Tool Talk

Classic Auto and Motorcycle Tools => Classic Auto and Motorcycle Tools => Topic started by: Todd F. on April 10, 2020, 09:30:49 PM

Title: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 10, 2020, 09:30:49 PM
Welcome to the Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study. While the Professional Wrench has not been around nearly as long as the Raised Panel Wrench or the Teardrop Ratchet, there is still a bit of confusion that needs to be cleared up.

Here’s a “Quick Find" index to help you find what your looking for in this thread

Reply 5   page 1  The Stainless Steel Set (1972)
Reply 16 page 2  Brief history (very brief) of Moore Drop Forge / Easco Corporation / Danaher Corporation
Reply 22 page 2  The “Craftsman Motorsport” wrenches (1991-1993)
Reply 24 page 2  The Gen 1 Professional Wrench (1994-1997)
Reply 26 page 2  Angled Open Back wrench – France (1994-1996)
Reply 31 page 3 Gen 1.1 or Gen 1 short/standard length (1995-1996)
Reply 37 page 3  The HUGE Gen 1 wrenches (1997-
Reply 41 Page 2  The Stubbies (1997-2010)
Reply 49 Page 4  The Gen 2 Professional Wrench (1998-1999)
Reply 54 Page 4  The Gen 3 Professional Wrench (2000-2013)
Reply 57 Page 4  Craftsman Industrial Wrench (2014-2015?)
Reply 62 Page 5  The Crab Claw (2015-present?
Reply 66 Page 5  45-degree Deep Offset Box-End Wrench (2002-2012)
Reply 68 Page 5  Quick Wrench (1998-2003)

Let me start with a little history of how I became interested in this subject.  A few decades ago I was an A&P Mechanic working at the local airport and had purchased a set of the Standard Craftsman Raised Panel combination wrenches for my meager, 3-drawer, rollaway toolbox. I bought the Craftsman wrenches because there was no way I could afford Snap-On wrenches. The Snap-On truck would stop buy the hangar once a week and all I could do was go in and drool over the shiny tools until the boss would tell me to get back to work.
 
Fast forward about 20 years, after a stint of flying Army helicopters, I was a Civil Service missile tech working at an airfield in Germany. Part of my job was to drive around the flight line in my VW bus and test the Hellfire Missile systems on the parked Apache helicopters. I had purchased one of those grey plastic tool cases that had all the little pockets to keep your tools organized. I filled them with the Craftsman wrenches from my rollaway toolbox. The problem was, every time I needed to use a wrench at home, I had to go out to my bus to grab one. I promised myself I would buy another set of wrenches next time I went back stateside. So, there I was cruising through the local Sears when low and behold there was a set of shiny, Snap-On look-a-likes stamped “Professional”. Well, I was a professional so I bought them.
Fast forward another 20 years, newly retired, puttering around in my garage when I looked in my toolbox at the still shiny wrenches while next to them was my old Raised Panel Metric Wrench set. Off to Sears again and there they were, a shiny set of metric wrenches. Good price too. I was putting them away in my toolbox and noticed, hey, one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other. Where’s the “Professional” stamp? Where’s the “USA” stamp? And the open ends were thick, fat, massive chunks of steel. It took just a few seconds of internet searching to figure out these were forged in China. I’d been duped. So off to eBay I go, only to discover that everything marked “professional” is not the same either.

So here we go. After my postal carrier started using a dolly to bring my eBay purchases to the door, I think I have it all sorted out and decided this information needed to be shared.

We will be covering the wrenches pictured below and maybe a few more that are part of the story leading up to introduction of the “Craftsman Professional” line of tools. There were really only three main “generations” of the professional wrench series with a few offshoots.  To simplify things, I have decided to label them Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3. (See, I told you it was not as complicated as the Teardrop Ratchet).  Also, during this study I will refer to the left or right end of the wrench. These references are with the word “Craftsman” right side up and facing you.

And remember, this study is about the Professional wrench series. PLEASE do not start posting pictures of your Grandpa’s Raised Panel Craftsman wrenches from 1933. That’s not what this is about.

Thanks for reading this far. We’ll start getting into the meat of the subject in the next post.

Todd F.

From top to bottom:

Raised Panel wrench (for comparison)
Stainless Steel
Pre-Professional (Craftsman Motorsport)
Gen 1
Gen 1 standard length
Gen 2
Gen 3
Craftsman Industrial
Chinese “Crab Claw” (for comparison)
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 10, 2020, 09:39:05 PM
I’m in Todd!  You’re off to a great start!

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 10, 2020, 09:43:47 PM
Thanks Jim
I'd better get to writing the next installment.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Yadda on April 10, 2020, 10:11:44 PM
I do like reading case studies.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: gibsontool on April 11, 2020, 09:00:20 AM
Good stuff, I'll look forward to more.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 11, 2020, 04:52:07 PM
Thanks for all the views and replies
Before we get to the Professional line of tools we need to cover a little background. Craftsman made a few attempts to manufacture a wrench to compete with the Snap-On wrenches of the day. Their first try, that I am aware of, was in 1972 with the release of the Stainless Steel Wrench Set. This 8-piece set first appeared in the Craftsman 1972 Power and Hand Tool Catalog and sold for $46.00. It last appeared a year later in the 1972-1973 Catalog selling for $47.58. The catalog description says they were “specifically designed for professional mechanics and discriminating men”. The wrenches came in a heavy-duty metal box with a red fuzzy insert to keep them organized. There was a new “Stainless Steel” logo in the corners of the insert as well as on the outside of the box.  This logo was also stamped on each wrench. As far as I know, this logo was never used again. Sizes ran from 7/16 to 7/8. They have the single “V” forge mark indicating they were made by Easco Tools.  They were not sold separately. They had no part numbers stamped on the individual wrenches nor were they listed in the catalog individually. There was no metric set. Like I said this set sold for $46 dollars. This was at a time when a 10-piece set of raised panel wrenches was going for $18. (the catalog page I included shows prices for the Stainless Steel and the raised panel wrenches). It is my opinion that, due to the high price and the display-type box, these were treated more like a commemorative set rather than a working set of wrenches.  I have never seen a set on eBay that looks like it was ever used. So, they were available for a year or so, then they were gone. It would be another 20 years before Craftsman attempted to produce another premium wrench.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Northwoods on April 11, 2020, 05:14:20 PM
Those things are beauties.
I wonder if they came out around the time of the SS rats.  Anyone know?
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 11, 2020, 05:23:26 PM
Nice wrenches!! Love the story/study, too!! Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 11, 2020, 05:56:41 PM
Those things are beauties.
I wonder if they came out around the time of the SS rats.  Anyone know?

The Stainless Steel Ratchets were made much later, between 1987 and 1991.
Here is the cover of the 1989 catalog showing the ratchet.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 11, 2020, 07:32:16 PM
........It is my opinion that, due to the high price and the display-type box, these were treated more like a commemorative set rather than a working set of wrenches.  I have never seen a set on eBay that looks like it was ever used......

Hey Todd,

Nice write up!  The background stuff adds a lot to the photos.  Well done.  You’ll notice that I pulled a section of your narrative.  I couldn’t agree with you more.  I have a set of those wrenches that I bought on eBay several years ago.  They’re gem mint and appear to have never been used even one time.  The presentation box and red fuzzy insert are factory fresh.   I’m not sure what Sears/Craftsman was commemorating back in 1972, but that’s certainly what the set seems to be. 

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: p_toad on April 11, 2020, 08:42:44 PM
Nice write-up.   Thank you and glad you're here.   Don't think i've ever seen a set of these before, so waiting to read (and see) more. 
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 11, 2020, 09:23:57 PM
I hope that I have never passed one up at a sale!!!
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: papadan on April 12, 2020, 01:19:13 AM
Todd, I appreciate the study and the work you are putting into it. Could you tell me why you preferred the Professional style wrenches over the raised panel. I worked as a pro mechanic for 40 years, starting in 1974. I always used the raised panel style. I had a few Snap On that were specialty wrenches not made by Craftsman. I never did like the feel of Snap On or any other thin smooth handled wrenches like that. After an hour or so of pulling them on bolts they would hurt the insides of my fingers, just too sharp of an edge.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: mrbill on April 12, 2020, 04:13:11 PM
Nice research and write-ups.  Any idea who manufactured them for Sears?

Bill
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 12, 2020, 04:53:01 PM
Hello, mrbill. I believe Easco was mentioned in an earlier post. Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 12, 2020, 05:41:44 PM
Todd, I appreciate the study and the work you are putting into it. Could you tell me why you preferred the Professional style wrenches over the raised panel. I worked as a pro mechanic for 40 years, starting in 1974. I always used the raised panel style. I had a few Snap On that were specialty wrenches not made by Craftsman. I never did like the feel of Snap On or any other thin smooth handled wrenches like that. After an hour or so of pulling them on bolts they would hurt the insides of my fingers, just too sharp of an edge.

Papadan, I also used the Craftsman raised panel wrenches for 20 years, working on helicopters, before buying my first set of Full-Polished “Professional” Wrenches. I’m sure it was just “tool envy” that fueled my longing for the Snap-On style wrenches. Having never used them, I was unaware of the discomfort you experienced.  By the time I got my first set I was working on missile systems that didn’t have a lot of large size fasteners so I was never required to put a lot of muscle behind them.  Some of the advantages are: the polished finish make wiping them off after a dirty job much easier.  The Professional style wrenches are typically about 20 - 25 percent longer than there raised panel counterpart so you get more torque with less effort. Also, the Professional wrenches are much thinner around the box end allowing you to slip them over fasteners that don’t have much clearance around them. I've taken a few raised panel wrenches to the grinder to make them fit in certain applications.

You weren’t alone in your experience with the “sharp” edges. Around 2006, Craftsman came out with the “Cross-Force” wrench which has a 90-degree twist in the handle so you’re pushing or pulling on the flat side instead of the skinny sharp edge. These only went up to 1 1/8” or 24mm so they would probably be no good on a D10 dozer. These were never sold under the “Professional” label.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 12, 2020, 06:08:24 PM
Nice research and write-ups.  Any idea who manufactured them for Sears?

Bill
Yes, like Iptools said, the V, in the case of the Stainless Steel Wrenches indicates they were forged by Easco Corporation. The V and the VV and the Vꓥ have always represented the same company….sort of. Moore Drop Forge was founded in 1901 and forged tools for Sears starting in the 1930s.  In 1967 they were acquired by Eastern Stainless Steel Corporation. They later shortened their name to Easco Corporation. In 1985 they were hostilely taken over by investors and the hand tool portion of Easco ended up in the hands of Danaher Corporation. Still making tools for Sears/Craftsman. They use lots of different forge markings now but if it says made in USA it was probably made by Moore/Easco/Danaher. (with the exception of the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Professional wrenches, we’ll get to those later)
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: p_toad on April 12, 2020, 07:54:26 PM
for some reason this whole topic awakened in my old brain about some wrenches my wife bought me a long time ago.   she could only afford to get them one at a time (and i currently have no foggy about where the 3/4 is...).   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: papadan on April 12, 2020, 09:32:10 PM
Thanks for the reply Todd. Your mention of easier cleaning made me laugh, in the field I dealt with a lot of mud, tool cleaning was a puddle on the ground and laid out in the sun to dry. ;-)
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 12, 2020, 10:24:11 PM
for some reason this whole topic awakened in my old brain about some wrenches my wife bought me a long time ago.   she could only afford to get them one at a time (and i currently have no foggy about where the 3/4 is...).   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure.

P_toad
Looks like you have a mix of Gen 1, 2 and 3 Craftsman Professional wrenches. They're all good. As we get further into this you'll be able to figure out which is which.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 12, 2020, 10:31:00 PM
Thanks for the reply Todd. Your mention of easier cleaning made me laugh, in the field I dealt with a lot of mud, tool cleaning was a puddle on the ground and laid out in the sun to dry. ;-)

papadan
When I was writing that reply I figured cleanliness was not a top priority when working on D10s.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: p_toad on April 13, 2020, 12:38:09 PM
for some reason this whole topic awakened in my old brain about some wrenches my wife bought me a long time ago.   she could only afford to get them one at a time (and i currently have no foggy about where the 3/4 is...).   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure.

P_toad
Looks like you have a mix of Gen 1, 2 and 3 Craftsman Professional wrenches. They're all good. As we get further into this you'll be able to figure out which is which.
Todd F.

Thanks Todd.   I really want to read that.   Like i said, she could (well, we could), only afford to buy them one at a time so she would get one periodically and give it to me as a gift.   I really like them (and her) :grin:
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 13, 2020, 04:37:37 PM
We have one more wrench to cover before we get to the Professional line. This one is very rare and unknown to most people. I stumbled upon these purely accidently. I had just made an eBay purchase of some kind after searching for “Craftsman Professional Wrench” and, as usual, up pops the “You Might Be Interested In” section at the bottom of the page. I usually ignore these because the algorithm that makes these picks is normally way off. But this one caught my eye so I clicked on it. It was a set of full polish, long pattern, Craftsman wrenches but the word “Professional” was nowhere to be found. I questioned the seller and got back a short explanation. 

He said that, from 1991 to 1993, he worked for the agency that managed the Sears Craftsman Motorsports
Account. That account included the Official Craftsman tools of NASCAR, NHRA and INDY Car Racing. At the time, the race teams were signed with Snap-On Tools and MAC Tools who had trucks that would make weekly visits to their shops. Craftsman was eager to break into that market and lure race teams away from MAC and Snap-On. They built a tool truck and these wrenches were manufactured to sell to the race teams. Needless to say, the effort was a bust. The seller ended up with a standard, SAE set and a metric set still in the original boxes. As far as he knows they were never sold to the public. I occasionally see single, scuffed up ones pop up on eBay but not very often. 

These wrenches are very similar to the Professional wrenches that would follow a short time later. They are a hair shorter than the Professional wrenches but much longer than the raised panel wrench. There is one other rather large difference. These wrenches are stamped with the -VV-, indicating they were made by Easco Corporation. In fact, the boxes they came in have an Easco part number as well as a Craftsman part number. The Craftsman Professional wrenches that are to come, were not made by Easco.

Each set consists of 11 pieces and come in their own vinyl, roll-up pouches that appear to be made specifically for these sets.  You can barely make out the word Craftsman embossed on the upper flap in the pictures below. The part number on the metric pouch matches the number on the box. The number on the SAE pouch does not (but we will see that number again). The metric set goes from 8mm to 19mm minus the 9mm. The SAE set goes from 3/8 inch to 1 inch.

Part numbers are:
44940  3/8”
44941  7/16”
44942  1/2”
44943  9/16”
44944  5/8”
44945  11/16”
44946   3/4”
44947   13/16”
44948   7/8”
44949   15/16”
44950    1”

42979     8mm
42980   10mm
42981   11mm
42982   12mm
42983   13mm
42984   14mm
42985   15mm
42986   16mm
42987   17mm
42988   18mm
42989   19mm

Craftsman has a nasty habit of recycling their part numbers. We will see these part numbers again. (if you look at the pictures in the very first post, you can probably figure out which ones). Please don’t start posting pictures of the wrenches you found in the bottom of your tool box with these part numbers on them but say Professional. We will get to those later. Thanks for sticking with me.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 13, 2020, 10:05:09 PM
Those are rare sets Todd.  It’s nice to get a little background regarding when and why they were produced.  I certainly appreciate your efforts and recognize what goes into presenting the information.  Great job so far!  I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the wrenches.   

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 14, 2020, 07:50:32 PM
OK, we’re finally here.  In the 1994 – 1995 Craftsman Power and Hand Tool catalog, page 41 “New Pro Line 13-Piece Long Pattern Fully Polished Wrench Set”.  I only have the catalogs as a reference for the dates.  When they actually hit the store shelves is anybody’s guess. Just for reference, I call these the Generation 1 or Gen 1 wrench.  The SAE set sizes went from 1/4” to 1” and the metric set went from 7mm to 19mm. They Featured the “Head-Lock® box end” that grips the flat sides of the fastener to prevent rounded corners.  This sounds, and looks a lot like Snap-On’s “Flank-Drive”. They are also about 25 percent longer than the standard raised panel wrench giving you greater leverage. These new Professional wrenches were not made by Easco or Danaher (see reply #16) like the previous wrenches. They were manufactured by SK Tools. You can see the sideways “K” forge mark after the “Professional” stamp. Notice, the open end of the wrench is on the left side (with the word “Craftsman” right side up). Just tuck that away. These wrenches remained unchanged for a whole 4 years until they were replaced by the Gen 2 wrench in the 1998 – 1999 catalog.

The retail, store packaging consisted of a thin black plastic display/organizer with a clear plastic “keeper” that snapped in to keep the wrenches from falling out when hung up. It would have made a great drawer organizer except for one problem.  It was too big to fit in a Craftsman roll-away toolbox drawer. You could force it in but something had to give. Either the edges broke off or it just snapped in half. Very few survived. Ironically, the metric set does fit in a toolbox drawer yet they are even harder to find. I guess they just sold way more SAE sets than metric.

If you look at the last post (reply 22  ) about the Craftsman Motorsport wrenches, you can make out the part number in the lower left-hand corner of the pouch for the SAE set.  44934 does not match the number on the outside of the box they came in. It does, however, match the number of the of the new 13-piece “Professional” set. You can see it in the pictures of the catalog page and in the upper corner of the store display.  I don’t really have a good explanation for this.  Just something to ponder.

I won’t list all the part numbers.  You can see them in picture of the catalog page below. More to come. Thanks for reading.

Todd F.

Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 15, 2020, 06:53:50 AM
Very interesting Todd!  I would walk though my local Sears or Sears Hardware stores back then and I vaguely recall seeing those sets with the clear plastic keeper.  You must have been in “collector mode” when you bought those sets.  I’m sure that a lot of people, like me, would have likely discarded the packaging and just lined the wrenches up in a drawer and called it good.  I like seeing the tools in their original retail condition.  I’m sure that’s gotta add to their value and scarcity. 

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 15, 2020, 10:21:45 PM
This next one doesn’t really belong in this study due to the fact that it is not a Combination wrench and shouldn’t be in the “Professional Combination Wrench Study”. The reason I am putting it in at this point is because it was introduced in the same 1994 – 1995 Catalog, on the same page as the Gen 1 Professional wrench. It is kind of an odd duck. I’m talking about the “Craftsman Angled Open-Back Socket Wrenches”.  What? Now would be a good time to peek at the pictures below. Some of you will say, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen those on eBay before”. The body of the wrench is angled 90 degrees with the same size socket on each end (one 6 point and one 12 point).  The short end is hollow and is open through the bend. I guess that would be good for getting it over a long stud or threaded rod, but I could also use an open end or ratcheting open end wrench to do the same thing. The long end is not hollow so you’ve basically got a long socket with a short handle. You can stick a screwdriver through the short end for more torque. I guess I’m trying to say: there is nothing that I can do with these wrenches that I can’t do with the tools I already have in my toolbox. They are also heavy and take up a lot of space if you leave them in the pouch.  Every set of these wrenches that I’ve seen on eBay seem to be in almost perfect condition……because nobody used them. There are even little pictures on the top flap of the pouch to explain how to use them. If you have to explain it to me then.....

The wrenches have the “Craftsman” and the “Professional” stamp on them. The 22 inch, vinyl pouch for each set, also says “Professional”. But nowhere in the catalog does it say anything about “Professional”. Not in any of the catalogs they appeared in. All three of them. They were introduced in the 1994-95 catalog and were gone in the 1997-98 catalog.

But here is the strangest part of the whole story. On each wrench, right after the “Professional” stamp, right where the forge mark should be, it says France. I have no logical explanation.

Thanks for reading.

Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 15, 2020, 10:45:37 PM
Hey Todd,

Great write up on the angle socket wrenches.  Those are definitely wrenches you don’t see too often.  I’m beginning to think we’re going to see a lot of Craftsman branded wrenches in this thread that you don’t see too often.  I’m looking forward to it.  Anyway, I think they were made for Sears by Facom, a French manufacturer.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 16, 2020, 02:11:42 AM
Jim
You may have something there. I didn't think of that. Although I didn't think Facom made tools for sears since the early 1930s.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Lewill2 on April 16, 2020, 12:55:35 PM
I don't want to jump ahead of your great type study but just a quick question. Will you be covering the raised panel fully polished shorty combination VV coded professional wrenches?
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 16, 2020, 04:59:53 PM
Yes, I will be covering the raised panel "stubbies".
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 16, 2020, 05:02:39 PM
This next one didn’t rate a “Generation” number of its own. I usually just refer to them as “Gen 1.1” or “Gen 1 short”. In the 1995 – 96 catalog, in the upper left-hand corner of the Gen 1 picture was a 2 inch square picture of a set of wrenches that said “NEW!”, “Standard Length Set” $49.99.  These are not to be confused with the “stubbies” that will come later. These are the same full polish, Professional Gen 1 wrenches but in standard length. They are the same length as their raised panel counterparts. (Plus or minus a few tenths). They are still made by S-K and have the sideways “K” forge mark. For some reason, the four smallest SAE wrenches have 6-point box ends, the metric set has all 12-point right down to the smallest. The SAE set goes from 1/4" thru 7/8” and the metric set goes from 7mm thru 17mm. I added a picture to show the difference in length between the Gen 1, long pattern and these standard length wrenches. It seems the smaller wrenches have a greater size difference.

Remember back when we were talking about the “Craftsman Motorsport” wrenches? (reply #22) I said you would see those part numbers again? Here they are. Craftsman used the same part numbers on these wrenches that they used on the “motorsport” wrenches. There are plenty of numbers out there that they could have used.  Who knows why?

One year after their introduction, in the next catalog, was the same picture that had the caption “CLOSEOUT!”, “SAVE 20% While Quantities Last”. $39.99. This may be the shortest lived Craftsman tool ever. (don’t hold me to that). I believe they were only sold as a set, there are no individual part numbers listed in the catalog. I have never seen a plastic store display of any kind on eBay.

Here are the part numbers and the pictures. Thanks for reading.

Todd F.

44954  1/4"
44955  5/16”
44940  3/8”
44941  7/16”
44942  1/2”
44943  9/16”
44944  5/8”
44945  11/16”
44946   3/4”
44947   13/16”
44948   7/8”

42964    7mm
42979     8mm
44967     9mm
42980   10mm
42981   11mm
42982   12mm
42983   13mm
42984   14mm
42985   15mm
42986   16mm
42987   17mm
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 16, 2020, 05:53:54 PM
Hello, Todd. Thanks for keeping the information coming!! Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 17, 2020, 12:37:18 PM
Nice installment Todd!  I’ve notice that you’ve been including pertinent catalog pages with your photos.  I like the information they provide.  Do you have a vintage Craftsman tool catalog collection to compliment your wrench collection? 

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 17, 2020, 01:50:43 PM
Jim
Yes, I do have a pretty good catalog collection. In fact, in the mail last night, I received a 1994-95 a Special Holiday Issue. Listed in it just in time for Christmas, is an 11-piece set of the Gen 1 wrenches for $49.99. 
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 17, 2020, 02:59:38 PM
A quick note:
In the 1996 -1997 catalog, the price of the 13-piece Gen 1 wrench sets dropped from $74.99 to $69.99
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 17, 2020, 04:56:56 PM
Jim
Yes, I do have a pretty good catalog collection. In fact, in the mail last night, I received a 1994-95 a Special Holiday Issue. Listed in it just in time for Christmas, is an 11-piece set of the Gen 1 wrenches for $49.99. 
Todd F.

You’re setting the bar pretty high Todd!
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 17, 2020, 09:49:01 PM
A lot of stuff happened in the 1997 – 1998 Craftsman tool catalog. So much that it will take two posts to cover it. First, the Gen 1 wrenches are now available in a 9-piece set for $39.99 as well as the original 13-piece set for $69.99. The new 9-piece sets went from 1/4" to 3/4" and 7mm to 15mm. There’s a picture of the store display, SAE set below. The picture is from an eBay post. (I didn’t bid on it because it was in really bad shape but I did ask if I could use the pictures in this forum). That’s the only 9-piece store display I’ve ever seen on eBay.

The next new thing in the 97 – 98 catalog was the introduction of the “Stubby” wrenches. I will cover them in the next post (hopefully tomorrow). That brings us to the introduction of the “HUGE” Wrenches. Craftsman has added five new wrenches to the SAE side and six new wrenches to the metric line up. These things are big. The 1-1/2” wrench is over 19 inches long and weighs in at 3.75 pounds. The SAE wrenches added are 1-1/16’, 1-1/8”, 1-1/4”, 1-5/16” and 1-1/2”.  The new metric wrenches are 21mm, 22mm, 23mm, 24mm, 25mm and 30mm. Craftsman offered these new wrenches in 5-piece sets for $59.99. Now here’s the catch. There’s always a catch. The 5-piece sets did not include the largest of the new wrenches. No. The 5-piece SAE set included 15/16”, 1”, 1-1/16”, 1-1/8” and 1-1/4”. So, if you bought the original 13-piece set and the new 5-piece “huge” set, you would end up with two  15/16” and two 1” and would still be missing the three largest wrenches. Purchased singly, those would run you over $86.97.  Or, you could buy the new 9-piece set and the new “huge” set but then you would be missing the 13/16” and 7/8” as well as the three largest. It’s the same way with the metric sizes. OK, if you had purchased the 11-piece set offered in the 94 – 95 “Special Holiday Issue” catalog (reply #34) and then, 2 years later, bought this 5-piece set, you would have a complete set (except for the three largest). The logic eludes me. They fixed it the next year in 1998 (sort of). The newer 5-piece sets had the 5 biggest wrenches. (but the 13-piece sets were gone – that’s another post). This newer 5-piece set, in 1999, also came in a massive heavy-duty plastic carry case worthy of the 15 pounds of wrenches. (pictured below) I’m not going to list all the part numbers, I’ll just put in a close-up of the open stock list below. Its got all the info. This is the only time all of the Gen1 wrenches will appear together in one catalog.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Yadda on April 18, 2020, 06:57:46 AM
The possibilities for the gaps between the sets is endless.  It would be interesting to get the perspective of one of the tool buyers during that time period. 
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 18, 2020, 07:42:05 AM
I needed a flow chart to keep up with that one!   :smiley: 

Jim C. 
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: p_toad on April 18, 2020, 03:55:08 PM
The possibilities for the gaps between the sets is endless.  It would be interesting to get the perspective of one of the tool buyers during that time period.

It would be interesting to know the thoughts of the marketing folks who decided to have them sold this way.   :undecided:
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 18, 2020, 11:59:06 PM
The Stubbies. What can I say about the Stubbies other than they’re stubby. They are made to get into tight, hard to reach places. These first appeared in the 1997 – 1998 Craftsman Tool Catalog right below the “huge” wrenches in Reply #37.  They were smooth, full polish, shorter versions of their Long Pattern cousins, the Gen1. The word “Professional” is not stamped anywhere on them, but the pouch they come in says “Professional” and the page in the catalog says “PRO” at the top. Maybe there just wasn’t room because they’re, well, they're stubby. They were sold in sets: the 7-piece set for $29.99, SAE from 3/8” to 3/4" and metric from 10mm to 18mm minus the 11mm. And then there was the 4-piece larger sizes, also for $29.99, 13/16” to 1” and 19mm to 22mm. There was also an open stock list.  Each set came in a plastic pouch with the word “professional” like I mentioned. Although the wrenches were Guarantied “Forever”, I don’t think the pouches were. They got beat up, torn and cracked pretty fast. In the 1997 “Special Holiday” catalog they offered a full 11-piece set, also in a “reusable storage pouch”. I have never seen the 11-piece pouch. Only the 7 and the 4-piece. This is when Craftsman started color coding their display/organizers, black for SAE and grey for metric.

All the wrenches were stamped U.S.A. and also had the sideways “K” to indicate they were made by S-K tools and the open end was on the left, just like the Gen 1. So, all is right with the world. Hold on. One year later, 1998 – 1999 catalog, “NEW”, “Stubby Wrench Sets”. But they were “New” last year. Upon closer examination you’ll find they are not the same as last year’s model. They now have a raised panel on the handle but are still fully polished and, the open end is now on the right.  The size is stamped on both sides where the previous ones only had it stamped on the front. But the biggest difference of all is the sideways “K” is gone and has been replaced with -VV-. These were made by Danaher Tool Corporation. (reply #16)

 There was one thing that didn’t change on these newer wrenches.  The part numbers. Craftsman used the same part numbers even though they were made by a different company.  These newer wrenches also came in a 7-piece set with the same part numbers as the old 7-piece sets. If you ordered one of these sets back in 1998, who knows what you might get. The wrenches no longer came in the flimsy vinyl pouch. Now, the 7-piece set came in a rather substantial plastic holder with clips for each wrench. The 4-piece, large wrench set is completely gone but you could buy all of them in a new 11-piece set. The 11-piece set came in the same, semi flimsy, plastic display/organizer as the Gen 1 wrenches, complete with the clear plastic, flimsy keeper with all the structural integrity of a potato chip.

The stubby wrench would remain unchanged for at least the next 13 years until, well…..I’m not sure. I found them in my 2009 – 2010 catalog, then I have a gap in my catalog collection. I have nothing from 2011. I have a 2012 – 2013 catalog and I searched through all the Craftsman, Evolve, GearWrench, Viper, Max Axsess, S-curved, Half Moon crap and found nothing but a ratcheting Stubby by GearWrench.  But wait, all is not lost, Craftsman Industrial made and sold them for a few years longer. And if you’re really desperate, Craftsman is currently selling stubby wrenches made in China (but I would pick up a good set on eBay, they're still out there).
Thanks for reading.

Todd F.

(If they managed to fit “Craftsman Industrial” on the stubby wrench , how come they couldn’t fit “Craftsman Professional”?)
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 19, 2020, 07:04:07 AM
Hello, Todd. Thanks again , great info. Maybe an engineer realized that there are only 10 letters in 'Industrial" and 12 letters in "Professional", maybe the cost per letter?  Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 19, 2020, 07:39:38 AM
Well done Todd!  I must say, I can’t imagine anyone else having a collection of Craftsman Professional wrenches that completely covers the topic from top to bottom.  I think the catalog pages are certainly informative and it’s unusual to see the sets in their original retail packaging.  Speaking for myself, I’d get a new set of wrenches (typically Craftsman raised panel), line them up in a drawer and pitch the packaging.  I'm impressed that you had the foresight to save it.  That adds a ton of value and authenticity to your collection.  That also leads me to ask if you bought the sets with the intention of keeping them strictly as collectibles.  At some point, you decided to collect all of them.  When was that moment and how did you go about determining the perimeters of the collection.  Specifically, how did you determine what you needed to collect?  Studying catalogs?  Like I said earlier, the collection itself is likely a rarity when it comes to this one segment of wrenches.  I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your fantastic collection.  Also, good going on adding an index to the beginning of the thread.  As this thread grows, that index will come in handy.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Yadda on April 19, 2020, 11:20:09 AM
Just when I think it can't get better, the next post hits.  It is very similar to binge watching TV shows.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Lewill2 on April 19, 2020, 01:04:03 PM
The 11 piece standard and metric raised panel VV sets are like mine. I still have the black plastic trays and the clear plastic keepers for both sets. The keepers for both sets are yellowing as it appears your metric set is in the picture.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 19, 2020, 03:53:37 PM
Well done Todd!  I must say, I can’t imagine anyone else having a collection of Craftsman Professional wrenches that completely covers the topic from top to bottom.  I think the catalog pages are certainly informative and it’s unusual to see the sets in their original retail packaging.  Speaking for myself, I’d get a new set of wrenches (typically Craftsman raised panel), line them up in a drawer and pitch the packaging.  I'm impressed that you had the foresight to save it.  That adds a ton of value and authenticity to your collection.  That also leads me to ask if you bought the sets with the intention of keeping them strictly as collectibles.  At some point, you decided to collect all of them.  When was that moment and how did you go about determining the perimeters of the collection.  Specifically, how did you determine what you needed to collect?  Studying catalogs?  Like I said earlier, the collection itself is likely a rarity when it comes to this one segment of wrenches.  I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your fantastic collection.  Also, good going on adding an index to the beginning of the thread.  As this thread grows, that index will come in handy.

Jim C.

Hey Jim. I too, like everyone else, tossed the packaging as soon as I put the tools in the toolbox. Like I said in the opening post in this thread, I didn't start collecting until I retired 5 years ago and unknowingly purchased a set of Chinese Craftsman metric wrenches. There was no foresight on my part. All the sets in their original packaging in this thread were purchased on eBay within the last 5 years. The packaging is rarely in perfect condition. I'll post a picture below showing a repair job I did on the Stubby metric display. I have a couple more waiting for repair. It started with the Professional line of tools and has pretty much stayed within that realm. Except for the teardrop and RHFT ratchets. Oh yeah, I also have most of the gold and titanium commemorative sets too.  I had to draw a limit somewhere, nothing before the teardrop ratchet.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 19, 2020, 03:56:24 PM
The 11 piece standard and metric raised panel VV sets are like mine. I still have the black plastic trays and the clear plastic keepers for both sets. The keepers for both sets are yellowing as it appears your metric set is in the picture.

It's funny. Some yellow and some don't. Probably environment and sunlight, 
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Lewill2 on April 19, 2020, 05:51:55 PM
Must be environmental mine have been in the basement in one of my Stanley Vidmar cabinets since being gifted to me for Christmas or Birthday presents.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 19, 2020, 10:08:13 PM
The Gen 2 Craftsman Professional Combination wrench first showed up in the 1998 – 1999 tool catalog. “New”, Raised Panel Design.  So, just like the “Stubbies” introduction of the raised panel design on the same page; here is the long pattern, Professional wrench debut of the raised panel design. Well they must have changed to the Danaher forge just like the Stubby wrenches did. No. The new raised panel, Gen 2 Professional wrenches are still made by S-K. So why the switch to a new design? Well, and this is just pure conjecture on my part, the thin, sleek handle of the Gen1 could be bent. Although I never personally bent one, I have seen many curved Gen 1s for sale on eBay.  The handle on the new Gen 2 is over 40 percent thicker and 10 percent wider than the Gen 1.  The new wrenches also weigh 20 to 40 percent more. Maybe Sears was getting too many returns under their Lifetime Guaranee.  And just like the Stubbies, the open end of the wrench is now on the right side (when viewing the word “Craftsman”).

The new Gen 2 wrenches were made in 12 sizes only, with new unique part numbers. SAE 1/4" to 15/16” and metric 7mm to 18mm.  There were never any “Huge” Gen 2 wrenches made. The catalog has an open stock price list going all the way up to 1-1/2” and 30mm, but look closely, there’s a little diamond symbol next to the wrenches over 15/16” and 18mm and at the bottom of the page it says, “Standard flat-panel design”. In other words, the Gen 1 completes the set. Now here we go again, if you buy the new 12-piece, Gen2 set and the 5-piece, Gen 1 “Huge” set, you still need to buy the 1” or the 19 and 21mm separately, from open stock, to make a complete set. 

Besides the 12-piece sets, the new Gen 2 wrenches were also sold in a 7-piece set. I have the metric set pictured below. That’s the only Gen 2 store package I have ever seen. Something else making its debut on the same catalog page is the “Professional” logo. The word “Craftsman” in the red rectangle, and right underneath, the word “Professional” in the yellow rectangle. This logo will stick around for the next ten years, that’s much longer than the Gen 2 wrench. Two years, that’s it.  We’ll cover the Gen 3 next time.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 20, 2020, 06:57:13 AM
Looking good Todd.  I’m also impressed by your plastic holder repair process in your previous post.   Elmer’s Glue All does the trick?  Can you see the repair once everything is dry and your clamps are removed?  Looks like you’re applying heat.  I’d guess you have to be super careful not to melt/deform something.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 20, 2020, 12:29:21 PM
Jim
The plastic holders have a thin cardboard backing glued around the edge of the vacuum formed tray. I peel the cardboard back to glue cracks from the inside with UV curing glue. A little heat can be used to reform creased sections. The Elmer's glue works good for reattaching the cardboard.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 20, 2020, 07:42:44 PM
No new wrench stuff today. I have to attempt to repair this Gen3 metric display tray that I've been avoiding.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 21, 2020, 02:52:02 PM
Oh boy....... as a collector, I’m sure you hate to see that.  But any original packaging, even if damaged, is better than none at all.  I’ll be interested to see how the repairs turn out.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 25, 2020, 10:02:15 PM
Sorry for the delay.  Life happens.
The Gen 3 Craftsman Professional Wrench first appeared in the 2000-2001 Craftsman Tool catalog without much fanfare. The corner of the page just says “New Set”. But this time they did it right.  All new part numbers.  All of the sizes introduced at once. If you ordered the 13-piece set and the 5-piece “huge” set, you had them all.  No duplicates and none missing. They even offered a catalog exclusive, all 18 wrenches (18 SAE, 18 metric) in sets for $189.99.  There is one caveat. There were 18 SAE wrenches offered, but there are 19 metric wrenches in the open stock list. The 21mm is not included in any of the sets. I had an extremely difficult time finding one for my collection since the only ones ever purchased were from open stock. They also offered small, 7-piece sets, and later, 9-piece sets.

These wrenches are the same flat handle design as the Gen 1 but a little bit wider and the open end is on the right.  Gone is the fat handle of the Gen 2. Just a nice, overall design, not too thin, not to fat. But there is one thing missing. There is no forge mark. Not for the whole 14-year run. It is my educated guess that they were made by Danaher. But if anybody knows for sure, please let me know with a reply below.  I’m basing my guess on the fact that the Craftsman Industrial wrenches that show up about 2014 are virtually identical to these Gen 3 wrenches in every way.  And they have the Danaher - Vꓥ-.  They are also very similar to the Craftsman Motorsport wrenches (reply 22) made by Easco with the -VV-.  And if you’ve been following along you’ll remember that Easco was taken over by Danaher. Then there is the fact that Danaher was making just about every other forged hand tool sold by Craftsman during this time frame. This is still just a guess. I have no proof that they were made by Danaher.

Yes, I said the open end is on the right, but if you look at the picture on the catalog page below, you will see the open end on the left.  Well, I guess that the catalog makers just grabbed some photos out of the file cabinet of some full polish, Professional wrenches and called it a day.  There were never any wrenches with the part numbers listed, with the open end on the left.  The Craftsman catalog would continue to use the wrong picture for two more years. They finally got it right in 2003.

The packaging was originally the same flimsy plastic tray that they had been using. Somewhere along the line, they switched to a slightly more substantial plastic display but it had a cardboard backing piece and a lot of wasted space, making it a poor choice for a drawer organizer. So, even though the Gen 3 was offered for 14 years, the store displays are still very hard to find. 

The pictures below show the 2000 – 2001 catalog page. I tried to make it big enough to read the part numbers. There are pictures of the full SAE and metric sets as well as some of the packaging options available over the 14-year run. Notice the absence of a forge mark in the closeups. 
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 26, 2020, 08:38:06 AM
Looking good Todd!  I gotta say, that’s an impressive collection and the information you’re providing is very comprehensive.   You definitely have this line of wrenches covered.  Well done!

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 26, 2020, 03:32:57 PM

Yes, I said the open end is on the right, but if you look at the picture on the catalog page below, you will see the open end on the left.  Well, I guess that the catalog makers just grabbed some photos out of the file cabinet of some full polish, Professional wrenches and called it a day.  There were never any wrenches with the part numbers listed, with the open end on the left.  The Craftsman catalog would continue to use the wrong picture for two more years. They finally got it right in 2003.

The Craftsman catalog did get the right picture, once, in the first three years of the Gen 3 rein. Sort of. On the cover of the 2000 Christmas/Holiday catalog, next to the elf, there are six Gen 3 wrenches with the open end on the right. But, the Professional wrenches are not pictured, listed or mentioned anywhere inside the catalog.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 26, 2020, 08:38:09 PM
I figure that no discussion about the Craftsman Professional Wrench would be complete without mentioning the Craftsman Industrial Wrenches. Exactly when the Industrial wrenches first came out, I’m not sure. All the catalogs were going digital so when a new catalog came out, you lost the old one.  I did manage to save a digital copy of the 2014 – 15 Industrial tool catalog and I have a paper copy of the 2012 – 13 Craftsman catalog. The Professional wrenches are in the 2012 – 13 catalog and that’s the last record I have of them. How long they hung around on the store shelves, I don’t know. Were both the Professional and Industrial wrenches for sale at the same time, I don’t know. It probably varied region by region, store by store.

Anyway, by 2014 they were here. Like I said previously, they are almost identical to the Gen 3 wrenches. And they even have a forge mark. The -Vꓥ- indicates they were made by Danaher Corporation.  Just like the Professional wrenches, the SAE sizes ranged from 1/4" to 1 1/2" with the addition of an 11/32”.  Yay, finally. (The nut for an 8-32 machine screw is 11/32”)  On the metric side, they added a bunch. They put in: 6mm, 20mm, 26mm, 27mm, 28mm and 32mm. There are now 25 wrenches in the metric line up.  Of all the wrenches you have seen in the pictures I’ve posted, I am missing one: The 6mm Industrial.  (P/N 23638) If anybody out there….I know, wrong thread. The metric set is so big that it is challenging to get it to fit in one standard toolbox drawer (without buying one of those double-wides). For the pictures below, I left them in the drawers so I don’t have to wrestle them back in.

The Industrials faded out when Sears/Craftsman was having financial troubles and Craftsman was acquired by Stanley Black & Decker around 2016. There were still sets to be had for a while but those are drying up. You can find some Industrial sets on eBay but most of those are the raised panel versions. I did find some brand new, full polish, Industrial, 14-piece sets, still in the sealed factory boxes on Amazon in July 2017. I bought 5 SAE and 5 metric sets. They are tucked away in a toolbox drawer for my children’s inheritance.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Yadda on April 26, 2020, 11:26:57 PM
Fantastic!  Great job! I'm suggesting this might be worthy of a pushpin.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 27, 2020, 06:45:54 AM
Thanks for sharing, those are great looking tools!!!Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on April 27, 2020, 07:56:33 AM
Hey Todd,

Nice write up regarding the Industrial wrenches.  About seven or eight years ago, give or take, I learned that Sears was liquidating its inventory of Industrial wrenches, sockets, etc., and they were being sold at Sears Outlet stores.  There happened to be such a store about ten minutes from my house, so I went to take a look.  When I got there, a clerk pointed me in the direction of the remaining stock.  Well, I was about a week or two late to the party.  Things were pretty much picked over.  Most of the metric tools were long gone, however a few SAE sets were still on hand so I grabbed a set of the SAE combo wrenches.  The set included 1/4” - 1”, excluding the 11/32”.  They were packaged in the cardboard boxes like you depicted in your post.  (Of course I got home and pitched the box.)  Looking back, I probably should have picked up an extra set or two.  Now I don’t recall how much I paid for that set, I do know it was significantly less than full price, but still more than a similar set of basic raised panel combo wrenches.  Although I bought the Industrial wrenches with the intent of using them, every time I need a wrench, I go straight for the my raised panels.  I guess old habits die hard.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: p_toad on April 27, 2020, 11:13:47 AM
Thank you.   Great write-up.   I don't recall ever seeing those in all my trips to the local sears store (before they vanished...the whole store, that is). :tongue:
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 27, 2020, 07:18:31 PM
Craftsman Professional has faded away and was replaced by Craftsman Industrial for a brief time, then those faded away too. So what are they selling now? Well, it says “Craftsman” but not much else.  No “Professional” and no “Industrial”.  Oh yeah, the U.S.A. logo is gone too.  In a move to save money, Craftsman shifted their tool forging operation to China. I have nothing against China. They make all our TVs and phones and other electronic goodies that we can’t live without. But when it comes to my hand tools I want good old US Steel! I guess the Chinese steel is not as good. Maybe it’s the alloy. Maybe it’s the heat-treating process. But if you can’t improve either of those characteristics, then there is only one way to make it stronger. Use more metal! And they did. The open ends of the Chinese wrenches are massive.  In fact, they have picked up the nick name “The Crab Claw”. Working in tight spaces is limited. The open end is not only wider and deeper, but it is also thicker. Below are some comparison measurements of the 18mm Gen 3 and the “Crab Claw”. These relative measurements are typical across the range of sizes. 

There is one other thing you may notice if you look closely at the pictures. The part numbers are the same. Yes, Craftsman used the same part numbers on the Crab Claws that they used on the Gen 3 wrenches. That’s pretty rotten if you ask me. Buyer beware I guess. Hey, I just found out that the Craftsman Torque Wrench I’ve been using for the last 40+ years was made in Taiwan. Craftsman is (or was) proud of the fact that their tools were made in the U.S.A. and they definitely let you know by stamping “U.S.A.” all over them. So if it doesn’t say U.S.A., then it’s not.

Craftsman still has their Lifetime Warranty so if you take your Gen 1, 2 or 3 wrench back to Sears for a replacement today, guess what you’re going to get. Probably better to just pick up your replacement on eBay and spend a few bucks.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on April 28, 2020, 06:31:57 AM
Hello, Todd. Thanks again for sharing your photos of your collection, and the history behind the tools!! Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on April 30, 2020, 08:40:21 PM
I just scored on a really nice Gen 1 metric 9-piece with display and original $39.99 price sticker.
(I paid about 3 times that much)
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on May 13, 2020, 06:45:48 AM
Nice looking set, Todd.  Is that a set you didn’t have in your collection?

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on May 29, 2020, 08:27:22 PM
Hey everyone, sorry about the delay. I had to take a bit of a break.
We are just about done with this thing anyway. In fact, as far as the Full Polish, Combination Wrenches go, that’s all there is. I just want to touch on a few more wrenches that sort-of fit the category. 

In the 1996 – 97 catalog Craftsman introduced the 45-degree Deep Offset Box-End Wrenches. There were seven wrenches in all.  Five SAE wrenches spanning from 3/8” to 7/8” and three metric wrenches covering 10mm to 15mm. These were not listed as “Professional” in the catalog nor were they marked as “Professional” on the tool.
These were sold as a complete set of seven for $29.99 or purchased separately.  Then in the 2002 catalog up pops the 45-degree Deep Offset Box-End Wrench under the “Professional” logo, and there are now 12 wrenches instead of 7.  I figured that Craftsman took their existing wrench and just labeled it “Professional”. I was wrong.  While trying to find a set of the original seven wrenches in the original package on eBay, I found a set but was disappointed because it appeared the owner had sandblasted the wrenches and was trying to pass them off as “good condition”.  I was wrong. I grabbed a magnifying glass and examined the 1996 catalog picture and there it was. The original wrenches were matte finish. Without the shiny raised panel in the middle for comparison, they looked polished in the picture. My brain just assumed they were full polished because that’s what I was used to seeing. Then I noticed that “full Polish” is not mentioned in the description. And then, just to drive it home, the part numbers were changed when they polished them and called them “Professional”.  Although the tools themselves were never stamped “Professional”, they were always listed that way in all the catalogs and on all the packaging until the 2012-13 catalog where they were just part of a $300 Specialty Wrench set. Craftsman Industrial also listed these Deep Offset wrenches during their short run. All of these wrenches, from the original matte finish, through the Pro series,  to the Industrial, were made by Danaher with the Vꓥ forge mark.

These were not your normal, “go to” wrenches for everyday bolt turning but were nice to have around for the one you can’t quite reach with any other wrench.

Original (Mat Finnish) 1996 - 2001
44321  3/8 x 7/16
44322  1/2 x 9/16
44323  5/8 x 11/16
44324  3/4 x 7/8

44325  10 x 11mm
44326  12 x 14mm
44327  13 x 15mm

Professional (Full Polish) 2002 - 1012
44316  3/8 x 7/16
44317  1/2 x 9/16
44318  5/8 x 11/16
44319  3/4 x 7/8
44320  13/15 x 15/16

44360  10 x 11mm
44361  12 x 14mm
44362  13 x 15mm
44364  16 x 18mm
44366  17 x 19mm 
44367  20 x 22mm
44368  21 x 23mm

The original set of seven (non-Professional) sold for $29.99.  The Professional Offset wrenches started at $39.99 for a five-piece SAE or metric set in 2002 and went up to $41.99 by 2010.  Or you could get all twelve for $79.99 through the entire run.

Thanks for reading. Stay Safe.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Yadda on May 30, 2020, 06:34:40 AM
Well worth the wait.  More great information!
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on June 10, 2020, 10:12:43 PM
The last wrench we looked at was the Deep Offset Box-End Wrench. It was a Professional wrench that was advertised as Professional in the catalogs and on the display/packaging, but the wrench itself didn’t say Professional anywhere on it.  The next wrench we will discuss is the exact opposite. It doesn’t say Professional anywhere in any of the catalogs.  It doesn’t say Professional anywhere on any of the packaging. But about half the wrenches made were stamped “Professional” plain as day.  I’m talking about the Craftsman “Quick Wrench”.

If there are any of you that are unfamiliar with the Quick Wrench, let me explain. The Quick Wrench looks just like a Craftsman raised panel combination wrench except the open-end looks like someone filed some funny notches in it.  The idea is that the wrench only grips the fastener in one direction. When you turn the wrench in the other direction, it just slips around the fastener to catch on the next point on hex head.  So it acts like an open end ratchet.  Also, they are about 30% longer than the standard “raised panel” Craftsman wrench. They are handy if you have a fastener that you can’t get a socket or ratcheting box-end wrench on it and it has too much resistance to spin it by hand even if you’ve broken it loose (like a self-locking nut or a bolt with LocTite on it).   However, you need a very specific set of criteria for these things to work. You have to be able to get straight on the fastener (right-angle to axis), you have to have 60-degrees of arc swing and there needs to be some drag on the fastener. It also takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it. I know it sounds like a pain in the neck but when I was taking aircraft engines apart, these things saved me many hours removing the dozens of self-locking cylinder nuts.

Most tool manufacturers have made some version of these using various names.  The set I was using on the aircraft engines was a Japanese off-brand.  I eventually bought the Snap-On version but like the Japanese set better. The “Quick Wrench” first appears in the Craftsman catalog in 1998 and disappeared in 2003. But, Craftsman had a similar wrench all the way back in 1954. It was just called something else, in fact they didn’t really give it a name, just a description. In 1957 they called it a “Ratchet-Action Combination Wrench”. That version last appears in the 1969 catalog.  Craftsman introduces another version in 2010 with a spring-loaded plunger in the open end to help with the ratcheting action. But we are concerned with the one labeled “Quick Wrench” made from 1998 to 2003.  Below is a YouTube link to a blurry 1997 TV commercial, complete with Bob Vila, advertising the “Quick Wrench”. It has a pretty good close-up of how it works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU6gWsWmFzI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU6gWsWmFzI)

The reason we are even talking about these is because a large number of them have the word “Professional” stamped on them. They were never advertised or packaged as “Professional”. The wrenches with the “Professional” stamp and those without carry the exact same part number.  Nobody seems to know why they were stamped that way.  I ran into a guy on eBay that actually worked at Danaher Tool Company and was the “Wrench Category Manager” until 2002. The “Quick Wrench” was one of his projects. When I sent him pictures of the “Quick Wrench” with the word “Professional” stamped on them, he was dumbfounded. He said they should never have been branded that way. Only full polish wrenches get that badge, never the matte finish. His replacement at Danaher died last summer so the reason for the “Professional” stamp remains a mystery.  Bottom line: It’s not really a “Professional” Wrench, it just thinks it is.

The “Quick Wrench” was sold in 6-piece and 8-piece sets at first and then in 14-piece sets (SAE and Metric) or you could buy them all in the 28-piece set for $99.98.  I have pictures below of the 6 and 8-piece sets. 

Only one more wrench to go.
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jim C. on June 10, 2020, 10:29:24 PM
Nice write up Todd!  Here’s a set of the early version Cman ratcheting combo wrench.

Jim C.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: lptools on June 11, 2020, 07:37:45 AM
Hello, Todd. Thanks for the info, the photos, and the video!! Nice wrenches, too!!  Nice wrenches from Jim C., too!! Regards, Lou
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on June 11, 2020, 08:57:16 PM
Jim, That's a sweet set. Nice find. Look brand new.
Todd F.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Lesserstore on August 15, 2020, 03:27:28 PM
Nice work!
I did an overview of the history of Craftsman wrenches on Garage Journal. Part I was ratcheting DBEs and Part II was standard wrenches. I was going to do a part III on Craftsman Pro wrenches but after being led to your case study I decided not to do Part III. I basically said on my thread that I didn't want to steal your audience and I knew that there wasn't anything I could add to it. I also left a link to your page  I hope that's ok.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Todd F. on August 16, 2020, 12:39:59 PM
That's great. Thank you.
I still have one more wrench to briefly cover under this topic. I just haven't gotten around to it. It's just the Pro Flare nut wrenches that sort of fit the category.
Thanks for the link.
Todd
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: Jed S on August 17, 2020, 11:26:00 AM
Hello Todd,
Joined just to say Thank You, for all your research, (by such sagacious collecting. Dang it !); and for the time you've spent in sharing it, and for sharing it in such well written installments & articles.

I'm looking forward to hearing you talk (er, reading) about the Cman Pro Flare Nut wrenches, as I have sets of both the SAE & metric, made by S•K (w/the 'sideways K'), and have wondered as to when the first and last of the S•K Cman Pro Flare Nut sets were manufactured.

It'd also be interesting to know where the S•K and Danaher and Easco-- Cman Pro wrench sets where manufactured, or if they were manuf in multiple sites across the U.S.

Many thanks again, for sharing your excellently written articles.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: t115145 on January 26, 2021, 12:05:58 PM
I have 3 Steritool wrenches, DOE.  These are SS wrenches that can be placed in an autoclave to sterilize them. Primarily designed for use on medical equipment.  Maybe the Craftsman SS wrenches were intended for medical repair also? I use them frequently (aircraft repair), they are great for low torque applications.
Title: Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
Post by: A.Bursell on October 23, 2021, 06:52:46 PM
Great write-up! I've been working on a CM Industrial wrench collection for a while now - I have 2 complete SAE sets, and 2 almost complete metric sets (missing a few of the jumbos from each). I didn't see mentioned, but I came across CM Industrial wrenches that have teeth in the open end similar to Snap-On's Flank Drive Plus. They look otherwise identical to the standard Industrial, except they do have different part numbers of course. I actually picked up a couple 19mm's and can snap pictures if there is interest. Wondering if anyone else has ever seen them or knows anything about them?

Adam