Tool Talk

Classic Auto and Motorcycle Tools => Classic Auto and Motorcycle Tools => Topic started by: Jim C. on February 24, 2019, 07:36:07 PM

Title: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on February 24, 2019, 07:36:07 PM
A few weeks back, I bought the set of Sears Craftsman SAE taps and dies depicted below.  The tools themselves and the plastic case are in great condition for their age.  Based on the tools included, I'd estimate the set is probably from right around 1972.  Some of the tools have a pointed letter "A" in the word CR"A"FTSM"A"N and some have a flat top letter "A."  I wish I could say that I got a smoking hot deal on the set, but I didn't.  It was an eBay purchase where the seller accepted my best offer.  I paid a fair price for it.  Here's where things get interesting.  The set was described as "Complete."  Well it was complete, and from what I could see in the auction photos, everything looked good.  So, I made an offer, it was accepted, and a few days later the set arrived in the mail.  When I unpacked it, I was very pleased with what I initially saw.  I looked at every tool under a magnifying glass to make sure everything was vintage correct and undamaged.  Perfect......until I looked at the very last, and smallest tap in the set, the 4-40.  While EVERY other tool was stamped "Craftsman" and made in the USA, etc., the dead last tool I looked at, the 4-40 tap, was unmarked but for its size, which read, "4-40" and its origins, which read, "JAPAN."  Needless to say I was bummed.  Well, I had a few options.  I could contact the seller and complain.  The problem was that the set was described as "complete," which it was, and the seller never said all the tools were original to the set or all marked as Craftsman......and I didn't ask prior to making an offer.  I was sort of stuck with it.  My next option was to scour eBay looking for another vintage correct Craftsman 4-40 tap.  So, I searched eBay every day for about a week and realized it was going to be a tough tool to find.  My third, and best option, was to ask for help.  I thought about who I knew that might have the tap.  While a few guys came to mind, I had a feeling this one guy would likely have it.  The guy who collects everything.....coolford.  I reached out to him, he confirmed that he had exactly what I was looking for, and a few days later the tap was in my mailbox.  He gifted me the tap and truly helped me complete the set with the right tool.  I wanted to take a minute to thank him!  There’s a great tool enthusiast community here on this website.  It may not be the biggest, but it is absolutely the best.  Many thanks coolford!!

Jim C.     
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: p_toad on February 25, 2019, 11:01:57 PM
Too cool, Coolford.   Thank you both for sharing that!   :smiley:
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: coolford on February 26, 2019, 08:11:04 AM
Jim---looks even better knowing everything is correct.  Check the Owatonna socket wrenches in wrench forum.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on February 26, 2019, 09:16:31 AM
coolford,

YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!!  Thank you again!

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Notlobster on March 02, 2019, 05:33:27 PM
Nicely done, coolford.

One of my prized possessions is that exact tap and die set, purchased new by my father ~ 50 years ago.

The Kromedge taps and dies are excellent! - I now have 3 sets.

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on March 02, 2019, 06:23:13 PM
Hi Notlobster,

How about a few pictures of your Craftsman Kromedge tap and die sets?

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: lptools on March 03, 2019, 11:20:29 AM
Hello, Coolford . That was very gracious of you to help Jim complete the set , that would have been a long search for a tap that small, AND with the Craftsman stamp!!!!Regards, Lou
Title: Sears Craftsman Kromedge Tap & Die Set
Post by: lptools on March 03, 2019, 11:31:51 AM
Hello, Here is a Sears Craftsman 9 5200 SAE Tap & Hexagon Die Set that I have had for a while. Never been used, complete, I left the former owner's hand printed chart inside the lid. Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on March 04, 2019, 07:44:25 AM
Wow!  That set is mint Lou!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: skipskip on March 04, 2019, 11:40:16 AM
Not Craftsman, but sold by Sears

Tools are marked 'Made in USA', but no brand name


(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7834/40315973593_ebccfbf6c9_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/24qzUmZ)DSCF9976 (https://flic.kr/p/24qzUmZ) by Skip Albright (https://www.flickr.com/photos/skipskip/), on Flickr

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7884/40315973383_4489475dfa_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/24qzUin)DSCF9978 (https://flic.kr/p/24qzUin) by Skip Albright (https://www.flickr.com/photos/skipskip/), on Flickr

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7893/46557337574_2cc80bd96e_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2dW7wqN)DSCF9979 (https://flic.kr/p/2dW7wqN) by Skip Albright (https://www.flickr.com/photos/skipskip/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on March 04, 2019, 01:38:45 PM
Hey skipskip,

That’s a very nice old set!  It looks to be complete too.  Nice find.  Any story behind it?

Jim C.

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: lptools on March 04, 2019, 03:57:25 PM
Nice!!!!!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: d42jeep on March 04, 2019, 04:27:52 PM
Those look kind of familiar. Here are two that are results of trades.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on March 04, 2019, 05:04:41 PM
I’d say they look very familiar!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: lptools on March 04, 2019, 06:18:13 PM
Hello, Jim. Thanks!!! It is most likely unused by me due to the fact that I forgot where it was!!! Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 25, 2019, 08:34:47 PM
I recently picked another gently used Sears Craftsman SAE tap and die set.  Based on the set number, 5213, I'd guess this set was available between 1964 and 1968 give or take. 

Jim C.   
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: p_toad on November 26, 2019, 11:34:17 PM
nice.   i've never run across one of those...did pick up an interrupted pipe tap some time back...i'll have to get a picture.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on February 11, 2020, 10:28:01 AM
Back when they were still selling proper adjustable dies, I see.
(http://www.papawswrench.com/vboard/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=24441.0;attach=57503;image)

The later hex dies have their place - I've used them with a wrench once or twice, when I couldn't fit the die handle into the space - but it would be nice to have a set with adjustable dies, even if I only use the adjustability once in a blue moon.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on June 04, 2020, 06:37:28 PM
This thread got me thinking so I dug through my tool drawers and pulled out my Craftsman 5201, 41-piece tap and die set that I bought around 1975.  Its been used and abused over the years and almost complete. Back in the day when you broke a tap you could just walk into Sears and pull a replacement “Kromedge” tap off the hook and give the cashier $1.99 and all was well.  Those days are gone so my set had a couple of Home Depot replacement taps. I posted my missing taps on “The Missing Link” forum. I’d like to give very special thanks to FrankLee for the 1/4-20 tap and to Iptools for the 5/16-18 tap. I feel complete now.

Bonus: When I pulled out both trays out so I could clean the crud off the case, I found the 29 page, “Sears Craftsman Handbook Of Taps, Dies and Threading Accessories”.  About half of it is just all the sets and accessories that Sears sold at the time but the other half has a lot of good information about cutting threads. (Who knew you were supposed to use kerosene mixed with lard oil when cutting threads in stainless steel?)

Again, many thanks to Iptools and FrankLee.

Note: While putting the dies back in the tray after wiping them off, I noticed that I have two 7/16- 14 dies and no 7/16-20.  Now I know I’ve never used either of those in the 45 years since I bought the set. It had to have been like that since the beginning. How observant am I?  I’ll post the 7/16-20 die on “The Missing Link” forum but I won’t be too upset if nothing turns up because this is exactly the way it was when I bought it.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 04, 2020, 08:48:33 PM
Nice set Todd!  It even has the often missing little screwdriver.   :grin:
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: d42jeep on June 04, 2020, 10:06:41 PM
I traded for this lightly used one a couple of years ago.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 05, 2020, 07:06:28 AM
Nice looking set Don!  I’ve found that older tap and die sets are either well used and usually missing pieces or are in near mint to virtually unused condition.  I always wonder about those vintage NOS sets.  Someone paid retail price for it, brought it home, and then what?  They got put away and that was it.  Relatively speaking, those sets were never cheap, so I wonder why someone would shell out good money for a complete set and then not use it.
Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Bill Houghton on June 08, 2020, 04:44:31 PM
Nice looking set Don!  I’ve found that older tap and die sets are either well used and usually missing pieces or are in near mint to virtually unused condition.  I always wonder about those vintage NOS sets.  Someone paid retail price for it, brought it home, and then what?  They got put away and that was it.  Relatively speaking, those sets were never cheap, so I wonder why someone would shell out good money for a complete set and then not use it.
Jim C.
Probably following the "better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it" principle - and then they never needed it!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: d42jeep on June 09, 2020, 12:31:54 PM
I haven’t used it much myself, yet. I tend to grab my old Ace Hanson set from habit.
-Don
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on June 11, 2020, 08:50:26 PM
I know this topic is about SAE sets but I just wanted to post pictures of my Metric tap set. I’ll remove the post if anyone objects. I bought this set in the mid-70s to supplement my #5201 SAE set (reply 18).  It served me well through many VW bugs and buses and a Triumph GT6. Amazingly it is all original.  I never broke a single tap.

The plastic case says it’s a 15-piece set even though there are only 14 taps. Maybe they were counting the case itself as a piece? I don’t recall anything else coming inside the case.  I thought maybe it came with a pitch gauge but mine is in its original red plastic sleeve and wouldn’t fit in the case. I found a 14-piece, taps-only set in the 1976-77 catalog that has the exact same taps as my set but it has a different part number.  Go Sears.

Todd F.

Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: lptools on June 12, 2020, 07:26:11 AM
Hello, Todd. Nice set of Metric Taps!!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on June 12, 2020, 10:05:54 PM
Good looking original set Todd.  I think case itself is considered a part of the set, and as such, is counted as one of the pieces.  That was a pretty common practice by Sears/Craftsman.  In another thread within this forum, I posted the complete “25 piece” set of Cman Whitworth tools.  Well, if you count all the wrenches and sockets, etc. there are 24 actual tools. The tool box that came with the set is considered the 25th tool.  I also posted a similar thread that depicted the Cman “26 piece” metric set.  Once again, there are 25 actual tools plus the 26th piece..... the tool box.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 28, 2020, 03:19:25 PM
Very recently I had a chance to scavenge an old pole barn about an hour south of my house, that was filled up with planks and slabs of hardwood that consisted mostly of a lot of walnut, some oak, elm and cherry.  Mixed in were several huge slabs of catalpa.  I ended up bringing home a little bit of everything.  The wood belonged to a man who owned a portable saw mill, which was also stored in the building.  The man’s health was failing so his son was starting to lighten the load.  After filling up my van with wood, I found out that the building next door also belonged to the same guy.  It was a machine shop at one time, but over the years, it ended up as a “catch all” for everything.

There was stuff everywhere!  Tools, machines, car parts, junk, etc.  Just ten steps into the building and I must have seen a dozen things I was interested in buying.  So as I walked/climbed/crawled/squeezed my way though the building with the owner’s son, I’d occasionally ask, “How about this Wilton vise.  Is it for sale?”  The answer, “No.”  Well, that went on for about forty five minutes.  I asked about several items to include, sockets, wrenches, a small sheet metal brake, an atlas lathe, and countless other things.  Nothing was for sale.  So I asked the son what was up.  Why did we just maneuver our way through that building and I ended up with nothing?  He knew I was offering cash.  Well, he finally told me that his father wanted to hire an auctioneer to come and inventory everything and then hold a public auction.  I sort of laughed, and said something like, “There’s enough here for everyone, but if you’re set on giving an auctioneer a cut of the profits, that’s your business.”  He shrugged his shoulders and that was that.

As we were walking out of the building, I saw a tap and die set that I recognized as being an early 2000s vintage Craftsman metric set.  I actually saw it when we first entered the building and took a quick look at it.  From what I could see, it was missing a couple pieces.  So anyway, as we walked past it on our way out, I just rattled off, “What about this tap and die set?  You know, it’s missing a couple pieces.”  To my surprise, he said, “Okay.”

It was really dirty and some light surface rust covered most of the pieces.  It was missing the little screwdriver (which I replaced with one I had) and it was also missing the 18mm 1.50 tap and die.  The price was right and with a little elbow grease, everything cleaned up nicely.  While I had a few metric taps and dies that I bought as needed, I never had an almost complete set.  As far as I can tell, it’s set # 9-52373.  Sears offered it between 2000 and 2007.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: coolford on November 28, 2020, 03:35:46 PM
Good show Jim, you finally got your metric set.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on November 28, 2020, 05:49:48 PM
Good show Jim, you finally got your metric set.

coolford,

Yes, I did......well almost anyway.  There was a lot of nice stuff there, but it all needed some TLC.  Nothing was in NOS or even really nice condition.  It had just been neglected for several decades.  But with a little time, know-how and a few dollars, most of it could have been rehabilitated/restored.  Some of the things I saw included a couple Wilton bullet vises, a nice Delta drill press with an undamaged cast iron pulley cover, a few different size Di Arco sheet metal brakes, LOTS of Snap On sockets, two different sized Atlas lathes, dozens and dozens of old Williams and Jorgensen clamps.  Hand tools everywhere and cabinets I couldn’t get to because there was so much stuff blocking them.  If they go the auctioneer route, it will take awhile to inventory everything.  And if the auction occurs, I’ll probably attend! :smiley:

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on December 31, 2020, 04:35:18 PM
I picked this set up a while ago and wanted to share it. It’s a number 5452, 40-piece SAE tap and adjustable die set that appears in the Craftsman Tool Catalog from 1953 to 1957. This is before the “Kromedge” taps and dies. As far as I can tell, it’s the first set offered in a plastic case. The taps are unique in that the smaller taps have the Craftsman logo and size information stamped vertically on the shank but they differ from the older sets in the wooden boxes that have the logo vertical but the size info is horizontal.  These also have two stamped lines going around the shank at either end of the info stamp. The taps do not have the drill size stamped on them like the Kromedge taps.  The plastic case is also unusual. The upper tray lifts out as usual but the lower tray is not removable. It is a molded part of the case itself. This set appears to be 100% original with the exception of the screwdriver (of course).  Another unique feature of this set, and the early versions of the 5209 set, is the smallest tap and die are size 4-36 instead of the 4-40 in all of the following sets.  Catalog photo is from 1957. 

I have a second one of these sets that is incomplete with a broken case. I can part it out of anyone needs to fill in a set.

Todd F
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: AutoMechanic on December 31, 2020, 04:52:18 PM
Nice tap and die sets. I love old Craftsman stuff, I don’t have any of their taps or dies though.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: lptools on January 01, 2021, 04:55:26 AM
Hello, Jim. I thought that set configuration looked familiar!! Could that have been made for Sears/Craftsman by  Hanson??
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on January 01, 2021, 11:40:15 AM
Looks like it. Craftsman never made anything themselves.
Todd F
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on January 01, 2021, 05:24:54 PM
Hey Todd,

Good to hear from you!  Nice looking set of vintage Cman taps and dies!  Great find!  Thanks for posting a few photos and a little bit of history too.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: AutoMechanic on January 07, 2021, 01:46:52 AM
Nice sets. :smiley:
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on January 10, 2021, 04:40:31 PM
I just got this one in the mail yesterday. It popped up on eBay and I had to grab it. Sorry if I bid against any of you. I paid more than I should have but I haven’t seen this set before.  It’s a 40-piece set that goes all the way up to 3/4- inch but does not have the machine screw sizes. The part number is 9-5212 and doesn’t show up in any of the catalogs I have (and that’s a lot).  There is a 9-5212C that shows up in 1969 but it is a 59-piece set that includes the machine screw sizes and easy-outs. I think this set is older than that. Here is my logic. Inside the lid of every Craftsman tap and/or die set, they have all the Craftsman tap and die sizes listed on a chart with the tap drill sizes. Even for the sizes that are not included in the set. The set I just got has that chart inside the lid as usual. The machine screw sizes are listed even though this set doesn’t include them. The smallest size listed is #4-36. Craftsman stopped using the 4-36 in 1962 and all tap and die sets from 1963 and after, came with a #4-40.  The die stocks have the sliding “fingers” on the guide instead of the pivoting “fingers” that were also introduced in 1963. My best guess is that this was sold in stores, or by some other professional channel, somewhere between 1959 and 1962. This set is in excellent condition. The only evidence of use is circular scratch on the large die stock. The tap wrenches were still gunked up with cosmoline and took some effort to get them moving again. If anyone has any information on this 5212 set, please let me know.

Todd F
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Yadda on January 10, 2021, 06:16:23 PM
Beautiful set! 
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on January 11, 2021, 07:20:56 AM
That’s a great looking set, Todd!  I suspect that it didn’t come cheap.  A very nice find for sure.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on March 26, 2021, 08:26:18 PM
Here on the west coast there aren’t as many tool shows as the east coast or mid-west, and then there is covid, so I’m stuck with what I can find on eBay. These “Hollow Handle” sets were sold by Craftsman from 1962 to 1966 according to the Craftsman catalogs. I found the tap set about 2 years ago and I have been searching for the die set ever since. One finally popped up so here they are. There is also a machine screw set that remains elusive. As you can see from the pictures, the handles are hollow and hold the taps or dies inside. Then tap set is stamped “Made In Norway”. They are fairly heavy and appear to be cast then chrome plated. They come with the same standard Kromedge taps and dies that come in all the other Craftsman sets at that time. The catalog lists the five dies in the die set but there is room inside for one more, you’d think they could have sprung for 10-24 just to fill it up. Of course, back then the catalog price for a 10-24 die was 99¢.  Guess it was up to you to fill that empty space. The catalog picture is from 1964 hand tool catalog.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Yadda on March 27, 2021, 06:43:28 AM
Useful and gizmotic.  I like them!
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Todd F. on October 09, 2021, 01:52:18 PM
Hey Jim or anyone else.
I have what is probably a dumb question. Almost all of my Craftsman taps and dies have the letters "VM" stamped on them. I am assuming this is some kind of forge marking. Does anyone know what this means?
Thanks
Todd F.
Title: Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
Post by: Jim C. on October 15, 2021, 01:32:15 PM
Hey Todd,

I’m gonna guess Danaher made the taps and dies.  Also, I sent you a couple PMs.

Jim C.