Author Topic: Sears/Craftsman Tap and Die Sets  (Read 11194 times)

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Offline Yadda

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Tap and Die Sets
« Reply #60 on: November 01, 2022, 05:44:22 PM »
Neat!
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Tap and Die Sets
« Reply #61 on: November 03, 2022, 03:23:26 PM »
Hey Jim
I was looking at the pictures of your metric “Barn Find” in Reply #27 and was wondering if it might be a 9-52096 from 1974 – 1985. The cases for both sets are identical except for the plastic label. (Which yours is missing) The 52096 has Kromedge taps and dies and the 52373 has the carbon steel pieces. The best way to tell for sure is to look at the part numbers on the individual taps and dies. If the part number starts with 520--, then they are Kromedge and your set is a 52096, the numbers start with 528—or 529—then you have the 52373 set. The tap/reamer wrenches look like the newer style but I’m not sure when they switched to those. You can never tell by the catalog pictures since they are usually a few years behind the times.
Take care
Todd F
The picture is of my 52096. It's hard to see the P/N.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Tap and Die Sets
« Reply #62 on: November 03, 2022, 08:12:32 PM »
Hey Todd,

Thanks for taking a second look at my metric set.  Like I said in my original write up, it’s a 9-52373 set.  But just to make sure, I checked it again.  You’re correct about the tool part numbers.  All the taps and dies either start with part number 528 or 529.  I’m still missing the 18mm x 1.50 tap and die. 

Jim C.
Our Go-To Type Study Member

Offline Bill Houghton

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Tap and Die Sets
« Reply #63 on: November 07, 2022, 04:56:00 PM »
Congrats, Todd.  Now that you have the Whitworth set, you can work on your old British cars/motorcycles - or, if you don't already have one, you can add that to your quest list.  An old AJS/Matchless/Velocette/Royal Enfield or Wolseley/Standard/Humber/Jowett will provide hours of entertainment, including the occasional hours of riding/driving fun!

Offline Uncle Buck

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Re: Sears/Craftsman SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #64 on: September 23, 2023, 10:18:48 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.
Someone might have already answered this question,  but the VM marking means those were made by the Vermont American company. No clue if they are still in business,  but in the 1970's the brand was heavily represented in chain hdw stores like Ace and True Value. Taps and dies and drill bits was the primary products bearing their name that I recall.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2023, 10:38:39 PM by Uncle Buck »

Offline Uncle Buck

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Re: Sears/Craftsman Tap and Die Sets
« Reply #65 on: September 23, 2023, 10:27:55 PM »
Here’s another good one for you. I bought this a few weeks ago and spent some time making it presentable. This is the Craftsman 59-piece, High Speed Steel, Class II, SAE, 9-52311, Tap and Die Set. “What makes this set so special?”, you might ask. It’s the Class II part.
Quick lesson for those who may not know. There are three classes of screw threads. They are….. you guessed it. Class 1, 2 and 3. Class 1 is common hardware like you get in your favorite big box store. Go to the bins and screw a big nut onto a big bolt and give it a shake. Chances are it will rattle a bit. This is because of the allowance between the internal and external thread. A class 1 thread by ASME or ISO standards allows this much “play” between the nut and bolt. This is fine for bolting the front bumper on your old Chevy. There is nothing wrong with it. However, you might not want to use something like that on your connecting rod bolts in your engine. That’s where class 2 hardware comes in. The tolerances for the internal and external thread are much tighter. There is a narrow range for the minimum and maximum pitch diameter of the threads. All aircraft hardware is class 2 as well as most engine hardware. The down side is cost. Class 2 hardware is much more expensive manufacture and hold within the tight tolerances. There is also a class 3. This would be used for something like the screw inside your micrometer. The allowance between the internal and external Class 3 thread is zero. 
All Tap and die sets sold by Craftsman cut class 1 threads with the exception of this 52311 and the metric 52001. The 52311 SAE set was introduced in 1974 and the 52001 metric set came out a year later in 1975. Both appeared continuously in the Craftsman catalogs until 2008. These are by far the longest running tap and die sets Craftsman has sold. These sets blasted right through the end of the Kromedge era in 1986 and kept on going.  Despite the longevity of these sets, they are some of the hardest to find. There are two reasons for this.  The first is price. You can see on the 1974 catalog page posted below, when the 52311 was introduced, the price was $199 while the price of the exact same 59-piece Kromedge, class 1 set was $84.99. If you didn’t need anything bigger than 1/2 inch, you could get the 5201 set for $42. Bottom line is, they probably didn’t fly off the selves. The other thing that makes them hard to find (in good condition) is that these were bought by people who were going to use the crap out of them. This is only the second set I have seen. The first one was in really bad shape and I passed on it. This one was also in poor shape when I got it. Five of the taps and one of the dies were missing and 3 more of the taps were not original Craftsman. Since these were the only class 2 HSS sets Craftsman has ever sold and single pieces were never sold in the catalog or the stores, replacement pieces are non-existent. I replaced the missing taps with similar class 2 HSS taps that match pretty close. I couldn’t find a class 2 die so I used a Craftsman Kromedge die and blackened the edge to match. See if you can spot which one.

Thanks for reading
Todd F.

Indeed! The Craftsman HSS tap and die sets were always the holy grail of Craftsman tap and die sets! Those sets were available by catalog order only as stated next to their picture in the tool catalogs (The catalog ad shown does not state that, but later in the 1970's it did.). Also, as already stated they cost far more than the CS sets. I have never seen a set in the wild. Wow, what a find there!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2023, 10:46:59 PM by Uncle Buck »