Tool Talk

Classic Auto and Motorcycle Tools => Classic Auto and Motorcycle Tools => Topic started by: Jim C. on November 25, 2018, 05:54:08 PM

Title: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 25, 2018, 05:54:08 PM
I know that somewhere along the line, in one thread or another, I mentioned that I had gotten hooked on older Sears/Craftsman tools produced during the late 1950s to late 1960s.  The tools I’m most interested in have a pointed letter “A” in the word Craftsman, and have a =V= manufacturer’s mark.  Those were the tools I grew up with and to some extent still use today on certain projects.

Although it’s not my only research resource, I frequently consult the 1960 Craftsman Hand Tools Catalog.  Looking at old catalogs is a great way to see what was included in various sets, and a good way put a time frame on when various tools and sets were offered by Sears.  Well, at some point while I was thumbing through that 1960 catalog, I noticed Sears offered Whitworth sized tools specifically for use on British made vehicles.  For whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to collect that set. So my quest began.

Prior to launching my search, I did review several old Craftsman catalogs, which was easy to do using David Mahar’s two disc set of Craftsman catalogs, to determine when and for approximately how long, Sears offered Whitworth tools.  Unless I missed something (which is entirely possible) I believe Craftsman branded Whitworth sockets and wrenches only appeared in the 1960 catalog.  Sears also offered a Craftsman branded Whitworth tap and die set in the same 1960 catalog.  While I did not see any Craftsman branded Whitworth tools of any kind in the 1961 catalog, the Whitworth tap and die set was again advertised in the 1962 catalog.  After 1962, I’m not aware of Sears offering any Craftsman branded Whitworth tools.  Again, I’m strictly going by what I saw, or did not see, in the Sears catalogs. 

Needless to say, the set was a little challenging to complete.  The four DOE wrenches, four DBE wrenches, and ten 1/2” drive sockets are distinctly stamped with a “W” which make them easy to spot.  The trouble is finding them.  Of course eBay was a possible source, and I did find some of the tools there.  Still, my best luck came at an MG automobile / British motorcycle swap meet.   At the one meet alone, I found several sockets and all four DOE wrenches.  Based on my experience, and having zero data to back it up, it’s my opinion that the DOE wrenches seem to be more available than the DBE wrenches.  It’s also my opinion that the smaller size sockets seem to be more available than the larger sizes.  Tracking down that 3/4 W socket seemed like it took forever.

Don’t let the rest of the set fool you. All the tools are 1/2” drive, and seem pretty straight forward.  Granted, the correct speed wrench is fairly common as are the 10” and 6” extensions.  The 15” breaker bar is obtainable without too much trouble, but don’t forget the T handle that accompanies the breaker bar.  That can be tricky, and was one of the last tools I needed to complete the set.  I thank site member “coolford” for helping me out with that one.  Also look at the ratchet.  If you kept up with the Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956 - 1993) Type Study, you’ll notice it’s a Type 1.  Again, not impossible to find, but some vigilance will be required for sure.  Finally, don’t forget the tool box.  That style shows up now and then on eBay, which is were I found the one depicted, but their condition is often really rough.  Good ones in original condition are tough to find.  Trust me, I had to duke it out with other bidders for that one. 

It’s definitely a tough set to complete, but certainly not impossible.  Now all I gotta do is find an original condition 1950s MG so I can use the tools.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on November 25, 2018, 08:44:55 PM
Wow Jim!  As a British motorcycle enthusiast I can appreciate the value of those tools.  I was not aware that they were sold as a set - with a tool box.  Last year at our club swap meet my friend Hunter spotted some box end wrenches (was it 3 or 4 I forget), the Craftsmans in your set.  I think he bought them for $2 each.  It was an eye opener for me and I've been more aware that they are still out there, and watching for them.
Al
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Yadda on November 25, 2018, 09:21:57 PM
That is a beautiful little set.  Beware the desire to restore MG's.  In my limited experience, They are inexpensive to purchase, but expensive to restore and maintain.  I watched a buddy of mine sink over $6k into purchasing and restoring an MG only to later sell it for $2,500. No doubt he enjoyed every minute of the rebuild process and chasing down parts, but monetarily he never came in sight of break even.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on November 25, 2018, 09:30:25 PM
Years ago I owned and enjoyed a 1960 MGA I was already working on English motorcycles, so I had the proper wrenches.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on November 25, 2018, 11:26:20 PM
I never knew Craftsman had any British standard tools. In the late 70s, I had to order a set of wrenches and sockets from a Snap-On dealer. I restored a 53 MGTD roadster and there were some fasteners that could not be turned with standard or metric tools. I have not touched those tools since 1980. 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Lostmind on November 26, 2018, 07:49:06 AM
I worked at a MG dealer when I was in my 20's ( long ago ).
I remember owning one Whitworth tool. I managed to use 6 point US tools somehow. And adjustable wrenches.
Very simple cars compared to today. My Riding lawn mower is more complicated to work on.
We also had Volvo then , first in the area, much better car the MG
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 11:52:25 AM
Wow Jim!  As a British motorcycle enthusiast I can appreciate the value of those tools.  I was not aware that they were sold as a set - with a tool box.  Last year at our club swap meet my friend Hunter spotted some box end wrenches (was it 3 or 4 I forget), the Craftsmans in your set.  I think he bought them for $2 each.  It was an eye opener for me and I've been more aware that they are still out there, and watching for them.
Al

Hey Al,

My initial searches were strictly on eBay, and I did have some luck there.  The trouble is that the starting bids are usually at the very high end of being considered reasonable, and occasionally beyond that.  Factor in other bidders, and suddenly the tools are insanely priced.  Don’t forget to add in shipping costs too.  In terms of finding the Whitworth tools, the swap meet was the way to go.  There, one is dealing directly, eye to eye, with the seller.  You can haggle a little and typically end up with a handshake and a fair price.  As for some of the other drive tools, and particularly the tool box itself, eBay is probably the only place one would ever find such a thing.  I ended up going to eBay for the DBE wrenches too.  Again, I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but during my quest to complete the set, it seemed that the DOE wrenches were far more available than were the DBE wrenches.  In terms of buying the sockets, well, like I said, I got nine out ten at the swap meet.  The guy I bought them from was missing the 3/4 W (largest in the set).  I figured I’d find one eventually.  The smaller sizes showed up on eBay with some regularity, but not the larger ones.  It took more than two years to find the 3/4 W.  I guess I should have waited for a set of ten.  I’ve seen them on eBay, but they generally sell for $150 or more.  If they’re in their original green metal box with the breaker bar and T handle, they can go for $300+.  Anyway, I have a couple more things to show you, so stay tuned.

Jim C. 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 12:03:28 PM
That is a beautiful little set.  Beware the desire to restore MG's.  In my limited experience, They are inexpensive to purchase, but expensive to restore and maintain.  I watched a buddy of mine sink over $6k into purchasing and restoring an MG only to later sell it for $2,500. No doubt he enjoyed every minute of the rebuild process and chasing down parts, but monetarily he never came in sight of break even.

Hey Yadda,

Thanks for checking out the thread.  I’ve been down that road more than once or twice with a few old Corvettes.  But to be honest, I never bought any of those cars, and then dumped a little more money into them, thinking I’d get it all back.  It never happened.  But like your friend, I really enjoyed tinkering with them and getting them exactly the way I wanted them to be.  A house, college educations, etc. caused me to sell them.  I think once one goes into fully committed “sell mode” and mentally divorces him/her self from something, like a car, the process isn’t too bad, even if coming out ahead isn’t going to happen.  It certainly won’t stop me from buying another car, dumping some money into it, and eventually selling at a loss......again!   :smiley:

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 12:13:00 PM
Years ago I owned and enjoyed a 1960 MGA I was already working on English motorcycles, so I had the proper wrenches.

Hi Papaw,

The guy I bought the Whitworth DOE wrenches and sockets from was a hardcore British motorcycle enthusiast.  He never owned a British automobile (even though the swap meet was advertised as an MG event).  He recalled buying the tools at Sears in the 1960s and keeping them all those years.  Now in his late seventies, he told me he was starting to “lighten the load.”

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 12:15:46 PM
I never knew Craftsman had any British standard tools. In the late 70s, I had to order a set of wrenches and sockets from a Snap-On dealer. I restored a 53 MGTD roadster and there were some fasteners that could not be turned with standard or metric tools. I have not touched those tools since 1980.

Papadan,

At least you did use your Whitworth tools at some point.  To date, I haven’t used a single one of mine. :grin:

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 12:27:35 PM
........Very simple cars compared to today. My Riding lawn mower is more complicated to work on....

Okay, so that’s good to know.  I guess I’ll come clean.  In my original post, I ended by saying that I needed to find an old MG, so I could use my little collection of Whitworth tools.  Well, I do have my eye on a “survivor” 100% original, unrestored, unmolested, still running, 1955 MG.  The car belongs to my uncle.  He bought it in 1959 from his college roommate, who bought it new in 1955.  I’ve talked to him about selling me that car FOR DECADES!  Now in his early eighties, I think he’s getting close to parting with it.  My aunt keeps telling him to sell it.  He keeps telling me I’ll have the first shot at it.  We shall see! 

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on November 26, 2018, 12:35:14 PM
I hope you get that one, Jim!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 12:46:21 PM
I hope you get that one, Jim!

Me too!  I used to go for rides in that car as a kid.  I’ve been talking to my uncle about that car for the last thirty years.  He swears I’ll have the first shot at it.  In the last year or so, he seems like he’s really thinking about letting it go.  I’m hopeful, and have already promised him that I would NEVER restore the car, or alter it in any way.  It’s a true survivor, and I’ll leave it that way if I can buy it.  I’ll keep you posted.

Jim C.

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on November 26, 2018, 02:12:47 PM
I hope you get that survivor Jim. When I rebuilt my TD it was with the knowledge of who was wanting one in completely restored condition. I bought it for $400, spent $2100 on parts and materials, sold it for $7k. I figured out that I made about $20 an hour building it. Never get rich, but always had a lot of fun. I only sold one car that I have always regretted, but had no choice at the time, my Shaggin Waggin, 57 Nomad. Now it's too late to get another one.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 26, 2018, 04:35:53 PM
I hope you get that survivor Jim. When I rebuilt my TD it was with the knowledge of who was wanting one in completely restored condition. I bought it for $400, spent $2100 on parts and materials, sold it for $7k. I figured out that I made about $20 an hour building it. Never get rich, but always had a lot of fun. I only sold one car that I have always regretted, but had no choice at the time, my Shaggin Waggin, 57 Nomad. Now it's too late to get another one.

Oh man Dan, I feel your pain!  I had a 1966 Corvette with factory knock offs, original motor, trans, paint, etc.  I was the second owner and really lamented seeing that one go after owning it for fourteen years.  With a growing family and in need of a bigger house, well, you know the rest of the story.  That’s how it goes. 

Jim C. 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on November 26, 2018, 07:41:53 PM
At least as good as owning a true survivor is owning one that's been in the family.  We'll keep our fingers crossed!

I did not have British wrenches until ten years after I bought my first Triumph 650 in 1974.  I managed to somehow afford to buy a complete set of Snap-On British Standard combos and complete sets of 1/4 and 3/8 drive BS sockets.  I have all but the largest sizes in T Williams Superslim wrenches and my latest purchase is a complete set of T Williams chrome plated Superslim ring spanners (Double Box Ends).  I like using the Superslims - they have a good feel and are long enough to give good leverage.
Since coming to own the '67 Royal Enfield Interceptor 750 in 2010 I have got more use out of the British tools than ever.  ALL the bolts on the Enfield are British Standard and require BS wrenches.
Al
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on November 26, 2018, 09:36:06 PM
I don't have any 1/4" sockets, mine are 3/8" up to what they call a 9/16" size, then they are 1/2" drive for the larger ones. Most of my tools are packed away. I know I have them and where they are, but I have not even seen them in almost 20 years. Like all my Diesel tools, haven't used them in 30+ years and not seen them in 20. But if needed, I know where they are and what box they are in.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 27, 2018, 02:35:04 PM
At least as good as owning a true survivor is owning one that's been in the family.  We'll keep our fingers crossed!

I did not have British wrenches until ten years after I bought my first Triumph 650 in 1974.  I managed to somehow afford to buy a complete set of Snap-On British Standard combos and complete sets of 1/4 and 3/8 drive BS sockets.  I have all but the largest sizes in T Williams Superslim wrenches and my latest purchase is a complete set of T Williams chrome plated Superslim ring spanners (Double Box Ends).  I like using the Superslims - they have a good feel and are long enough to give good leverage.
Since coming to own the '67 Royal Enfield Interceptor 750 in 2010 I have got more use out of the British tools than ever.  ALL the bolts on the Enfield are British Standard and require BS wrenches.
Al

Hey Al,

I hope I end up getting the MG!  I’ll let you know if it happens. Those Snap On tools must have set you back a few bucks, but I’ll bet they’re a pleasure to use.  I’m all for buying and using high end tools if you can do it.  I have only a few Snap On tools and gotta say, the quality is evident.  If you’d like to post a few pictures of your Whitworth tools, I’d like to see them.  I’m pretty sure some of the others reading along would like to see them too.  If you get some time, let’s see what you have!

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 27, 2018, 02:40:35 PM
I don't have any 1/4" sockets, mine are 3/8" up to what they call a 9/16" size, then they are 1/2" drive for the larger ones. Most of my tools are packed away. I know I have them and where they are, but I have not even seen them in almost 20 years. Like all my Diesel tools, haven't used them in 30+ years and not seen them in 20. But if needed, I know where they are and what box they are in.

Hey papadan,

After twenty years, maybe it’s time to pull out that box of Whitworth tools and take a look at them.......and show us too!!! :smiley:
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on November 27, 2018, 07:05:26 PM
I worked 40 years as a mechanic. I always preffered Craftsman wrenches over Snap-On. For daily use the S-O have a much thinner side edge and with a lot of use they start to hurt.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 28, 2018, 12:56:43 PM
I worked 40 years as a mechanic. I always preffered Craftsman wrenches over Snap-On. For daily use the S-O have a much thinner side edge and with a lot of use they start to hurt.

Hey Dan,

That’s certainly the voice of experience talking!  40 years!  I’m mostly a Craftsman fan myself.  Practically everyone I knew had Craftsman tools. When I say “everyone” I’m referring to my dad, uncles, friends dads, neighbors...... none of whom were pro techs.  They all had Craftsman tools probably because they were easy to obtain, easy to warranty if necessary, and relatively affordable in comparison to some of the truck brands.  So, that’s what I grew up seeing and using.  My dad was also a Sears employee for many years, so the additional 10% employee discount didn’t hurt either.  Over the years I tinkered with my share of old cars, several old woodworking machines, and engaged in more DIYer projects than I can recall, mostly using Craftsman tools.  I really can’t complain about them.  Still, I know a lot of guys are die hard Snap On users.  Snap On offers some really nice, high quality stuff.  No doubt about it.  I will say that you’re probably one of the few pros that I’m aware of who picked Craftsman over Snap On in terms of comparing their comfort and user friendliness.

Jim C.

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on November 28, 2018, 08:52:21 PM
Most of my basic hand tools have always been Craftsman for just the reasons you listed. Snap-On are great tools, but over priced, I bought S O specialty tools that Craftsman never offered. Or at least didn't offer that I knew of, like the Whitworths.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 29, 2018, 07:23:38 PM
Hey papadan,

It’s no surprise that you didn’t know about Sears/Craftsman Whitworth tools way back when.  As far as I can tell, they were only offered from about 1960 to 1962, and the offerings were limited.  There were four DOE wrenches, four DBE wrenches (the same sizes as the DOE wrenches) and ten standard depth, 12 point, sockets.  The tools were sold as a complete set as depicted above, and as smaller sets, or individually.  One could buy the set of four DOE wrenches in a green plastic roll, the set of four DBE wrenches also in a green plastic roll, or the ten sockets with a 15” breaker bar including the T handle in a green metal case.  The sockets, breaker bar and T handle were fitted into a red plastic insert.  Finally, all eighteen Whitworth tools were sold individually. 

Studying the old Sears/Craftsman catalogs, it appears that during the same time period, Sears also offered a Craftsman branded Whitworth tap and die set.  I don’t think any of the Whitworth taps or dies were sold separately.  To get them, I think one would have to buy the entire set.  The set came in a green plastic case, and the tools were fitted in red plastic inserts.  It’s a super tough set to find in any condition.  I’ve only seen it once.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 01, 2018, 10:13:26 AM
I mentioned that Sears offered smaller, tool specific Craftsman branded Whitworth sets, versus the entire set shown above, so I think I should at least show you an example or two.  Depicted below is the four piece DOE wrench set in its original green plastic tool roll.  (Just to be sure, the wrenches depicted below are not the same wrenches shown in the complete set above.)  Since I started collecting Craftsman Whitworth tools, I've come across a few DOE wrench sets in their green plastic tool rolls.  As you may expect, after about 55 years or so, the plastic has become somewhat stiff and brittle.  It can crack if you're not careful.  I found that running the entire roll, wrenches and all, under warm water makes the plastic pliable enough to handle and consequently easier to remove the wrenches without damaging the plastic.  It'll stay pliable for about an hour and then start to stiffen up again..... just long enough to take a few pictures. 

Jim C.     
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on December 01, 2018, 03:43:37 PM
I used to work on British cars back in the dark ages (‘70s) and kind of wish I still had a 4 cyl big Healey like I had in high school. I have found a total of four Craftsman Whitworth socket in my travels although I doubt that I’ll ever use them.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 01, 2018, 06:39:57 PM
Hey Don,

Your old Craftsman Whitworth sockets look like they’re in pretty good shape. While I was collecting my set, I ended up with a few extra, duplicate sockets, all 1/2 W size or smaller, like yours.  It was my experience that the larger Whitworth sizes were a lot harder to find individually.  If I was going to collect the set again, I might wait to find all ten sockets at once.  I looked for the 3/4 W for a couple years.  In SAE measurements, the 3/4 W is about the equivalent of 1 5/16”.  It’s big, and like the 1 5/16” socket, probably not as commonly used on automobiles and motorcycles as are the smaller sizes.  Maybe that’s why the larger sizes just don’t seem to be as available as the smaller sizes. 

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on December 01, 2018, 11:28:40 PM
Nice tools Jim, I use a hair dryer to warm up the plastic rolls and keep them from cracking. Don't have to worry about getting everything dried off.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 02, 2018, 02:53:01 PM
I mentioned earlier that Sears also offered a Craftsman branded Whitworth tap and die set.  Well, here it is in its green plastic case with red plastic tool inserts.  Of all the Craftsman Whitworth tools offered by Sears, I'd say this set is by far the least common.  I've only seen the set one time (and bought it), and I've never seen any of the Whitworth taps or dies for sale individually.  I don't think Sears ever offered individual Whitworth taps and dies for sale separate from the set.  If one were to come across this set somewhere, and it was missing a tap and/or die, I think it would be next to impossible to find an original replacement.  Still, one never knows what will be found in the right setting, like at a British automobile or motorcycle swap meet, or simply getting lucky on eBay.

Jim C. 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Yadda on December 02, 2018, 07:10:18 PM
A nice set to see during the holiday season.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 03, 2018, 06:21:59 AM
Green and Red.......I get it!!!!   :smiley:
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on December 03, 2018, 10:02:51 AM
It looks like it was supplied by Ace Hansen. It reminded me of my slightly newer Ace Hansen Tap and Die set. I found this image on a google search.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 03, 2018, 05:54:11 PM
Hey Don,

As you know, Sears sourced its Craftsman branded tools from various manufacturers.  When it comes to taps and dies, Hansen seems like a logical supplier.  I do see some similarities between your Hansen set and my Craftsman set. 

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 03, 2018, 06:01:28 PM
Wow!!!!!  I just noticed that I have been bestowed a title!  When did that happen?  Thank you for the honor!  I don’t feel worthy of that.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on December 03, 2018, 08:46:07 PM
Wow!!!!!  I just noticed that I have been bestowed a title!  When did that happen?  Thank you for the honor!  I don’t feel worthy of that.

Jim C.
I did that a week or two ago, and you deserve it !
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 03, 2018, 09:16:59 PM
Wow Papaw!!!!  Thanks a ton for your support and for providing a great venue to talk about old tools!  And, thanks for the unexpected honor!

Jim C. (who is truly appreciative) 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Yadda on December 03, 2018, 10:06:28 PM
Wow!!!!!  I just noticed that I have been bestowed a title!  When did that happen?  Thank you for the honor!  I don’t feel worthy of that.

Jim C.
I did that a week or two ago, and you deserve it !

Kudos Jim!   I agree, well deserved!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on December 04, 2018, 05:05:34 AM
Congrats, Jim!  I am trying to get some photos of my T Williams British tools.  It gets dark early and the lighting in the garage is not the best so the first set of pics are no good.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 04, 2018, 08:50:02 AM
Wow!!!!!  I just noticed that I have been bestowed a title!  When did that happen?  Thank you for the honor!  I don’t feel worthy of that.

Jim C.
I did that a week or two ago, and you deserve it !

Kudos Jim!   I agree, well deserved!

Thanks Yadda.  Much appreciated!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 04, 2018, 08:52:15 AM
Congrats, Jim!  I am trying to get some photos of my T Williams British tools.  It gets dark early and the lighting in the garage is not the best so the first set of pics are no good.

Hey Al,

Thanks!  Also, whenever you get some good photos of your British tool collection, we’d love to see them!

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on December 04, 2018, 06:22:15 PM
Here are pictures of my T Williams wrenches.  Everybody knows what Snap-On wrenches look like so I won't post them.  I purchased the Snap-On wrenches and sockets about 1985 or so (before I was married!).  They are in BS - British Standard - markings.  I am pretty sure it is a complete set of what was available at that time.  There are (7) wrenches,  3/16BS thru 7/16BS. There are (12) 3/8 dr sockets in a Snap On tray,  and there are (5) 1/4 dr sockets and these have the newer angular Snap On script.  The wrench Don (d42jeep) sent me is an earlier Snap-On and marked in Whitworth size.  It's a 7/16W which would be equivalent to 3/8BS.

If you're not familiar with British wrench (or spanner) sizes The British Standard and Whitworth sizes relate to the screw diameter, not the measure "across the flats" on the hex head.  But the wrench sizes used are the same, therefore a wrench end is often marked 9/16W-5/8BS indicating usefulness on both 9/16W bolts and 5/8BS bolts.  BA is another thread pattern usually for smaller screws used in electronic parts.

These are my T Williams Superslim wrenches.  I like them alot.  They aren't chrome plated but they are made of good steel, they're light, the wrench heads are compact not bulky, the length is adequate and they just feel right in use. The sizes range from 1/8W3/16BS to 9/16W5/8BS with the largest being just under 3/4" across.  The intermediate sixes repeat on the next wrench so a set will have two of most sizes which can be handy.  There may be larger or smaller Superslims but these are all I have found.  I have a few duplicates.
(https://i.postimg.cc/q7nHD7bs/IMG-7945.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
(https://i.postimg.cc/nzGbZPtM/IMG-7946.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
(https://i.postimg.cc/fW5nrpKr/IMG-7947.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)

These are a set of "ring spanners" or box ends as we call them.  This set was purchased this year, then I sold off a couple odd ring spanners to help pay for these.  These are beautifully chromed with some wear.  They range from1/8W to 1/2W.  These are marked only in Whitworth sizes but as I said they will fit BS screws also.
Thanks for looking.
Al
(https://i.postimg.cc/mkmv11ks/IMG-7948.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
(https://i.postimg.cc/MKT2253K/IMG-7949.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
(https://i.postimg.cc/4y4C3QJP/IMG-7950.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 04, 2018, 06:58:46 PM
Nice sets Al and thanks for the write up too.  It was certainly informative.  As I’m reading your words, I’m understanding that your DOE set is one that you’re putting together one wrench at a time.  I think that’s great! Do you have a list of the wrenches that comprise the set?  When were the Superslim wrenches manufactured?  They’re nice looking wrenches......  I’m interested.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on December 05, 2018, 03:07:36 AM
I hope you don’t mind, but when I was taking pictures of my Craftsman Whitworth sockets I took some of my other Whitworth tools. The Proto sockets and the combo set were from a local garage sale.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on December 05, 2018, 04:19:44 AM
Jim,  I can't provide much info about these wrenches.  My list of T Williams Superslims only comes from searching eBay and waiting for the missing wrenches to show up at an affordable price.  I can only guess that these were sometimes supplied with auto kits and that they date from the 50's-60's.

From Grace's Guide - Williams, T. (Drop Forgings & Tools), Ltd. Stand A,618 Tilton Road Works, Tilton Road, Birmingham, 9. Teleph.: Victoria 3451/2/3. Tel. Add.: Victoria 3451/2/3.-Engineers' and Motorists' Tools. Superslim Ring, Open Jaw, Adjustable Wrenches, Pliers, Pincers, Screwdrivers, Tool Kits. Precision Ferrous Drop Forgings either Rough or Finished, Machined for the Motor and Engineering Industries.

I'll try asking on Britbike.com forum and see if any of the guys can tell me more.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 05, 2018, 07:19:42 AM
I hope you don’t mind, but when I was taking pictures of my Craftsman Whitworth sockets I took some of my other Whitworth tools. The Proto sockets and the combo set were from a local garage sale.
-Don

No problem Don!  I’m glad you chipped in.  Everyone likes photos, so thanks.  If the thread morphs into a Whitworth tool thread that represents different brands and manufacturers, then so be it.  Good stuff!

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 05, 2018, 07:39:07 AM
Jim,  I can't provide much info about these wrenches.  My list of T Williams Superslims only comes from searching eBay and waiting for the missing wrenches to show up at an affordable price.  I can only guess that these were sometimes supplied with auto kits and that they date from the 50's-60's.

From Grace's Guide - Williams, T. (Drop Forgings & Tools), Ltd. Stand A,618 Tilton Road Works, Tilton Road, Birmingham, 9. Teleph.: Victoria 3451/2/3. Tel. Add.: Victoria 3451/2/3.-Engineers' and Motorists' Tools. Superslim Ring, Open Jaw, Adjustable Wrenches, Pliers, Pincers, Screwdrivers, Tool Kits. Precision Ferrous Drop Forgings either Rough or Finished, Machined for the Motor and Engineering Industries.

I'll try asking on Britbike.com forum and see if any of the guys can tell me more.

Thanks Al.  After reading your post, I searched for the wrenches and kept ending up on eBay, which can be a great resource for finding information and photos.  Most of the listings for the Superslim wrenches seem to be from England.  So I was wondering if that was how you were collecting them.  I’ve purchased a few wrenches from across the pond, and have found the shipping costs to be steep.  But I’m right there with you.  If I was collecting a set and the source of the tools was overseas, I’d be spending the money to have them shipped.  What choice do you have?  It’s pretty cool that you’re collecting vintage tools to work on vintage British motorcycles.  I like that!  Keep collecting and let us see what you find.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on December 05, 2018, 03:50:11 PM
Honestly I have tried and cannot remember how I got the first Superslims.  I think I found a few at flea markets.  At some point I began collecting the missing wrenches from eBay.  Some probably from USA and maybe some from Britain.  Not all shipping from Britain is expensive although the affordable charges seem harder to find.  I suspect many Brits do not understand their mail system regarding international shipments.  I have purchased products from Britain for considerably less than the same from USA!  I buy Royal Enfield parts from Hitchcocks and the shipping is no more than buying from USA vendors (but Hitchcock's has many items that cannot be found on this side of the pond). 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Danks on December 08, 2018, 03:51:27 PM
Here are a few more orphans from, T Williams - Superslim - England.
Cheers
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on December 08, 2018, 05:15:59 PM
The top Whitworth wrench is marked only in W for Whitworth while most T Williams' are marked in W and BSF.  Also that wrench is marked British Made instead of Made In England.  The other wrench is larger than any other Superslim I've seen - the 1-1/8W wrench opening is 1.88" or more than 1-3/4 wide.  Is that correct, Danks?  That's a big wrench.
I've often been tempted to try and collect a set of AF or Metric Superslims - but have resisted - so far.
Thanks for posting, great photos.
Al
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Danks on December 08, 2018, 07:38:08 PM
Hi Al, that is correct, see attached photographs of each end of wrench.
Cheers
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on December 08, 2018, 08:35:52 PM
......I've often been tempted to try and collect a set of AF or Metric Superslims - but have resisted - so far......
Al

Why resist?
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 21, 2019, 06:15:31 PM
........Very simple cars compared to today. My Riding lawn mower is more complicated to work on....

Okay, so that’s good to know.  I guess I’ll come clean.  In my original post, I ended by saying that I needed to find an old MG, so I could use my little collection of Whitworth tools.  Well, I do have my eye on a “survivor” 100% original, unrestored, unmolested, still running, 1955 MG.  The car belongs to my uncle.  He bought it in 1959 from his college roommate, who bought it new in 1955.  I’ve talked to him about selling me that car FOR DECADES!  Now in his early eighties, I think he’s getting close to parting with it.  My aunt keeps telling him to sell it.  He keeps telling me I’ll have the first shot at it.  We shall see! 

Jim C.

  I bought it!!!  :smiley:

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: p_toad on June 21, 2019, 06:31:14 PM
Nice.   Hope the undercarriage looks as good as the shiney side.   :smiley:
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Chillylulu on June 21, 2019, 09:29:17 PM
Your patience paid off!

Congratulations!

Chilly

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on June 21, 2019, 11:34:37 PM
I always wanted a TF ever since I drove a friend’s at 15 yrs old. Congratulations.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: lptools on June 22, 2019, 06:08:02 AM
Nice ride!!! Congratulations!!!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 22, 2019, 06:46:15 AM
Thanks all for the well wishes!  I’ve been thinking about that car for a LONG time!  My earliest memories of it are from about 52 years ago.  I’m excited to finally have it.  It needs some mechanical attention but I expected that.  I’ll keep you posted.

Jim C. 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on June 22, 2019, 12:10:21 PM
Coming to this conversation late, with a couple of random comments:

I've never set out to find Whitworth wrenches, but have stumbled over a few now and again, and I've noticed that I've seen double-open-end wrenches (or, to be linguistically correct, spanners) in Whitworth far more often than either box end (ring spanner) or combination wrenches.  I have no idea why; perhaps it was all part of the British maintenance plan: best to round off the nuts right away to simplify future maintenance, something far more easily done with an open end wrench.

I am also entertained that the catalog page Jim posted way back up there in his initial post has a drawing of a VW bug right above the listings of Whitworth tools.  VWs bugs have their eccentricities, but Whitworth fasteners are not among them.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 22, 2019, 06:38:11 PM
Hi Bill,

In an effort to clearly show the tools included in the Craftsman Whitworth set, I sort of zoomed in on it, resulting in a view of just a portion on the entire catalog page.  Back in 1960, Craftsman could advertise all of its Whitworth AND metric tools on just two thirds of a page.  Those were their very first offerings.  The Whitworth tools were gone from the catalog by 1962, and the metric selections only expanded.  Anyway, if you take a look at the full page from the 1960 catalog, notice the upper left hand corner.  I think that little car represents the British car/Whitworth market Sears was aiming for.

As for the wrenches, I have been on the lookout for Whitworth tools for a few years now, in anticipation of buying the MG.  I completely agree your observation.  I seem to come across DOE wrenches more often than DBE or combos.  I don't know why that is, but I do see a lot of DOE Whitworth wrenches.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on June 23, 2019, 08:07:35 AM
It's possible that the frequency with which you and I have encountered DOE wrenches over DBE or combo wrenches is just part of British Tradition, although I find it hard to believe that a mechanic would allow that to get in the way of the superiority of box end/ring spanner wrenches for many applications.

It's also possible that they're just easier to forge than box-end patterns and that the market for Whitworth wrenches is limited enough that it won't support a full line of wrenches.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 23, 2019, 10:14:28 AM
Bill,

I can always count on you for a perspective I hadn’t considered.  I did think about the manufacturing process between the two styles of wrenches, but “British tradition” never crossed my mind.  Could it even be possible that was a factor in the production of DOE versus DBE wrenches?

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on June 23, 2019, 01:17:35 PM
At the risk of repeating myself, since I haven't contributed to this thread-

I got my first experience with Whitworth when I bought a Triumph Daytona 500 in 1970. The bike had problems and warranty fixed it the first time, but 3 months later when I had moved to near New Orleans, the dealer there didn't want to honor a warranty on a bike not bought from him!
I bought a service manual and took the top end down myself. I soon found the fasteners weren't exactly compatible with the wrenches I had, so I bought Whitworth.

Later I became a motorcycle mechanic and did a lot of work on Triumph and BSA bikes.

Even later, I owned an MGA and needed them again. Those wrenches are still in my tool box somewhere, along with tins of Whitworth fasteners.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on July 08, 2019, 08:14:35 PM
Those wrenches are still in my tool box somewhere...
Just in case you buy another old British machine, right?  Maybe a Royal Enfield this time?  Or a Matchless?
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on July 09, 2019, 06:02:09 AM
Those wrenches are still in my tool box somewhere...
Just in case you buy another old British machine, right?  Maybe a Royal Enfield this time?  Or a Matchless?
Did somebody mention Matchless? Here are some bikes in my old buddy’s shop.
-Don Houghton
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on July 09, 2019, 08:17:59 AM
Dang, your old buddy has some nice machines!  I assume this picture was taken after someone mopped up the drool puddles from any recent visitors to the shop.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on July 09, 2019, 08:28:08 AM
I had a Matchless for a short time. Someone had made a chopper out of it and did very poor job. I think I sold it for parts.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on July 09, 2019, 03:43:53 PM
Did someone say Royal Enfield?  My 1967 Royal Enfield Interceptor - which requires all British Standard/Whitworth wrenches.
When I bought it in 2010...
(https://i.postimg.cc/3J1SyLLX/ENFIELDdayone-005w.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
This photo is a year or two later...Enfield's motto is "Made Like a Gun" with the logo of a cannon.  I think every Enfield owner has a photo of their bike with a cannon.
(https://i.postimg.cc/YSWzx8xy/Made-Like-a-Gun-003-01.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
(http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/7/4/7/1/9/4/webimg/496948166_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on July 09, 2019, 03:48:52 PM
Great restoration, Al !
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: lptools on July 09, 2019, 04:20:37 PM
Hello, Al . Very nice bike, and very nice work!!! Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on July 09, 2019, 07:16:25 PM
Thanks guys, but its not really restored.  Its more refurbished.  I tried to keep it as original as possible.  Very little polishing and the rusty tank left as is.  I even left the last inspection sticker in place from 1974.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on July 10, 2019, 08:26:48 AM
Had I ever wanted to purchase a British bike, an Enfield would have been at the top of the list - specifically an Interceptor.  That motor, with the cooling fins running up the side all the way to the top, and the chrome gas tank...makes a Triumph look puny.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on July 10, 2019, 06:02:30 PM
The remarkable thing about the Interceptor, today, is the availability of parts, thanks mainly to Hitchcocks in England.  They also post illustrated parts lists.  Many parts are related to the Bullet model which is yet manufactured in India.  My bike sports a twin leading shoe brake plate from a Bullet.  Not an impressive stopper but way better than the original single leading shoe brake.

We should get back on topic - a couple years ago I was at my clubs swap meet and I saw a set of four box wrenches in a guys van.  I didn't think much of them (I rarely use them).  A few minutes later my friend Hunter walks up and says look what I got for (some ridiculously low price), a set of Craftsman Whitworth box wrenches , and in excellent condition.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on July 13, 2019, 07:56:21 AM
........

We should get back on topic .....

GREAT photos!  Anything in this thread that’s related to Whitworth sized tools is on topic.  What good is it to talk about the tools if we can’t also talk about the cool old motorcycles and cars they service?  Here's my mine!  Notice the vintage correct tools in the foreground of the second photo.  I try to use them whenever I can.     

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on July 13, 2019, 01:07:52 PM
Nice TF, Jim!  I've been impressed over the years by MG's sublety in updating the T series with the TF model.  While the MGA is pretty, it doesn't hold a candle to the T series.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on July 14, 2019, 12:21:41 PM
Thanks Bill.  I agree, the T series cars are sharp.  I remember growing up and occasionally seeing that car at family parties, etc., from the time I was about six or seven, give or take.  Back then, it reminded me of an “old fashioned” car.  My attitude towards it changed as I got older and more interested in cars.  As I learn more about the car, I’m quickly becoming a fan to say the least.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: lptools on July 14, 2019, 12:37:42 PM
Hello, Jim. Nice ride!!!. Is that a Craftsman tool set? Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on July 15, 2019, 02:01:42 PM
Thanks Lou!  Yes, those are Craftsman tools.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: t115145 on August 25, 2019, 12:30:59 PM
I bought a set of Witworth combination wrenches made in Spain.  Never had to use them yet, but I'm ready whenever a stray Spitfire might show up at the hangar.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on August 26, 2019, 03:51:11 AM
Quote
a stray Spitfire might show up at the hangar.

That could happen!  A Spitfire is being flown around the world..
https://www.silverspitfire.com/ (https://www.silverspitfire.com/)
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on August 26, 2019, 10:17:09 AM
Quote
a stray Spitfire might show up at the hangar.

That could happen!  A Spitfire is being flown around the world..
https://www.silverspitfire.com/ (https://www.silverspitfire.com/)
When I read "Spitfire" and "Whitworth" in the same thread, I tend to think of this particular sort of Spitfire
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/1974_Triumph_Spitfire4.jpg/280px-1974_Triumph_Spitfire4.jpg)
although I don't know how much Triumph was still using Whitworth by the time they made this example of hazard at any speed.  And I doubt it would fly far anyway (and the landing wouldn't be pleasant).

But the other Spitfire, it would be neat for one of those to show up, yes.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on August 26, 2019, 10:38:57 AM
Or you may want to restore an old Packard. Or a vintage Triumph or BSA motorcycle.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on August 26, 2019, 12:44:09 PM
Packards used Whitworth fasteners?
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Papaw on August 26, 2019, 01:14:43 PM
I have always heard that they  did. At least in their V-12 engines.
It would be worthwhile to read this-
https://jrcengineering.com/technical-support/whitworth-and-other-british-threads/ (https://jrcengineering.com/technical-support/whitworth-and-other-british-threads/)

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on August 26, 2019, 02:20:34 PM
Thanks, Papaw - interesting article, which successfully distracted me from doing actual work for a few minutes.

I was intrigued to learn that the WWII Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engines used S.U. carbs - I wonder if these were similar to the S.U. carbs found on British cars for so many years?  Given the deserved reputation of the S.U. carb for fussiness, those pilots must have been really grateful for good mechanics!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on August 26, 2019, 04:06:48 PM
I believe that every type of wrench was included including Whitworth, SAE and maybe metric.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: amecks on August 27, 2019, 03:49:39 AM
Every time I see a picture of a tool kit I wonder how many of these tools I may have passed by not knowing what they once belonged to.  I have a few sites saved that have tool kit descriptions but I wish more information was available.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: Jim C. on August 27, 2019, 05:00:27 AM
I hear you Al.  I’ve had similar thoughts about some tools I’ve seen here and there.  I can’t buy everything and I don’t necessarily have the time to research the tools.  I try to focus on a few things and “stay in my lane.”  Still, the “lane” is getting wider all the time!   :grin:

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on August 27, 2019, 08:06:09 AM
Here are some NOS Barcalo wrenches made for the Merlin toolset. They must have made some extras.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on August 27, 2019, 06:23:37 PM
Ran across a bargain today! I would like to let all you guys in on it, I'll give free shipping to all members! ;-)
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on August 27, 2019, 07:29:17 PM
Thanks but I already have the socket.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: papadan on August 27, 2019, 08:18:03 PM
Don, those things have been out almost 30 years and you are the first person I have ever known to have one. LMAO
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
Post by: d42jeep on August 27, 2019, 10:34:51 PM
I saw it at the flea and was amused by it, so I picked it up.  I never considered actually using it.
-Don