Author Topic: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study  (Read 10509 times)

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Offline Todd F.

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Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« 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)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 02:30:30 PM by Todd F. »
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 09:39:05 PM »
I’m in Todd!  You’re off to a great start!

Jim C.
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2020, 09:43:47 PM »
Thanks Jim
I'd better get to writing the next installment.
Todd F.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline Yadda

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 10:11:44 PM »
I do like reading case studies.
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Offline gibsontool

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2020, 09:00:20 AM »
Good stuff, I'll look forward to more.

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #5 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.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline Northwoods

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #6 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?
The ORIGINAL Northwoods.

Offline lptools

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 05:23:26 PM »
Nice wrenches!! Love the story/study, too!! Regards, Lou
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2020, 06:28:02 PM by Todd F. »
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #9 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.
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Offline p_toad

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #10 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. 

Offline lptools

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2020, 09:23:57 PM »
I hope that I have never passed one up at a sale!!!
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Offline papadan

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #12 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.
VWs to D10s, I've fixed em.
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Offline mrbill

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2020, 04:13:11 PM »
Nice research and write-ups.  Any idea who manufactured them for Sears?

Bill

Offline lptools

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2020, 04:53:01 PM »
Hello, mrbill. I believe Easco was mentioned in an earlier post. Regards, Lou
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