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Thread: Crescent wrenches made in China

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    Eric LaVelle is offline Cast Iron
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    Default Crescent wrenches made in China

    I was out doing some repair work with a friend, and he needed to buy an adjustable wrench, so off we went to one of the big box stores. We were both dismayed to see that ALL of the new stock was labeled made in China. A few made in USA wrenches were still hanging on the racks behind the Chinese ones. He bought a couple of the last USA made ones available there. The Chinese wrenches were visibly different than the USA wrenches. Of course the prices stayed the same.

    Eric

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    ions82 is offline Stainless
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    Oh, man. I was just in Lowe's yesterday and admiring some of the stuff that is made in U.S.A. Guess any new adjustable wrenches I buy will be from Channel Lock. Still made here!
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    Ohio Mike is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by ions82 View Post
    Oh, man. I was just in Lowe's yesterday and admiring some of the stuff that is made in U.S.A. Guess any new adjustable wrenches I buy will be from Channel Lock. Still made here!
    Nope, Channel Lock brand adjustable wrenches are made in Spain. Very nice quality though for the price, just purchased a couple. I prefer Napa's adjustable wrenches but they're pretty pricey compared to others. However they are much better quality than the Cresents ever were.
    Last edited by Ohio Mike; 01-21-2012 at 10:55 AM. Reason: typo
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    PeteM is offline Diamond
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    Some US manufacturers are partly to blame for their own demise, through slipping quality control.

    The Crescent-type adjustable wrench has long become one of those generic designs, copied by manufacturer's around the world. Around 1970 I saw Japanese makes (Fuller etc.) displacing US brands and started a collection of the wrenches as sort of a canary-in-a-coal-mine indication of US manufacturing health. Pretty predictably, each new manufacturing nation on the rise (Japan, Poland, Spain, Mexico, Taiwan, China etc.) would try to export their adjustable wrenches here, before moving up the value chain. Along the way I probably picked up examples from two dozen nations, along with most US brands.

    So, two data points. There was the US maker that promised a wrench that would open to the next larger size (e.g. a 6" wrench that opened as far as an 8"). The notion was that superior metallurgy in a US tool would allow the added stress. The reality was that I had to buy three different samples did get one that would open as far as the package boldly claimed.

    The second example was in a Sears store about a decade ago. Side by side US-made Craftsman and Chinese-made Companion wrenches. The Craftsman branded one was 5x the cost, more poorly finished, with a looser fit of the jaws and adjuster. The cheap Chinese one not only looked better in every respect, but had an opening size scale as an added feature. Could be the steel was better in the US example, but one could never tell from either looking or the packaging. A decade ago it was clear where the next wave of tools would be coming from.

    Beautifully made tools are still available these days, but they're more likely to be made in places like Germany than the US.

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    rbcmetalwork is offline Aluminum
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    I recently bought a Ridgid 18" adjustable wrench. It says USA on the handle. Is it manufactured in the U.S.? I don't want to assume.

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    Mark Rand is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    The Crescent-type adjustable wrench has long become one of those generic designs, copied by manufacturer's around the world.

    That is very true. Starting in 1907 with Karl Peterson's Crescent tool company copying Johan Petter Johansson's 1892 BAHCO adjustable spanner.
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    JoeE. is offline Stainless
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    Normally around these parts, all you have to do is attend an estate auction and Crescent brand adjustable wrenches are abundantly available for the picking. All the old guys dying off- that's what they bought.

    Once in a while a Diamond- Calk brand will be in the sale, and I snap those up, too. I think I've got enough "crescent" wrenches to last me a while!

    If it gets up around the 18" size, you're likely to get into a bidding war, but under that size they are still cheap.
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    ions82 is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohio Mike View Post
    Nope, Channel Lock brand adjustable wrenches are made in Spain.

    Well, I'll be darned. I guess I just made the assumption since, when you visit the CL website, the first thing it does is give a voiceover states, "For 125 years... fiercely made in Meadeville, Pennsylvania... U...S...A." Then, when you go to the wrenches page, there's a little asterisk with some fine print that says they were made in Spain! Ha! Upon further investigation, I saw that their screwdrivers are made in China. Guess the joke's on me (and anyone else that makes an effort to buy American stuff.)
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    adammil1 is offline Titanium
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    I guess from reading other posts here the quality of Crescent may have started to slip earlier, but part of the other problem is buying at the big box stores. The big box stores take a great product great brand and offer it in the same box as any other store out there does, but usually on the UPC the number may be off by a digit or something. At any rate most often the product at the big box store won't be made to the same quality. In power tools, or plumbing items this may include plastic parts/gears etc... where it is elsewhere sold with metal ones or all sorts of all corners being cut. It wouldn't surprise me if Lowes went to Crescent and said we want you to put your name on these Chinese clones or you won't be doing business here.

    Of course the key problem with this buisness model is once they commandeer a brand say Milwaukee, they sell it to the customers on the good name of the company that makes it for customers to soon find the brand they trusted is junk! Next thing you know they need to find another to whore out. Once upon a time for example Black and Decker or Stanley was something you could trust, those for example are just a few brands on the other end of the cycle.

    Adam

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    Dualkit is online now Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE. View Post
    Normally around these parts, all you have to do is attend an estate auction and Crescent brand adjustable wrenches are abundantly available for the picking. All the old guys dying off- that's what they bought.

    Once in a while a Diamond- Calk brand will be in the sale, and I snap those up, too. I think I've got enough "crescent" wrenches to last me a while!

    If it gets up around the 18" size, you're likely to get into a bidding war, but under that size they are still cheap.
    I am soon to be 51 and have been collecting tools since I was 15, I always took care of my tools, I have some stuff with "Made in USA" stamped on them that probably have been made here in decades.

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    Toolbert is offline Stainless
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    Of course the key problem with this buisness model is once they commandeer a brand say Milwaukee, they sell it to the customers on the good name of the company that makes it for customers to soon find the brand they trusted is junk! Next thing you know they need to find another to whore out. Once upon a time for example Black and Decker or Stanley was something you could trust, those for example are just a few brands on the other end of the cycle.
    How about those South Bend adjustable wrenches?

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    Axle is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Some US manufacturers are partly to blame for their own demise, through slipping quality control.
    Too true. Needed a new #1 phillips screw driver at work as my old one got too loose for my liking. So the bossman gets me a Fuller. At first glance, things look promising as its proudly Made In Canada. Test fit it in some screws... Just wonderfull... I've got a glorified awl.

    My old driver fits better and I consider it worn out. You sometimes wonder if they're making product to bad standards just so they have an excuse to source everything from China at some point.

    Alex.
    Last edited by Axle; 01-21-2012 at 04:02 PM.

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    Miguels244 is offline Titanium
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    Klein tools are good...and made in the USA.
    Their adjustable does in fact open as wide as the next size up, quite handy when working in tight spaces. They are the stagehands' choice for that reason.
    What Made in the USA Means at Klein Tools | Klein Tools - The #1 choice among professional tradesmen

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    lazarus is offline Hot Rolled
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    +1 on Klein. Squeeze the handles on their linemans pliers and they will come back apart when you're done. Used and abused for 20 years they still cut and strip small gage wire or clip the rivets off a master lock when you can't find a key.

    Ben

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    Grey Rider is offline Hot Rolled
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    I've recently (re)discovered Wright Tool. Made in Barberton, Ohio. Privately held. Notice they make adjustable wrenches too. They promote the fact that most of their stuff is hot forged using a proprietary alloy with UTS 200 ksi. Seems pretty good.

    I'm also a big Armstrong fan.

    -Ryan

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    earthstore88 is offline Aluminum
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    You'd think complaining about China would be dead by now. No brainer. I'm sure if you really wanted you could make a great outfit in China that made high quality tools. It's not like a tool factory here or there should be much different for high production. I think we mostly see the shit thats made with such crappy materials that it makes it worth shipping over here - or something to that effect.

    Do you think going to be a production manager in China from a hardcore quality production country is tantamount to treason. He he, now thats silly strangeness.

    Seu Jorge - Rock n' roll suicide - YouTube

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    PixMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Rider View Post
    I've recently (re)discovered Wright Tool. Made in Barberton, Ohio. Privately held. Notice they make adjustable wrenches too. They promote the fact that most of their stuff is hot forged using a proprietary alloy with UTS 200 ksi. Seems pretty good.

    I'm also a big Armstrong fan.

    -Ryan
    Note the syntax in your hypertext link, because for the Armstrong tools it clearly shows "Danaher" in the link. They are one of the leading exporters of jobs in the tool manufacturing business, seemingly second only to Irwin.

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    jamesu229 is offline Hot Rolled
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric LaVelle View Post
    I was out doing some repair work with a friend, and he needed to buy an adjustable wrench, so off we went to one of the big box stores. We were both dismayed to see that ALL of the new stock was labeled made in China. A few made in USA wrenches were still hanging on the racks behind the Chinese ones. He bought a couple of the last USA made ones available there. The Chinese wrenches were visibly different than the USA wrenches. Of course the prices stayed the same.

    Eric
    I buy my good tools on ebay. I would rather buy old used quality tools than chinese crap.
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    Mark Rand is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesu229 View Post
    I buy my good tools on ebay. I would rather buy old used quality tools than chinese crap.
    Still doesn't help domestic industry though..

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    earthstore88 is offline Aluminum
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    Would you have no problem buying american crap? Just think of Torx and Hex now theres a real long term crapper - now thats being a whinny bitch.

    My wife told me the funniest thing yesterday, I think she told me before but it was nice to here this story again. When she was in her first year of junior high out in this poor desert community turned ghetto there were so many punk ass kids it would make any healthy minded kid go insane. So after a couple of months she was really getting frustrated and turned the corner and saw crazy teen chick witch and valiantly flipped her off. Miss Big Shit of nothing quickly retaliated with a shove and asked, "Are Fucking Crazy," and my wife quickly replied "No, no, I was flipping off someone else not you."

    Just venting insane boss, manger or concerned employee syndrome away.

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