Monday, April 4, 2011

FINALLY Getting a "Round Tuit"....

Awhile back, On the 20th of February, actually - I posted about an online store called "CSN Stores" (OK, it's actually over 250 stores....). My wife has purchased a few things from them in the past, and they sent me a "gift Certificate" to buy a couple things for myself.

Here is a link to my Blog post, telling you all about that end of the deal.

Poke Here

At any rate, my part of the process - besides getting the tools - is to write a review of said tools - good or bad. WAY back, when I was in the USMC, I hurt my foot, and was laid up for about 12 months. My winning prize for this indiscretion, was to be assigned to the Squadron "Tool Room". Here, we inventoried, repaired, and replaced various kinds of tools and equipment for use on the aircraft.

We had varied brand names in stock - some well known, "household" name brands, and some nobody every heard of. Mostly, we had the no-name brands because we had a low budget - the Navy penny pinchers were tight fisted when it came to giving the Marines money. We, like all Marines before us, complained a lot, then worked with what we had.

I WILL tell you, though, just because a tool is a "no-name" brand - or is not "Made In USA", does not mean it is a "bad" tool. Our Squadron (actually Marine Corps wide) broke more high dollar, "high end" tools then all the "off" brands COMBINED.

The main thing is, high dollar, doesn't always mean high quality, and - conversely - low cost doesn't always mean "junk".

Now, on with the "show".....(click on the tool name, and it will take you to the page in the store)

The first "tool" I bought was actually a Combination Wrench Set. I have a set of small wrenches, but sometimes, your need one for every hand - and maybe one for clenching between your teeth. It didn't take me long to settle on this wrench set:

Wrench Set

Pony Tools

I found these wrenches made by "Pony" to be of REAL nice quality. They aren't "fat", "misshapen", "stubby", nor otherwise oozing with cheapness. I put them through the paces while working on my Farmall F-20 tractor over the last month. I actually TRIED to abuse them a few times, but they held up wonderfully. They are polished nicely, and fit the bolts like they should. I only wish I had TWO sets. They come in a handy plastic case that is suitable for storage (like hanging on the wall), or you can toss that part, and put them in a tool box. Either way, these are pretty darn good tools.

Index And Visegrips

Drill Bits

Ok, these drill bits come in a nice METAL index box, and even had an extra 1/8" bit with them! I haven't used ALL of them, but the ones I have used are good quality. A lot of times, the difference between a good bit, and a bad bit, is the operator, not the bit. Slow the drill down, use a lubricant, and these will stay sharp a long time.

Locking Pliers

I have several sets of "locking pliers" (commonly called "visegrips" just like all refrigerators used to be called "Frigidaire", regardless of the actual brand....). Some are good, some are better used as fishing weights, then as a tool.

The main 2 problems I have with these types of tools are (1) The lower jaw attachment to the body is weak. This causes the jaw to "twist" when in use. It doesn't take long, and the jaw has twisted far enough to make the pliers unusable. Number (2) - the "UNlocking" handle. Sometimes, when you get the things latched on to something, they decide they like where you have them, and refuse to let go - sort of a "pit Bull" syndrome....

I've actually had to take other wrenches and twist them in between the arms to pry other pliers loose....

Well - THESE pliers have neither of these faults! I was actually impressed the first time I used them. I clamped them down as hard as I could. They stayed straight, and - when I tried to take them off - I just scratched them behind the ears, hit the release lever, and they let go like they should. I am hoping that - in the near future - I am able to buy the next larger set.

Well, there you have it! I think I made three pretty darn good purchases from CSN stores!

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