Author Topic: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set  (Read 5118 times)

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Offline Jim C.

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Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« 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.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 06:52:35 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline amecks

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #1 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
Al
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Offline Yadda

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #2 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.
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Online Papaw

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline papadan

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #4 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. 
VWs to D10s, I've fixed em.
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Online Lostmind

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #5 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
Of all the things I've lost , I miss my mind the most

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #6 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. 
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 11:56:07 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #7 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.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 12:39:57 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 06:57:03 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #9 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.
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #10 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.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 06:03:50 PM by Jim C. »
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Online Papaw

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2018, 12:35:14 PM »
I hope you get that one, Jim!
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #12 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.

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Offline papadan

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #13 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.
VWs to D10s, I've fixed em.
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Whitworth Tool Set
« Reply #14 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. 
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