Building a professional tool box

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  • #884526

      Hello all!
      So I’m currently in school for automotive and am working at a dealer. The plan is to do this work full time but to do that I need to build up my box of tools. My question is, what brands would be good to start at?
      Being a student and just getting started I can’t afford buying tools like snap on. I have a few things from Matco but that’s still out of the price range. My idea is that I’ll start by getting things I need and then upgrading my stuff to better brands later down the road.

      I’m looking for tool that will last since this is my work but that isn’t too high in price.

      I’m also keeping an eye places like craigslist for lots in the meantime.

      Thoughts and suggestions?

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    • #884701

        If you can find them, DeWalt hand tools are FANTASTIC. The first DeWalt hand tools I bought were a set of 10 to 19mm ratcheting combination wrenches. I still kick myself for losing the 15mm somewhere and replacing it with a “similar” GearWrench wrench.

        GearWrench does make pretty good “specialty” tools though. Lisle too.

        Channelock for pliers, the exception being their needlenose pliers. Bought a pair from Sears and bent the tips on my first job (removing a cotter pin, no less.) Sears couldn’t warranty it, said I had to go through Channelock. >:( Replaced it with a pair of U.S.-made Craftsman needlenose pliers.

        Speaking of pliers, it’s a good idea to invest in a good multitool, just because sometimes you don’t want to walk back to your box or cart for that one tool you can carry on your belt. I carry a Leatherman Super Tool 300 with a Leatherman Micra on my keychain. They came as a set, $75 at Sears. 😀 Leatherman also makes the Crunch, which has a pair of vice grips for the pliers.

        As much as I hate to admit it, Horror Fright (A.K.A. Harbor Junk A.K.A Harbor Freight) does have some good stuff… My service cart at work is one of 5 drawer models. I have one of their Earthquake Pro 1/2″ impact guns in the bottom drawer next to a set of their torque sticks and thin-wall sockets.

        Don’t be afraid to hit up your local mom-and-pop stores for stuff either. Lots of good pro-quality brands you’ve probably never heard of- Ecklind, KD, Starrett, Wright, Gray Pneumatic, Klein, you get the idea. Sometimes they’ll have weird names. Where I went to school, those stores were called “(name of town) Bearing” and “(name of town) Brake and Clutch.” lol

        But to really get the best deals, my recommendation would be to use the interwebz, especially if you don’t need the tool right away. Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable source like Amazon, not some fleabay page that’s selling knock-off Mitutoyo digital calipers for $33…


          JeepersCreepers suggestion is excellent.
          I pretty much 2nd that.
          Ingersoll Rand air tools wherever you can find them inexpensively.
          Channel lock pliers. Gear wrench pliers for specialty ones they seem identical to some of the tool truck ones and are quit a bit less expensive.
          Harbor Freight impact sockets are ok.
          For chrome sockets buy some good ones.
          You can buy medium quality brand name combination wrenches but will end up with tool truck ones for the sizes below 3/4 or 19mm.
          The fit and grip is important on these, But you can start with cheaper that go up to larger sizes. ie to 1 1/4 and to 30mm.
          Avoid cheap flare nut wrenches they seem to walk over the fastener and will never loosen it.
          The sears breaker bars and extensions or gear wrench or sk are decent.
          I noticed guys extolling the harbor freight long flex head ratchets but have broken a 3/8″ drive in less than a years use and a 1/2″ drive in a year and a half so. They were warranty but I added snap on ones to my tool collection.
          You can usually get the mechanic starter sets from sears cheap enough that it does not matter a lot if you end up upgrading items in a year or 2.

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