Author Topic: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study  (Read 2653 times)

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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #60 on: April 27, 2020, 05:56:33 AM »
Hey Todd,

Nice write up regarding the Industrial wrenches.  About seven or eight years ago, give or take, I learned that Sears was liquidating its inventory of Industrial wrenches, sockets, etc., and they were being sold at Sears Outlet stores.  There happened to be such a store about ten minutes from my house, so I went to take a look.  When I got there, a clerk pointed me in the direction of the remaining stock.  Well, I was about a week or two late to the party.  Things were pretty much picked over.  Most of the metric tools were long gone, however a few SAE sets were still on hand so I grabbed a set of the SAE combo wrenches.  The set included 1/4” - 1”, excluding the 11/32”.  They were packaged in the cardboard boxes like you depicted in your post.  (Of course I got home and pitched the box.)  Looking back, I probably should have picked up an extra set or two.  Now I don’t recall how much I paid for that set, I do know it was significantly less than full price, but still more than a similar set of basic raised panel combo wrenches.  Although I bought the Industrial wrenches with the intent of using them, every time I need a wrench, I go straight for the my raised panels.  I guess old habits die hard.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2020, 06:08:55 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline p_toad

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #61 on: April 27, 2020, 09:13:47 AM »
Thank you.   Great write-up.   I don't recall ever seeing those in all my trips to the local sears store (before they vanished...the whole store, that is). :tongue:

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #62 on: April 27, 2020, 05:18:31 PM »
Craftsman Professional has faded away and was replaced by Craftsman Industrial for a brief time, then those faded away too. So what are they selling now? Well, it says “Craftsman” but not much else.  No “Professional” and no “Industrial”.  Oh yeah, the U.S.A. logo is gone too.  In a move to save money, Craftsman shifted their tool forging operation to China. I have nothing against China. They make all our TVs and phones and other electronic goodies that we can’t live without. But when it comes to my hand tools I want good old US Steel! I guess the Chinese steel is not as good. Maybe it’s the alloy. Maybe it’s the heat-treating process. But if you can’t improve either of those characteristics, then there is only one way to make it stronger. Use more metal! And they did. The open ends of the Chinese wrenches are massive.  In fact, they have picked up the nick name “The Crab Claw”. Working in tight spaces is limited. The open end is not only wider and deeper, but it is also thicker. Below are some comparison measurements of the 18mm Gen 3 and the “Crab Claw”. These relative measurements are typical across the range of sizes. 

There is one other thing you may notice if you look closely at the pictures. The part numbers are the same. Yes, Craftsman used the same part numbers on the Crab Claws that they used on the Gen 3 wrenches. That’s pretty rotten if you ask me. Buyer beware I guess. Hey, I just found out that the Craftsman Torque Wrench I’ve been using for the last 40+ years was made in Taiwan. Craftsman is (or was) proud of the fact that their tools were made in the U.S.A. and they definitely let you know by stamping “U.S.A.” all over them. So if it doesn’t say U.S.A., then it’s not.

Craftsman still has their Lifetime Warranty so if you take your Gen 1, 2 or 3 wrench back to Sears for a replacement today, guess what you’re going to get. Probably better to just pick up your replacement on eBay and spend a few bucks.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Online lptools

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #63 on: April 28, 2020, 04:31:57 AM »
Hello, Todd. Thanks again for sharing your photos of your collection, and the history behind the tools!! Regards, Lou
Member of PHARTS-  Perfect Handle Admiration, Restoration and Torturing Society

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #64 on: April 30, 2020, 06:40:21 PM »
I just scored on a really nice Gen 1 metric 9-piece with display and original $39.99 price sticker.
(I paid about 3 times that much)
Todd F.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #65 on: May 13, 2020, 04:45:48 AM »
Nice looking set, Todd.  Is that a set you didn’t have in your collection?

Jim C.
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #66 on: May 29, 2020, 06:27:22 PM »
Hey everyone, sorry about the delay. I had to take a bit of a break.
We are just about done with this thing anyway. In fact, as far as the Full Polish, Combination Wrenches go, that’s all there is. I just want to touch on a few more wrenches that sort-of fit the category. 

In the 1996 – 97 catalog Craftsman introduced the 45-degree Deep Offset Box-End Wrenches. There were seven wrenches in all.  Five SAE wrenches spanning from 3/8” to 7/8” and three metric wrenches covering 10mm to 15mm. These were not listed as “Professional” in the catalog nor were they marked as “Professional” on the tool.
These were sold as a complete set of seven for $29.99 or purchased separately.  Then in the 2002 catalog up pops the 45-degree Deep Offset Box-End Wrench under the “Professional” logo, and there are now 12 wrenches instead of 7.  I figured that Craftsman took their existing wrench and just labeled it “Professional”. I was wrong.  While trying to find a set of the original seven wrenches in the original package on eBay, I found a set but was disappointed because it appeared the owner had sandblasted the wrenches and was trying to pass them off as “good condition”.  I was wrong. I grabbed a magnifying glass and examined the 1996 catalog picture and there it was. The original wrenches were matte finish. Without the shiny raised panel in the middle for comparison, they looked polished in the picture. My brain just assumed they were full polished because that’s what I was used to seeing. Then I noticed that “full Polish” is not mentioned in the description. And then, just to drive it home, the part numbers were changed when they polished them and called them “Professional”.  Although the tools themselves were never stamped “Professional”, they were always listed that way in all the catalogs and on all the packaging until the 2012-13 catalog where they were just part of a $300 Specialty Wrench set. Craftsman Industrial also listed these Deep Offset wrenches during their short run. All of these wrenches, from the original matte finish, through the Pro series,  to the Industrial, were made by Danaher with the Vꓥ forge mark.

These were not your normal, “go to” wrenches for everyday bolt turning but were nice to have around for the one you can’t quite reach with any other wrench.

Original (Mat Finnish) 1996 - 2001
44321  3/8 x 7/16
44322  1/2 x 9/16
44323  5/8 x 11/16
44324  3/4 x 7/8

44325  10 x 11mm
44326  12 x 14mm
44327  13 x 15mm

Professional (Full Polish) 2002 - 1012
44316  3/8 x 7/16
44317  1/2 x 9/16
44318  5/8 x 11/16
44319  3/4 x 7/8
44320  13/15 x 15/16

44360  10 x 11mm
44361  12 x 14mm
44362  13 x 15mm
44364  16 x 18mm
44366  17 x 19mm 
44367  20 x 22mm
44368  21 x 23mm

The original set of seven (non-Professional) sold for $29.99.  The Professional Offset wrenches started at $39.99 for a five-piece SAE or metric set in 2002 and went up to $41.99 by 2010.  Or you could get all twelve for $79.99 through the entire run.

Thanks for reading. Stay Safe.
Todd F.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 07:14:36 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline Yadda

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2020, 04:34:40 AM »
Well worth the wait.  More great information!
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2020, 08:12:43 PM »
The last wrench we looked at was the Deep Offset Box-End Wrench. It was a Professional wrench that was advertised as Professional in the catalogs and on the display/packaging, but the wrench itself didn’t say Professional anywhere on it.  The next wrench we will discuss is the exact opposite. It doesn’t say Professional anywhere in any of the catalogs.  It doesn’t say Professional anywhere on any of the packaging. But about half the wrenches made were stamped “Professional” plain as day.  I’m talking about the Craftsman “Quick Wrench”.

If there are any of you that are unfamiliar with the Quick Wrench, let me explain. The Quick Wrench looks just like a Craftsman raised panel combination wrench except the open-end looks like someone filed some funny notches in it.  The idea is that the wrench only grips the fastener in one direction. When you turn the wrench in the other direction, it just slips around the fastener to catch on the next point on hex head.  So it acts like an open end ratchet.  Also, they are about 30% longer than the standard “raised panel” Craftsman wrench. They are handy if you have a fastener that you can’t get a socket or ratcheting box-end wrench on it and it has too much resistance to spin it by hand even if you’ve broken it loose (like a self-locking nut or a bolt with LocTite on it).   However, you need a very specific set of criteria for these things to work. You have to be able to get straight on the fastener (right-angle to axis), you have to have 60-degrees of arc swing and there needs to be some drag on the fastener. It also takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it. I know it sounds like a pain in the neck but when I was taking aircraft engines apart, these things saved me many hours removing the dozens of self-locking cylinder nuts.

Most tool manufacturers have made some version of these using various names.  The set I was using on the aircraft engines was a Japanese off-brand.  I eventually bought the Snap-On version but like the Japanese set better. The “Quick Wrench” first appears in the Craftsman catalog in 1998 and disappeared in 2003. But, Craftsman had a similar wrench all the way back in 1954. It was just called something else, in fact they didn’t really give it a name, just a description. In 1957 they called it a “Ratchet-Action Combination Wrench”. That version last appears in the 1969 catalog.  Craftsman introduces another version in 2010 with a spring-loaded plunger in the open end to help with the ratcheting action. But we are concerned with the one labeled “Quick Wrench” made from 1998 to 2003.  Below is a YouTube link to a blurry 1997 TV commercial, complete with Bob Vila, advertising the “Quick Wrench”. It has a pretty good close-up of how it works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU6gWsWmFzI

The reason we are even talking about these is because a large number of them have the word “Professional” stamped on them. They were never advertised or packaged as “Professional”. The wrenches with the “Professional” stamp and those without carry the exact same part number.  Nobody seems to know why they were stamped that way.  I ran into a guy on eBay that actually worked at Danaher Tool Company and was the “Wrench Category Manager” until 2002. The “Quick Wrench” was one of his projects. When I sent him pictures of the “Quick Wrench” with the word “Professional” stamped on them, he was dumbfounded. He said they should never have been branded that way. Only full polish wrenches get that badge, never the matte finish. His replacement at Danaher died last summer so the reason for the “Professional” stamp remains a mystery.  Bottom line: It’s not really a “Professional” Wrench, it just thinks it is.

The “Quick Wrench” was sold in 6-piece and 8-piece sets at first and then in 14-piece sets (SAE and Metric) or you could buy them all in the 28-piece set for $99.98.  I have pictures below of the 6 and 8-piece sets. 

Only one more wrench to go.
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe.
Todd F.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 08:16:23 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #69 on: June 10, 2020, 08:29:24 PM »
Nice write up Todd!  Here’s a set of the early version Cman ratcheting combo wrench.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 08:31:18 PM by Jim C. »
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Online lptools

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #70 on: June 11, 2020, 05:37:45 AM »
Hello, Todd. Thanks for the info, the photos, and the video!! Nice wrenches, too!!  Nice wrenches from Jim C., too!! Regards, Lou
Member of PHARTS-  Perfect Handle Admiration, Restoration and Torturing Society

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #71 on: June 11, 2020, 06:57:16 PM »
Jim, That's a sweet set. Nice find. Look brand new.
Todd F.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession