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Metric Wrench Purchasing Descisions

Old 02-15-14, 11:24 PM
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theery
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Metric Wrench Purchasing Descisions

I'm gradually building up my tools, and wanting to get good quality. I'm in the market for metric wrenches and noticed the Park set is about $40 more than Tekton or Stanley, and $35 more than Craftsman.

Is it worth splurging on the Park wrenches or will I be happy with the others?
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Old 02-15-14, 11:31 PM
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If there's nothing bicycle specific about a Park Tool, there's nothing special about a Park Tool
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Old 02-16-14, 05:39 AM
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I've been using the same set of cheap metric wrenches since 1986 for everything from bike maintenance to engine rebuilds. More money gets you better finishes/longer warranty/bragging rights.
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Old 02-16-14, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Crescent Cycle View Post
If there's nothing bicycle specific about a Park Tool, there's nothing special about a Park Tool
Roger that. SK, Snap-On, Klien, whatever will do just fine.

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Old 02-16-14, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Crescent Cycle View Post
If there's nothing bicycle specific about a Park Tool, there's nothing special about a Park Tool
Very true!

Park Tool heavy duty stuff, like their workstands and wheel truing stands, is great. Their tools, on the other hand, are made of cheese and over priced for what they are.

I'm in the UK, and our brand names are different to yours, so can't really comment on what you have available there. You mentioned Stanley. They used to be great quality British made tools. Probably not as good as they were 10-20 years ago as they're now made in China, most probably, but they should do the trick if you're only going to use their tools occasionally. Draper Pro Expert tools are good, if you can get them, and a decent price. If you're going to use them daily, get some Facom or similar. It's all about budget/price range.

Others, including yourself, have mentioned Craftsman tools. They seem to be a 'go to' tool for many American buyers.

Last edited by migrantwing; 02-16-14 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 02-16-14, 07:35 AM
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I bought my Craftsman set in 1969 and it is still working fine. Roger
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Old 02-16-14, 07:36 AM
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You need good but not best to do quality home bike wrenching for a long time. Craftsman's warranty can't be beat for readily available, consumer-level tools, but I too have never bought general purpose tools by brand name. On the other hand the Park bike-specific tools that are similar to multi-purpose tools are generally a good purchase, especially the Y-three way Allen wrenches and other similar stuff. The truly specialized bike tools that Park offers are almost always the best choice.
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Old 02-16-14, 07:54 AM
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Bike repair is light duty work for tools. Any decent wrench will do. A Husky set from Home Depot will last a lifetime if merely used on bikes.
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Old 02-16-14, 08:17 AM
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Wrenches for bike level (light-duty) work are mostly about sizing, due to errors in sizing being more significant with smaller wrenches. So I would not go too cheap, but any name brand is sufficient. I see not reason to purchase Park metric wrenches.
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Old 02-16-14, 08:18 AM
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When I added metric wrenches to my tool kit about 45 years ago, i just got a cheap box set & open end set.
I'm one to always use the box end (if possible) when applying heavy torque.
Hex wrenches- Get GOOD ones.
Bike specific- I tend to buy Park.
My LBS does sell some non Park tools, which I'll buy, IF they are using them too.
I've even made up some simple, application specific tools.
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Old 02-16-14, 08:21 AM
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Old 02-16-14, 08:49 AM
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and closer manufacturing tolerances to make it more difficult to round off bolt/nut heads.

Sorry, but if what you're working on is important or expensive buy decent quality tools to last a lifetime.

Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
I've been using the same set of cheap metric wrenches since 1986 for everything from bike maintenance to engine rebuilds. More money gets you better finishes/longer warranty/bragging rights.
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Old 02-16-14, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by migrantwing View Post
Park Tool heavy duty stuff, like their workstands and wheel truing stands, is great. Their tools, on the other hand, are made of cheese and over priced for what they are.
I think that's a bit overstated. Some of their hand tools, like their chrome plated cone wrenches, are pretty flimsy but their black-finish single size cone wrenches (SCW-XX) are very good as are their Allen wrenches.

However, for standard non bike-specific tools there are plenty of other good choices. Craftsman tools aren't what they were decades ago but they are still good and their warranty is second to none. The top tier of tools is still Snap-On and, if cost is no object, they will certainly work well and last forever. Your children will thank you for buying them.
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Old 02-16-14, 09:47 AM
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My 3 coveted Snap On wrenches: 8, 9 &10mm box/open combinations, all short handles ..

Recent purchase of 2 Park headset wrenches [40/36] were much better than their die cut old ones

seem as decent as Shimano's of the past ... which are 32mm (+ lockring hook spanner)

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-16-14 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 02-16-14, 10:01 AM
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I really like the Kobalt tools at Lowes. Not sure about their wrenches, but their sockets are thinner wall than Craftsman so you can get them into tight tolerance areas. That said, the best deal I've seen on tools recently was the clearance rack at Home Depot last week. They had a bunch of sets, probably overstock from Christmas, for $5-10 ea. Like everyone else said, if you're not talking bicycle specific tools, the Park tools aren't a good value.
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Old 02-16-14, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by zvez View Post
and closer manufacturing tolerances to make it more difficult to round off bolt/nut heads.

Sorry, but if what you're working on is important or expensive buy decent quality tools to last a lifetime.
Tight tolerance on an open or box wrench won't do you a bit of good when the $0.50 bolt you're working on wasn't manufactured to the same tolerance. People round off bolt heads by using the wrong size wrench (english "equivalent" on metric fastener or vice versa), using a cheap adjustable wrench, or using a cheater pipe to generate way more torque than you're supposed to. When you find yourself looking for more leverage, put down the wrench and get a good six-point socket and an impact driver. In almost 30 years of wrenching on cars and bikes with my cheap wrenches, I've never once rounded off a bolt head.
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Old 02-16-14, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
....get a good six-point socket.......
This is probably the best advice. 6-point sockets and the relatively rare 6-point box wrenches are far better at dealing with tight bolts than any 12-point wrench. Years ago I replaced my 12-point 3/8"-sq drive and 1/2"-square drive sockets with 6-point sockets and pretty much eliminated problems rounding off even rusty or frozen bolts.
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Old 02-16-14, 11:28 AM
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I've got a set of SK metric combination wrenches that I've had for over 30 years that still work fine and were pretty cheap at the time. Still US made I believe.

I also have a set of 10 Craftsman midget combination wrenches (4mm-11mm). The set cost about 20 bucks a few years back. Since the wrenches are fairly short I carry some of them in my bike bag (I prefer loose tools to a multi-tool). I find myself using these the most for my bike these days.
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Old 02-16-14, 11:41 AM
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I buy Craftsman and Mastercraft which is Canadian Tire's store brand which comes with the same bulletproof guarantee... on sale they cost a fraction of what you pay for those pretty blue handled Park wrenches (which are nice) but not essential.

Good quality tools are an investment.

I have set up a good number of ratchets with appropriate sockets for fittings (like wheel nuts and saddles) and have a bunch of smaller single ratcheting wrenches which are great for working in tighter spaces.

My wife got me these... the 1/4 inch low profile ratchet and 6 point sockets are rather nice for a modern Craftsman product and gets used a lot and I pack it in my mobile bike shop.

https://www.sears.ca/product/craftsma...00383034-45309

I probably have enough tools to set up several shops.
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Old 02-16-14, 12:34 PM
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If you are only going to use the wrenches on bikes (low torque), there is no need to buy premium wrenches. Any decent quality set will do. If they will be used foe automotive work as well, you had better jump up to at least Craftsman or Husky level.
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Old 02-16-14, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
I've got a set of SK metric combination wrenches that I've had for over 30 years that still work fine and were pretty cheap at the time. Still US made I believe.

I also have a set of 10 Craftsman midget combination wrenches (4mm-11mm). The set cost about 20 bucks a few years back. Since the wrenches are fairly short I carry some of them in my bike bag (I prefer loose tools to a multi-tool). I find myself using these the most for my bike these days.
I had a set of those for years until a workman in the house stole them from me with a bunch of other stuff. I think mine were called ignition wrenches. I never replaced them, because I realized these days just about every fastener on a high end bike takes either an Allen wrench or a thin "cone" wrench. There aren't very many hex head bolts anymore IME. Where are you finding them?
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Old 02-16-14, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
I had a set of those for years until a workman in the house stole them from me with a bunch of other stuff. I think mine were called ignition wrenches. I never replaced them, because I realized these days just about every fastener on a high end bike takes either an Allen wrench or a thin "cone" wrench. There aren't very many hex head bolts anymore IME. Where are you finding them?
If you mean the SK wrenches. I got them over 30 years ago from a local hardware store Home Depot since killed. I assume this is the same company - https://www.skhandtool.com/

If you mean the Craftsmen midget wrenches. I got them at a local Ace hardware store. They still sell them, metric and standard. I assume Sears does too.

If you mean hex nuts on the bike. I've got a few old steel bikes rolling around...
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Old 02-16-14, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
If you mean the SK wrenches. I got them over 30 years ago from a local hardware store Home Depot since killed. I assume this is the same company - https://www.skhandtool.com/

If you mean the Craftsmen midget wrenches. I got them at a local Ace hardware store. They still sell them, metric and standard. I assume Sears does too.

If you mean hex nuts on the bike. I've got a few old steel bikes rolling around...
Yeah, i think the midget wrenches are ignition wrenches. I've continually modernized my bike "holdings" even the one old steel frame I have kept, so I don't have any hex head bolts left anymore.
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Old 02-16-14, 03:15 PM
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It's simple arithmetic. Other than the unique tools that Park (or anyone) makes or has made for them, the rest are simply rebranded generic tools.

Then take a look at the chain of distribution and which is a better value becomes obvious.

Generic, or auto/industrial brand such as Snap-on other.

Maker, to wholesaler, to retailer or auto supply house. (some makers may sell direct to retailers, or some major wholesalers may have their own retail outlets. In the case of house brands like Craftsman (Sears) the maker/wholesaler/retailer lines may be blurred.

Park branded generic tools.

Maker, to Park, to bike wholesaler, to bike retailer. As you can see there's a minimum of at one extra layer, and in actual practice it's often two layers, because the large industrial/auto suppliers combine two levels into one.

Factor in the differences in average margins, and the economies of scale (volume) between the bicycle specialty markets and auto/industial.mass market segments and it's very obvious that you don't want to buy private branded generic stuff through bike shops.
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Old 02-16-14, 03:24 PM
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I'm also looking at getting some bike tools, such as BB and Cassette. But not sure if I should go with Park or Super B. Still deciding. I've heard that Park is top quality and I heard that Super B is good also but then again I've heard people say that Super B is cheap. So what's a person to do.
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