed to finish reinstalling the engine and a few other tools to make life easier again while adding to the kit later on down the road. But today I was offered a job where I need a full set of tools. 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2, 3/4” drive ratchet sets ranging from 4mm up to 40mm and 5/32” up to 4” (maybe larger) sockets both standard and deep well. A full set of wrenches up to 2”. Hammers, screw drivers, pliers, pry bars, snap ring pliers... everything. Now in the past I had a decent collection of Craftsman tools mixed with Mac and Snap~On for the larger and specialized tools. I’m looking for ideas of a decent brand of tools that offer a complete professional grade “Master Mechanic” tool set.
My google foo has been returning cheap junk, and Snap~On tools are way over priced for their tool sets and Craftsman tools have lost their quality.
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@BigBlue 94 you are the second to recommend getting a craftsman tool set and then upgrading as I go... the strength of their ratchets is exactly what I am worried about... especially since I will be working on brand new John Deere equipment, I want/need good tools.

@HarryGnuts I love SK-Tools, and will also be looking into these as well.
I will probably be going with Proto-Tools or SK depending on who makes the tool for NAPA, I was given permission to use my dad’s ex-business account to buy new tools on under credit.
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You dont need to buy nothing under credit. Buy a $100 on sale 1/4;3/8/1/2 tool set from lowes for hand tools. Buy the large Chromoly socket sets from Harbor Freight (sheeit) for impact 1/2; 3/4th; and 1". Buy channellocks plier set. Buy the rest speciality tools used off ebay. 0 debt. All tools that last.
I need a full master mechanic set by next Friday... right now I have $89.00 to my name for the rest of the month. I need the tools for a job I start on the 15th of February... this is a high end John Deere dealership with an exceptional reputation, not just some small hillbilly used farm equipment shop that repairs junk to resell it. The reason this dealership is so good is because of its exceptional mechanics... This isn’t the first time I have had to start over buying tools... but HF tools don’t work on agriculture equipment... besides closest HF is 3 hours away and again $89.00 to my name at the moment.
Now with one month of working I will be breaking even with a loan on the tools... I’ll be making close to 50/hour... and my resume backs up my paycheck.
Ohh and I should rephrase the NAPA account, I’m part owner of the account, it’s a 3 way ownership. My dad, brother, and I agreed that since all three are liable for the account that no charges over $500.00 can be made to the account without consent from the other two. The account is in my dad’s name but all three of us are liable for charges to the account. We were all in business together and we all agreed it would be best to keep a couple of the business accounts open for “Hobby” and shit happens.
You can also buy it on a low interest credit card if needed or one that does so much time 0% interest. Cheap purchase price; less interest to pay. All the shops get you in telling you need to spend a million dollars on tools; let me tell you a little secret you dont. I have 750 million mega construction fleet shop experience where I showed the mechanics the same thing. They ring you in with big hopes of making money but the guys are in and out of the door very often. The income stops but the debt doesn't.

FYI chromoly HF sockets are same quality if not close to the tool trucks.
Our Napa credit account is 0% interest for 1 year on parts. And lifetime of the account on tools, with major discounts... moving millions of dollars of inventory per year gives you some pretty good perks.

Like I said, I’m not some joe blow off the street that doesn’t know anything... I was wondering what others used for tools... I would love to start off with a brand new Snap-On set... I just can’t afford it... and Craftsman ratchets won’t cut it (the rest of their stuff is ok, but still not great) and Harbor Feieght... those tools are for the hobbiest not the professional tradesman.

I know I don’t need 5,000 worth of tools... priced what I needed at NAPA yesterday and came in at just under $2,500 without tool box... I still have my old beat up craftsman tool box that will work for a few months until I see how the job goes... as for specialty tools, I will get those as needed after my main tool box is set up...
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Again no credit and no cash... I’m not going to put myself in further than I can dig myself out of... I have a $3,000 spending limit at NAPA, that I will keep well below that... at the end of the month I get last year’s tax returns back which by itself will pay for the tools I have to buy, and be a tax write-off for next year...
@GetBent4x4 i agree with your last statement... like I said a tool box would be nice... and I probably will get a HF box down the road there... (HF as well as Lows Home Depot are three hours away from me, but after I get back into the trade it won’t be a big deal). I am a tool snob... just going to throw that out there. My $2500 wish list can probably in reality be cut down to under $1000 if I skimp on a couple of the want vs needed items I threw in their (like a full torx bit set in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2” drive both standard and safety torx) and I can probably get by with a 4 screwdrivers instead of the 16 piece kit I threw in. Pry bars... I didn’t even throw those in... I still have my three favorite pry bars, I kept them in storage. Hammers, like ratchets, I refuse to skimp there.

You have given me a lot to think about and appreciate it... I wish I could find the spreadsheet I made 30 years ago when I first started out... I removed starting off with under $500 worth of tools, mostly Craftsman, with Proto ratchets, and a lot of HF junk that got me through the first three months... if time wasn’t of the essence, I would do that set all over again and fill in the cheap tools with what ever NAPA has, or what I can find off of AMAZON/EBay/Craig’s List down the road. Unfortunately I don’t have that luxury at this point in time. I will be looking at my list in great detail and keep myself from going into debt over tools... I have always kept a decent tool budget in the past and don’t expect to go into a debt that my last paycheck can’t cover.
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@GetBent4x4 i do appreciate your insight to my dilemma. You’re making me rethink my whole shopping list and what I actually need right now compared to what I might need right now... and I know that until I push my toolbox into the bay and start spinning wrenches, I won’t know exactly what I need. Thank you for challenging my thinking. I need it from time to time. As I’m scrubbing this list, I might even be able to bring my initial cost down to $500 which drastically increases my first 90 day spending purchases, which can go towards not only tools but PPE that I was otherwise going to put off...

So let’s change the subject a little bit to PPE. I’m required to have steel toed boots... I am a Justin and Ariosto guy, mainly because I have foot and knee problems that make most other brand of boots uncomfortable for me to wear for long periods of time (Danner comes to mind). I have a pair of Justin’s and a pair of Airiots both steel toed that are wearing out, so I am going to need to replace them... I also have special orthopedic inserts that have to go into the boots to add 1 1/4” hight to my right leg. Normally I get my boots at the local western store but as mentioned... there might be a better place to source my boots, and their might even be a brand I haven’t heard of that I could try looking at.
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Is this farm equipment or construction? We have a 624K wheel loader and it has been great so far other than the safety software and the parking brake solenoid is very easy to snap off. I am a fan of redwing boots. I wasn't until I was gifted a pair a couple years ago. They do live up to the hype.
It’s farm equipment bailers, Columbines, tractors. Swathers, ect.

Redwings are great. I’ll have to see if the other boot store still sells them.
Thank you for mentioning Wolverines...

My Justin’s are about 20 years old on their 6th set of soles... brut there isn’t much left to get them resoled. I do get a $150 boot allowance through the company which will be nice. Also as for clothing... they buy all my uniforms for me, this includes slacks, shirts, and overalls.

Thank you guys for your comments, I greatly appreciate them. Keep them coming in, I’m reading everything and building my knowledge arsenal with them. I’ll keep you all posted on the job as well as what I end up doing for getting my tool stock back in order.
A boot ive been very impressed with is my Belleville USMC surplus boots from MidwayUSA. They were 10 years old but NIB when I bought em for 25 bucks on clearance. Instantly comfy and incredibly durable. I wear em to the JY or when we get snow and ice, as cowboy boots dont do great on ice
I forgot to mention I do own several pairs of Belleville combat boots, but all my steel toed ones are lost in storage at the moment... and while quite comfortable... they bring back way too many bad memories for me, (30 mile ruck marches through the deserts that left my feet tattered and blistered) so they will stay lost for now :).
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Well I got the job, so next up is to start gathering tools.
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I ended up going with Craftsman tools for now... I will upgrade them as time goes on... as well as add to my collection.
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That's looks decent even though I would of went with channellocks pliers.
I would have as well... and I will be upgrading the pliers in the near future.
Well, glad I went cheap on the pliers... looking for a new job
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What! Good luck on greener pastures, at least you got some new tools for the next one!
Thank you...
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